How to Get Things Done When You’re Depressed

October 7, 2019 • Devin Partida


Depression is an illness that can feel like a new battle every time it rears its head. It comes in waves that you can’t control, so sometimes it’s manageable and other times it’s hard to get out of bed. Learn about how to get things done when you’re depressed.

Even when your depression is at its worst, life still goes on. Deadlines, work-life and social events come and go. You still want to get things done, but depression makes it difficult to nearly impossible to be motivated.

That’s completely normal. People with clinical depression face this challenge often, but it can be overcome. You’ll find new ways to help you win the next battle and make every future one easier to win.

Start With Small Tasks

On a good day, your goals may look similar to this list:

  • Eat three healthy meals
  • Finish your to-do list
  • Do something fun

Depression makes those huge tasks that might feel impossible. In order to eat three healthy meals, you have to be in the kitchen for a good fifteen to thirty minutes to prep each one. Your energy might be so low that the thought of making even a sandwich feels impossible.

That’s why you should start with small tasks and work your way up to big ones. Small tasks could be:

  • Go to the bathroom
  • Brush your teeth
  • Eat a snack

If it helps, break down those tasks into even smaller ones, like getting out of bed or walking to the kitchen. Every little task you complete will give you more confidence to keep going and tackle bigger ones.

Develop a Routine

You have a trusted routine you do every day when your depression isn’t flaring up. What is the routine you use when it does?

Routines help normalize the symptoms of depression that are hard not to take personally. Your routine may look like letting a friend or family member know when your depression is acting up again. They can call or text to check in on you every few hours or however often you deem necessary.

Make sure to include things like eating food and drinking water. It’s easy to skip out on those things when your depression is strong, but your body still needs them to function. If you fuel your body and have people to help you, your routine will make it easy to get things done.

Enjoy Time in the Sun

Something as little as opening your blinds is a big success when you’re living with severe depression. It’s not just because you can check off something on your normal to-do list.

Sunlight boosts your mood naturally. The vitamin D and warmth lift your mood without you having to think or do anything differently. Sit in the sun and enjoy the sunshine while you rest during your next depressive episode. You’ll feel energized after enough time in the sun and have renewed strength to accomplish your goals.

Give Yourself Grace

The easiest way to achieve your goals is to have confidence in yourself. Depression makes it hard to have the self-confidence you may normally feel, so give yourself grace when you don’t feel super confident while you’re at your lowest.

Grace and understanding ease the pressure you’ll feel to act normally when you can’t. You’ll be encouraged and take heart when you can do the small things you set out for yourself. That confidence will help you achieve your goals, no matter how big or small they seem to be.

Get Help From Loved Ones

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to fight your depression alone. Reach out to loved ones for help, even if you think it’s silly. It’s powerful to connect with supportive people and build a community. You’ll never feel smaller than your depression if you have an army by your side.

They’ll bring you food, air out your home, take care of your pets and even call into work for you if you need it.

How to Get Things Done When Depressed

Getting help, cutting yourself some slack and breaking things down into small tasks are all easy ways to get things done when you’re depressed without adding stress to your life.