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What helps you when you feel like you have zero motivation?


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I've been struggling with motivation since forever, but in the past few years I've been committed to steady treatment, it has never changed. Some days I cannot motivate myself to get out of bed, and others it's not as hard but getting anything at all done is at best - a chore, at worst - torture. What has worked for you? 

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Chore to torture can be right, but my main technique is to damn (not dam: I decidedly feel them) my feelings.

The guy shouting loudest doesn't necessarily have the best argument, and frequently doesn't.

 

There's no reason I know why feelings have to be acted on, being perfect guides to what should be done.

This is hard work when one or more of them is screaming in your brain, but the cool "what ought I to be doing" I find I counter lever for actions and choices.

No, I'm not perfect or reliably consistent on this, and no, it doesn't fix the feelings themselves just like that, but being able to point oneself to something done (a small start is a start), and to the fact that the feelings didn't win this time, is something that can help me see a degree of control over feelings working. A trace of autonomy, of rebellion.

 

Chris.

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Seriously I would say don't berate yourself when you don't feel like getting out of bed. Your neurotransmitter levels are no one's business but your own. When you do get out of bed break your tasks down into 15 minute chunks. Try to link doing them to pleasurable activities..

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Like Retro suggested, try keeping tasks in manageable chunks.  Another member here sets a timer for 15-30 minutes and cleans (or whatever other task needs to be done) for that amount of time and then takes a break.

 

To get myself out of bed when I really don't want to, I sometimes promise myself I can go back to bed if I just get up for a little while and see if I feel ok being up.  Sometimes all it takes is that initial push out of my bed.  But sometimes I go right back to bed when the allotted time is up.

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To get myself out of bed when I really don't want to, I sometimes promise myself I can go back to bed if I just get up for a little while and see if I feel ok being up.  Sometimes all it takes is that initial push out of my bed.  But sometimes I go right back to bed when the allotted time is up.

I do this too.  I'll do relatively small stuff like try making coffee and some sort of breakfast.  Sometimes I abandon the breakfast and just take the coffee back to bed with me.  

 

I also try to change into clothes I would realistically wear to go somewhere.  It takes away one less barrier to actually getting something done and lessens a bit of guilt for hiding even if I never leave the house that day.  Sometimes I do end up retreating back into bed or the couch fully dressed, but at least feeling a bit readier to do something as soon as a flicker of motivation might show itself.

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Thanks everyone. Reading these help.

 

notfred - it's definitely symptoms of depression left over but my psychiatrist doesn't see the need to add or change my meds and told me its not a psychiatric issue, its a psychological one.  :glare: I don't like my new therapist, so I have to find a new one. In the meantime, I am just trying to get through stuff. Not flunk out of school, etc. 

 
The manageable chunks theory is a good one. I'll keep that in mind. It just sucks because I feel like I keep trying and pushing myself - motivate myself to get motivated - and it just never does anything for me. Sigh.
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I get the same way and am particularly struggling with this right now.

 

I don't get out of bed often. I wish I could. I get overwhelmed by anything. Even like I "should be working on that afghan for my friend..." Then I shut down and go back to bed.

 

I like the idea of breaking things up or doing something for a short while and then see how I feel.

 

I hope you find a new tdoc that you like! I think that should help you out too.

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I am also struggling a lot with motivation currently. What I find helpful is to try and just do a small amount, because something is better than nothing and even something very small is something. I do allow myself to have days off if I feel really bad, as long as it doesn't happen all the time, because my writing style will suffer if I am not feeling too good. It is difficult not to beat myself up over this, but being more accepting of myself can help me feel better and therefore feel more able to do the things I need to do.

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The truth is that I've given up on attempting to force myself to feel motivated; there are times when I might be able to get away with that, but more often than not, it's not going to work if I'm so depressed I'm having trouble getting out of bed. That's why I rely very heavily on routine. It can be difficult to get one established--my husband has been instrumental in helping me with mine--but once it's there, it's like you accomplish things on autopilot, depression or no.

That's not to say there aren't still I-Just-Can't days. It's just that there are lots fewer of them now. I also try to keep my routine simple, the very basics. enlightened_plutonian is right, I think: Even accomplishing one little thing is leagues better than feeling useless all day.

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i agree with the routine thing.  it makes things a little easier and you can sort of go on autopilot.

 

manageable chunks of time is important.  i'll set myself a timer for 15 minutes to get something done, but i find that after the timer goes off i tend to continue anyway, just to get that particular task over with.

 

being realistic helps me.  if i wake up thinking of all the things i should be doing today, i will get none of it done.  but if i get real, i can think of a few things i could realistically do.  or just one thing.  depends on where i am what that one thing would be - it could be "today  i am getting in that damned shower", or if i'm not so far down i might say "today i will vacuum the carpet so we can stop breathing cat hair".

 

making a promise to someone else can work (if it backfires it feels hella awful though).  if i promise my daughter that i'll have vegan food when she comes to visit, then i will force myself to go buy some.  i would feel too guilty if i didn't do it.

 

i try to think about how good i will feel for getting something done.  i know if i finish all the dishes, i will feel pleased with my accomplishment, and happier with how the kitchen looks.  i want to feel good about something, anything... so i'll do whatever it is that makes me feel proud (even if nobody else thinks it's a big deal!).

 

finally, bribes work well with me if it's the right bribe.  i HATE walking to my appointments.  so i bribe myself with coffee - i can buy a good coffee when i get there if i walk, and if i take a cab i get nothing.  and i really love coffee.  like REALLY.  i use chocolate to get the groceries bought - i get to buy a chocolate bar heh (okay these are not healthy examples but hey, at least i didn't talk about how i bribe myself with cigarettes!).

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until I was treated for BP, I had never really understood what motivation was. I figured that I was just not a morning person and the not wanting to get out of bed was laziness. As well as doing household chores, which was by far the biggest reason for my DH and I arguing. since being treated,  I had about a week period where I was excited to get up and get stuff done. I was concerned that I was experiencing 'mania'. to my astonishment, that is what normal ppl feel like. 

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I am also struggling a lot with motivation currently. What I find helpful is to try and just do a small amount, because something is better than nothing and even something very small is something. I do allow myself to have days off if I feel really bad, as long as it doesn't happen all the time, because my writing style will suffer if I am not feeling too good. It is difficult not to beat myself up over this, but being more accepting of myself can help me feel better and therefore feel more able to do the things I need to do.

 

This.

 

I am much more at peace when I cut myself a break, and take credit for even small things that I manage to get done. As others have mentioned, routine is really important.  I didn't learn it at home growing up, and it has taken years and years to get the hang of it, but it really is helpful, especially in terms of keeping my shit together to get to work, clean off the table every night, etc. 

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I know exactly how you feel everyday is a struggle for me just doing little things seams like an impossible challenge it's like a huge brick wall in front of me saying what's the point are you on medication because some anti depressants have helped me get abit of energy to do stuff they don't work anymore but they could be something out there that could help you

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I've been in a zero motivation funk for several months. Most days I accept the defeat and go back to bed, but, I've found it very helpful to immediately get started doing something instead of allowing the defeat to creep in. If I get on up, make coffee, take a step outside into the sunshine and make a plan -- like dishes, picking up around the house, whatever -- it helps a lot. So much, in fact. Getting started is the hardest part, but the most beneficial.

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I've been struggling along side you with lack of motivation, just totally unmotivated when not working.  Work makes me get up, shower, eat, dress and function for the day but when I'm not working recently I've been mostly in bed.  Doing any chores at all seems like a huge thing and leaving the house????  That's major!!!! I did get motivated today a little bit and what made a difference was by having to meet someone outside, it shifted my mental energy and got me out of my head.  I accomplished small things in the house that have not happened for months like dusting some surfaces and doing dishes.  It was small but felt good.  It also felt good to wash up a bit after being in bed for two days I was very much due for a shower, shampoo and some fresh air.  It helped.  The motivating factor was external I needed something from the store and went grocery shopping with someone else but it was good in getting other things going.  I'm learning to ask people for help which for me is not easy.  Just asking for help with the shopping or tidying up.

Edited by peachply
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Fortunately for me I have enough motivation to get out of bed and do things at the moment.  I love being awake in the middle of the night, and I really look forward to it so I always wake up to spend some time awake then doing whatever, catching up on things, etc. 

 

In the early AM I usually go walking 5-8 miles (most days, and as long as no rain) and look forward to that too because I know how I feel if I don't get out, and that feeling is worse than staying in. 

 

I don't know what to offer as advice, just that if you have something, anything, you really look forward to, it might make all the difference in terms of getting out of bed every day or not.

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Picking one small thing is helpful for me, sometimes it will help me stay motivated and I can do something else. Also, if I am kind of blah, if I sit outside in the fresh air it helps sort of give me a reboot and I feel better.

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