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Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And today is a very special episode of our Tuesday show.

I'm here in sunny Los Angeles. I am sitting in my best camp counselor needs to get into some real talk position. I have not straightened my hair.

I kind of feel like a Bee Gee. Basically, I am my most authentic self right now because I want you to be your most authentic self. And something that we hear a lot on TFD, is like, this advice is great, but it's great for people who are already kind of on top of their game and doing really well.

And while we do try to include advice that's accessible for all different income levels and all different career paths or moments in your life, I do recognize that sometimes just literally getting out of bed can be a huge struggle for people. Now, as I mentioned, right now I'm in Los Angeles, so the weather is actually rather nice. But back in New York, it is fully-- sun is setting at PM and my will to live is sapping every single day.

And I totally understand how even someone who may be generally in a great place can be really affected by that. And if you're someone who might already be prone to things like depression, this time of year can be deadly. And that's even before we get into the bleak part of winter, which in New York is like end of February through beginning of April where every single day you're like, why, lord, why can I not have one day of sun?

Long story short, we're entering into a period of the year where some of us, maybe many of us, can be more susceptible than usual to just not feeling like yourself. Or maybe you're in a place where regardless of the weather, you find it difficult just to put one foot in front of the other. So we wanted to take a moment to give some advice for those of you who may be struggling just to get out of bed in the morning.

To talk about how to stay motivated when everything feels kind of impossible. You may not be in that place yourself, but I think that some of this advice can help apply to times in your life when you're less motivated than you usually are. And listen, full transparency, as I mentioned, the weather in New York is full-on depression mode.

And I have not worked out and like, now it's got to be 2 and 1/2 weeks. I hate myself. But I'm about to follow these hot tips and get back in the swing of things.

So without further ado, here are nine tricks to staying motivated when you can barely get out of bed. Number one is setting gentle reminders for yourself every step of the way of things. One of the most difficult things when you are in what may be a depressive episode, or just a generally really rough time is projects that can feel overwhelming.

Let's use an example like tax time. It can feel like, oh no, there's this big looming administrative thing that I hate doing even when I feel well, but now feel like I cannot possibly do. Well, a lot of us have a tendency in those moments-- and I am more guilty than probably any of you-- of just being like, I'm not going to think about it.

I'm not going to think about it. I'm not going to think about it. Until like, PM on April 14th when I'm like, shit.

And then I'm just like doing my taxes in what is probably like a very, very sketchy way at that time. Let me be clear, I'm better at that now. I take my taxes very seriously.

I do not mess with the IRS. But that might be you. You might be that person-- I've definitely been there-- who is like, putting everything off to the very last minute.

So in order to make this thing feel much less overwhelming, take the big thing itself-- in this case, file your taxes-- and break it down into several different little mini steps that are much more manageable and digestible. And then set little friendly reminders for yourself on your Google Calendar for each of those things. Like, for example, at one point, it might be, "gather all of my relevant document." At another point, it might be, "download an app," if I need to get one to help do my taxes.

Another one might be, "fill out my tax forms." Basically, making sure that anything that feels overwhelming or impossible to you is planned out in teeny tiny little steps that feel much more achievable. And by setting those little reminders, you are not leaving it to your like, completely wonked out brain to remember when you're supposed to do things. For you, it may not be taxes.

It may be something like planning a trip you have to take or looking for a job or whatever it may be that can feel big and overwhelming. Remember that the more it is made into bit-sized moments that you can handle and the more you are reminding yourself of when you need to do things, the less it will feel like some big overwhelming burden that causes you massive anxiety. Number two is use a distraction journal.

According to TFD contributor Kimberly Bui, "My distraction journal is essentially a table where I keep a running tally on my urges to check my phone. I make a list with columns, and at the top of each column, I write down the reasons that I could possibly be distracted. For me, it's social media, emails or texts, personal finance or blogging updates, and fidgeting.

After I create this table, I close out all my tabs, put my phone in a drawer, and get to work. Every time I feel the urge to reach for my phone to check my texts, instead of opening the drawer, mark a tally under the "emails or texts" columns. And, whenever I think of something I need to do, like send an email or order a present, I write down as a task below my table instead of actually starting the task.

This way, I ensure I don't forget about the reminders popping up into my head, but I also prevent myself from diving headfirst into a totally different task than what I was already focusing on. I do this for about an hour, and then I allow myself a five-minute break. This system has done wonders for my productivity.

Not only has it removed my distractions, it has also really forced me to evaluate why I get distracted so easily and push through my procrastination tendencies." Now your manifestation might be very different, but I've always found that the more down I feel-- and I am very susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder-- the more I tend to be very distracted. And I think part of that is just your brain, like, scanning whatever it can, like a police scanner, to find a little bit of dopamine. You want to do things that feel good and you can't concentrate, because in general, you're having a pretty hard time keeping a hold on your brain in general.

And for most of us, if you're already feeling really unmotivated and on top of it, extremely distracted, accomplishing even the most small task can be overwhelming. So using something like a distraction journal can ensure that you are listening to yourself and understanding yourself and possibly working on those longer term distractions, as well as not forgetting something important that might pop up. But you're not allowing it to completely derail every task you attempt.

Journaling is a really powerful thing, you guys. And I don't want to admit that because I don't have very good handwriting. Number three is making a to do list with whatever goals you can and actually checking them off.

One of the most compounding feelings of depression is this feeling that you can't do anything, so you feel like crap for not being able to do anything, so you refuse to even try to do anything. Because you feel like you can't, so why bother? And part of what keeps us motivated when we're doing well and on a good streak is that feeling of like, well, I accomplished this thing, well, hell yeah, I could probably accomplish another.

The feeling of checking off a task or an accomplishment is a huge motivator, and for many of us, a real rush of serotonin. But if you're never getting that because you're never doing anything, you're not going to reap those benefits. But chances are, even if you're not doing the things that would usually make your to do list, you're probably doing some stuff.

So recalibrate the to do list for the time being to accommodate the things that you actually can do. For you, it might be like, wake up before 11:00, 1:00. But pick a time that feels reasonable.

Like, I woke up before this time. I got out of bed. I took a shower.

I called someone. I changed into a decent outfit. I answered an email.

Whatever the things may be to you that are doable but still feel like a bit of an accomplishment, make them into that to do list and you check those bitches off. Because you'll find that even though the contents of the to do list may have changed, that feeling of I wanted to do something and I did it, even though I didn't necessarily think I could, still hits the same way. And then you can compound on that feeling of having accomplished something and maybe snowball it into going to the post office.

The ultimate challenge. Number four is temporarily change your goals to ones that feel more exciting. Now one of the biggest issues when you're feeling in a really bad down cycle is that more abstract goals, even if you know that they're good and important, can feel like, what's even the point?

I could just like, get hit by a bus tomorrow. So who even cares if I have an emergency fund? Savings, for example, can feel like, genuinely not as fun or important.

And that's normal. So for the time being, even if it's just part of the money that you're saving, pick something that feels really fun that you really want to do, and that you can visualize and plan for. Maybe it's like, going to visit a friend and you can talk to them about your upcoming trip.

Or it's a vacation to somewhere really exciting where you can post photos of the images, or even just like look at pictures of the sun, which in New York, is honestly something I do at this time of year. Or maybe it's a concert you really want to go to, or an item you really want to buy yourself, but haven't been able to justify. Whatever it is, make sure there's at least one savings goal that makes you feel like it's worth saving for.

Yes, we should all be in the mental space where just having a really robust retirement account is something that we get juiced up for. But honestly, even in my most lucid, productive, happy moments, it can sometimes feel like not that exciting. So when you're really not feeling at the top of your game, it's going to feel like, who cares?

I'll never be old. I can't even get to that place in my life right now. Fair enough.

So pick at least one thing that feels exciting, and you will find it much, much easier to move some of that money into savings. Also lastly, because saving for a more exciting goal isn't just about the item itself or the experience itself, it's about all of the anticipation you get to enjoy saving up for it. Which, fun fact, studies show often provide more joy than the actual thing or act itself.

I am someone who absolutely relishes anticipation. I stretch every experience in my life into it's like maximal amount of individual joy units. Like if I know I'm going to a good restaurant, you better believe I'm going to be looking at that menu 700 times and looking at every photo on the Yelp, because I'm just like, I can't wait to go.

And part of the excitement for me is thinking about it. So give yourself the gift of anticipation with one of these savings goals. Number five is give yourself child-like incentives.

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself like your own toddler. And there is no shame in that. We have all been there.

And that means if you're Chelsea, you're like, if you do this really tedious task that you don't want to do, you get to order that bottle of Korean hot sauce off the internet and mix it into a bowl of Velveeta and shells and eat it while watching YouTube videos about family vloggers. And listen, that may not be your bag. You may not want that.

But whatever you're like little thing is that is just like a pure moment of indulgent, dirty id joy, you should give that to yourself. But at least make it contingent upon like one thing. You're like, if I mail these letters-- and yes, my like Olympian obstacle is always going to post office.

That's my example. But you're like, I have to mail these letters or I have to send these emails, and if I do it, I get to order a pizza. And I get to eat it while watching whatever I want.

Or maybe it's like, I get to go to the movies and see any movie I want. Maybe you even get to go see a double feature. Whatever it may be for you.

Set yourself the kind of incentive that you would honestly set a child that you were trying to like, get to be calm during a flight or like not pee on the floor. Like whatever you're trying to get your child to do. Sometimes it's OK to lean into the fact that at our most base level, we are just animals who just want that Pavlovian treat, and we are going to do what it takes to get that treat.

Never feel like it's too silly to set one of those incentives if it's actually going to work. And yes, it's the Samyang sauce, and yes, it's Drew Gooden videos. I love his video essays about the darkness of YouTube.

I can't get enough. Number six is get ready as if you're going somewhere nice, even if you're going nowhere. As someone who used to work from home every single day and lived alone, I can tell you that one of the worst cycles to get into for your mental health is to always be wearing disgusting at-home clothes or just your pajamas, sometimes for days on end, because not only is it like, physically just kind of like gross to be doing that, and you feel gross, you feel like a literal trash monster, you feel like, one time, a friend of mine referred to it as a frog floating on a lily pad of your own filth.

But it feels gross, physically. It's got that like film on it. But also emotionally, you're like, I can't see the day.

I can't go outside or do anything productive or become a human. I am not a human. I am a garbage monster.

And that's understandable, because putting on clothes is exhausting. Putting on makeup or doing your hair or whatever it is, is exhausting. But it also really impacts how you feel about yourself.

Even just looking in the mirror. And one of the things I have found over and over is that I am infinitely more motivated to do things and go places and accomplish tasks I need to accomplish if I look put together. If you look disgusting, you are not going to go to the grocery store and get yourself a few things that have nutrients in them.

So don't even start by making plans. Don't even start by thinking you're going out of the house. Forget that.

Just be like, you know what, I'm going to sit here, put on a podcast that I like to listen to, get dressed in a decent outfit, maybe do my hair, maybe put on some makeup, make myself look as if I were going somewhere nice, but I don't have to go anywhere. And then once you're all dressed up, you will often find that you want to go out because you're like, damn, I look like a human being again. Someone should see this.

So remember that often it's about tricking yourself into perceiving yourself and your surroundings differently. And a huge part of that is how you are put together visually. Number seven is force yourself to stretch.

Now, I refuse to join the legions of people who upon hearing that someone may be in a depressive state, immediately recommends that they exercise. Fuck you. Those people should be pushed into a volcano.

But let's be honest, now that we've established that people who recommend that you go out and exercise if you're not feeling well are terrible people and we don't have to listen to them, we can also, between the two of us, acknowledge that no matter your mental state, obviously, exercise is good for you. But I know as well as anyone how difficult it can be to be consistent with exercise, even when you're feeling great. As I mentioned, because I've moved, and I'm traveling, and it's pitch black at 4:30 and all I want to do is eat pasta, I haven't exercised in close to three weeks.

And I love exercising. So I get it. But here's the thing, you're going to have to do something, even when you're feeling like you can do nothing.

So force yourself to stretch. And even if you can't get on a yoga mat, just do it at the end of your bed. Because ultimately, stretching, especially when you're breathing deeply and getting into a good relaxed head space, has many of the same benefits as exercising.

It might not get your heart rate up or build strength, but what it is doing is putting you presently in your body and getting you out of the place where you feel like you're just a brain being carried around in this Mecca Transformers suit. You are your body and your body is you, as dark as that is to acknowledge. So the more you can acknowledge it, be present in it, and say, hey, like, maybe I'm not taking the best care of you right now, but at least we're together in this, the better.

And when done right, stretching actually feels really good, so it's a nice little thing to look forward to. Number eight is surround yourself with plants. It's that time of year when sunlight is scarce, being outside sucks, and if you live in a bigger city, chances are you probably don't even have great lighting in your home to let in the little natural sunlight that you're getting.

And yes, the like, leveled up answer to this is to go outside early in the morning to catch as much of that nice energy as you can. But listen, I'm fine and I hate doing that. I don't want to get up at six o'clock in the morning to like, enjoy that sun.

But I admit on some level that it's right. We need to maximize our contact with fresh air and nature and vitamin D. But if that's not accessible to you right now, for whatever reason, get some plants.

And before you're like, I can't maintain a plant, we have a great guide on TFD about how to take care of plants and which ones to get if you are terrible with plants. So you can do it. But plants have tons of really, really tangible benefits to both the health of your living space, which can often get extremely dank in a dark moment, and also your mental health.

Extensive research by NASA has revealed that house plants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours. Studies have also proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%. They reduce stress levels and boost your mood, making them perfect not just for your home, but for your workspace too.

Plants. It's what adults do. Lastly, is to create a sinking fund for the expenses that are liable to sneak up on you.

Basically, a sinking fund is a form of saving that is separate from all of your more steady, normal savings accounts, but for things that are going to come up and you know will. For example, something like the holidays. Six months beforehand, you know you're going to want maybe a couple dollars budgeted, so you start putting away 15 here, 20 here.

Obviously, we're basically already there, so too late for a sinking fund on the holidays, but for example, next summer, you might want to go on a trip. So a sinking fund for that is also going to be really helpful. And you can start now.

One of the most overwhelming elements of these big moments is that you often are not financially prepared for them. But in many cases, you do know that they will happen. So making sure that you budget for them totally separately ensures that they won't sneak up on you and they won't feel like they're a huge source of dread and anxiety because you don't necessarily know how you're going to afford them.

Similarly to our first point about making sure that any big overwhelming tasks are broken into little steps and chunks, you're going to want to take any moments where you're going to want a more substantial amount of money and plan for that very far ahead with small amounts. It's not manageable to suddenly come up with $1,000 on the fly, but it is manageable to put away $10 to $20 a week for many weeks until you have that $1,000. Creating sinking funds is all about alleviating future stress and making sure you're in control of what's coming up, so that it's not compounding what can already be a feeling of being overwhelmed.

We know that sometimes getting good with your finances can depend on being in an overall healthy mental state. But no matter where you are in your mental or financial health, there are always little things you can do to get just a little bit better than you were yesterday. So hopefully, some of these steps you can take to put yourself in a position to take the bigger steps that you'll need to set yourself up for a healthy financial future.

As always guys, thank you for watching. Don't forget to hit the Subscribe button, and take care of yourselves, and to come back every single Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye bye.