5 Tips For Staying Organized When Suffering From Depression

They say life comes in waves — and for some of us, those waves are deeper and more frequent. Sorrow, sadness, despair, and grief are common human emotions. Still, nearly 8% of Americans report experiencing major depression disorder, where depressive episodes can last over two weeks (via National Center for Health Statistics). When overwhelming and even numbing emotions get in the driver's seat, day-to-day routines become secondary, and productivity becomes a taunting joke. Though there are many functioning neurodivergent persons, research shows that most suffering from anxiety and depression lack the motivation to stay active, productive, and organized (via Everyday Health).

Depression can feel paralyzing, and while suffering from a lack of energy, it's easy to judge yourself for your inability to be "normal." Staying organized feels like another daunting task, and as you dance around your responsibilities, the shame for not remaining clean, categorized, and sorted, grows daily. It's a horrible rabbit hole to go down, but when caught early, can be the saving grace to anxiety and depression.

Stop judging yourself

When looking at what needs organizing or cleaning, it's easy to choose judgment of self before logically deciding how to tackle the task. Psychologists say that shame can be an incredibly toxic emotion because it has the ability to fuel one's depression (via Psych Central). Rather than shaming yourself for having a room, space, or mess to organize, remind yourself that you're human and these things are natural to our experience. Choose to focus instead on the actual task and not how it reflects on you as a person.

Give yourself a small goal

Organizing can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible when you can barely get out of bed. Organizing experts suggest setting a small goal that is manageable and achievable (via Top Shelf Home Organizing). This way, you can celebrate your victories, no matter how small. You may find your spirits lift a bit just by crossing one thing off your list. If organizing your entire closet seems daunting, choose a minor task that takes less mental energy, like rearranging the bookshelf. The goal here is achievability and doing what you can manage.

Detox what you don't need

Having a cluttered space may be a contributing factor to your emotional unease. A 2009 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women with higher disheveled spaces also experienced more elevated cortisol or stress hormone levels. This means that clutter can actually increase one's stress level and increase mental fog. Take the time to throw out old things you don't need and detox your physical space. After Marie Kondo'ing your life, you might find new mental clarity and a resurgence of positivity.

Reward yourself for the work done

In the same spirit of setting small goals, decide to treat yourself for any work accomplished. Psych Central says the act of rewarding yourself is not only an entertaining strategy for getting work done, but it also comforts, energizes, and boosts one's self-command. It also helps to balance one's energy and acknowledges the work completed. Rewarding yourself is also a healthy habit to build that can breach off into other areas of your life that can positively enhance your mental health.

Hire professional help

If the idea of organizing alone sounds impossible while battling depression, it's always okay to ask for help. Believe it or not, there are some people who have devoted their entire lives to cleaning and organizing. Professional organizers will first consult and assess your organizational needs before deciding how best to help. Home business directory Angi's List vets trusted pros and allows you to search for professional organizing consultants in your area.

If you are personally struggling with depression and need help, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and professional support in your area.