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7 Little Motivation Tricks for Depression and Anxiety

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Motivation is a tricky thing, and sometimes you have to fight back with your own tricks. As a person who lives with depression and anxiety, I often struggle to get the most basic of things done. It’s not that I physically can’t or that I’m choosing not to — it’s that everything becomes difficult and the fatigue is very real. As I have lived with this for many years, over time I’ve developed a few tricks to get things done. They aren’t necessarily permanent solutions, nor will they work for everyone or every situation. Yet they are handy little tips which I’d like to pass on to you.

1. The Garbage

When I go through the struggle of not wanting to take the garbage out, I move it to my front door. This way, the next time I leave my apartment for whatever reason, it’s right there so I take it out. This also works for donation bags, recycling and any other item that needs to go outside. You might be surprised how well this works.

2. Coffee Order.

If you are anything like me, there are times you struggle to do things that you genuinely want to do. Sometimes I really want to go out for a coffee, but cannot get myself up and out. My not-so-secret trick is to use preorder apps, and since I’ve already paid, I have to get up and out for my coffee. With this method, I have so far never abandoned a drink.

3. Two-Minute Kitchen Rule.

I wrote a whole article about this, which you can read in its entirety here. The short of it is: I never just stand around in the kitchen waiting for the microwave or any other thing that takes two minutes. Doing this, I can trick myself into getting quite a bit accomplished in a short amount of time.

4. Grocery Reward.

Getting groceries from start to finish is a huge pain. Sometimes, I can trick myself into doing it by promising myself a treat from the store. It works for kids, so why not me? I’ll pick something out: a cinnamon bun, a fancy drink or chocolate bar. I use the promise of the reward to get myself through the task of shopping, and usually even putting things away. It works, and it’s delicious.

5. Grouping Errands.

I never go out with just one errand in mind; At a minimum, I try to do at least two or three at once. If I’ve somehow managed the strength to get out to do stuff, I might as well keep the ball rolling. My pharmacy, library and main grocery store are all within five minutes of each other — I go to one and then the next until it’s all finished. The same can be done for many things including getting gas, going to the post office, picking up pet food, getting craft items, and on and on. This can be really tiring and I might have to abandon one of my errands for another day, but I try.

6. Mini Laundry Loads.

Admittedly, this isn’t the most earth-friendly, but it helps me to convince myself to get some clothes cleaned. Huge piles of laundry are a total pain from the beginning to the end. I can sometimes convince myself I can handle the task if I only wash 10 or so items. It makes it seem less daunting.

7. Invite someone over.

Nothing will get a person cleaning quite so quickly as an expected guest. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to scrub top to bottom, but it can be a good motivator to at least get started on picking up clutter. My parents usually stop by a few times a month, and my living room always gets a satisfactory clean up the day before. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting someone over, buddy up on errands which can be a great motivator as well.

I’m quite aware that, as a single person, some of my ideas wouldn’t work in other homes. There might be things a family could use that I can’t. Everyone’s tricks will be different for a variety of reasons, including who’s in the household.  These are just a few ways I trick myself into doing things when I have low motivation; I’m sure I use many more, even ones I don’t even realize I’m doing. Sometimes it’s these little things we do that can really help us get through the day. I hope my list can help you in a time when it’s hard to get things done, and I’d love to hear about how you trick your motivation.

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Originally published: May 4, 2018
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