The Healing Power of Routines, Part 2

How can you create worthy routines and goals?

In our previous blog post, we talked about how the creation of meaningful routines can help bring normalcy back into the life of a depressed individual.

Clinical depression is notorious for breaking apart established routines and rendering the affected individual helpless (and hopeless) in many cases. While this mood disorder requires proper treatment and continuous psychotherapy, it doesn’t mean we can’t boost the journey to recovery through holistic approaches.

One way of holistically addressing the dissolution of structure in a person’s life is by creating newer and more positive routines.

Since it’s difficult to create and sustain routines, the depressed individual must make it a point to create worthy goals and routines so he doesn’t end up spending precious time and energy on activities that will not promote healing and recovery.

Below are some guidelines and tips to keep your activities and goals focused and truly meaningful to you and not anybody else:

  1. Identify and maintain priorities. Prioritization is important when building new goals for the simple reason that we cannot pursue everything at once. In terms of creating new routines, you must choose a handful of essential routines and discard the rest for the time being.

For example, if you want to be fitter, you can dedicate 30 minutes or 1 hour to fitness-related activities every day. It wouldn’t be a good idea to dedicate six hours or more to just one endeavor even if the ultimate goal is positive. Your days have to be filled with a variety of positive experiences. Find the right mix of activities and you will enjoy yourself more.

  1. Achievable goals are a must. Every goal or task that you set for yourself must be accompanied with a disclaimer: this goal/task is accomplished when (insert criteria here).

The criteria that you set for each goal must be reasonable and achievable, based on your available time, energy and resources.

If you are suffering from severe depression at the moment, it doesn’t make sense to set lofty goals because even if these goals are positive, your current condition would make it doubly difficult for you to achieve them.

When you set goals for yourself, be sure to make them relevant by thinking of the ways that they can help you achieve important milestones, which would then speed up the healing process.

We know that the goal-setting process can be confusing to depressed individuals so it would be best to reach out to psychiatrist/psychotherapist or any trusted member of your support network to help you set these goals.

Remember: a person should only be allowed to accompany you in the goal-setting phase if he/she knows you well enough and he/she is fully aware of your condition and what it’s all about. Otherwise, you may end up setting goals that are not ideal or useful to you at the present time.

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself, period. A person who is suffering from depression needs positivity from without (i.e. from people around him/her) and from within (i.e. himself/herself). Setting goals is important for inner healing and the journey back to normalcy, but even more important are the allowances that you give yourself when things don’t work out as you thought they would.

Instead of becoming frustrated with yourself when something doesn’t work out as planned, ask yourself: what can be changed to make the process easier for you to accomplish?

Perhaps there’s a small factor that is obstructing your progress. Maybe the process you are presently using for attaining your goals is better suited for someone who isn’t dealing with the impacts of a mood disorder. There are many possibilities and we suggest that you look into these possible reasons before giving up on a goal.

Your ultimate goal is to heal using the structure that you’ve created despite of your condition. In the beginning it’s going to be challenging, but moving forward and facing difficulties is better than staying put and feeling helpless and paralyzed. You will soon realize that the best way out of depression is always “up and about” no matter how hard the mood disorder tries to pull you down.

Fast Tip: When creating a “master plan” for attaining a goal, always break down big steps into small, bite-sized subtasks so you’re not overwhelmed. Simplify steps and be flexible with your timeframe for each subtask. Remember: give yourself adequate allowances because you’re still recovering from depression. Don’t let your goals become one of your sources of stress!