If you suffer from depression, you might feel sad, hopeless, and worthless. Sometimes, it feels as if you’re seeing people everywhere that are effortlessly happy while you feel stuck in a perpetual cloud of despair. With the proper combination of therapy and medication, things will get better, but it’s still important to take the time to celebrate the little things. For many, depression can result in a lack of motivation, loss of interest in daily activities, and low energy reserves for the most basic tasks. One of the best things you can do is recognize small accomplishments and celebrate them.
Of course, patting yourself on the back will only get you so far. We’ve compiled a list of four meaningful ways to put a smile on your face when you finally finish a task.
1. Text a Friend and Create a Buddy System
If you know someone who deals with the same mental health hurdles you do, ask them to buddy up with you and create a text thread about both of your accomplishments. Each time you thrive, shoot them a text. When they text you about their achievement, throw a text party. Here are some great examples of things you can celebrate with each other:
- Taking a shower
- Getting the dishes done
- Making a doctors appointment
- Getting out of bed
- Making an overdue phone call
- Checking your email
- Cleaning your room
- Doing a load of laundry
- Going for a walk
- Buying groceries
- Cooking a meal
2. Set Up a Reward Chart
After you text your friend, give yourself a gold star, literally. Often, when we are stuck in the depths of depression, we forget our small accomplishments from the day before. By creating a visual representation of all the things you’ve accomplished, you’ll be able to recognize your worth. Try to get four stars a day, but celebrate every single one! Don’t forget to give yourself Grace if no stars make it onto the chart one day. Just try again the next.
3. Reward Yourself
Since a lack of motivation is such a huge component of depression, it’s important to set up a reward system for your accomplishments. Sure, many people would say that taking a shower is a reward in itself (or would think it odd that a shower deserves a prize), but anyone who suffers from depression knows that the chemicals within our brains don’t see it that way. Promise yourself a special treat once you’re nice and dry. If you set yourself a long-term goal, such as a trip to somewhere special, you can even pay yourself for getting things done. I have a special jar that I put $1 in every time I remember to eat a meal or wash my hair. One day, I’ll use that money to see the synchronized fireflies in Tennessee.
4. Speak with Your Therapist
We all need cheerleaders, and therapists are excellent at making us feel like our small daily accomplishments are truly amazing. Make a list of all the things you’re proud of doing and all the positive changes you’re making, and share them with your therapist. It’s okay if there is nothing on that list sometimes. Your therapist needs to know that so they can give you the help you need.
At the end of the day, battling depression isn’t something you can view in the big scheme of things. We need small, bite-sized, tangible representations of success. So take the time to celebrate your small victories!