La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida




I get a lot of people that need a pick me up, and when they see me I give them some advice on how to be productive even when they are down or don't feel like it. The reality is that everyone feels down sometimes whether they have Major Depression or something else. I believe that the amount of time that one stays in that lull is a direct correlation to how much action they are taking against the lull. This is not to say that someone with Major Depressive Disorder can get out of it by taking vitamins and exercising as some would suggest. It's just saying that if we can match our obligations to our energy level in the times when we are really down - we can still be productive.

In this newsletter, I'm going to give you a step by step way to do just that!

If you have any suggestions for newsletters, please email me and I will get to the topic!

Until next month!

Dr. L


Just brainstorm. I like to make lists in categories of things: personal life, social life, work life, spiritual life, physical life, etc. I like to write goals out for myself for a certain time period - some daily goals, or monthly goals, some longer term, some fantasy type goals that I would do if I had the time.

GOAL: Exercise daily
GOAL: Have my space clutter free.

GOAL: Spend time with my family that is quality.
GOAL: Do not get behind at work.

In each of the categories - start to make a blind list of things that you have to get done. They don't have to be in any order. They just have to be things that must get done. Depending upon how you feel - you may have to break the tasks down to minute pieces.

GOAL: Exercise daily

  1. Get home from work.
  2. Get a bottle of water from the refrigerator on the way to the closet.
  3. Dress into work out clothes.
  4. Put on athletic shoes.
  5. Do five minutes of physical activity no matter what it is. If you only start to walk out to the mailbox, do 5 minutes of weeding in your front yard, or go for a walk down the block - then that is good.
  6. If you feel OK while you are exercising and you can do it, then do 5 minutes more. Work up to doing any physical activity for 30 minutes per day.
  7. Once you achieve that with regularity - then put more structure into the routine, make it longer, or change the intensity.

GOAL: Have my space clutter free.

  1. Go through mail and throw away what I don't need. File what I do.
    • Get mail from mailbox.
    • Sort mail - Josh (husband), Me, and junk.
    • Read mail right when I get into the house and take care of it then.
    • If there is a bill to pay that isn't on automatic bill pay, I put it by the computer so it's the first thing I see when I get there and I will take care of it before I do anything else. If there is a person I need to send a thank you to, or call - I put it by my phone so right when I pick my phone up again (which is when I go to work the next day) I have it there to take care of.
    • Place Josh's mail in cubby so it doesn't get lost and he knows where it is.
    • Throw junk mail away immediately. There is never anything in there that I will really use.
  2. Clean all counter tops.
    • Before cooking anything, spray counter with cleaner and wipe with paper towel.
    • All cleaners for task are at arms length to make it easier.
    • Have minimal decorative things on the counter so I can clean it easily and it doesn't distract from the cooking process so that is quicker.
  3. Have dishwasher emptied and dishes put away.
    • Josh does this so it's not anything that I have to do.
  4. Keep things minimal so I have less to clean.
    • This is the overall thought process. Any task that I need to do that is complicated (cooking is one of them) needs to have as little things impeding it as possible so it's not so much of a chore and it's something enjoyable. I try to do this with everything.
    • As you can see in my office - there is a lot of stuff, but it's minimal. All surfaces are glass or plex so as not to detract from the work that needs to be done.

When you feel down, the simplest things get overwhelming so it would help if you need to to break the tasks into the littlest chunks that seem digestible and with each little step you are making progress toward your goal.

So, in the example above - each one of the steps is a task. We have the tasks numbered in terms of level of difficulty. If you're not feeling well - just do the easiest ones so that way you are still doing something useful toward your goal.

When each task is completed no matter how small - sorting mail, walking to the mailbox or wiping down the kitchen counters - you should feel good about yourself. Each of these things is important in the broad scheme of things. Each day we have major tasks to do and not so major ones to do. You can keep yourself moving by knowing what things you can do depending upon how you feel and not focusing on what's not getting done.

At the end of my day, no matter how I feel, I know that I have completed something important at home and at work.

This is an important step and one that people a lot of time feel they don't deserve, or they forget it because there are so many important things that they have to do. Believe me, it's something that I'm guilty of doing. But what allows me to rest sometimes is just the internal thought that I know that I did things that I didn't think that I could get done. Or I have not gotten behind and that is also a success.

Until next month!

Dr. L

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