So, you’re struggling. The days seem long and the weeks are even longer, but somehow each day passes in a haze. You’re not sure when the last time you showered was, or brushed your teeth, or even moved when not obligated by some outside force. In times like these, it can seem hard to do even the most basic of tasks. Each day passes and merges into one incoherent blur, and you’re not sure how to even get out of this rut you’re in. It can be hard to motivate yourself to do something as small as brushing your teeth because it feels like a huge task.
In moments when brushing your teeth, cleaning your room, or going to work seem like impossible tasks it’s important to focus on small victories. When we make a list of everything we need to do, it can seem unbearable. The list is too long, and too complex, and our brains might be so overwhelmed that we give up before we even start. Celebrating small victories can create a snowball effect where we move from one thing to another.
Instead of seeing your to-do list as impossible, break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces. If you need to clean your room, start with picking up dirty clothes and move on to the next small task. Breaking your to-do list down into smaller victories can create small dopamine surges in your brain that can help bring you out of a depressive rut.
It can be hard to see brushing your teeth as a big thing that needs to be celebrated, but it is. Any steps you can take to bring yourself out of a depressive rut should be celebrated, and it doesn’t have to be a large celebration. This can be done by rewarding yourself with small things to motivate you, or even with a to-do list so that you can visualize yourself completing tasks.
Can’t find the motivation to get out of bed just yet even to do something small? It might be time to reach out to a trusted friend or family member to help motivate you. You would want someone who can help talk you through your feelings and help you find the motivation you need to do a small task. This motivation needs to be positive and not derogatory, because you deserve to be supported during a time like that.
Some rewards for you might include: a sweet treat, a Facetime with a friend or family member, watching a TV show or movie that you love, giving yourself a set time on social media before working on another task, doing some self-care such as a face mask, or anything that will bring you joy. These rewards are also examples of you celebrating your small victories.
If you’re struggling to find joy in the little things, or do simple tasks, a therapist at Mindsight will be able to help you. We can help you develop coping skills to work through these times.
Shelby Case is a new therapist at Mindsight Louisville! Shelby's favorite things include spending time with her animals and her spouse, watching television (currently they are watching Big Brother), and taking road trips. When she isn't providing therapy to clients, she can be found playing video games (her favorite is The Sims 4) or spending too much money at a thrift store. Shelby's favorite color is green and her guilty pleasure is reality TV shows.
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