When counseling our patients who have mood disorders regarding behavioral activation/activity scheduling, encourage more value based actions rather than just “generic” actions wherever possible.
Value based actions are linked to inner values, feelings, and principles and hence, are more emotive, meaningful, and purposeful. If they are more emotive, meaningful, and purposeful, then they may be more sustainable.
If a patient has strong values around family and connection, then explore activities around that. If they have strong values around creativity and beauty, then maybe some activities around that. For some it might be values around productivity and helpfulness, so explore around that.
Values are hard for folks to define, and working on these first would be helpful to get clarity first.
Sometimes clarity may not be there yet, and therefore action first before clarity is not necessarily a bad option.