15 Amazing Ways of How to Get Motivated When Depressed

Poor mental health is a huge issue. Depression affects general life and that’s why we need to know how to get motivated when depressed to get going in life.

Unfortunately, even though the issue is big enough that it demands to be talked about, people refrain from doing just that. Visiting a mental health professional is considered to be a thing of shame. It needs to be understood that one’s mental health is just as important as one’s physical health.

People often show poor mental health signs, mostly depression symptoms like not having an appetite most of the time and avoiding socializing with people.

People with poor mental health often find it hard to feel motivated and are clouded by negative thoughts more often than not. Not feeling motivated at times is normal for humans as everyone needs time and space to recharge on an emotional level. Still, if you are feeling defeated most of the time and lose motivation easily, chances are that you are mentally exhausted, and your emotional health is suffering.

1. Causes of Depression

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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According to our expert research, we have collected some things that may trigger depressive feelings in a person’s mind. They are as follows:

1.1. A Traumatic Incident

These ill feelings may arise due to a traumatic incident like the loss of a loved one, an argument with a special person, a breakup, a divorce, a miscarriage, etc. A lot of other ill mental health issues may also arise. For example- One may experience depression paired with anxiety and/or panic attacks.

1.2. Change in Lifestyle

A significant change in your routine/lifestyle may also result in ill feelings clouding your mind. It might indicate fear of uncertainty. This change could have been brought about by an accident, an illness, a loss of any kind, etc.

A change of environment or season may also cause disturbance in your mind. Leaving people, you love behind and moving to an entirely different place may trigger sad feelings. Although, these are mostly temporary.

1.3. An Addiction

Addiction to substance abuse is something that stands on both ends of a mental illness1. One may get addicted as a momentary escape from their thoughts and develop a mental illness due to being addicted. It is a very dangerous loop.

1.4. Genetic

Mental illnesses can also be genetic. For example- if there is a family history of depression, you are more likely to suffer from the same than other people.

2. Symptoms of Depression

Medically reviewed symptoms of depression are as follows:

  • Feeling of despair, sadness, and loss of interest.
  • A lot of self-criticism.
  • Lack of motivation to carry out routine tasks.
  • Not obtaining enough sleep or sleep disorder.
  • An outburst of tears for no reason.
  • Getting angry, irritated, or frustrated easily.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt.
  • Frequent unsafe thoughts.
  • Losing concentration.
  • Getting exhausted easily.
  • Losing interest in friends and members of the family.
  • Physical discomfort, declining health/poor physical health, hair loss, inflammatory disease breakouts, sterilization, losing sleep, weight loss or weight gain, and other indications of depression may also occur.

3. How to Get Motivated When Depressed

Here are some tips that will help treat depression and contribute to your well-being by boosting motivation.

3.1. Taking a Day or Two Off

When it comes to working on your mental health, one of the most simple steps and the first step is to get ample rest. Most people are just exhausted because they tend to skip out on rest.

Rest is one of the essentials that our body works on. Sometimes, due to stress and pressure, you intend to evade that much-needed rest and keep pushing your body to work. Over time, your body gets exhausted to the point that if you do not meet its demand for rest, you will fall sick.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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It’s a natural tendency for people with ill mental health to stay busy and occupied to avoid interacting with anyone. It is important to give time to other things that you enjoy as well.

Therefore, it becomes extremely important to mandate daily rest or 2 days off if you cannot rest daily for any possible reason. It is advised to indulge in self-care and do things that rejuvenate and inspire you instead of draining you.

For instance, you can choose  to do the following stuff when you’re on a break:

  • Watch movies that lift your mood.
  • Go anti-social because social media can trigger bad emotions like jealousy, sadness, and disparity.
  • Create a cozy environment and do what you like.
  • Binge-watch the shows on your watchlist or ask a friend for a suggestion.
  • Attempt to cook new dishes.
  • Explore a spa treatment.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Write something (poetry, article, etc.)
  • If you have self-awareness about how these depressive feelings are taking over your life, try participating in a depression support group.

3.2. Moving Your Body

Due to depression, one may feel unmotivated/lack motivation even to move or get out of bed. In cases like this, the body fails to get the necessary exercise/movement to stay fit and healthy.

This is how a mental illness also results in a physical illness. We have a lot of energy inside our bodies that manifests in our muscles as emotional stress and anxiety2. To help prevent this, we need to ensure that we channel this energy elsewhere, somewhere productive.


We can liberate this energy from our body by doing exercise, for instance, going for a walk, doing yoga, aerobics, dancing, etc.

Exercising releases a hormone called dopamine3, which is also called the ‘Happy Hormone.’ This will increase motivation and focus by reducing anxiety. It conjointly boosts your health and confidence as a little bonus surprise.

3.3. Hot Water Showers

A hot water shower after a long exhausting day feels like watching a beautiful sunset as a breeze fills your hair. Include some slow music and a few vibes with your hot water shower, and you’ll find yourself in a place equivalent to heaven.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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What happens when you take a hot water shower? Your muscles breathe a sigh of relief and relax. This makes you feel fresh and reborn. It calms you down and hence plays a significant role in your exhausting daily life.

3.4. Gratitude Journaling

When you feel like you are low on motivation or if you feel overwhelmed for any particular reason, try jotting your thoughts down in a pretty journal. The aesthetics will calm you down and the process and cater a little to your well-being.

There are tons of journaling exercises to aid with your mental health and improve upon it. You can jot down your achievable goals. Journaling may seem like a lot of work if you generally lack motivation, but go ahead and give yourself a little push for journaling.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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You can write about the positive relationships and the positive people you have in your life and your family members or loved ones with whom you shared sweet memories. You can also create to-do lists including all of the manageable goals.

Try to incorporate journaling as a part of your daily routine. Writing about things you are grateful for will fill you up with more motivation. Journaling can also help you keep track of the times when you have low moods or when you feel happy.

Journaling has proved to help people find motivation 4for daily tasks, to move forward, and ultimately to aim higher. For people who are just starting out, we suggest writing at least two goals every day. This practice will definitely help you in both the short and the long run.

3.5. Know That You Are Making Progress

When you keep bringing yourself hard on yourself, it may get difficult to even get out of bed. Try to tune down your self-criticism and acknowledge your achievements no matter how small they are.

This will allow you to maneuver forward, hold out/get started with your everyday tasks, and not stress out about them. It helps you to record and mirror your tiny wins, which helps us to build confidence. It also allows you to take a break and feel better about yourself.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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Your achievements can be as tiny as:

  • Make your bed yourself in the morning.
  • Eating healthy instead of junk food.
  • Surviving a difficult day at work.
  • Doing something despite low motivation.
  • Receiving a compliment from someone.
  • Finding the motivation to complete a task.
  • Not letting external factors affect you.

3.6. Do Something You Enjoy

Not wanting to do anything is a very common symptom of poor mental health. Doing a simple activity that makes you happy can turn your day around for the better. It could be cooking/eating your favorite meal, going out in nature, solving puzzles, playing your favorite video game, painting, playing an instrument, learning a new skill, making a to-do list of all your manageable goals, etc.

You can also encourage people to come to be a part of these activities with you. That way you can also socialize.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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By doing these activities, you can tone down and eventually get rid of a lot of symptoms of depression.

It is medically reviewed that engaging in something you like increases your chances of having lower stress 5levels, better mood, improved mental health, and increased motivation.

3.7. Discussing Your Depression

Feeling lost at times is completely alright and is something that happens to all of us at some point or the other, but make sure that you do not give up on the will to look for a way/direction.

It is extremely difficult for a person who is depressed to communicate with others due to the symptoms of depression. But talking is medically reviewed to lighten your heart and reduce stress levels.

Suppose you step outside of your comfort zone and make an effort to talk it out. In that case, you might be surprised at how people can create a support network and a healthy environment simply by guiding, supporting, and making you aware of your strengths, which can help you improve your mental health and become motivated to carry out your tasks again.

Remember, it is not a crime to get help from people who genuinely care about you.

This could be why you're depressed or anxious | Johann Hari | TED

Explain how you have been overwhelmed with low motivation, bad sleep, and other depression-related symptoms.

Don’t spare any single detail. Speak your heart out and tell them how they can help you battle your depression.

3.8. Get Enough Sleep

It is medically reviewed that one of the depression symptoms is loss of sleep or insomnia, and sleep deprivation leads to depression and anxiety, it minimizes productivity and concentration, causes a lack of motivation to complete our tasks, and delays our treatment.

But it becomes difficult to fall asleep while you’re battling depression, so here are some ways that can help you fall asleep and induce motivation.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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Things to get better sleep:

  • Listen to music that helps you relax
  • Avoid taking caffeine before sleeping
  • Avoid surfing social sites before sleeping
  • Create a dimly lit space
  • Try to read a bit before sleeping

3.9. Focus on the Things in Your Control

Not getting a job on which you worked really hard, experiencing the death of close ones, getting diagnosed with a serious illness, etc., are some uncontrollable factors that contribute to low motivation and depression.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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There will always be something over which you have no control, so rather than agonizing over these external forces, focus on things that you have control over, like your relationships, your thoughts and emotions, your actions, and your attitude. It is a huge task to undertake, but it speeds up the treatment and increases motivation.

3.10. Know That It Won’t Last Forever

Keep reminding yourself that nothing in life is permanent, and don’t stress yourself out too much because whatever you’re dealing with right now will pass someday.

Just have faith because even after a long night, the sun never fails to shine brightly. This experience will push you toward being a stronger person in the future.

3.11. Being Kind to Yourself

Self-compassion is very important because while you are suffering from depression, you tend to beat yourself up for having a lack of motivation and become frustrated for committing the smallest of mistakes.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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But this is precisely the time when you need to be kind and patient with yourself and try to engage yourself in positive self-talk that will motivate you and push you to complete your task.

3.12. Set Minimum Expectations to get motivated

We tend to burden ourselves with a lot of things at once to combat depression. But instead of working on a large project, focus on working towards the small, doable tasks and set realistic goals for yourself.

When you accomplish your goals, your confidence starts reviving, and you start feeling motivated yet again.

3.14. Evade Negativity

The brain is structured in a very complex manner where one thought is linked to another, so as soon as we put a single negative thought in our brain, we are bound to be caught up by these cycles of negative thoughts, which create chaos in our inner world.

Depression 6leads a person into a web of negative feelings, which distracts them from focusing on the bigger picture, finding the root cause, and working towards its treatment. So it is better to avoid negative thoughts and events, which may further lead to deteriorating mental health.

How to Get Motivated When Depressed
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3.15. Consult a Mental Health Professional

You can consider seeking counseling from a trained mental health professional if you are frequently thinking about suicide due to your depression. They will help you to delve deep and question your soul; their rhetorical questions will trigger you to question and challenge your beliefs.

A professional will also devise a treatment plan in order for you to recover even quicker and better. They will help you find and explore ways in which you can avoid negativity and re-evaluate your life actions.

Professionals in mental health focus on motivating their patients when they are depressed and helping them build confidence by showing them how much they are worthy and helping them to realize that worth.

You can also contact the national suicide prevention lifeline on 9152987821

The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin | TEDxOcala

4. In the End

These are some of the probable answers to “How to get motivated when depressed?”

In the end, I would want to tell you that life is not a bed of flowers; you are bound to fall and face disappointments and setbacks but what is important is that you face it head-on and come back stronger.

Life is a bumpy ride, so fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a very rough yet adventurous journey, which will help you grow in numerous ways.

To read more articles like this, click here.

  1. Racine, Nicole, et al. “Child and adolescent mental illness during COVID-19: A rapid review.” Psychiatry research 292 (2020): 113307. ↩︎
  2. Simpson, Carra A., et al. “The gut microbiota in anxiety and depression–A systematic review.” Clinical psychology review 83 (2021): 101943. ↩︎
  3. Wise, Roy A., and Mykel A. Robble. “Dopamine and addiction.” Annual review of psychology 71 (2020): 79-106. ↩︎
  4. Dörnyei, Zoltán, and Ema Ushioda. “Teaching and researching motivation.” (2021). ↩︎
  5. O’Connor, Daryl B., Julian F. Thayer, and Kavita Vedhara. “Stress and health: A review of psychobiological processes.” Annual review of psychology 72 (2021): 663-688. ↩︎
  6. Gold, Stefan M., et al. “Comorbid depression in medical diseases.” Nature Reviews Disease Primers 6.1 (2020): 69. ↩︎

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