how to get stuff done when depressed (7 Great tips)

In this article, the question, “ how to get stuff done when depressed” will be answered, types of depression, how depression is a challenging illness, strategies for getting rid of undone and unfinished work and some FAQs about the subject.

We can get stuff done when depressed by:

  • To simply get out of bed
  • Starting each day with a gratitude journal
  • Set goal for each day
  • Seeking help from dear and near ones
  • Using reinforcement and treat yourself
  • Take advantages of brighter and better days
  • Setting up structure and planning the day
  • Finding a pleasurable or endorphin-releasing activity


It is a mood disorder that is often called Unipolar Depression or Major Depressive 

Disorder. It is one of the most common and prevalent mental disorders.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), the two key symptoms of Depression are Depressed mood and the loss of pleasure and interest, Anhedonia during the same 2-week period. Apart from these two symptoms, Depressive patients also undergo other symptoms such as insomnia and hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, loss of energy, worthlessness, diminished ability to think and concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation.

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

To be diagnosed with MDD, there should be five depressive symptoms that last for at least 2 weeks. Adding onto that, there should either be a depressed mood or loss of interest. MDD is a periodic or episodic disorder where the symptoms go on and off over time. Along with it, suicide ideation and thought of death are common. 

The prevalence of depression is 7% with higher prevalence in 60 years or more. 

Persistent Depression Disorder, Dysthymia

One of the essential features of Dysthymia is a depressed mood that lasts throughout the day for at least 2years, in case of children the duration is for 1 year. Along with depressed mood, they should also experience two of the six symptoms (poor appetite, sleep disturbance, low energy, low self-esteem, trouble in concentrating and hopelessness)

 It has an early and insidious onset. It is twice more common in women than in men. Dysthymia is common in general population affecting 5-6% of the population.

Bi-Polar Disorder

Two types of Bi-Polar disorder is, BP-1 and BP-2. The manic symptom is the defining feature of the two and the severity of the two differentiate these. Bi-Polar 1 is known as Manic-Depressive Disorder where there is a single episode of mania during their lifetime however, they may or may not have a depressive episode. While Bi-Polar 2 is characterised by hypomanic (milder version of Manic) episode with Major Depressive Episodes.

 Bipolar 1 Disorder is much rarer than MDD and the prevalence rate is 0.6% and Bi-Polar affects somewhere between 0.4 to 2%.

Cyclothymic Disorder. 

It is also a chronic mood disorder where the proposed symptom (numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms) last for at least 2 years. They experience frequent alternating mild symptoms of Mania and Depression. People with cyclothymia have a high risk of developing Mania and Major Depression. 

About 3-5% of the psychiatric patient is diagnosed with Cyclothymic Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

It is known by recurrent depressive episodes occurring typically in winter.

The severity of the episode ranges from mild to moderate and in the worse case, have the risk of suicide as well. It is more prevalent in people in the northern part of the world than in summer. The change in melatonin is responsible for this episode, they show more change in melatonin than the rest. 

SAD Symptom is similar to those of Depression except that it coincides with seasons.

Postpartum Depression. 

It is a blend of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that a woman undergoes after giving birth. The diagnosis is based on the length of time between their onset and delivery and the severity of depression. Some of the symptoms are difficulty in sleeping, appetite change, fatigue, decreased libido and frequent mood change. It generally begins within the 4 weeks after delivery.

Almost 80% of new mothers are diagnosed with this depression and it follows after 15% of birth.

Depression a challenging illness:

Depression is a mental illness which is difficult and strenuous to battle with. It sinks one’’s mood as well as self-esteem. For a single simple task to get done, it takes a lot of energy and motivation from the person. The melancholia, fatiguability, anhedonia and loss of motivation is incredibly challenging to tackle with, and when people fail to overcome it, they often take their life. 

Strategies to get stuff done when depressed

There are several techniques or mechanisms one can adopt to fight with the loss of motivation and energy to get their things done and accomplished when depressed. And, following these strategies, keeps one motivated and enthusiastic despite these overpowering depressed mood.

To simply get out of bed

Despite the difficulty in stepping out of bed due to low good and negative thoughts, it is better to simply get out of the bed from where all kinds of negative thoughts pop and one tend to overthink. To eat this frog sets everything easier and simpler.

Starting each day with a gratitude journal

When an individual is grappling with low mood and depression, it is for sure that they find it gruelling to find joy in any activities they do. To start their day on a positive note, listing down things they are grateful for and using it as motivation to gear up is a good source of energy. 

Set goal for each day

Rather than piling up all the works together and feeling demotivated, it is always better to set a simple, doable and realistic goal each day so that one doesn’t get worn out and exhausted by the workload. 

Being mindful when setting a goal is another important mindset to get rid of work anxiety and deadline anxiety.

Seeking help from dear and near ones

It’s always better to seek help and reach out to the reliable and helpful ones for moral as well as emotional support. When disturbed and bothered by workload and deadline anxiety, sharing the task with others and seeking their advice makes the task more manageable and achievable.

Using reinforcement and treat yourself

Rather than pressuring oneself by completing and wrapping up the task in one-go, breaking the task into pieces and then rewarding when the bit is completed works when you are depressed. Treating oneself with a break, holiday, extra perks, a meal out, etc helps the individual to stay motivated and refresh after completed work. Treat and Incentives sustain the motivation and will of the individual for another task as well.

Take advantages of brighter and better days

At times when your mood is little better and positive than usual days, grab the advantage and making the best out of it sets everything easier. Extra motivation and willingness powered by brighter days can be used to finish the undone work and clear off the to-do list. 

Being kind to oneself 

Getting down and burdening oneself with negative thoughts and toxic thoughts isn’t constructive in all ways. To gear up one’s emotion and motivating oneself with positivity and reliving the achievements and good things done helps in staying motivated. Being kind to oneself results in motivation and prompt the individual to get their things done than self-loathing which is always unpleasant and detrimental to the individual. 

Setting up structure and planning the day

It’s always much easier and straightforward when the tasks for the day are organised and pre-planned. Having a structure planned for the day result in more productive work and promote calmness.

Avoid feeding depression.

There is a snowball effect when we overthink and fuel the negative thoughts with more doubts, fears and behaviour. To stop from that, it better just to identify the provoking thought and replace it with more positive and realistic behaviour and thought pattern. 

Finding a pleasurable or endorphin-releasing activity

Physical exercise and walking release a good amount of endorphin that helps in fighting with negative moods and stress. Along with it, it also breaks the monotony and the mundane daily routine. Even a 15 min physical exercise in daily routine result in better feeling and pleasure.

FAQs: How to get stuff done when depressed

Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?

Yes, there is a self-assessed questionnaire which can be used to test yourself about the depressive symptoms, however, can’t be used for diagnosis without a mental health professional.

How long does it take to become depressed?

According to the guidelines set by the American Psychiatric Association in DSM, to diagnosed with depression, the symptoms should at least last for 2 weeks. 

How can we solve Depression?

The key five ways to get rid of depressive symptoms are: exercise, nurturing oneself, identify the stressor or trouble, expressing and venting out emotion and trying to seek the good things in life.

What triggers sad?

There are multiple causes of sadness such as traumatic life event, death of closed one, losing the job, etc. For seasonal Affective Depression, the key cause id lack of sunlight that disturbs our biological clock leading to a feeling of depression. The drop in serotonin affects our mood which is the key cause of SAD. 

How can I lift my mood?

Some of the ways in improving our mood for the short term as well as in long term are: 

Listening to calming and upbeat music
Getting a good laugh
Decluttering work
Allowing emotion venting
Meeting significant and close one

Why is getting out of bed so hard?

There is psychological reason playing a key role in our failure to get out of bed especially for depressed people. The key reason behind it is that they may not be feeling well however some tricks to get rid of bedridden.

How to make someone happy?

There are various way to make people around you happy such as
Helping them when needed
Sending gratitude or thank you messages
Sharing jokes and good moments
Cooking a good meal together
Outdoor Activties

What causes flat affect?

The main reason behind the flat affect is unusual brain activity. The brain area that is responsible for the arousal and activation of emotion is hampers and remains inactive.

What are the major causes of Depression?

The major reason behind depression are:

Physical and Sexual Abuse
A feeling of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness
Failing to pinpoint the cause of depressed mood
Others fail to understand their feelings
Getting through the days requires tremendous energy and will.
Impaired concentration and focus
Problematic and Disrupted Sleep Cycle
Drained out and Low Energy
Physical pain and symptoms

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this article, the question, “ how to get stuff done when depressed” was answered, types of depression, how depression is a challenging illness, strategies for getting rid of undone and unfinished work and wrapped up with some FAQs about the subject.

6 Ideas: How To Get Stuff Done When You’re Depressed


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