Advice, Mental Health

The Smaller Method for Depression

Today I am going to tell you about my best working method for combating depression and overwhelming tasks. I by no means invented this concept, but lately, it has been working wonders at getting me out of bed and into getting stuff done. In fact, you’ve probably heard about it and maybe tried it before. The basic idea: if something seems like it is overwhelming, break it down into smaller tasks.

running-1944798_1920I know, you’re probably thinking, “Nicole this is just about the most common goal making method out there.” But hear me out for a minute. Most of the time, this idea is framed around big goals. You’re not supposed to just set these huge, shoot-for-the-stars dreams. Instead, it is more practical and achievable to set smaller goals instead that will lead to that ultimate dream. That way you get a more immediate sense of accomplishment that will propel you into completing the next goal. For example, I shouldn’t just say I want to be able to run a marathon, but I should instead focus on a more on-the-spot plan of building your endurance by learning to run a mile, and then two, and so on.

But I’m talking about using this method on everyday tasks. Having a shower, washing the dishes, taking out the trash. Those mundane things that we have to do day in and day out to survive. They’re not fun, but they need to be done.

What I have been doing lately is breaking down those tasks to extremely small parts. I’m talking very, very tiny parts. For example, the other day I needed to take a shower but it felt like such a monumental task. So I broke it down. First I thought that the first step could be going upstairs, but even that seemed exhausting. So the first step ended up being simply sit up from the lying position I was in on the couch. Not get up, just sit up straight and take off the blanket I had over me. That’s it.


There is one essential thing you need to do in order for this to work for you. That is you can’t judge yourself for how minuscule the tasks you break down seem to a “normal” person. Sure, getting into the shower is something people do every single day, no problems. But for me, it’s one of the first things that goes when I’m in a down mood. I have to accept that thinking about how pathetic I am isn’t going to make anything any easier. It’s just going to make it feel even more draining and overwhelming.

Have you ever used this technique for battling the bad days? Or do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Please leave them in the comments.

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