Lack Of Motivation As A Symptom Of Depression
People who have been diagnosed with depression or think they may be experiencing symptoms could notice a change in their motivation to complete common tasks.
The same tasks that may have felt easy before might seem like they take too much effort now. In fact, this change might be a symptom of depression.
One of the biggest symptoms of depression is no longer finding excitement or interest in activities you used to enjoy.
If youre finding it difficult to get motivated to do a task especially one that used to make you happy it might be an indicator of depression.
Other features of depression relating to motivation can include:
- difficulty focusing
Depression Sucks Well Said Captain Obvious
All that said, Ive been there. Depression sucks even in the best of conditions.
If youve ever experienced this , then you know that there are times when even closing the lid on a peanut butter jar is too much.
During my worst depression, even putting the lid back on the PB& J jars felt like a job in itself.
And not closing the lid on the peanut butter jar, combined with all the other nots that depression leads to, such as
- Not wiping up the crumbs,
- Not picking up your dirty laundry,
- Not hanging your bath towel,
- Not doing dishes ,
- Not sweeping or picking up stuff that falls on the floor,
- Not washing clothes,
- Not cleaning up cat barf, and
- Not doing all the other many, many things youd do if you felt better,
all work together to tear apart any semblance of order you created when you were feeling fine.
When it all comes tumbling down
And when everything falls apart around you, it only brings you further down. Depression feeds the mess, and the mess feeds the depression.
How can you get out from under?
Finding Calm Through Cleaning
Clutter can make it difficult to relax and may lead to feelings of guilt and embarrassment for some. Plus, if you cant find your phone or keys when you need them, clutter can be a major time-waster, too. If you are working from home these days like so many people in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown, you may be feeling the effects of your cluttered surroundings even more. It might help to consider some of the other benefits of cleaningapart from ridding your house of the dust bunnies under your bed.
Move a muscle, change a thought, says Lauren, a mom who struggles with anxiety and depression. When Lauren feels overwhelmed she relies on movement to recharge her energy and reset her thinking. Her go-tos are handwashing pots, pans, and dishes, taking the dog for a long walk, and working outside in the garden. Gregory Scott Brown, MD, a psychiatrist, and wellness advocate based in Austin, Texas explains the physiological connection.
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Accept It And Dont Push It Away
I know it may sound a little counterintuitive, but it is so important that you accept your feelings for what they are and when you are feeling them. The more you try to fight those negative feelings, push them away, or try to bury them the worse you will feel in the long run. Not to mention, the longer you try to escape those negative feelings, the more guilty and shameful you will feel for having those negative feelings in the first place. It really starts to take a harder toll on your mental and emotional health as well, since youre essentially making yourself deal with it longer.
So instead, allow yourself to be aware of those emotions that you are currently feeling. Feel them, accept them, and trust that they will soon pass. If you need to cry cry it out. If you need to go away and take some time for yourself then 100% do so! Because those feelings will pass. Accepting them as they happen can be one of the most provoking ways to handle depression in the moment.
The Key To Finding Motivation
There is a secret to finding motivation to clean when depressed, sad, or just feeling like garbage. Its simpleand it really, REALLY helps.
Learning and applying this secret changed everything for me.
A dear friend told me something during one of my really bad times and it really, REALLY helped:
Its ok to run the dishwasher twice.
Let me explain.
When you think about getting up to clean something, and youre like me, you automatically feel overwhelmed by ALL you need to do
and you shut down
and nothing gets done.
I remember thinking:
I simply dont have it in me to stand at the sink and wash ALL those dishes and load them ALL in the dishwasher
I said my feelings out loud to my friend one day, and she said
Dont take all that time to wash your dishes BEFORE you put them in the dishWASHER just put them in there dirty and turn it on
I immediately said:
That wont work! The dishes wont get clean!
So she said
Its Ok to run the dishwasher twice.
Run the dishwasher TWICE!??!
Isnt that a waste?
Isnt that LAZY?
She told me it is NOT a waste, nor is it lazy, to do what you can, when you can and let things HELP you.
If I cant manage to get motivated to completely fill the dishwasher, its ok to load the dishes I can and turn the dishwasher on.
even if that means the dishwasher isnt totally full.
If I cant get motivated to shower, dry my hair, put makeup on etc etc etc. its ok to just stand in the shower and then put clean clothes on.
Do what you can.
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Maintain Your Clean Home With A Soft Hand
Once youve cleaned or decluttered one or more areas of your home, of course youll want to try and keep these spaces tidy.
Strategies you might use include the one in, one out rule or the one touch rule. You might try to get into a more regular cleaning routine so that maintenance becomes easier.
For example, doing the dishes after dinner each night might become a habit, or a quick evening pickup of toys from the living room floor. Once again, be sure all of this effort isnt falling on your shoulders alone if you can help it.
Do your best with regular upkeep but understand that you need to live your life.
Especially if you have kids in the home, things arent always going to be picture perfect. Most of the images you see on Instagram arent reality.
Remember, at the end of your life, chances are youre not going to look back and wish youd kept your home cleaner. So, try not to stress too much if things get dirty or out of place for a little while.
You dont want to be so focused on maintaining your home that you miss out on making enjoyable memories in it. Its not a museumits your living space.
While cleaning is never just a one-time effort, decluttering and minimalism can have many lasting benefits, including less time spent cleaning and tidying in the future so you can focus on more meaningful parts of life.
Setting Personal Hygiene Alarms
I always forget to brush my teeth, so I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me to brush. When Im done with brushing, I wash my face. I also have alarms set to remind me to take my meds and drink a bottle of water. Alexis D.
Brushing my teeth is the worst when Im in that state, so I put a checklist next to my bed every morning to remember to get up and at least do that. At night since I dont have a set bedtime and sometimes Ill fall asleep before I do, I set an alarm to wake myself up to do it. Smith J.
Getting Motivated When Youre Depressed
Finding motivation can be difficult for people living with depression. However, youre not alone.
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. Effective treatments are available, and many people with depression regain their motivation and live productive, well-balanced lives.
Finding a treatment plan that works best for you to manage depression symptoms can often make all the difference in regaining motivation.
Talking to a mental health professional can be a good starting place in addressing symptoms. They may recommend common treatment options for depression, such as:
You may have to try multiple things or a combination of things before finding a strategy that works best for you.
Still, there are some easy things you can try right now to find motivation when youre depressed.
How To Get Motivated To Clean When Overwhelmed By The Mess
The point of this post is to slowly return your home to a workable space that you can clean and maintain. If youre looking for a quick fix to get rid of the mess in a hurry before guests arrive, you might be looking for the tips in this post! This is not a quick fix. This is a room-by-room systematic process to get rid of the mess thats holding you back!
How to clean a messy house step by step.
It doesnt matter where you start, how you start, just start. Getting up and doing it is the hardest part. Put your shoes on, put your hair up, and get stuck into your cluttered house. Stop procrastinating and get it done! There isnt any better time to declutter your life than right now!
Write a list and prioritize which rooms you would like to sort out first, so you can begin cleaning. Then, order the rooms from one to seven depending on how many rooms you have. Try to start tidying the spaces you think will have the most significant impact on your home. So, for instance, if you often have visitors, you might like to keep a space clean and organized for when they come around. I like to start to clean and declutter from wherever a visitor will enter my home first, so I concentrate on the hall, kitchen , lounge, and downstairs loo. These areas are always visitor ready in my home.
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Struggles You Might Face When Needing Cleaning Motivation
Do you suffer from messy house depression? I didnt know that was even a thing until I was suffering from it.
If you find yourself really depressed at home but are able to perk up once you leave, you may suffer from messy house depression.
I noticed the only time I was depressed was when I was at home, surrounded by clutter. It was hard to find the energy or motivation to clean. Each day I had every intention of getting to cleaning the messes but all of the energy and motivation left as soon as it came.
How To Start Cleaning A Messy House
Cleaning your home when it has been ignored for a long period of time can be intimidating. Youve probably looked around many times and wondered how to start cleaning up your messy house.
Dont let the feelings of being overwhelmed keep you from getting started. All you need to do is to start somewhere and take it slow.
Cleaning a dirty house is a lot of work, but this isnt a race and that means that it doesnt all have to be tackled in one day.
Depending on the size and condition of your home, it could take several days to several weeks.
Dont let this overwhelm you! The key is tostart now and keep plugging away until youre done.
This is a guide to help you focus on what needs to be done and hopefully make it less overwhelming.
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Take Before And After Pictures
If all else fails, take a picture of your mess.
It always looks even worse in pictures. Then, when youve cleaned, take another picture.
Post it on social media or send it to someone who will be proud of you.
Seeing your progress in picture form can be highly motivating.
Thats why people who are losing weight take pictures of their evolution. Its easy to forget where you started.
Next time youre having a hard time working up some cleaning motivation, refer back to the after picture of your glistening clean home.
Youll feel inspired all over again!
How To Clean Your House When Depressed
There are simple ways to tackle the messes around your home, even when you are not feeling your best.
Keep Up as You Go
The more you have to the do, the more daunting the task. However, smaller tasks can be broken down all while keeping your home clean.
- Dont let dishes add up. Rinse and put them in the dishwasher as they accumulate.
- Get in the habit of spraying down the bathtub or shower after you are done to prevent mold and mildew.
- Clean up the bathroom sink while youre getting ready in the morning and put away things as you use them.
Every little thing makes a difference. By keeping up with household tasks, your home will be clean and clutter-free, and less overwhelming while managing depression.
Break it Down
Give yourself manageable tasks to complete throughout the week. For example, Sunday is laundry day, Monday is the day you clean the bathroom, Tuesday could be the day you clean up and vacuum the living room and so on.
No task should take more than 20 to 30 minutes. This way you can still be productive and not spend the entire day cleaning when you are not feeling up to it.
Learn to Be Efficient
The easier tasks are, the more likely they will get done when you are not feeling your best. Come up with ways to speed up the time you spend cleaning.
For example, if you are cleaning the living room, start by removing all clutter, do a quick dusting and then vacuum and you are done.
Ask for Help
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Dont Feel Too Pressured
I honestly just try to make the next hour, next few minutes, whatever amount of time, better for my future self.
Lots of Ill be glad I did this even simple things like cleaning ONE mug at night so I dont have to clean it for coffee & dont feel SUPER pressured to just do all the dishes right when I wake up.
A Plan To Find Your Cleaning Motivation
When you havent felt motivated to clean for a while, it may seem like the mess is overwhelming. Its tempting to jump in, both feet first, and force yourself to clean. But that approach is not sustainable: the longer you push yourself, the more time youll need to recover when youre done. Then the cycle starts again. Instead of following that doomed method, try the plan that worked to help me find my cleaning motivation again.
Depression And A Cluttered Home Tend To Enhance The Others Negative Qualities When Your Home Is A Cluttered Mess It Can Deepen Your Depression The More Depressed You Get The Harder It Is To Tidy Your Home
You know if you could just muster up the energy to declutter, you could help eliminate just one more thing that triggers your depression.
If you cant manifest that energy, you get even more depressed.
I have suffered from depression for a long time. I have about three good days before I have a bad day. This has gone on and on every week of my life .
So in a given week, I feel on top of everything, euphoric even, then depression slaps me hard in the face, and I can barely get out of the bed, let alone deep clean and declutter my home.
If you suffer from depression, anxiety tends to struggle along with it, and nothing can make me more anxious than a messy home.
Everyone is facing battles that no one else can see and sometimes no one can understand.
When youre feeling this alone in the world, and no one understands why your messy home is making you cry in the bathroom I just want you to know I UNDERSTAND.
Your pain is real, you are not just complaining, you are not overreacting, and you are not being dramatic.
You have depression. It makes things harder than it does for other people.
So many people can declutter with no problems. They can deep clean their homes, maintain a schedule, and seem to conquer everything as easy as pie.
Yet for someone with depression, these things can be mountains that you just cannot climbright now. And that is OK! Because there are ways for you to manage to declutter your home even though you are suffering a never-ending battle in your mind.
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The advantage of self-reward is that you are always there to give the rewards to yourself. You are always there to be the cheerleader that you need to keep you motivated in moving forward. Praising yourself, giving yourself credit for trying, and keeping track of your progresseven if it seems like small stepsis a way that can keep your motivation moving in the right direction.
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How I Got Motivated To Clean When Depressed & Overwhelmed
In a rut? Feel depressed with NO motivation to clean or do anything? Heres what helped me and it was such simple cleaning motivation advice that I find myself using often.
Hopefully, it will help you as much as it helped me.
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Its tricky to find motivation to clean house when you feel depressed and completely UNmotivated to do anything at all.
Heck, even getting out of bed can be a real challenge when youre feeling this way.
Ive been there quite a few times AND managed to get myself motivated and back to normal with some simple, yet amazing, advice from a trusted friend.
If YOU cant find a way to get motivated to clean anything in your house, I want to share what I learnedand what helped me through it all the most.