How can I get back to life?

Return to life

Step 1:Find activities.
There are 4 areas that you have probably neglected in your depression:

  • personally rewarding activities
  • Your appearance
  • Obligations
  • Your environment: family, partner, friends

Think about what small goals you could set for each of these four areas:

Personally rewarding activities:Resuming personally satisfying activities is rewarding. What did you enjoy earlier and what could you enjoy now? Listening to music, going for a walk, watching a film, doing handicrafts? Activities that could be good for me:

Your appearance, your physical condition: What could you put more emphasis on in terms of your appearance, your body care, your clothing? Showering daily, having breakfast regularly, wearing something nice, doing gymnastics? Things that I could do for myself and my appearance are ...

Obligations: What commitments have you neglected? Answering emails and letters, paying bills, going shopping, doctor-therapist appointments? Obligations that I could take on again are ...

Your environment - family, partner, friends, acquaintances: What could you do to get more in touch with those around you? Calling someone to go back to meetings you went to before? Social contacts that I could resume are ...

Step 2:Set realistic goals.
For each activity, set a realistic goal for the next 7 days. It is important to avoid being overwhelmed. You are sick and need to adapt your activities to your state of health. You have to find out what you can do first. You are not fully resilient. You need breaks more often than before. Your activities should be adapted to your limited resilience. What does that mean? Instead of cleaning an entire room, start with a corner. Instead of dusting the whole apartment, just a room or a corner. Instead of going to a social gathering, call a friend and talk to them for a few minutes. Instead of washing all the dirty dishes, just make 3 plates. Then see if you want to take a break or continue.

Say to yourself, "I'll do what I can. Tomorrow is a day too. I'll see how far I get. When I'm exhausted, I allow myself to rest." You will probably find yourself thinking like: "You can't even do that. You are no longer useful. Others do it without any problems." Again, your depression was playing tricks on you. You are sick. You can't do what you want. Like the flu, you are weakened and therefore unable to act like a healthy person. Be considerate of your ailing physical and mental condition. You are not fully resilient.

Pay attention to thoughts like: "I used to do a lot more. It's nothing special. I used to do it with my brains. Even such small things can overwhelm me. I should pull myself together more. I shouldn't let myself go like this." It may be that you used to tackle more with greater ease. But you used to be healthy. You are currently depressed and you cannot act like a healthy person if you are in poor physical or emotional condition.

With a fever of forty degrees and the flu, you wouldn't expect yourself to be active and enterprising either. You would be considerate of your poor health. You would accept that it is impossible for you to do what you are able to do as a healthy person. Why not do this with your depression? Be considerate of your current poor health and do what you can - as little as that may be. Judging by your current state of mind, every activity, no matter how small, is a special and commendable achievement. Are you ready to see it that way too?

Good to know: You will be able to achieve as much as you used to when you feel better. Until then, please be patient with yourself. At the beginning, many activities are not enjoyable.

On the contrary: You will experience this as unsatisfactory, pointless and troublesome. These will only give you pleasure and satisfaction after a while, when your depressed mood has lightened. "I don't deserve to be fine." Did this thought cross your mind? Whether you are doing well or not is not a question of whether you deserve it. You don't have to accomplish anything or do great things to feel good about yourself. To avoid frustration, keep three things in mind when planning your activities:

... read more inHow to overcome depression

More reading samples


First aid strategies

Causes of depression

Instructions for use for feelings

Frequent depressive thoughts

Strengthen self-esteem