It can be difficult to get anything done when you are experiencing extremely sad days or low energy levels but what’s the key to productivity during these times? How do people with high functioning depression or anxiety and other mental health challenges make it work? First, you have to understand and accept that ‘IT IS OK NOT TO BE OK’.

Before giving yourself a little push to DO IT in spite of depression or anxiety, acknowledge how you are feeling and the emotions that are bubbling up to the surface. As someone who has battled severely with mental health difficulties, when depression creeps in I use it to rest my mind and recuperate the body. For anxiety, I remind myself that it is the illusion of fear that is present. The fear of the unknown and what if. Times like this, it is difficult to get out of bed, have a shower or even brush your teeth and the anxiety makes it hard to step outside the house

I acknowledge the presence of depression or anxiety then proceed to journal the feelings that have accompanied the debilitating depression and anxiety. I give myself a little push using words of affirmation and breathwork to bring me back to the present (as supposed to wallowing in the past which is aided by the depression or spending too much time in the future, daydreaming as induced by anxiety). While we don’t talk a lot about high functioning depressives, they are easy to overlook. They are just as critical as someone who is going through an obvious state of depression. 

When you feel the sadness creeping in, acknowledge it and give it a name then look out for the loophole. Yes, the sadness is there but you won’t be sad for all of 24hrs, at least 2-5 minutes within the day you’ll experience a pause from that sadness. That loophole of hope is what I have learned to build on and used to sneak-in activities and tasks that will alleviate that sadness or make me productive in spite of sadness or fear.

The trick is to use the sadness to rest the mind and recuperate the body, don’t wallow in the sadness for too long and then use the PAUSE to be productive and do something rewarding or exhilarating. Also, revisit what you have journaled, give those feelings a name and you realize that you don’t feel the same way you felt when you penned down your emotions. Notice the weight lifting off your shoulders. I know this can be very difficult. However, it starts with TRYING.

There are two quotes that help me remember the big picture during difficult times; “Happiness is a choice” – Adaora Lumina Mbelu’s mom and “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an incredible summer” – Albert Camus. Don’t forget your breathwork, they bring you back to the present when your mind drifts away or runs on autopilot. Breathwork will alleviate your mood. 

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