The oh-so-wise Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Well THX for the advice, Winston, but it ain’t that simple.
Lately I’ve been in a funk. A big one. One that feels like it may never leave. I’ve been waking up sad and depressed everyday. I’ve had no motivation for anything. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to go to the gym. I don’t want to post on Instagram. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to go to class or do my homework… and the list just goes on and on. I don’t have interest in things that once brought me so much pleasure (walks with my pup, engaging with others on my food insta….. etc.).
I know this is just a phase and it will end eventually (or at least I’m trying to believe that), but it’s tough. Logically, I know that I want to be productive and do things that I enjoy, but because of my depression, I have zero drive to actually get things done.
In the past, I would’ve just let myself give into my depression – lay in bed all day and not do anything. Now, I’m trying to fight back.
I’m no pro at this. I’m still learning too. But here are some tips for you if you’re going through hell, and feel like you can’t keep going. You can. And you will.
1.) Force yourself to do things that you don’t want to do. Your depression tells you to lay in bed all day, skip the gym, eat nothing but cookies, isolate from friends, etc etc etc. Whatever you do, DON’T.FALL.FOR.IT. Whatever your depression is telling you, do the opposite.
2.) Go for walk. Listen to music. I don’t care if it’s too cold out. Bundle TF up and take a walk, or hop on the treadmill. Fresh air always seems to help more, but walking in general is good. Plug your headphones in. Listen to music that’s actually going to make you feel something – not just random rap or pop music. I listen to The Fray, The Script, Coldplay, or even Breakup Song radio on Pandora (trust me, it’s good). I walk and zone out for a little. Maybe the songs aren’t the happiest, but they make me feel something. And that’s exactly what I need, because when I’m going through something like that, I feel emptiness.
3.) Make a To-Do list for each day. When you’re in this funk, it’s hard even just to get out of bed..let alone do something productive with your days. I’m a student and I work part time. I don’t start work until 2 30 pm – so on days I don’t have classes, it can be easy to just sit around and do nothing. BUT I never do that. I always have something to do – whether it be errands, recipes for Instagram, appointments, homework, etc.. there is always something to fill my day. Lately, I haven’t wanted to do any of that. Lately, I’ve been moving extra slow and accomplishing nothing. Solution? Each night, write out a “To-Do” list for the following day. Make yourself a little schedule, and no matter what.. STICK TO IT. Even if you have to put “shower” on your list.. DO IT. Any little thing counts. Write it down so you can cross it off and feel like you’ve accomplished something. Being productive is a good feeling, so force yourself even if you don’t have the motivation.
4.) Don’t stray from your routine. Most of us have some sort of every day routine, even if its just a loose one – Wake up, gym, breakfast, morning walk, shower, homework, work.. etc, etc, etc. Whatever it is, stick to it. There may be some days where you just can’t and that’s okay. Sometimes I have a plan in my head for the day but mentally, just can’t get it done. It’s okay to have those days. But for the most part, try to stick to your normal day to day routine.
5.) Get yourself dressed and ready for the day, every day. When you’re depressed, laying around in your pjs, not brushing your hair, and not bothering with makeup is tempting. Get up. Take a shower or wash your face. Get yourself ready. No matter what you are doing that day. Even if you don’t plan to leave the house. Do your hair, do your makeup a little (even just some mascara!!), and get out of your pjs. You don’t have to change into jeans a cute shirt and booties. Put on some leggings and a cute workout top. I find that when I don’t take the time to get myself ready and put even just 10 minutes into my appearance, I feel even worse.
6.) Workout. It’s funny because usually working out is the one thing that really helps me. Lately my body and my mind have just been like “NOPE”. But I force myself anyways. I’ve been taking it easy on myself and my body because I am just so freaking physically/mentally exhausted – so even if my workout just ends up being treadmill walk, at least I got myself up and out. And on the days where I have been able to get a killer workout in, I leave the gym feeling on top of the damn world.
7.) Make plans with friends/family. I know I know I know.. the last thing you wanna do when you’re feeling like this is see people, but DO IT. Make plans with a friend even if it’s just for coffee. Show up to events. If you get invited to something.. GO. You might be tired and maybe you’d rather be in bed. But SHOW TF UP.
8.) Take advantage of the “happier” days”. Personally for me, I feel kind of hopeless and all around sad when I’m going through a phase like this. On the days where you feel even just a glimmer of hope and happiness – TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. Dance yo booty off to your favorite song. Call a friend. Kill a workout in the gym. Get ahead on your schoolwork. Bake a new recipe. Stroll the aisles of Whole foods.. ETC ETC!! Anything that will keep that happiness alive.. do it.
9.) Nourish your body with whole foods. Since I’ve been in this funk, all I’ve wanted is junk. Ok, not actual junk but like.. homemade paleo cookies and almond butter. That’s about all I’ve wanted – when I actually want to eat. Even eating seems like it takes a lot of energy out of me. Force it. You must keep yourself nourished. Fuel your body with real food. Fill up on proteins, veggies, healthy fats etc. Don’t let yourself revert to eating a whole box of cookies because it sounded good. It won’t make you feel good.
10.)Have patience with yourself. I know it’s frustrating as hell. You wake up one day and you’re happy, and you think “wow, maybe the funk is over” and then the next day you’re right back in it. It sucks. It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself – I sure do. But getting frustrated with yourself is not productive. Cut yourself some slack. Take it day by day and just keep going. Have compassion for yourself like you would for a friend going through this.
Like I said, I’m still learning how to get myself through this. I’ve never really been through something quite like this. My depression has been bad before but I had never actively tried to make things better. This time I am. And I’m not quitting even though quitting is the only thing I want to do.
Believe in yourself enough to know that no matter what, you will be okay. You will get through it. And keep on pushing.