How to Be Productive when Depressed
During a depressive episode, we are more likely to indulge in acts and behaviour that provide instant gratification than sticking to healthy routines. In the absence of joy, cheap thrills are a sure-fire way to feel better fast. After the fleeting happiness brought about by that new pair of shoes or that round of video games is over, nothing has changed.
In fact, some time has passed and deadlines have drawn closer. The pressure increases. There is no way to complete so much in so little time. What could pull one through this inevitably stressful situation is steely resolve.
This is not the time to obsess over the details or scrap a half-done project. Jessica Gimeno suggests making a classic to-do list. On the list, tasks are meant to be categorised based on how urgent and how important they are.
When overwhelming work items are condensed into a page, I feel like the power is taken away from it. Almost like it shrinks into the size of my handwriting, the once-colossal task feels so doable. And so, I start to move. I tick off the boxes and I survive.
It is hard to release the idea of producing consistently excellent work, especially for someone who relates their work to their self-worth; someone like me. So, when I catch myself lagging behind on work, I make time for a conversation with myself.
I run through worst-case scenarios to prepare my anxious mind for the minute chance that they will happen. I proceed to reassure myself that the task is not impossible if I start immediately. And if that is a lie, I request extensions and have uncomfortable conversations about postponing or cancelling.
Most professionals are reasonable and understanding, sometimes even caring. Most of the time, being productive when depressed has just one major hurdle. That hurdle is crossed the moment you take your first small step.
For more targeted practices, self-help resources, and peer support, check out SG Support Group on Discord.