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Learn 10 Ways to Build Motivation for Depression When It Strikes

10 Ways to Build Motivation for Depression When It Strikes

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Depression can feel like a psychological vacuum, sucking up your energy, motivation, and excitement for what the day holds. This ‘Depression Motivation Guide’ shows you how to create a space for action while you’re depressed, helping you stay productive and counter symptoms of depression.

Lack of motivation for someone with depression is one of the most debilitating aspects of this condition – especially as it accompanies almost every depressive episode. Depression can make your energy reserves feel completely depleted, leaving you with little impetus to complete even basic tasks. While your first instinct may be to just wait it out, simply giving in to the lack of motivation can actually lengthen a sense of inertia and prolong symptoms of depression. 

The best way to get motivation when you have depression is by reframing the way you look at motivation, and building in some basic thoughts and practices to help stimulate action. Here are 10 ways you can learn to create the energy needed to move forward despite your depression. 

1. Remember that you don’t need motivation to do something.

While feeling motivated definitely makes taking action easier, it isn’t a necessary requirement for doing so. In fact, many of us do things because of a particular goal or value that we have rather than feeling a consistently strong sense of motivation. We may not always feel excited about going to the gym for example, but our desire for good physical health helps get us through our workout regardless. A commitment to sticking with things that are important to you is essential to overcoming inertia when you are lacking motivation. 

2. Be aware of your goals and values.

It can be difficult to define goals and values when you are in the midst of a depressive episode, as brain fog and exhaustion can cloud your thinking. Therefore, considering these when you are not experiencing depression, or working through them with the help of a therapist can be useful. These goals and values will act as guiding points even when you are experiencing a lack of motivation during a depressive episode. They help you remember what you want to accomplish and clarify what you need to do in order to get there.

3. Treat your alarm like it’s non-negotiable.

Many people experiencing depression have a hard time even getting out of bed in the morning. However, completing this simple action can help propel you into greater productivity throughout the day. Think of your alarm as if it were an emergency alert – something that can’t be ignored and must be immediately responded to. When you get up, make your bed. It’s a signal to yourself that you are up for the day and won’t be diving back under the covers. Following up with some basic morning tasks like showering, brushing your teeth, and eating something healthy, will help get you mentally prepared for whatever comes next.

4. Break isolation.

Staying at home alone creates an environment in which depression thrives. To counter this, reach out to family and friends who are supportive and understanding. Allow yourself to engage with them outside the home – go for a walk, join them for a meal, or even just sit outside and have a chat together. Connection with others helps boost mood and fight back against depression. 

5. Get outside.

Stepping outside the confines of your home is important for a variety of reasons. Fresh air, sunlight and physical activity have all been shown to help alleviate depression, and a simple change of scene can have positive effects on mood. To help yourself get outside when you are depressed, schedule in time every day to get outside. This could be something as simple as a walk around the block, or doing some basic chores like taking out the trash or gardening. Even 15 minutes a day outside can help counter symptoms of depression.

6. Acknowledge what is happening.

Finding the potential for action while you are depressed doesn’t mean faking it until you make it. When experiencing a depressive episode, it is important to be honest with yourself about what’s happening and not try to bury your feelings or ignore them. This helps you be realistic about what you’ll be able to accomplish during the day, and gives you the space to react naturally to what you are feeling. Remind yourself that it’s okay to cry it out or to take some extra time to rest when you are experiencing depression.

7. Try out opposite actions.

With opposite action, the idea is to do the complete opposite of whatever your unhealthy urge is. For example, if you are considering neglecting your morning routine of taking a shower and brushing your teeth, you would instead do both of these activities, and maybe even throw flossing in for good measure. The point is to consistently counter your feelings of depression with healthy action in order to help move yourself through the episode.

8. Choose one exercise.

The mood boosting powers of exercise have been well documented, with daily exercise increasing the flow of feel-good neurotransmitters that can help ward off feelings of depression. When you are feeling depressed, try simplifying by picking just one exercise that you will do every day. This could be anything from taking a walk, going for a bike ride, or even doing an online yoga or fitness class from home. Incorporating this into your daily routine and devoting even a small amount of your time to exercise, will help you feel productive during the day.

9. Reward yourself.

When experiencing depression, it is easy to focus on all you haven’t done during the day. This is why it is so important to recognize the work that you put in to being active and give yourself credit for what you have managed to do. Don’t dwell on the fact that your exercise routine might have lasted ten minutes instead of your usual 30, or that it took you extra time to accomplish some of the tasks that you might do quickly when you’re not feeling depressed. Overcoming the inertia of depression in any way is a huge accomplishment and one that you should feel proud of.

10. Seek therapy.

Depression is difficult, and having a community of support that understands what you are going through and can help guide you when you feel stuck is essential. Talking to a therapist can assist you in finding ways to be active even when symptoms of depression are telling your mind and body otherwise. A therapist can also help validate what you are feeling, and teach you new coping techniques to alleviate your symptoms.

Learning to Live Well with Depression at The Dawn

Learning to Live Well with Depression at The Dawn Rehab Thailand

The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand offers customised treatment plans for individuals experiencing addiction and mental health issues, including depression. Our depression retreat in Thailand is run by an experienced international staff. Our unique Twin Pillars approach addresses depression holistically through a seamless blend of modern psychotherapies with effective wellness practices. 

TMS Therapy at Thailand Depression Retreat

The Dawn is the only residential centre in Asia offering the innovative Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment, an FDA approved, non-invasive technology that helps in the treatment of depression. Studies have shown that TMS is exceptionally effective in individuals who are resistant to normal depression medication. Moreover, TMS treatment does not have the unpleasant side effects associated with many depression medications.

If you’re ready to start living a happier, healthier life, call The Dawn today to learn more about how we can help you.

Q: How to get motivation when you have depression?

A: The best way to get motivation when you have depression is by reframing the way you look at motivation, and building in some basic thoughts and practices to help stimulate action. Here are 10 ways to create the energy needed to move forward despite your depression.

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