One thing I always forget when I am deeply depressed, is that if I start small, I can build myself back into a normal human.
For example, in December I couldn’t sleep for more than three hours a night which I knew was contributing to my absolute lack of energy. So, I made a plan of tiny actions.
Give yourself the honour of planning your life. Just make a pact right now to give yourself that little tidbit of dignity.
In this post, I’m describing the way I used tiny steps to help myself out of a recent depression. Plus, at the bottom I’ve included an easy to screenshot image of the steps so you can remind yourself that you can try tiny things, wherever you happen to be, however depressed you are in this moment. This year, I’ll be creating more easy images to help motivate and remind you of the dignity you deserve. Or, in the very least, to remind you that you are not alone. Don’t forget to follow/subscribe for daily reminders.
A Little Known Funny Secret to my Mental Health Journey
I used to be a huge fan of Dr. Phil. It was mostly ironic fandom and I cannot say that he’s a reputable person/doctor/advice-giver. But sometimes he says brilliant things that make tiny bits of sense and since tiny is the theme of this article, I call on Dr. P’s tinyness when I quote, “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” (I doubt he is the proprietor of that wisdom but…maybe he is?)
This time around, here’s the plan that worked for me:
1) Eliminate unnatural sugar and alcohol
Primarily because I know for a fact it is hindering my sleep
2) Replace hours of reality TV with audiobooks/long walks or reading
Because I am Low Vision, it’s hard for me to read physical books and I usually legit forget that I can program an e-reader for Low Vision and read until I fall asleep. I started really really small with a cheap thriller and I surprised myself when I couldn’t put it down. And, I’ll admit I was already bored with reality TV and gossip podcasts so replacing them with audiobooks (on 1.5 or 1.75 * speed) really started making me feel like the world was big again.
Those first two things were tiny shifts away from my kryptonite
Turn off the TV, walk the dog and listen to an audiobook or lie in bed with my eyes closed and do it. Or, if it depression was making books irritating, I literally lay still until I realized that most of my reason for lying on the bed and looking miserable was so that my boyfriend could come in and hug me. Ok, Rachel, he’s busy, move on. And I got up, leashed my dog, one tiny step at a time.
For the past week, these changes have helped shift me into a place where I can make an actual routine.
Then, I could start to add productivity goals in tiny ways:
3) List current projects at work and outside of work and PRIORITIZE THEM
Prioritizing things when I am depressed is insane bullshit to me but I really had to think logically. I talked to myself out loud. I used post-its to put things in order. I wrote done real deadlines and then I had (cue fireworks) goals.
4) Get to work for as long as possible. Take breaks.
I need to add: I go to the gym every day, sometimes twice, even when I am depressed. But, I don’t consider it something I need to plan to do because to me, working out is as important as my pharmaceuticals. So, even if I hate everything and I can’t figure out what the point is of even living, I lift weights for twenty minutes or I jog for as little as eight minutes. It’s an effort. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s truly like a pill.
A list of tiny things
Below (in the image) is a list of tiny things you can try that may help shift you into a better place. Remember: enforce these things. It takes will power. It takes a will towards dignity and honour. And we all deserve that kind of personal progress.
I really don’t want to be ableist so I’ve tried to consider all types of bodies and minds when I made this list but please don’t be shy and share with me in the comments: what are the tiny things you do to help yourself get going when everything feels impossible?
Remember, subscribe and follow for daily picto-motivation (or at least weekly? I’m depressed too so it’s a bit like, whenever my brain doesn’t turn me into glue). And please share with a friend who could use the reminder that they are not alone.