Having a day when you’d really rather not

Most days I wake up, do morning things and get to work.

But on days like today, I have no desire to do anything. Just a deep, numb weight forcing me back into the blankets and away from any meaningful human interaction or productive action.

However — like most of you reading this — I rarely have the luxury to indulge that bleakness. Work still needs to be done, people still need to be met, and life still has to go on.

So I’m writing this to help myself get out of that hole and into something resembling a day.

(This post isn’t about thriving. There are people much better informed and equipped to encourage you in that direction than I am — especially today. This is just to help you move from a state of inertia to movement, however small. This is about coping. The end goal is to thrive, but some days, we just need to be able to get to the evening.)

This isn’t medical or psychological advice.
This isn’t counsel if you are suffering proper depression.
This may not even work for you at all.
This is just how I’ve learned to cope when I wake up feeling like I can’t get through the day but don’t have the luxury of giving in.

1. Voice your emotional state to someone you trust. Ask them to not give you solutions. They just need to listen, to allow you to validate that you are feeling what you are feeling. Use whatever words most accurately describe how you feel. For me this morning it was helpless, hopeless and heavy. I felt overwhelmed just at the idea of getting to the end of the day.

2. If you haven’t already, get out of bed. (If your laptop lives in your bedroom, don’t open it.)

3. Shower and put on fresh clothes, if you can. Stay in pj’s or wear yesterday’s clothes if you can’t. Just get out of bed and get moving.

3. Make yourself some tea or coffee. (But even if you have stock, don’t reach for the liquor cabinet. That’s a bad idea for a number of reasons.)

4. Eat something. Anything. Just get a little sustenance in your body.

5. Do something small and practical that feels like a win. For me it was doing the dishes and writing this post, but it might be anything, from household chores to watering your garden. Whatever works for you, just try earn some small satisfaction for yourself through a physical activity that you can finish and tick off as complete.

(This may cost you valuable time in an already stressful day, so evaluate how much you can afford and choose your wins accordingly. Or — like I did this morning — just say “fuck the cost” and complete whatever you’re doing to get the win.)

6. Then settle down to work. Break your work down into small achievable goals and mentally pat yourself on the back when you accomplish them. Even if your job is long and laborious, look for ways to create breakpoints that you can reach; simple goals you can accomplish within a relatively short space of time.

It sucks feeling like this. The only way I’ve found to beat it is to put one foot in front of the other and get moving. Some days this works better than others, and I’ll be the first to admit that many days I only got to step 2 before collapsing back into a dissociative routine of sleep or mindless entertainment. But maybe doing this will help you get through one day you didn’t think you’d get through before.

And if you get through one day, use it to remind yourself that maybe you’ll be able to get through tomorrow too.

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