One of the most common and talked about symptoms of depression is lack of interest in things that you used to enjoy. Depression makes you so exhausted just from existing, that often times doing anything else on top of the basics just doesn’t seem worth it. Everything feels like work, except lying still and maybe watching something. So what about those hobbies that you love but take more effort? The people who like exercising, or creating things, or going out? Here are my tips on making sure you don’t completely lose yourself to the black hole that is depression.
Don’t set goals
I know what you’re thinking. This goes against everything I’ve ever been told about achieving my dreams and doing things and being productive. And I’d say you’re right. But we’re not talking about getting your dream career or achieving all your hopes. We’re talking about your personal hobbies. These are things you are doing just for fun. Sure, many hobbies involved getting better at them, such as playing sports or building furniture, but we are also talking about how to keep interested in things when they feel like work. Which means you need to make them feel as far away from works as you can. For me, setting too many goals and stretching myself can be overwhelming. I find that just doing something for the sake of doing something is a much better way to inspire yourself to keep doing it, instead of worrying about some end goal.
Schedule times specifically for it
If you’re one of those people who tries to combat their depression by scheduling everything they do, this is for you. A lot of the time, people consider planning or scheduling to be a thing specifically for work. People will schedule their days to the minute, and sometimes they schedule certain appointments or meetings. But not many people think to schedule their recreation time. But I find it really helpful to have specific times planned ahead where all I have to do is relax or practice my hobby. For the next hour, it’s just me and my knitting needles/photography camera/basketball.
Diversify your interests
Sometimes, at the end of the day, you just might not be into something anymore. It may just feel like depression making you too tired, but it is true that sometimes we just get bored of things. One of the biggest issues of Nick and I’s relationships is that when we start a video game together, one of us always gets bored of it way before the other. Trying new things is even harder to do while depressed than just staying interesting in what you already know. I would recommend starting slow, with less intensive activities, and then work your way out of your shell.
Remember: this is for you
Finally, it’s important to remember that this time is supposed to be completely for you and your enjoyment. You should feel no pressure to do more or less than your comfortable doing. Depression messes with our limits a lot. Limits of how much rest we need to function, how much alone time we need, and how long our attention span is. If there are days where you simply cannot focus long enough for candle making or painting, it is entirely your prerogative to not do those things, and simply relax.