5 Tips for Staying Motivated During a Mental Health Crisis

by April Hooper

My hands are shaking. 

Maybe it’s the nerves and anxiety coursing through me (or maybe it’s just the coffee). Either way, when I’m feeling anxious or sad and my mental health is NOT at its best, getting work done is almost impossible. My creativity plummets, and my motivation hides like a good find at a thrift store. I take ANY opportunity to distract myself with Netflix or social media (TikTok is my weakness). 

Somedays, having low productivity is okay; we ALL deserve a break every now and then. But other days, we need a little spark of inspiration, a push in the right direction. If that’s how you’re feeling, then you’ve come to the right place…

My first tip to combat the motivation void is this: 

1. Make a list of small steps you can do to work towards a bigger goal

Often the thought of tackling a huge project is overwhelming, even on a good day, so you need to break it down into manageable parts. You don’t have to commit yourself to hours of work — start with one step, just 5 minutes. Write down the goals you want to accomplish, and as you complete each one, cross it off the list and reward yourself. 

If you need tips on Goal Setting & Achieving, get more from Rachel HERE.

2. Take a dance break

I know when I’m anxious, I can’t sit still. My go-to solution is to throw on some One Direction and dance around the kitchen so, just for a moment, I can forget about how I’m feeling. My feet spinning on the floor, my favorite songs blasting in the air… it works every time. Does it make my problems and fears go away? Of course not. But does it help me feel a little bit more like myself? ABSOLUTELY

Maybe you’re not a dancer, so try going for a walk outside, getting active, or doing something else that makes you feel like YOU!  The key here is doing something that doesn’t leave you feeling drained. 

3. Don’t compare

It is so tempting to compare your levels of productivity with other people’s, or even with your past self. Don’t fall into that trap. Focus on what you can do RIGHT NOW and celebrate when you complete a task, no matter how small. Use other people’s success to inspire you, not an excuse to compare and tear yourself down. 

4. Use how you are feeling as a source of inspiration 

Strong emotions are the best fuel, so use them. Write about your thoughts and feelings to help you process them and get into the flow of work. Sometimes putting it down on paper can make things feel MUCH more manageable. And if you’ve ever been to a Ditch the Clique event, you know about our resource Trash It! This is where you write down whatever is holding you back from achieving your dreams, and then you rip it up into little pieces and throw it away! You would be surprised how POWERFUL an exercise this can be.  

For more on getting inspired when you’re in a creative rut, read Rachel’s tips HERE.

5. Don’t push yourself

Sometimes, no matter what you do, motivation is nowhere to be found. If you’re just not feeling it, that’s okay. Take care of yourself first — work can wait!

Mental health is important, so don’t ignore how you feel. If needed, talk to someone — a friend or a professional — and rely on them for support. And if you are in need of a little EXTRA support and encouragement, check out the Ditch the Clique COMMUNITY where you can get inspired to achieve YOUR dreams every day!  

Shop the looks in this blog post HERE

who is April?

April Hooper is a public relations student at Messiah University, minoring in marketing and gender studies. She always has a coffee in hand and is rocking a thrifted outfit with handmade accessories. When she graduates, she dreams of living abroad, owning as many cats as possible, and writing for a living. 

All photos courtesy of Joshua Lindquist of QUISTPIX

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