11 Little Things To Do When You Don't Feel Like Doing Anything
Some days, you don't feel like doing anything, and that feeling isn't quite as fun as Bruno Mars makes it sound.
It's not just that you don't feel like going to work or out to the bar.
You don't feel like scrolling through Facebook or watching TV. You don't care about who died on “Game of Thrones.” Someone always does, so what's the point?
For me, that's when the self-doubt and despair start to creep in. What's wrong with me? Why can't I get my sh*t done? Why can't I enjoy life like everyone else does?
Logically, I know I'm not the only person who struggles with feeling this way. Over the years, I've found ways to deal with what I like to call a “funk” and what others might call “depression.”
A lot of that is just waiting it out, but there are small tasks that help me get through that wait. In honor of Mental Health Week, I'm sharing some of my tips in case they help you, too.
Here's the disclaimer: I am not a professional therapist, psychologist or doctor of any kind, nor have I ever been officially diagnosed with depression.
In other words, don't rely on this list too heavily. These are straight from my own experience, nothing more.
The second you step under that hot water, you will start to feel more human. It's likely you already have a well-set routine in the shower, so let that take over and don't worry about anything else.
Even if you're planning to stay in all day, take the shower anyway. When you step out, you'll feel like a brand-new you. Plus, you're clean now. That's always a good thing.
Like most people, I used to floss approximately twice a year, and both times were right before my biannual dentist appointments. No matter what horror stories my dentist told me about gum disease, I didn't floss.
Then, one day, I just… did. I was surprised to find I felt great afterward.
It was fairly easy to do, but I felt like I had gone above and beyond the line of duty for taking care of myself. I still don't floss every day, but I recommend it for when you need to feel like you've done at least one productive thing.
3. Drink water.
I find drinking water to be one of the biggest returns for the lowest effort. Drinking water regularly gives you energy, clears your skin and might even help you lose weight.
But most importantly, drinking water regularly will make you feel responsible and healthy, even if you're not feeling so great about other parts of your life.
I recommend keeping two water bottles, one to stay by your bed and one to carry with you to work or school.
4. Say hello to people.
This requires a little more social energy, so when you're ready, try saying hello to co-workers, neighbors and other casual acquaintances you see. And if you're feeling brave, ask how their days are going.
Trust me, I know it's easier to awkwardly smile and look away. Honestly, 80 percent of the time that's what I do. But when I take the time to ask how someone is doing, I always feel good afterward. I promise no one will think you're weird. Plus, you might end up in a conversation with someone really cool.
You probably already know exercising can make you feel happy because people who exercise love to tell you that. Unfortunately, they aren't lying.
Exercise releases the same chemicals in the brain that are used in some anti-depressants.
So, if you can get to the gym or go for a run, do it, do it, do it! Personally, I'm insecure about my body and athletic ability, so putting myself on display at the gym is out of the question when I'm depressed.
If you're like me, try some simple stretching and ab workouts in the privacy of your room.
6. Make your bed.
I hate making my bed and almost never do it on the weekdays. I mean, it's just going to get all unmade when you go to sleep in it. What's the point? What's the point of anything?
That is exactly why you should do it. I'm always amazed at how relieved I feel when my bed is made. I mean, it's proven an organized room is good for your stress levels. But, cleaning your whole room is a big task to take on when depressed, so start small with just the bed.
7. Do the dishes.
I mean every single dish in the sink, regardless of whether or not you were the one to dirty that dish. I find washing dishes is not that bad, even enjoyable, if you put on some music, keep the water hot and use plenty of soap.
When you're finished, you'll have the beautiful, empty sink to show for your work. Plus, your roommates will be thrilled. Don't make a habit of cleaning up after people, but every once in awhile, this small act of kindness can be surprisingly rewarding.
8. Dress up.
This can be tricky. Sometimes when I dress up and do my makeup, I feel like a powerful goddess. Other times, I feel like a 12-year-old putting on a fashion show for my mom, which does not help my mood.
My advice is to put on something you know you look good in, aka that thing you always get compliments on. Wear it even if you're just going to the grocery store.
The more confident you feel in your outfit, the more confident you'll feel, period.
9. Cook a meal.
Eating healthy is so important for your mind as well as your body. I know it's tempting to just make ramen for dinner when you're feeling down or maybe just skip dinner altogether because you're so tired.
But, food gives you energy, so you're never going to feel not tired without it. When I cook my own food, I'm extra motivated to eat because I'm proud of it. No need to get fancy! Even spaghetti is better than ramen. And if, like me, you know nothing about cooking, follow a recipe.
10. Tell someone.
One of the very best things you can do when you're struggling with depression is talk to someone about it. I know this is hard. You're never sure if you're burdening your friends by dumping too much on them.
So, don't treat a friend like a therapist. Just honestly tell someone you're going through a rough time. Maybe vent about a specific thing, if that's what bothering you. Don't demand too much, don't ask for advice only professionals can give, but do complain a little.
Most friends won't be bothered at all, and you'll feel 1,000 times lighter after you get what you need to off your chest.
11. Write it down.
I never feel happier than when I successfully translate the thoughts in my head onto paper. Obviously, this one is a little biased toward myself since I'm a writer, but it doesn't have to be like this article. I keep a private journal too where my sentences are all run-ons.
But, this doesn't have to be writing. Drawing, dancing, music, photography — Any way you can express and explore your pain is going to help you work through it. In case you hadn't noticed, that's what I'm doing now. I had a rough month, so I decided to write about it. And you know what? I'm feeling a bit better.
All my best to every single one of you. You're gonna get through this. You always do.
If you or someone you know might be suffering from depression, here are some ways you can get immediate help.
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