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Tips for Coping With Depression: Small Blocks of Time

Share Your Story: How I Get Myself Going During Depression

By Helena at Balance Whanganui

Updated May 20, 2010

How I Get Myself Moving

Instead of looking at a task as one big mountain, I break it up into chunks of time. For example, I will say to myself, "I'm going to spend 20 minutes cleaning up the kitchen." Then I set the timer on the stove for 20 minutes, put on some up-beat music (this really helps) and work for exactly 20 minutes. At the end of this time I congratulate myself on what I have accomplished and give myself a cup of tea or 20 minutes on the computer or whatever.

The next chunk of time might be the bathroom, or reading a textbook, or back to the kitchen. I find that I can cope with the time better than I can cope with the task.

What Helps Me Keep Going Once I Get Started

Knowing that there is a finite time when I am allowed to stop, even if the task isn't finished - yet. I find I often just keep going till the end of the task because it is so nearly done.

I also make sure the 'reward' at the end of the time chunk is something I will really enjoy - and time that too.

Lessons Learned

  • I am in control of the task - the task isn't in control of me.
  • I have a feeling of achievement and capability - even if it is for only a twenty minute chunk of time - it is way better than having achieved nothing.

What are the short-term benefits?

* This way I get a double positive whammy - twenty minutes of achievement AND a reward.

What are the long-term benefits?

I learned that I CAN get things done, and over time this got easier and easier, especially when I gave the hint to my friends and it worked for them too. Mind you, you do have to want it to work.

What adjustments did you have to make as time passed?

I had to not beat up on myself if I didn't sometimes finish the time chunk, put that behind me and start afresh with optimism.

I had to be careful not to be too ambitious and make the time chunks too big as I got better at using this strategy - so I didn't set myself up for failure.

What else have you found that would help others?

The music - the music - the music. It has to be up-beat and happy - the sort you would dance to. Singing along or dancing while doing the dishes is a great way of distracting myself from the task in hand if it is something I don't enjoy doing.

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