You’ve woken up this morning drained of energy, ready to bury your head under your duvet again and not prepared to face the world. To add insult to misery, you start judging yourself for having no motivation whatsoever. You somehow manage to go through your day, and the next one looks almost exactly the same.
But still, you have to get things done — uni, job, relationships, to-do-list that looks like it never ends. It’s hard. It feels overwhelming. You can do it! Below, you’ll find 3 tips on how to get things done when you’re in a bit of a mental slump — from a person who experienced years of clinical depression and still managed to get 2 degrees.
Schedule some time for yourself
Planning helps if you accept that you’ll have to say no to some things that are not important or don’t excite you. Maybe it’s not the best time to make small talk with strangers, your friends will understand that you don’t feel like going out right now, sometimes it’s even ok to skip that seminar you hate (do your readings, though!).
Next, schedule some time for activities that make you feel better — maybe going for a walk, doing some gentle exercises, drawing, watching your favourite film, whatever fills you up. That said, there’s a thin line between self-care and being overly indulgent. Watching one movie is fine but spending all day binge-watching Netflix in your pyjamas will most likely only make you feel worse. Pay attention to what you do everyday to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself rather than hiding from life.
When you’re not feeling your best, it’s likely that you can’t trust yourself to be productive without a structure in place. Create a realistic schedule of things that have to be done, not all the things that you would get done in a perfect world.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things that you need to take care of when you’re experiencing low mood, even if realistically you have time to do everything that you’d like. Prioritising will help mange the feeling of overwhelm and crossing out everything or most things off your (realistic) to-do-list will leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
Ask for help
It can be hard to ask for help but it is not a weakness! Sometimes you can be surprised how many people experience the same difficulties and with how many people you can connect by asking for help. If you can, delegate some of your tasks. Moreover, it might be worth considering asking for professional mental health help — the University has a designated Wellbeing Service that is free to all students. If you’re not ready to ask for counselling or therapy, you could try talking about your problems to a trusted friend or a family member.
There are also other services at the University that can be helpful in your situation — if you’re struggling to complete your assessments of prepare for exams, you can apply for Mitigating Circumstances, or if you find yourself in a financial crisis you can get help through the Financial Assistance Fund.
You are not alone. By scheduling time for yourself, prioritising your tasks and asking for help when things are to hard to bear, you can step-by-step achieve things that may seem impossible right now.