How to motivate yourself when you are severely depressed

Published Jan 20, 2023 // by Tisha Ladia

Because this topic is important for my loved ones and me, I decided to do the research and provide my findings here to help others who might need the same information. 

When I lost my late husband, I put on a brave face for those around me, pulled up my big girl pants, and adulted every day. I was suddenly a single mom working 60+ hours a day and trying to find time to be there for my kids. I still had my young daughter, that depended on me for everything. I didn't want to put my sadness out there when she might need my strength. This backfired a bit as there were times when she thought I wasn't sad, but the grief and the heartbreak I felt were so extreme that I cried every night, and I didn't want her to see that. Sometimes I cried so deeply I thought my heart was going to explode. 

Now, our lives are much different, and depression has hit us again in another form. So, I thought I would list ways I have researched to help anyone to motivate themselves when they don't even want to get out of bed. This is especially important when you have no adulting tasks for the day and can stay in bed. 

Get out of bed in the morning and get ready for the day. 

It is way too easy to stay in bed all day when you have no plans and do not go anywhere or talk to anyone and allow yourself to wallow in your depression. This will lead to inactivity all day, and then you will feel like you didn't accomplish anything, making you feel even more unmotivated the next day, and so on. 

Go outside/Be Active

Exercise and nature help us to be grounded and increase endorphins in our system. The more endorphins we have, the more we are physically motivated to keep going. After all, a body in motion stays in motion. 


It is important not to become a hermit. Being with family and friends and talking about anything can uplift your mood. You don't have to talk about your feelings. Just be with them and find things to do that will make you laugh and feel better. 

Get enough sleep

Sleep is so critical. Depending on your age, you need at least 8 hours of sleep a night. This is different from sleeping all day, of course. So, adjust your schedule to get the full 8 hours in. 

Follow routine

Having a routine and sticking to it will allow you to spend less mental energy on what you need to do or stressing out about it. It also helps you ensure you are doing the other things I have already listed, like getting enough sleep and getting outside.

Don't overbook yourself.

It is easy to get so overwhelmed by a full schedule that you end up not wanting to do anything and just giving up on everything. So don't fill your day with so much activity that you have no time for yourself and taking care of yourself. 

Avoid Negativity

It is essential to focus on the positive things in life and not add to the negativity you already feel. The news these days can be very disheartening; you should turn it off. If anything else instills negative thoughts in you, make sure to avoid them as much as possible. 

You can find a hobby that inspires you that you can do when you need uplifting. Or, find someone on YouTube with inspirational and motivational speeches and subscribe to their channel to watch one a day. You can also find websites with newsletters with tips and tricks that you can subscribe to. Another thing that could help is to find positive affirmations that make you feel better and read those daily. 


It might be an excellent place to start if you haven't started therapy already. Talk with a licensed therapist that can give you coping tools to help turn around the depression or, if necessary, guide you to the proper medication if needed. 

Create a support system

This is extremely important. Please talk with your family and close friends and tell them what you are going through. Let them support you and hear you out when you need to release the negative thoughts. Just make sure you talk with those who will show support and not tell you your feelings are invalid.  

Find an online support group if you can't talk to your family and friends.  

Be kind to yourself

We all are our worst critics. We need to learn to be nicer to ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with the same kindness we would show others. When was the last time you told yourself you were beautiful, intelligent, or perfect? Don't you say those things to others you love? Then you need to say them to yourself till you believe them. 

When feeling depressed, don't beat yourself up for your feelings. It would help if you accepted your feelings and trusted that the feelings will pass soon. Don't compare yourself to others, either. Your feelings, thoughts, and life are different than theirs. You can't expect the same results as them if you are two different people. 

Break large projects into small, actionable tasks

A big project can feel so overwhelming that you don't know where to start. Then you procrastinate and lose time till you have no choice but to do the entire project all at once, and you end up just not doing it and letting yourself and others down. This can lead to avoidance and hiding in your home instead of getting out and can spiral down the road that you were trying to get away from. Take the project and time frame you have to accomplish it and break it up. If you have something that should take 4 hours, but you have a week to do it, then do 35 minutes per day for seven days. It will still be completed on time, and you won't feel overwhelmed. 

Of the articles I read for this information, the link below was the most helpful if you need more detailed information:

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