8 Things to Do When You Just Can’t

Photo courtesy of Danielle Vincent.

Photo courtesy of Danielle Vincent.

This post was originally published at Outlaw Soaps—Pyragraph’s favorite place to get handmade soap—and is reposted here with kind permission.

As someone with social anxiety and depression (and ADD…fun), some days, I just can’t. But now that we have a business, it doesn’t matter if I can or I can’t, because I must.

Here’s a short list of things that I do when I can’t, even though I must. If you find it helpful, print it out and stick it in your bathroom so you can stare at it when you can’t.

Get the fuck out of bed.

If you achieve nothing else, get the fuck out of bed. In these circumstances, you’re going to be miserable whether you’re standing or whether you’re laying down, so you might as well be miserable standing.

Make and drink coffee.

Don’t think this gets you off the hook of standing. Wait for your coffee to brew while standing. Drink your coffee standing.

If your day is truly a pile of steaming crap, you don’t even have coffee because you used the last of it yesterday and didn’t get more, because yesterday was also a day you just couldn’t. If you’re like me, you might even cry about this. Cry standing.

Go to the bathroom and put a cold washcloth on your face.

I find it doesn’t really help to whisper, “Oh, Jesus,” over and over when doing that, but, hey, might as well try again, right? “Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.”

Awesome! Don’t you feel better already? Probably not, but at least you’re up, you’ve either had coffee or a cry, and your face is clean. Oh, and Jesus is aware of your struggle.

Resist the urge to post how you feel on any social media platform. It will just make you feel more alone.

I hope you’re still standing up. Simon didn’t say you could sit down yet.

Go to your Checklist of Doom and find the least shitty thing on the list.

If you don’t have a Checklist of Doom (highly recommended), you probably have a to-do list. Pick the easiest / least shitty thing on your list. Usually, for me, this is Pinterest. I have to update Pinterest every week for work and Pinterest is pretty much the definition of “un-shitty.” This enables me to stare at photos of things that would ordinarily make me happy if I actually could.

Huzzah. You did a thing.

Post on social media about the thing you did, even if you have to use false enthusiasm.

“Hey! Check out the whole pinboard I made dedicated to jumping goats! Woo hoo! Goats!

You think you’re the only person who has ever pretended to be happy on social media? You’re not. It’s a self-reinforcing post. I promise.

Get in the shower and use your favorite soap.

I’m biased, of course, but people have written in saying that our soap helps them practice much-needed personal hygiene even in the depths of the worst depression, since it’s something to look forward to.

Here’s where the difference between common soap and amazing soap really makes itself apparent…it’s the difference between can and can’t. My personal favorite soap is Dusty Trails, because it reminds me of Joshua Tree National Park, which is one of my favorite places on earth. Even if I can’t, I can certainly talk myself into showering with Dusty Trails. If I’m out of Dusty Trails (I am right now), the other soaps will do fine. But for those mornings when even getting vertical requires a lot of cajoling, only Dusty Trails will lure me into the shower.

Get ready to leave the house

Once the shower is over, brush your hair and—probably the shittiest part of your morning—get dressed. I personally have resorted to some uniform clothes. I know they look acceptable for work. I can even go to the grocery store in them without looking too out of place. If you’re like me and getting dressed is the shittiest part of your morning, do yourself a favor and get some uniform clothes.

You are now ready to leave the house. You probably don’t feel ready, but trust me, you’re ready.

Leave. Go to work. Have coffee from a metal cup. Get it done.

To recap:

1: Get the fuck out of bed.

2: Make and drink coffee.

3: Put a cold washcloth on your face.

4: Go to your Checklist of Doom and do the least shitty thing on it.

5: Post about your completion of that thing with enthusiasm.

6: Have a nice shower.

7: Get ready to leave the house.

8: Leave the house.

You can do this. I believe in you.

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About Danielle Vincent

After more than 10 years as a corporate digital product manager for such sites as Oprah.com, ABC.com, and ABCFamily.com, Danielle Vincent quit her career and pulled up her rubber gloves to make a living manufacturing and selling soaps as Outlaw Soaps. Her experience with social media, product management, web analytics, business, and design have made Outlaw Soaps into a personal experiment as she finds out what happens when she applies her largely digital learnings to the real world.

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