What To Do When You Have No Motivation

I have to say…it’s a scary feeling, knowing I have no motivation. After all, I have goals. I have dreams and passions and things that I want to get done. But the fact is, I have no push to pursue them. Hands down, it’s one of the worst parts of chronic depression. It’s that moment when your brain looks at everything you love and tells you: eh, you don’t need that.

Seriously. Not. Fair.

But it also forces me to ask myself: What can we do when we have no motivation to do anything? Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

1. Accept this is what’s happening

Take a deep breath. You’re stuck in a slump and it sucks. Maybe it makes you feel angry, or maybe you feel like a failure. Maybe you feel like your dreams are slipping from your grasp with every passing second. Or maybe you’re like me and wondering if this slump means this wasn’t your dream after all. I mean, with bipolar it’s totally possible this was just hypomania and not “real” at all.

Depressing, right?

Be still and breathe. Whatever you’re feeling right now, it makes sense that you feel it.  Your feelings are there because of past experiences and they are here no matter what you think. So, it’s time to just accept it. I feel like crap. I’m afraid. But it doesn’t change what’s going on right now, so I need to accept it.

2. Acknowledge this isn’t forever

hand holding small white clockDepression and that lack of drive that comes with it is not a permanent state of existance. Look back on the times you’ve gotten through it and hold on to them. I know this is a temporary feeling because I’ve been through it before and I’ve always come out on the other side. I just have to keep pushing until I get to that spot where everything kicks in again.

Yeah, it’s hard.

Still, acknowledging it doesn’t last forever means that you can breathe and relax a little. If it’s not forever, it also means it’s okay for you to use this as a break to recover.  For me, the crash in motivation is usually because I overworked myself or the world overworked me. So, I try to remember, it will end and instead focus my energy on something else.

3. Let yourself REST!

woman in bed hidden under blanketIf it isn’t going to last forever, that also means this time off isn’t going to destroy you. So rest! Take the time to focus on self care; give yourself permission to not be okay.

I know, sometimes that’s easier said than done, but it’s worth it. I’ve been learning the hard way that there’s no point staring at this computer if the words just won’t come. In the end, that can even be more damaging to my motivation than just walking away. After all, sitting and failing just starts the guilt cycle which makes everything worse.

Instead, I’ve been trying to find my way back to hobbies I’ve loved in the past. I’ve been taking more baths and have been learning new skills. Ultimately, I’m soothing myself and creating new successes to counteract the sense of failure.

Which brings me to…

4. Build successes where you can!

For the last few weeks, building success has meant walking away from my blog and instead working on my hobbies. I’ve started learning how to make 3D felt creatures and I’ve been playing some of my favorite video games. When I have a few seconds of motivation, I’ll even pop on Facebook to post a note or share something funny I found.

All of these things help to build little wins. Those little wins can cheer you on to start building bigger successes and that can make a huge difference in the long run. Believe it or not, I’ve started hanging out with friends more and even been spending the evenings downstairs with my husband and kids! Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.

And, after all of that, I’ve managed to build enough motivation to get myself back to writing, at least a little bit (obviously… ).

So, when you have no motivation

a man staring at the sky backlit by the galaxyBe kind to yourself! It’s not going to be there forever, and accepting how you feel will actually help you feel better in the long run. Yeah, I know it seems a little contradictory, but tis the truth. So, take that time to rest and do what you can until it gets better.

Because, it will. Eventually the energy will return and you can get yourself back to chasing those dreams!

Good luck!



2 thoughts on “What To Do When You Have No Motivation

  1. I’ve been going through this myself the last few months and feel like I’m finally starting to come out the other side of it. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with motivation and doing the things I’d previously enjoyed. Writing on my blog being one of them. So I know some of what you are going through. Keep taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do to.

    1. Months later and I’m finally getting back into motion. Alas, it’s all back end stuff so I’ve got nothing to show for it yet. Still…..getting there! How have you been doing with your motivation?

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