One Thing at a Time

Good JobWhether you’re in the midst of a depressive episode, recovering from one, or trying to avoid one, chances are that there’s an area of your life that needs some work.

We’re eating or sleeping too much or too little, isolating ourselves, smoking or drinking too much, not exercising, our internal monologues are mean to us. For depressives, it can easily be all of the above, and it can feel like a freaking powerful posse ganging up on you.

So, as part of my ongoing battle against all-or-nothing thinking, I’m here to say that it’s ok to tackle only one thing at a time. They’re all interrelated and they all reinforce each other and you know what? It’s ok. It’s ok to just choose one.

Each of the above are big hurdles. They’re often biologically reinforced, and can be entrenched by years or decades of habit.

So I’m here to say something else too. I’m here to say that you don’t have to pick the most important one to do first. In fact, it might be best to pick the least important one, the easiest one, the one you already have half a handle on.

Start on the one that doesn’t fill you with dread, and measure small. If it’s your internal monologue you’re working on, don’t aim for an absence of critical thoughts, aim for a single positive one. A single positive thought about yourself every hour, or even every day. Get in the habit of it. And don’t expect to fix it entirely. Make some progress on it, work on maintaining that progress for a little while, then pick another one.

The second one will be easier because you tackled the first.

This stuff isn’t easy. And even thinking about starting is an accomplishment. Good job. 

Photo by Brendan Riley on Flickr.