Often times when a person is depressed they may feel tired or have a lack of motivation and energy. These changes in mood can often times lead a person, who is feeling depressed, to not carrying out their daily tasks, activities, and responsibilities. All of these responsibilities at home, school, or work can begin to pile up for your adolescent. This can lead them to feeling overwhelmed and creating an increased feeling of guilt, uselessness, and failure. This can become a vicious cycle that increases the depressed mood and further lowers motivation. By encouraging your adolescent to increase their activity levels, it can help them to feel better, be less tired, and think more clearly. Positive experiences can help alleviate some of the depressed feelings and mood.
The Behavioral Strategies for Managing Depression Module provides a list of 185 ideas for pleasurable activities such as thinking about planning a day’s activities, exercising, or going ice skating, roller skating/blading. When your adolescent is depressed, they have to plan fun and enjoyable activities into their life. The module has a worksheet they can follow to help them track their activities and rate their depression, pleasant feelings, and sense of achievement before and after the activity. It also has a weekly schedule to help them, and you, plan out daily responsibilities and pleasurable activities.
It’s good for your adolescent to start slow by adding just a few small activities weekly. Then slowly increase the amount of activities over time. It might seem hard to them in the beginning, but helping them to set reasonable goals is important so it won’t be too much too soon. Choosing to perform tasks that give them a sense of achievement or mastery will help them to feel like they are starting to regain control over their life. Once they have a sense of achievement it could encourage them to do more.
What are some fun and pleasurable activities you have suggested to your adolescent to help improve their mood?