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11 Simple Ways To Be Productive When You’re Going Through It

Since last week I mentioned that getting your mental health under control was a big step to bettering your overall physical health, I want to talk about a few things you can do to feel productive on your weaker days. Depression and anxiety are at an all time high and while I know there are some people who genuinely need medication, it’s no secret that anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants are drastically overprescribed. We all go through anxious states and bad things happen all of the time so, we will most certainly experience a lot of heartbreak in our time on Earth as well so, going through states of depression are pretty much inevitable. However, a depressive state is not the same thing as chronic depression. You aren’t actually healing if you’re in a constant state of being numb. This is where I feel too many people are quick to turn to medication instead of trying every other means possible to work through things on their own. If I’m being completely honest here, it’s because a lot of people don’t want to put in the effort it takes to feel better. Often times people want the pity. They think if they are actually prescribed to a medication, maybe people will take them more seriously. Maybe people will actually start worrying about them. Maybe people will reach out. The problem with this is the part where you’re relying on others to heal your wounds. You’ll never make it out on top if you have to be carried. You have to be able to walk out on your own two feet. When you also prove to yourself that you don’t need others to find your own happiness, it allows you to stop letting the wrong people overstay their welcome in your life. It takes being honest with yourself, being self-aware, holding yourself accountable for the wrong-doings you’ve done in life and apologizing for those things, acknowledging when someone in your life isn’t being good to you and confronting them about it. Their reaction will usually let you know where you stand in their life and you’ll either work through it or you’ll remove a toxic friendship from your life. Ultimately though, the best way to avoid getting into any kind of self-inflicted negative situation is to always be upfront and honest with both yourself and your friends, make sure you aren’t putting yourself in a situation you know you shouldn’t be in, and to make sure your decisions do not involve others without their permission. If you don’t want people to know about it, don’t do it. It’s simple. On the other hand, if your situation is completely out of your control, then you need to accept that and not beat yourself up over something you couldn’t do anything about. To take control of your mental health, you must spend time in your mind and you can’t lie t yourself while you’re there. If you don’t like spending time with yourself, that should be a red flag on its own. Figure out how to work through whatever is going on. There is almost always a solution for everything in life. If there isn’t then there is always time. I firmly believe there isn’t anything that time can’t heal. It doesn’t mean you’ll forget about what happened, it just means you’ll be able to accept it and move forward. Moving on with your life does not make you a bad person. You’re allowed to heal. You’re allowed to enjoy the rest of the life you’ve been given. You don’t have to stay upset forever. Screw what anyone else thinks. They aren’t living your life. Only you are. The least you could do is make it enjoyable for yourself while you’re stuck here. Don’t make it worse than it has to be, by refusing to move forward. I personally have never been on any kind of medication for either depression or anxiety, but that’s not to say I’ve never experienced it. I’m also not trying to toot my own horn, these just weren’t considered “real” mental illnesses in my house growing up so, they were never acknowledged. I also kind of don’t feel like I personally need them. The only thing I currently take medication for is my ADHD because it’s the one thing I don’t have much control over. I could take full control of it if I wanted to and could function without my medicine, but it would take me twice as long to get tasks done. I currently do not have a career that allows me to do that so, for now, I’ll stick with my medicine. I don’t plan on being on it forever, though. I did not get prescribed until I was around 24 or 25 (because I took myself after I got out on my own) so, I had to live without it for quite some time so, I know it’s possible. I just don’t want to be dependent on it forever. It also now costs me $250 a month (and that’s with a coupon) which I’m quickly becoming unable to afford so, I may not have an option to even be on it soon. But me mentioning the lack of medication I take/have taken is also kind of my testimony to show people that it is possible for some to work through their depressive states without the use of pills. This is not to shame anyone at all who is currently taking medication, it’s just to maybe put a little bit of hope out into the world that if you aren’t on medication, you aren’t doomed and that there might be some ways you can try to heal yourself naturally. We all have our bad days, but sometimes certain things/events hit harder than others and can leave us incredibly angry, sad, confused, tired and/or annoyed for days, weeks, or even moths. Usually those are the times we feel like doing the least. If you’re anything like me though, after those days you feel guilty for not being more productive, which can then take your mood down an even more negative road because you feel like you wasted so much time. To avoid that post-mope guilt, on my really bad days where I don’t feel like doing anything, I’ve started doing a few things that take little effort, but also make me feel like I didn’t completely waste the day so that I’m not too hard on myself the next day. These tasks can also keep your mind somewhat busy so you aren’t drowning in your thoughts about whatever it is going on in your life. You’re not actually avoiding dealing with what is going on, but you are keeping your mind occupied just enough to only be able to process the negativity, in small doses. Stop acting like things have to be fixed overnight. Healing should never be rushed. You won’t actually work through everything which will only make it harder on yourself. Give yourself a break and let time bring you clarity. During that time, these are some of the things you can do to feel more productive:

  1. Cleaning out your camera roll
    • Almost everyone needs to do this and you don’t even have to get off of the couch or your phone. Not only is it mind numbingly easy, but going back through fun past times can also lighten your mood a bit and leave you feeling a little more at ease. Even if you have to erase painful memories, remind yourself that you are doing so, so you don’t revisit them later on. This can also help you during the moving forward process. 
  2. Personal grooming.
    • Take a shower. Even if you already took one that day, take another one or soak in a bath. Use that time to do something like a bath bomb/bubble bath, a conditioning treatment on your hair, an all over body exfoliation, or even just standing under the hot water to let your muscles relax and stretchhhhhh. Get out and load up on moisturizer and maybe even give yourself a facial or just doing a simple mask. Being clean and feeling good about taking care of your hair or skin can definitely be a big mood booster. Once you’re done, put on your most comfortable lounge wear and do exactly that, lounge. 
  3. Respond to personal messages.
    • This may not be something everyone deals with, but because I’m constantly drowning in work, I put my personal messages on the back burner and can go weeks without responding to people, but I make sure to keep the messages unread so I don’t forget about them. This usually pertains more to my DMs and SnapChat than it does my actual text messages, but having all of those unanswered messages starts making me feel like crap for not answering them so, doing it during a time where I’m not actually doing something is perfect for clearing them out.
  4. Massage your hands and feet.
    • We often neglect these two body parts when it comes to self-care, but they are two of our hardest working appendages. Foot and palm massages are something I try to do much more regularly now so they aren’t always so sore and tired. Do make sure you follow any and every kind of massage with a glass of water to flush everything out.
  5. Browse Pinterest.
    • There is almost always something that Pinterest can help you find/discover/get ideas for. I personally am in the middle of trying to get my house decorated and organized so, I love looking for both organization tools and room decor ideas. I am also always looking for more photography inspiration so, I love looking on there for fantasy related photo shoots or even unique portraits. You could be someone trying to update your wardrobe or trying to find your style, or maybe you want to get better at doing your hair or your makeup, or maybe you want to surprise your partner one day by learning how to doing a simple braid in their hair, you can find all of these things there as well. Pinterest is also fantastic for recipes, especially quick and easy ones! I really do feel like Pinterest is the hot spot for meal ideas. You can find almost anything that caters to each and every diet/taste. The best part is, there are so many easy/quick recipes as well as tons of things you can make in a crockpot or meals you can eat on for a few days. This may also help  inspire you to potentially cook a few more meals a week instead of ordering out which could be a healthier and cheaper alternative. Both things that could make you feel better about your choices. Just remember you’re not making yourself get up and do any of these things at the time you’re browsing (unless you just want to) so, don’t let that overwhelm you. 
  6. Watch YouTube.
    • This can kind of go with #5, but also kind of not. YouTube is slap full of tutorials for nearly everything. To feel a little more productive, these can be work related, especially if you’re any kind of artist, DIYer, musician, graphic designer, cosmetologist/barber, MUA or in any other field that is constantly changing and/or is pretty much impossible to learn everything about. Take the time to learn something new you’ve been meaning to or even just watch a video through so, when the time comes for you tonactually follow the tutorial, you have somewhat of an idea as to what you’re going to be doing. You could also do the exact opposite of that and check out some small creators or indie filmmakers who may have one or a few mini series or films out that they’ve put on YouTube to try to gain viewers from. While it may not be quite as productive for your own life, if you do find something you like, now you have an independent artist or group of artists that you can be excited to help support! Again, though it may not be directly productive for your life, it should at least uplift your mood knowing you found a creator who is trying to do something different or something that you like so, you can show their bodies of work to your friends in hopes they like it and watch and hopefully share as well so other people catch on.
  7. Make a to-do list.
    • For the next day of course. Again, you’re allowing yourself to take it easy so, don’t let this stress you out. Just remember, you’re allowing yourself to have a night off which means you’ll probably have to make up for it over the next day or two. Begin by writing down everything you need to do and then once you have it all jotted down, you can go back through and organize each task starting with the most important/time sensitive to the least time sensitive. That way when you wake up the next day, you have a clear idea of everything you need to get done and also keeping yourself busy will continue to allow you to work through your bad day piece by piece instead of taking everything on at one time. 
  8. Wash a load of linens.
    • If you’re up for it, washing a load of linens not only gets at least one load of laundry out of the way, but it’s a load that requires very little folding. Plus if you’ve already taken a shower that night, then you can feel extra clean and snuggly in your fresh bedding. When it comes to sleep, it’s hard to beat clean sheets. 
  9. Entertain one of your hobbies.
    • If you have a hobby that can be done at home, spend some time there. Most of us have hobbies because they are activities we enjoy so, enjoy it.
  10. Meditate.
    • Sometime we just need peace and quiet. Sometimes we understand that it’s time to face some of the things we are going through head on. The only way to really do that is to spend alone time with yourself, with very few distractions, while you begin talking yourself through your hardship and commit to trying to move past it. Meditation can also just be where you still choose not to face everything head on, but where you go to just catch your breath and get centered when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Light a candle or bye some incense, put on some calming, light music, and just breathe. 3-step breaths. All the way through your nostrils, down through your chest, and eventually to your diaphragm, expanding your belly as far out as it can go and you fill your body full of air, continuing to inhale until you can no longer take any more air, and slowly releasing that air in reverse. Starting from your diaphragm, you’ll feel your tummy flatten as the air begins to leave your abdomen, back through your chest as it relaxes back down, and lastly escaping through your nostrils. Repeat this until you feel you no longer need to. To me, this is one of the easiest and most effective ways of clearing your mind and getting back on track.
  11. Sleep.
    • Not necessarily all day if you’re someone who is prone to barricading themselves in their room without seeing the light of day for well, days, but if you’re someone like me who hardly ever sleeps, give yourself a break and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. If you have the luxury of being off from work the next day or if you work from home, don’t set an alarm either. Sleep until you can no longer lay in bed. Let your body catch up on all of the sleep it’s been deprived of. Then hopefully you’ll wake up with more energy than you know what to do with! 

Hopefully at least one of my personal tricks will be useful to you the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. I feel like we don’t often allow ourselves to admit just how hard simply living and keeping ourselves alive and healthy are so, it’s very easy to feel like you’re alone in the struggle, but I promise you aren’t. Many of us are barely scraping by in this economy and I’ve found the best way to make sure I don’t get caught in the undertow is to live with the mindset that I can get through anything. After everything I’ve been through and at such a young age, I pretty much feel invincible at times, but that doesn’t mean that I am or that I have that attitude at all times. Almost everything can be healed with time if you allow it. You just have to be the one to tell yourself you can push through. It’s not easy being your own support system, but that’s also why it’s so important to surround ourselves with the people who we know genuinely care about us so, that we can go to those people when we feel like we don’t have the strength to be there for ourselves. That does not mean you should completely drain your friends of their time and energy, but sometimes you do need a little outside help to get you back on track. Just make sure you’re going to the people who encourage your healing and not your bad habits. I know the world we live in is a tough and scary place to be, but just remember you’re only here once (i think) and when you’re gone, that’s it (I hope) so, make the most out of the one life you’ve been given, but do it for yourself. You owe it to yourself. 


One comment on “11 Simple Ways To Be Productive When You’re Going Through It

  1. Fuad Hariz says:

    Thank you Ginger for this, I really enjoyed reading this post.
    I really needed it especially that I’ve been feeling lazy and demotivated to study and finish my work as well, as working full time and studying never been fun! .. will your steps and hopefully will bring me back on track. Cheers.

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