Depression, for me, looks and feels like an incredibly intensified bout of laziness.
I know that the way I feel when I am depressed is not laziness. I know that the numbness, the lack of motivation, and the general lack of movement is a biological predicament, not a character flaw. However, depression does inhibit me, causing resistance in even the smallest to-do list items.
So I’ve been forced to make an arsenal of morning habits that, for the lack of a better word, lazy-proof my day. I find that the way one starts the day has incredible sway on the attitude and productivity level of the following hours. Read the habits below to learn how I “lazy-proof” my day each and every morning – and how you can too.
Habit One: Make Your Bed
Make your bed every morning. No matter how you feel. Even if company isn’t coming. Making the bed is not a huge commitment, when you think about it. Straightening the covers takes approximately two minutes (tops) – and it is well worth your time. People who make the bed daily cash in on a host of benefits:
- They are happier than non-bed-makers, according to Psychology Today.
- A higher percentage have jobs, stay active, own property, and consistently feel rested.
- 19% sleep better than non-bed-makers.
- They have greater success in general.
- They have tidier budgets and cleaner financial practices.
Why is making the bed so powerful? Possibly because a more organized environment equates to a better mental state. Making the bed is a habit known as a “keystone” habit, a simple habit or routine that spills into, so to speak, later habits during the day. Making your bed may be the catalyst that causes the rest of your daily habits to flourish.
My pastor was the first person to tip me on the importance of making your bed in the morning. Making the bed, he said, is a tiny way to live out the gospel first thing in the morning.
Habit Two: Start The Day With Your Most Challenging Task
It is in our nature to put off the most difficult or dreaded task until the very last minute – as evidenced by the many stop-procrastinating-now articles swimming around the internet. The problem with procrastination is that the most important items on our lists end up unaccomplished… until tomorrow…. or the day after that. The remedy? Knock the hardest item off of your list first things first. As Mark Twain famously said,
Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
The feel-good-feels that occur after accomplishing your hardest task will motivate you right through the rest of the items on your to-do list.
Do you dread doing the dishes? Start your chores as soon as you are finished getting ready for the day. They’ll be done before you know it.
Habit Three: Make a Tomorrow List
The “tomorrow list” has helped me immensely. Grab your phone or planner before you crawl in bed for the night and make a list of things that need to be done the next day. When you wake up, the items will be fresh on your mind – and the bit of healthy stress concerning incomplete tasks will motivate you to get a move on and be more productive.
I would recommend listing the three biggest things you would like to accomplish. If you list too many items, you may start to be limited by the bad kind of stress. Nobody needs any more bad stress!
My anxiety and depression are quite intense first thing in the morning, which makes it hard for me to wander out of my fog for long enough to decide what needs to be done – much less actually do it. Making a list the night before allows me to start accomplishing tasks quickly and successfully the next day.
Habit Four: Add Kindness to Your To-Do List
Benjamin Franklin woke up asking himself “what good shall I do today?” This is anexcellent mindset to choose in the morning and all throughout the day. It is difficult to feel down when you are creating colorful schemes to bring joy to others.
Depression is, by nature, a selfish illness. It causes normally outpouring, lively individuals to feel limp, numb, and wrapped up in self. Fight the selfish illness with a dose of kindness; finding something “good” to do will lace your day with a brighter outlook.
I know. I know how difficult this can be, particularly if you are struggling with mental illness, general fatigue, or a physical ailment. However, the “wake up, dress up, show up” rule is good medicine. You may be surprised by how refreshed and positive you feel after an action as simple as changing clothes.
Try picking up one or two (or five) of these habits to “lazy-proof” your day and overcome procrastination, despondency, and depression one moment at a time.
Habit Five: Wake up, Dress up, Show up
Start your day by taking care of yourself. Don’t sleep in too much. Shower. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Floss. Put on an outfit that makes you happy. Even on days when you don’t have anyone to see. And if you do have someone to see, show up. Don’t make excuses. Get moving. The movement will help you push past whatever may be weighing you down.
From Bravely Community