The Power of Just One Thing {Depression}

power just one thing

I’ve talked here a bit about my struggle with severe, chronic depression. In addition to this, I have some other health problems that lead to chronic fatigue that is at times nearly debilitating.

Like so many things with depression and it’s symptoms, it’s a vicious cycle. Depression and other health problems leave me drained of energy and unable to perform necessary tasks, and my inability to do these things leaves me feeling even more worthless.

I’ve been planning this post in my head for a while now, but have been procrastinating because it’s not a fun topic. It’s uncomfortable, embarrassing, and vulnerable. One of my biggest personal struggles is admitting the fact that depression and my health prevent me from serving my family in the way that I desire. Nobody can do it all, but I have health limitations that make my all even less than I’d like.

In the worst of my depression and fatigue symptoms, there were days when nothing got done. Days when there wasn’t even one thing in the day that I could look back and be proud of.

Just One Thing.

I’ve been in the dark pit of depression, and it can be debilitating. It drains you of energy and motivation, and the result is an even deeper feeling of worthlessness and self-loathing. It’s a vicious cycle, but you can break it.

During the worst of my depression symptoms, I determined to do just one thing. One productive thing each day. One thing that I could look back and be proud of at the end of the day. Sometimes it might be as simple as:

  • take a shower
  • pick up a room in the house
  • cook dinner for your family
  • clean up the kitchen
  • wash the dishes
  • play a game with your kids

I know to some of you that sounds ridiculous. But I also know that to some of you, it sounds hard to think of doing even just one thing. Give yourself some tough love and just do it. I promise you, it will help. Get up and be productive.

Tip: Keep a journal of these things. It will help you on the bad days to be able to look back on.

Baby Steps

Maybe you’ve been down for a while and your to-do list is so daunting you don’t know where to start.

Forget about the to-do list.

Just do one thing. 

And then at the end of the day, at the very least, you’ll have that one thing to hang on to. The trick about this is that sometimes, that’s all it takes to get you back on the right track. Sometimes that one thing leads to more things.

But even if it doesn’t, you can feel better at night knowing that you accomplished at least something.

Not Just For Depression

Maybe you don’t suffer from depression. Maybe for you it’s a physical illness or something else that drains your strength and motivation. Or maybe your goal is something else entirely. I think this concept can help you, regardless of your goal.

Maybe for you it’s not being productive that’s a problem. Maybe you need to focus on doing just one fun thing with your kids each day. Or just one fun thing for yourself.

Whatever it is, don’t underestimate the power of doing just one thing.





  1. Robin Diaz says

    Hi Crystal, I enjoy your posts and get much inspiration from them. I wanted to say that even though you suffer from the symptoms of depression I think you would feel less victimized with depression if you didn’t call it “my depression”. It seems to me that it makes the depression part of you rather than something you’re suffering with that doesn’t belong to you. It has helped me in dealing with illness to know that it doesn’t belong to me. I hope this is helpful to you and is taken in the spirit in which it is intended. Warm regards.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Hi Robin! I’m glad that you have found a way to help you feel more in control of depression symptoms. I refer to “my depression symptoms” because I would never presume to speak for anyone else. This is my experience and not someone else’s, since depression is so different for each person.

    • michelle says

      I am a long time reader but rarely comment. I thank you for this post. I have been there where I couldn’t even get out of bed. In response to the previous comment, I don’t think you are victimized by depression at all. Its one of the things that most inspires me. Even though its a terrible illness, you keep fighting through it and keep hoping and that inspires me more than you know. Your hope is contagious and I thank you for your openness and vulnerability, for your willingness to share about such a sensitive topic.
      Thank you for following the spirits leading.

  2. says

    Totally been there. I'm only partially joking on the occasions I say that sometimes you have to put wake up, eat, and go to bed on the list just so you get to mark something off. I like the idea of keeping a journal of what that one thing was. I may have to start doing that on my bad days..

  3. says

    I have an alphabet soup of diagnoses — several lead to fatigue. I have a small checklist of things I try to do daily. I can only work in 3 to 5 minute bursts. Then it takes at least a half hour before I can do anything else. My list is very small, but includes making bed (which for me is just smoothing and folding the covers down,) making sure the dishes are put into or taken out of the dishwasher, swish and swipe the toilet and picking up after myself. This drains all my energy. I do try to wash on Mondays, dust mop livingroom on Tuesday, run the Roomba on Wednesdays, mop bathroom on Thursdays and then I have the rest of the week to do any of those chores I didn't have energy for on other days! It isn't easy, but at the age of 70, I have learned that it is easier to stay on top of things rather than be overwhelmed by them later! My apartment doesn't sparkle, but I am not ashamed when someone drops by.

  4. Mireille says

    Thank you for this, it exactly echoes where I am at today. Your blog looks like a great source of encouragement. I’m looking forward to catching up.

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