Spiderwebs. I don't think that those words are officially listed on the emotion wheel. Still, this is the clearest description I can give of what I and many people I treat face when tackling a particularly nasty bit of depression or anxiety. These challenges can make you feel trapped in a space where you aren't 'up to' anything. Even the things you typically enjoy or find meaningful can be difficult in these times.

When we don't feel 'up to' something physically it makes sense to rest. When we don't feel up to something psychologically, things get more tricky. Sometimes rest is necessary. For example, stress can be a powerful trigger for mental health symptoms/episodes. That feeling of 'I'm not up to this' could be like a blinking 'check engine' light before the full episode comes forth.

Other times, avoiding things because we do not feel 'up to' them can paint us into a corner, ultimately leading to more depression and anxiety. Determining the difference can be difficult. Two important markers can be when the avoidance is ongoing and when it gets in the way of what is meaningful to us.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), emotional reasoning is considered a powerful habit of thought. Strong emotions can convince us of a reality that may or may not line up with what our senses tell us. While at times not feeling up to something might mean we need rest, not feeling up to something does not always mean we are unable.

Trying to conserve energy through inactivity often leads us to lose momentum. Over time this can lead us to lose sight of what matters to us.

1. Go Slow

If your mind and/or body is giving you a signal that you are not up to something, at least this is a sign that it may be wise to proceed with caution. If you do decide to keep going, prioritize what needs to be done right away. It's okay if you don't finish everything in one day, especially if you are fighting a depressive episode.

2. Take Breaks

It's okay to take breaks. On days when you feel low mentally, you may choose to plan some extra breaks in your day. These breaks might include things like time away from people, moments outdoors, or a small chat with a friend. What is a break to one person might look different from what is a break to another.

3. Plan Things to Look Forward To

If you can, try to plan something to look forward to. This doesn't have to be extravagant. It could be a little thing like taking the stairs or watching squirrels. It might also be something like lighting some incense at the end of the day. Throw in rewards throughout your day and intentionally be present for these.

4. Spread Tasks Over a Few Days

It's okay to pace yourself. Not feeling up to doing a task in one day is not the same as not feeling up to starting it at all. If there is a particularly daunting task, break it down into smaller pieces. Maybe try to do just one piece.

5. Start the Day With Something That Gives You Energy

For some, this might mean playing music on your phone while you are still in bed, looking for the energy to wake up. To others, it might be a morning walk. Beginning your day with something that gives you energy can jump-start you through the fog.

Depression and anxiety can make everyday life feel overwhelming when amid an episode. Still, activity is often necessary to get through.

If you are finding that you are having many days like this, please reach out. A mental health professional can partner with you as you fight this. In addition, psychiatric intervention and/or psychotherapy are sometimes necessary to help someone regain their strength.

QOSHE - What to Do When You Don't Feel Up To Anything - Jennifer Gerlach Lcsw
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What to Do When You Don't Feel Up To Anything

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09.12.2023

Spiderwebs. I don't think that those words are officially listed on the emotion wheel. Still, this is the clearest description I can give of what I and many people I treat face when tackling a particularly nasty bit of depression or anxiety. These challenges can make you feel trapped in a space where you aren't 'up to' anything. Even the things you typically enjoy or find meaningful can be difficult in these times.

When we don't feel 'up to' something physically it makes sense to rest. When we don't feel up to something psychologically, things get more tricky. Sometimes rest is necessary. For example, stress can be a powerful trigger for mental health symptoms/episodes. That feeling of 'I'm not up to this' could be like a blinking 'check engine' light before the full episode comes forth.

Other times, avoiding things because we do not feel 'up to' them can paint us into a corner,........

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