If you often feel tired, low-energy, bored with life, uninterested in your usual activities, and that daily tasks feel daunting, you might be living with low motivation or a mental health condition like depression. Common symptoms of depression can include fatigue, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, apathy, and a lack of motivation.
Experiencing occasional low mood or low motivation may be natural, but if you are experiencing these symptoms persistently, you may consider seeking treatment. Depression can feel frustrating, and it may feel difficult to figure out how to cope, but treatment is available, and you’re not alone.
Why Do I Feel Like I Don’t Want To Do Anything?
If you feel you don’t want to do anything, you might tell yourself:
- I don’t want to do anything anymore.
- I don’t want to do anything with my life.
- I don’t feel like I care about anything.
- I don’t want to leave the house.
- No activities interest me.
If any of these feelings or thoughts sound familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. Many people with depression experience a loss of interest or energy. It may feel like all these feelings are completely out of your control. However, treatment is available, and you can also address these feelings at home.
Tips For Addressing Apathy And A Lack Of Motivation
If you are frequently feeling off and don’t want to do anything, there are various steps you can take to try to address your feelings and regain a sense of motivation. Below are a few ideas to consider.
Talk To Your Doctor
Before taking other steps, it might be beneficial to consult your primary care doctor, especially if these feelings are unusual for you or have lasted days, weeks, or months. Your doctor may suggest diagnostic testing and blood work to rule out an underlying health issue and get to the root cause of your lack of motivation.
Some autoimmune diseases and vitamin deficiencies can cause lethargy and thoughts of worthlessness or depression. Likewise, certain medications can have side effects that could cause these symptoms. If your doctor finds a medical cause, they may be able to offer a clear treatment plan. For guidance about medication, consult a licensed medical professional. If your doctor can’t rule out other underlying medical conditions, they may refer you to a mental healthcare worker instead.
Remember That You Are Not Alone
If you are feeling unmotivated, it may be helpful to remember that you are not alone in this feeling. Many people experience a lack of motivation at some point in their lives, and some people may also feel unmotivated due to external conditions or current events, such as a pandemic.
For example, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, many young teleworkers had difficulty working up the motivation to follow through with their work responsibilities in light of the pandemic. Around 53% of survey respondents ages 18 to 29 said it had been difficult for them to feel motivated to do their work due to Covid-19.
Some people may feel particularly exhausted and unmotivated considering a recent life change. For example, new parents may feel so lethargic and exhausted due to a new baby that they do not leave their house for weeks. Whatever the reason, it can be helpful to decipher where the feelings may be coming from so that you can try to figure out what’s wrong, begin to feel better again, and get your energy back.
Be Kind To Yourself
If you have tasks to complete, you might judge yourself for struggling to complete them. You may feel guilty for feeling unmotivated and start saying unkind statements to yourself in your mind. However, pressuring yourself may cause you to feel worse while not doing much to solve the situation.
Instead of being unkind, try to treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Life can be difficult, and there are many reasons why you may feel unmotivated, which may be out of your control. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself grace as you move forward.
In addition to seeking professional help, peer-reviewed studies have shown that self-care strategies can be helpful for those living with depression and anxiety disorders. Self-care might include time in nature, deep breathing, meditation, listening to your favorite music, talking to a close friend, or exercising regularly. Getting outside to partake in light exercise can be a form of self-care. You might also take a short walk before you go to sleep.
Eating a healthy diet and practicing sleep hygiene can also be helpful. Consider spending quality time with close friends and family or journaling about your feelings. These tips may improve your overall well-being and be incorporated into a long-term treatment plan to support you.
Seek Help Through Therapy
If you are unmotivated and don’t want to do anything, speaking with a professional therapist may be helpful. Therapy can be a place to explore and get to the bottom of these feelings, identifying ways to manage them. In therapy, you may find helpful ways to feel better, improve motivation, restructure your thoughts, and find self-compassion.
Therapists can be utilized both in-person or through online platforms like BetterHelp. An online therapist may be preferable if you find it challenging to find the energy to travel to an in-person appointment. Instead, you can speak with a therapist virtually from the comfort of your own home. In addition, online therapy may be more cost-effective.
A growing body of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of online therapy for a range of concerns, including depression. For example, one study reviewed the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (I-CBT) for treating depression or anxiety. It concluded that there was evidence supporting the acceptability and effectiveness of guided I-CBT for the treatment of depression and anxiety in routine care.