Getting Out of a Depressed Rut
This is one of the lousiest things to deal with. It is one of the few time in life where I might recommend lowering your standards, and just encourage you to get tasks done for the sake of some satisfaction. It might be better to enjoy the process, but you can’t when you are depressed. Depression will pass, and connecting with other people will help. Cleaning your house and sorting out daily habits also helps, and means you will wake up to a much better life when you do feel motivated again.
Having too many goals will cause you problems. But having one seemingly unachievable large goal is also a problem for motivation. Having a few small goals that can give you a sense of achievement, and a larger task that can be subdivided into smaller pieces for a sense of progress, is probably the best compromise.
Smile. Even if you don’t feel great the action actually has a positive effect on your mood. Try holding a pencil between your teeth. This seems to have the same effect. Eating healthy food is essential. Processed food seems to connect to so many mental illnesses; eliminate this possibility. And avoid stimulants as these tend to have bad ‘comedown’ effect a few hours later.
Listen to positive music and watch the occasional positive film. Watching a superhero overcome an impossible obstacle does a lot for motivation. Do exercise, and try to wake up as early as possible. Getting up late makes you feel the day is half over and the glass is half full. Getting up early, watching cartoons like we did as children, and realizing you have a whole day to get things done can change many mindsets.
This is where motivation overlaps with other problems. It’s partly effort, partly the fact that the answer to the situation eludes us. If there is a deadline this can be extremely stressful. Even if not, we aren’t fully right till we have the answer. Thinking outside the box, realizing the problem does not exist in isolation but is part of the whole interacting cosmos, will help. Our minds tend to divide things into different categories and subjects; but the world is not necessarily divided that way. Try looking at a problem from different angles; try doing something unrelated to the problem and let your unconscious mind do some work. And remember that you may be asking the wrong question. A new problem may not be solved by a traditional method. Remind yourself to be habit breaking.
Motivation is getting things done. It should not be confused with knowing what to do; though sometimse both of these problems occur at once. Deciding what to do is important; you need to know what to do before you start putting in the effort.
All that being said, never make important decisions in a hurry, or while tired or frustrated. Sometimes it is better to get a solid night’s sleep before attempting something that need’s your full attention. Writing ideas down before bed and reviewing them in the morning will give you some perspective on the mixed nature of tired, stressed thought. Tired thinking is unconventional, yielding creative ideas that can be equally inspired or impractical. You are in a good position to judge this when you cease to be tired. Make decision when you are thinking clearly; do the labour when it has to be done.