It’s really hard to live let alone study when you are depressed. Only those who have gone through depression really understand how horrible it can be. When you’re depressed, you generally feel no confidence and energy. You don’t feel like doing anything. As someone who have gone through depression for nearly 2 years during high school (14-16 years), I want to share some tips for how to study with depression.
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How do you study when depressed? (Concise Version)
TLDR, I am going to break it down into two parts; (1) mindset and (2) actions. Let’s get your mindset refreshed first. Try hard to think about positive things that you have today. You are alive! You have a place to sleep, food to eat and an education! That’s a good start. And think about what you are working or studying towards. There’s definitely a better future out there. I have been there, and I can assure you that. Convince yourself that if you don’t give up and continue showing up and studying, life will reward you.
Now, once mindset is set, let’s get into actions. Having a daily to-do list helps. Don’t think too big. Get small wins every day as much as you can. Be as detailed as possible with your to-do list. That helps massively. Another big thing is physical exercise. It’s true that physical exercise can brighten your mood. It’s a must. And lastly, feed your brain with motivations through books. Repeat these and I believe there will be improvements over time.
How to study with depression? (Long Version)
If you have more time, I will break these downs into more details and steps below.
Step 1: Reframe your mindset.
I prefer to start with the mindset. It’s our operating system, where everything originates from. To get this right in the case of depression, here are things you can do.
- Think about positive things that you possess today.
- Think about a few things you are grateful for.
- Believe that there’s a better future out there waiting for us. (Optimism)
- Tell yourself that you’re no quitter and that you’ll do whatever it takes to improve yourself.
Step 2: Get into small actions.
Once your mindset is strengthened, you can lay out some systems to get yourself into studying.
- Create a to-do checklist of things you want to accomplish today.
- Make sure they are detailed enough to keep you motivated. (e.g., read this chapter, etc.)
- Continue working through the checklists and achieve small wins. Small wins matter when you don’t have much willpower.
Step 3: Feed your brain and mind with positive materials.
Another layer is to continue feeding your brain with great resources.
- Again, your brain is your hardware. You need to feed with good data, software and systems.
- Buy and read great books that are proven for motivation, success and self-help categories. (e.g., Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)
- Always keep them near you so you read them when you are feeling low-energy.
Step 4: Repeat the cycle, every single day.
You repeat the above cycle. Day by day, you are climbing out of the depression pit. And guess what, whatever doesn’t kill you make you stronger. Honestly, I feel that I become a much better and stronger person after coming out of my 2-year long depression.
I believe the above four steps are useful not just in study settings but also in general settings to help you focus and get things done while you are depressed. Keep fighting and I believe things will work out better for you!