How To Get Things Done When Depressed – 15 Tips That Works

When you’re feeling down, it’s hard trying to figure out how to get things done when depressed. There’s a heavy weight surrounding you and draining your energy which may make you feel as if you don’t want to do anything. The best thing you can do is start making strides toward getting out of the funk. That means digging in and taking small steps of progress until you start to feel better.

Let’s face it – depression is no joke and is more common than you think. In fact, 6.7% of adults are affected by depression in any year, and 16.6% of people will experience depression at some point in their life.

Signs of depression:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping
  • Feeling consistently tired
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling guilty
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite (loss or gain)
  • No longer interested in things you enjoy

These symptoms can come and go, and often last for weeks at a time. How can you motivate yourself to move the needle, even if it’s just a little bit? These 15 tips should help you figure out how to get things done when depressed:

1. Be open

When depressed, you can feel a number of things all at once. Every day is a different scenario so give yourself grace. Accept where you are and love yourself through this period you are going through. That means rest when you need to. Self-care is very important during this time.

2. Write it out

It’s okay to feel as if you just want to wallow in it – do that, but also think about what’s triggering this issue. Don’t try and suppress your emotions because that can result in negative reactions. Instead, try to write your thoughts down. What are you feeling? Why do you think you are feeling this way? Once you get past these feelings, take time to reflect and write about how you feel after you’ve moved on from it.

3. Do the opposite

It’s easy to follow the voice in your head that’s telling you to stay down and depressed. Don’t do it. Instead, recognize that negative voice in your head and do the opposite of what it’s telling you. That means instead of staying in the bed, get up. Use your logic to defeat those thoughts. As each thought occurs, address it individually. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact you’ll make on yourself once you decide to ignore the negative and stay positive.

4. Set goals you can reach

We all have goals but sometimes they may feel a little out of reach. Don’t make a huge list that will get you down all over again. Instead, set one or two small goals that you know you can get done. For instance, don’t clean the entire house. Instead, clean the kitchen, or don’t do all the laundry, just separate the clothes and prepare them to get washed. These little goals add up to bigger goals, but you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

5. Create a routine

One of the best ways how to get things done when depressed is to create a routine. While you may get depressed if things you usually do get altered in some way, having a schedule to keep you on task may help you with feeling like you don’t have control. Instead of mapping out everything (which could stress you out), focus on blocks of time. This way, you will have structured time and then free time to keep you on task and your mind off depressing thoughts.

6. Listen to music

Music can be soothing to the soul, and research has shown that music helps create positivity while helping improve feelings of depression. Listening to music while writing or working can counteract those feelings of helplessness, putting you in a better mood.

7. Spend time with people you love

When you are feeling depressed, you may withdraw and isolate yourself from others when what you really need is to be around the people you love and who love you. Whether it’s a long phone call, in person, or video chat, your spirits can quickly lift when you hear voices that are near and dear to you. When going through depression, you may feel as if you are a burden to those people but you must remind yourself that it’s the exact opposite – they love you and want to hear from you.

8. Reward yourself

Remember those small goals you set for yourself? Whether you attained all or just one, you should reward yourself for making that small step of progress. While you may not feel as if you need a huge celebration, just acknowledging you’re taking back your power is powerful. This shifts your mind positively, giving you the incentive to set new goals to reach.

9. Try something new

A lot of times, you may start having feelings of being down because you’re doing the same thing day after day. The monotony needs to be broken. When you do something different and try something new you haven’t done before, there’s a level of excitement that takes place. When you do new things, you can also improve your well-being and help you in your social relationships. What have you always wanted to do but never had time, or were a little apprehensive about the outcome? Now is the time to do it!

10. Volunteer

Helping others can help you in helping yourself. Acts of selflessness make you feel good and takes the pressure off of what you’re going through. As you volunteer, you can self-reflect on things and how your contribution helps in making a difference. Depending on the type of volunteer work you will do, you may also get a lot of exercise, which also helps.

11. Do something you like

What makes you happy? When you’re feeling depressed, doing the things you love may help you feel better. That may look like reading a book, going to the ocean to sit on the sand, riding a bike, or even walking through the mall. It’s the little things that count. Even if it takes you an hour to get dressed to go do it, the time you took makes a difference.

12. Think positively about tomorrow

You may feel down today but that doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way tomorrow. It’s always best to deal with today – TODAY. If you didn’t accomplish any of your goals, that’s okay. If you didn’t go do something you like, that’s okay. If you couldn’t get out of bed, that’s okay. The beauty of living in the moment gives you a chance to start over and create new moments. Things may be difficult at first, but you’ll get there.

13. Get some sleep

Did you know that sleep is essential to staying healthy? You need rest to replenish your mental and physical health. Try and create a routine where you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. You’ll be surprised how energized and happy you may feel once your routine kicks in, and you’ll have a set schedule for going to bed and waking up.

14. Watch your eating and drinking habits

The saying “you are what you eat” is very true. What you put into your body shows up in a variety of ways. Healthy foods help with energy and clarity. Too much sugar can make you feel sluggish and tired. Those are also symptoms of depression. Start trying to eat healthy foods to see how it makes you feel. You may immediately start recognizing some changes.

15. Exercise

Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Exercise is known to help you get out of a slump. You may want to start slow. Take a short walk around the block for five minutes. Eventually, start increasing your time. Even if you feel as if you can’t get out of bed, sticking to your exercise regimen can work wonders.

16. See a clinician

You may feel as if your symptoms are too much to handle on your own and that’s okay. The great thing about your decision is you understood you need additional help. A professional will be able to sit down and speak with you about your feelings, helping create a treatment plan that will help you identify why you are experiencing these symptoms. They can also help you in finding ways to positively work through your condition.

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Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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