If you are looking for answers to why you feel unmotivated and low most of the time and why you just want to bury yourself under blankets and pillows, this is the post for you.
First of all, you may want to ask yourself why you feel depressed. You can use the following few questions to start.
1. Is your life in a repeating loop? Have you been following the same age-old habits and expect a different result?
2. Is it because you have buried yourself under unrealistic goals and constantly feel burdened by your heightened expectations?
3. Have you kept your schedule air-tight and didn’t keep a window to let yourself be and breathe? Have you had time to reflect on your life?
4. Is it your friendships or relationships that have become toxic and still, you do not want to give up on them?
Can you tell your boss/supervisor that you are suffering from anxiety, depression or are in a rut and need a few days off? No? Why? Is it embarrassing to talk about it? Do you have a feeling that your colleagues will treat you differently if they knew your brain is feeling unhealthy right now?
Mental Illness is still not considered a real issue in the world. And that is why people around you are not going to understand you. They are probably going to tell you to nudge off this feeling and get back to real life. Our old generation, especially, does not think that such a thing even exist. They might even suggest that it is a luxury of the western world and doesn’t happen here and that you are just being lazy.
I have been in a rut myself for a long time. I do not remember when it started. I know, however, that it has been there for at least two years now and only this year did I really begin to understand this bizarre and numbing feeling.
Even though I did not know what was wrong with me at the time, I just knew that I wasn’t feeling healthy and happy as before. I felt lost, anxious and lethargic all the time. I dreaded going out and facing people and had even become apathetic to the things I once loved. I had lost faith in the people around me and was unconfident of myself and my abilities.
I had to push myself so much to do as small a thing as going out and buying groceries because I just did not want to leave my bed for anything in the world. Nevertheless, I started small and by implementing a few changes over time in my life, I began managing myself better.
I realized that it does not take tips and tricks, but systems and values to change one’s life. I tried to do a lot of things but could stick to only a few. Here are the 4 habits that I developed and remained faithful to (despite being inconsistent many times), which can help you too to pull out of the seemingly neverending rut.
1. Write it out: Not everyone likes to write. Some people dodge it by saying they are not too much into literature and stuff. One does not need to be a grammar nerd or too much fluent in a language to be able to do a brain dump.
Writing has been scientifically proven to be therapeutic. When you keep everything in your little head, it gets jumbled up and confusing. Your headspace, which should be occupied with ideas, imagination and positive thoughts gets filled up with negative thoughts, tension, restlessness, melancholy, despair and what not.
Writing has kept me sane in the darkest of times. When I had no one around I could talk to about my fears and doubts, I took a pen and a paper to write the heck out of those feelings. It really helped.
Tip: If you don’t like writing whatever is bothering you, speak it out, to yourself or a friend or a family member.
2. Keep your surroundings clean: This was seriously life-changing for me, literally and metaphorically. I am part Monica Geller (thanks to my mum), but I had stopped caring about anything and everything, i.e., from my appearance to the clutter in my room or my house. I hated myself for not doing anything about it.
People with heaps of mess around them are said to feel more stressed, fatigued and depressed. It is a psychologically proven fact that organisation and cleanliness can have a positive impact on your brain. I felt happier, healthier and more active when I made my bed, folded my clothes and kept my room clean.
It feels pretty nice to have a clean space around me. I feel calmer and more at ease and can think more clearly. Organising might be geeky to some, but super helpful for your overall physical and mental state.
Tip: You can buy less stuff (Minimalism) and you won’t have to clean too much.
3. Make Plans: It seems trivial but has helped me so much in 2017. I felt so happy and motivated when I had things to look forward to, be it meeting friends, going on a solo trip, going on an impulse and doing paragliding, going to Mahabaleshwar in the worst weather just to eat strawberries, and doing many more wonderful things that I could not have imagined at the beginning of 2017.
I was afraid and I still am. I had doubts in my mind about going out there and doing all those things. But I knew I would rather go out there and fail than sit at home basking in my misery and thinking of all the wrong decisions that I have made in my life.
Tip: Have things to look forward to, be it going to the yoga class in the morning or coming home to a clean and calm space in the evening. It would change your life.
4. Exercise: It is the least favourite of the masses and the most dreadful of all, yet omnipresent in every self-help book or ‘tips to improve your life’ lists. I sometimes think it is like ‘Maths’ to people.
It is definitely difficult to get your bum off of the couch or bed when you are watching Masterchef Australia or The Big Bang Theory and eating popcorn or other delicious treats. It is even tougher to go for a walk or a run in this cosy weather when all we want is to lie down in our beds, enjoy hot beverages or rum/wine for some and sleep. We have all been there, no shushing about it.
Tip: it is important to note what kind of exercise works for you.
– If thinking of going for a walk outside, tag your family member or a friend along if you are too lazy to go by yourself.
– You can go to your terrace or balcony and stretch for 5 minutes. You can also do some stretching inside.
– Join a class where an instructor would be there to guide you through the workout (this works best for me). It could be a dance class, boxing, yoga, gym, etc.
I do still fall into a rut every now and then. Bad phase is a part of life. But I handle it better and I know what would help me at the time. It can get hard sometimes and at those times, even these tips won’t help. What might help is a long cry and accepting the present situation as it is. Telling yourself that no matter how shitty this is, it would be over, and to just let yourself be!
If you are reading this and you are feeling not so great, push yourself to go out, buy your favourite beverage or that dress you wanted to buy for so long. Meet a friend or meet a stranger in a café and initiate a conversation.
Let’s talk it out, have a discussion about it in the open so that people who are suffering don’t feel scared or embarrassed to seek help.
Remember, in the end, no one can help you but yourself. Hope you feel better!