When Getting Dressed Is Self Care

It’s time to be a bit honest here. For the past two years I’ve been struggling. My depression has taken over my life and I stopped truly taking care of myself.

Sure I read, I binge watch TV shows, I watch movies, I apply the occasional face mask, and I participate in classic self care activities. Except I wasn’t really taking care of myself.

For a long time my diet sucked, most days I was wearing pajamas all day long, my hair was up always up in a mom bun, and I was not getting active. No matter what I did I was not breaking through my depression.

To top it off, my anxiety was running rampant and everything just seemed impossible. I was getting super lazy about cleaning my house, because why bother today when I’ll just have to do it again tomorrow.

But then something happened, I had a breakthrough. I got motivated and I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

For the first time in two years I’ve been finally breaking through my depression a little bit. I’m getting my work done faster and easier than before. My kitchen is consistently clean. I’m getting dressed and doing my hair.

Today I want to talk about how I found the motivation to tackle the impossible tasks and actually start getting dressed in real clothes every day.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or self harm there are helplines that are open 24 hours a day that can provide confidential and immediate help for free. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 800-273-8255. You are not alone.

The Impossible Tasks

In our home we recognize the impossible task. Impossible tasks are things that are so simple that a normal person wouldn’t see them as difficult. However, to someone who is going through depression or anxiety, these simple tasks are extremely difficult.

It could be anything from taking the daily shower, to doing their hair, to getting dressed for the day. It could be cleaning up the house, going to the grocery store, paying bills on time, or any normal “adult” task.

The answer for most normal people is, “just do it.” However, for those suffering from depression we will often make excuses.

  • What’s the point in getting dressed when I just have to get undressed for bed?
  • What’s the point in doing the dishes when there will be new dirty dishes in just a couple of hours?
  • Why do my make up or hair when I’m not going anywhere?
  • We can make the food we have work for today, I’ll go tomorrow.

The impossible task masks itself as procrastination or laziness when there is really something much deeper going on. So while the normal person can simply say, “just do it,” the person suffering from depression just can’t.

We have to find our motivation to power through the impossible task.

Self Care For Depression Is Different

Self care for depression is just different from normal self care. For those suffering from depression self care looks more like regular day to day tasks.

Self care for hard cases of depression are often the simple tasks. When you are in this type of depression the goal is to focus one day at a time and celebrate every simple task.

When you see someone celebrating that they got dressed, they paid their bills on time, or they did their hair and makeup. Celebrate with them.

On that day the person who did the normal and mundane daily tasks needs to celebrate that task as a form of self care. Because it was difficult for them.

Recognizing How Depression Is Affecting You

People will often joke about how someone showing up to work wearing zero makeup will get questions asking if they are sick. One day, two days, every once in a while is one thing. When a normal daily task stops being done this can be a big sign that the person is going through a hard case of depression.

It’s the sudden stop or the sudden decrease in normal daily activities. It’s important to understand how depression is affecting you because the depression is a monster on your shoulder.

Depressed woman sitting on stairs in pajamas

Did you suddenly stop cleaning to the point you had before? Was that a conscious decision or was it something that just happened all at once or gradually over time? How do you feel about your cleaning habits?

Did you suddenly stop getting dressed? Was it a conscious decision or did it happen over time. One day you wore your pajamas and it continued one into the next? How do you feel about wearing pajamas all the time?

Maybe you put off paying bills a few extra days because it was overwhelming and now it’s a monthly habit. How do you feel about not tackling those bill payments?

The first step to finding a way to motivate yourself to do the impossible tasks is to recognize how you really feel about where your depression has taken you. What are your impossible tasks?

Finding Ways To Motivate Yourself

Once you know how your depression is affecting your day to day life you can start to work through that depression. You can think back to when a habit stopped and why it stopped.

Figuring out what triggered you into this depression can help you to address and fix those triggers in the future. It may also help you to find the motivation to move forward and tackle the impossible task you face.

My story is I became a work at home mom. That’s when my life completely changed and I reached my big goal. I was still getting dressed every day and wearing make up most days though it was less. I started wearing more comfortable clothes too.

Then due to my lack of activity I started gaining weight. Soon my old clothes stopped fitting me and I became much more comfortable in my pajamas.

Then I was getting down on myself for not getting dressed and for gaining weight. I stopped doing my hair and makeup because what would have been the point?

Depressed woman sitting in bed not wanting to get out of it

At the same time I had an extremely toxic person in my life and nothing I did was good enough. So slowly my cleaning waned because it wasn’t good enough or appreciated anyways.

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

It was upon removing the toxic person then taking time to look at what I had going on in my life that I realized that I was in a deep depression. I got new clothes that fit me properly, a new bra, some new makeup, and a bunch of new body washes and lotions from bath and body works.

I had all this new stuff that I spent my hard earned money on, I had to use it.

Then I started thinking about how I could motivate myself to do my other daily tasks and the answer was real simple. Music. I turn on music and then I get to work cleaning my house. I’ll even dance with my son while I’m doing it and I start associating getting my house clean with something fun.

Slowly I am changing my thought process from why bother to because it’s fun. Having a clean kitchen motivates me to prep more food. It motivates me to make more meals from scratch.

The impossible tasks are my self care because when I complete the impossible tasks I’m more likely to do more things that are better for me. Like eating healthy meals, dancing for exercise, and completing my work.

Tracking Self Care

I have often found it helpful to track my self care activities. This is easy to do in my bullet journal but if you don’t bullet journal you can do so in a spread sheet, hand written, or keeping a notebook.

Simply write down the impossible tasks you face and check them off as you complete them. This gives you a great view of the tasks you are completing.

If you keep a diary in conjunction with your tracking you can also stay aware of triggers that cause you to not complete those impossible tasks. That knowledge will help you to better handle your triggers.

I highly recommend creating your own tracker for your impossible tasks and use that to help you to complete them.

Self Care Activities For Depression

Over the years I’ve had my own impossible tasks and I’ve watched those I love tackle their own impossible tasks. Below is a list of self care activities that are geared specifically towards the impossible task.

Put on the most comfortable real clothes you own.

Even if you are putting on a sweater and leggings if you would go out of the house in it and not be embarrassed that’s a good thing.

Buy new clothes.

If your old clothes don’t fit, buy a couple of good fitting clothes to wear. Having well fitted clothing will make you feel better about how you look.

Use special smell good body wash and lotions.

Something about smelling good and feeling clean really helps to make you feel better. Smelling good can help you feel more comfortable with facing your impossible tasks.

Minimize your must do tasks

Keeping your must do, impossible tasks to just a few things will keep it easier to manage. Instead of thinking everything you should be doing focus only on completing 1-3 things.

If you complete those things your day was a success, anything above and beyond those things is just the topping on the cake. If you don’t complete your tasks make a promise to complete them the next day and try again.

Go for a 20 minute walk

Even if you have no end destination in mind just go for that 20 minute walk. It will help you get active and make you feel more confident about facing the world in the day.

Listen to music

Use music to motivate you to do your impossible task. Be it cleaning up the kitchen, getting ready for the day, or while you complete work. Music can be extremely therapeutic so turn on your favorite happy music and play it loud while you complete the task at hand.

You Are Not Alone

If you are facing impossible tasks right now, if depression feels like it’s weighing heavily on you, I want you to know you are not alone. There are a lot of people who are facing their own impossible tasks.

If you need one more day of not getting dressed, one more day of not cleaning the kitchen, one more day of being in this place before tackling your impossible task – take that day. But tomorrow when you wake up you will tackle your impossible task.

Depressed woman sitting in bed holding her head in her hand

You will get up, get dressed, clean your house, do your work, go to the store, pay those bills, and you will celebrate the completion of that task. Treat yourself with something you love. You will call up your friend, contact me, or call a supportive parent and celebrate your completion of the impossible task.

You are not alone, you can do this.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or self harm there are helplines that are open 24 hours a day that can provide confidential and immediate help for free. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 800-273-8255. You are not alone.

Let me know what your impossible task is in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your self care and mental health boards.

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    Crystal Lynn

    Crystal is the founder & CEO of MommyThrives and also full-time mom to a very active little guy. She’s passionate about cooking, cleaning, and organizing and turns her experiences into actionable systems to make mom-life simpler. When she’s not busy, you can find her reading, painting, or even on occasion indulging herself shooting bandits in Borderlands on her PC.

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