The mountainous load of laundry in my closet is so daunting. My boyfriend and I live together so after a week, our laundry load is very overwhelming. When we decided to live together we each picked a few things that would become our responsibility. I chose laundry thinking it would be a simple task. I’ve done it before, how hard could it be?
During our time of living together I have realized that when I fall into a depressive state, simple tasks become extremely difficult. One task that always falls behind when I am noticeably depressed is the laundry.
The mounds build up, or I forget to change the clothes in the washer to the dryer, and then I have to start all over again. It becomes such a hassle that instead of working through it, I literally give up. Doing anything else becomes more enticing than starting that daunting task. It leads to the piles building up extremely high until the point that we no longer have any clean clothes. My boyfriend will politely ask if I will finish the laundry, or have his work uniform done in time for work. Unfortunately the majority of the time I never get it done.
This is not something I am proud of, and in fact, I get quite frustrated with myself when I notice my boyfriend has to pick up my slack. I know myself well enough to know when I feel my depression surfacing again. I know what is coming next and I’m starting to learn how to motivate myself to complete daily tasks. Here are a few of my tips if you need motivation to complete simple tasks like me.
1. Set a timer.
My therapist calls this “the power of the ding.” I start small and set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes. This means that I will spend the next 15 minutes completely focused at the task at hand. My phone is in the other room, and my full attention is on the laundry. The timer can be set for separating laundry, switching loads, folding laundry and even putting away. Once the timer goes off, I know that my time is done. I can either choose to take a break, or continue until the task is complete. Regardless, I made progress.
2. Listen to something you like.
This can be a favorite album, band, podcasts, books on tape, etc. I know that if I have the TV on in the background, I will get distracted easily. But by listening to music I am able to work, but still have something to keep me motivated. The only way I reward myself, is by watching TV while I fold my laundry.
3. If it only takes two minutes, do it right away.
This is another idea my therapist taught me. This does not have to pertain to just doing laundry, but any task you struggle with. Getting up to get in the shower, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the dishes out of the sink, making your bed, washing your face, or even brushing your teeth. I can go on and on with examples, but if you get in your mind that you can do anything for two minutes, then your courage can carry you through those tasks.
4. Make a to-do list.
Do not overwhelm yourself with writing 20 tasks you need to complete in a day, but rather write two or three things down and call it a day. This requires patience with yourself, but you can do it!
When I follow these tips it becomes easier to complete my daily tasks. I encourage you to try some of these tips if you struggle with depression and have difficulty with daily tasks. It may seem like a small task to others, but to us it can become our biggest accomplishment. Believe in yourself, because I do!