Have you ever been so tired, overwhelmed, or just fed up that you thought, “I give up, I don’t want to do anything.”? If you have, you’re not alone. Many of us have experienced times in which we have felt so overwhelmed with so much to do that we felt, if not at least for a moment, that, “I don’t want to do anything.”
There are common factors that may contribute to alack of motivation or desire. Some of those factors are medical, and some may have to do with underlying mental health issues or substance use, or it could be a case of burnout. In this article, we talk about the connection between boredom and depression and how to get past the feelings of frustration, low motivation, and loss of interest and help you figure out what to do when you don’t want to do, well, anything.
Boredom And Lack Of Desire
Many people, if feeling overwhelmed, come to the point of feeling like “I don’t want to do anything anymore” out of simple boredom, lack of desire, burnout, or any number of other reasons. If you’re experiencing this feeling, it’s normal to take some downtime for yourself and rest, and it’s perfectly okay – and in fact, it’s very important for your well-being – to do so. In our increasingly fast-paced world filled with daily responsibilities and expectations, taking some downtime for yourself is not only normal but also highly recommended.
In fact, research has found that taking some downtime, whether it’s a nap or some self-care like going for a walk or taking a bath, can actually help to increase things like focus and motivation. Taking a bit of time away, be it half an hour or a full vacation, can help provide us with some much-needed perspective and enable us to better handle whatever it is that needs to be done. While this isn’t a cure-all, particularly if you have a mental health condition such as depression, taking some downtime for self-care and relaxation can be incredibly helpful and healing, and a healthy step toward regaining our motivation and sense of self.
To answer the question, “Why don’t I want to do anything?” – there are a variety of reasons that could cause you to feel this way. It’s normal, from time to time, to wonder why you don’t want to do anything, or what to do when you don’t want to do anything. This is a normal reaction from time to time, especially after a potentially exhausting string of events that have happened in your life. Major changes like starting or losing a job, starting or ending a relationship, and moving can trigger feelings of exhaustion or lack of desire to do things.
However, if after a few days or a few weeks of downtime, the feeling of “I don’t want to do anything anymore” persists and becomes your new normal, it may be time to seek support. If feelings of boredom and lack of desire linger and lead to symptoms of depression, you may need to consult with a licensed mental health professional for advice, treatment, and medication management – depending on your condition.
People who experience chronic mental health issues like anxiety, depression,post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) may often have periods of boredom and feelings of “I don’t want to do anything with my life, or I can’t do anything with my life” – as a part of their daily symptoms. When these issues persist and become overwhelming, a much larger issue is likely to be at play. Alicensed mental health professionalmay be able to help you address these concerns and get to the bottom of why you’re feeling as though you don’t want to do anything, even things that you previously enjoyed.
Depression And Lack Of Motivation
One of the most common reasons why people experience extended periods of lack of motivation is often due to depression. Individuals who live with diagnosed or undiagnosed depression typically experience symptoms that involve not wanting, or lacking the energy or motivation, to do anything. Depression may come in many forms such as childhood depression, birthday depression, clinical depression, and more. If left untreated, these forms can potentially become a larger mental health concern.
Depression is a common, yet complex mental illness that involves individuals experiencing symptoms of depression for various reasons, including family history, stressful life events, medications, illness or other health issues, or faulty mood management. Feelings of depression may cause an individual to think negative thoughts like “I don’t want to do anything with my life. Am I depressed?" It’s not uncommon for people to report feeling symptoms of depression after major life upheavals like relocating to a new city for a job or the birth of a child, which may result in post-partum depression for a parent.
Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Eating too little or too much
- Low energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of interest in things that you previously enjoyed
- Lowered self-esteem
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Social isolation
Individuals experiencing depression may not want to do anything because they don’t seem to have the mental or physical energy. While not all instances of lack of motivation are related to depression, it may be a common cause. There may also be medical issues that can cause a person to feel a lack of energy or enthusiasm about activities they once enjoyed. A visit to your primary care physician may be able to help you rule out any underlying issues with other medical-related conditions.
Existing Mental Health Challenges
Those experiencing mental health concerns may have a difficult time taking care of everyday responsibilities while dealing with the symptoms of challenging mental health issues, such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, overcoming trauma, bipolar disorder, and many others. Living with challenging andchronic mental health issues is not a choice, and many people who have mental health concerns may experience challenges in overcoming their symptoms. They may not be aware when their issues are more problematic and need immediate treatment or if they are just normal feelings of lack of motivation.
If you haven’t already received a diagnosis for a mental health condition, it may be important to seek support from a medical professional to determine whether there is an underlying cause for your loss of motivation. They can provide a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan to help you overcome any mental health concerns you may have.
Alternatively, if you have been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition, it may be helpful to keep regular appointments with a therapist and continue following the treatment plan prescribed for best results. If you feel this treatment plan isn’t working for you, it may be beneficial to bring this up with your therapist to brainstorm a new game plan that works better for you. If needed, you can switch to a therapist who has experience specific to your particular needs, such as depression, ADHD, anxiety, and so on.
If you are having persistent feelings of not wanting to do anything, or are experiencing a consistent and regular lack of motivation, it may be time to seek support from a licensed medical professional. ReGain is an online therapy platform that can match you with a licensed therapist to best suit your needs. With online therapy, you can receive advice and treatment at an affordable cost, all without leaving the house, though you can have sessions anywhere there is a stable internet connection. A licensed therapist from ReGain can provide you with tools and strategies that may help you overcome any mental health challenges that you may be having so you can get back to being you.
Continue reading below for reviews of real individuals who experienced similar issues and were able to overcome them with the help of a ReGain therapist.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Harry. I was in a super low place and I was not sure what my problems were or how to solve them, but he was able to help me get to the bottom of my problems and work through them. Today I am happy and feel like myself again. He was so easy to talk to and worked with me whenever I needed him. Even on vacation, he took time to call me and talk through whatever I was going through. I would highly recommend him.”
“Shannon is very knowledgeable, and skilled in knowing how to use that knowledge to help others. She is also very compassionate and encouraging. I was skeptical about using a counseling service, but this experience has been incredible. I highly recommend Shannon to anyone who needs guidance or help through a difficult time in life. I gave her some enormous challenges, and nothing has been over her head. She has been a tremendous help to me.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What Does It Mean If You Don't Want To Do Anything?
There are many potential reasons for not wanting to do anything, including lack of sleep, fatigue, or an underlying physical or mental health condition. If you have persistent feelings of not wanting to do anything, it may be time to seek support from a medical professional to figure out what may be causing it so that you can effectively treat it.
What Do You Do If You Don't Want To Do Anything?
If you don’t want to do anything, you’re not alone. Many people report feeling lethargy, apathy, or lack of energy sometimes, even when doing things that they usually love to do. If you feel this way infrequently, there may not be anything to worry about. You may try doing a centering meditation, reassessing your recent sleep habits and diet, or get in some regular exercise to boost your mood.
However, if you find that you don’t want to do anything for several days or weeks in a row, this could be a sign of clinical depression or another underlying medical condition. You may have all of the time and materials to do one of your favorite activities that usually excites and inspires you, but find that you lack the motivation. If this is the case, and if this feeling persists for a while, you should consider talking to a professional psychologist or therapist about the issue. You may find that some underlying issues need to be addressed and resolved.
Why Do I Not Want To Leave The House?
Not wanting to leave the house can be the result of several different factors. It may be a short feeling related to leaving the house for a specific purpose or event. For example, if you have a looming deadline at work or an important doctor's appointment that you’re going to, you might find that you’d rather stay home instead of facing those stressors.
However, if this feeling of not wanting to leave home is persistent and long-lasting, it may be a symptom of a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. About one in five adults in the United States has reported struggling with some form of anxiety. Social anxiety triggered by the ambiguity of what could happen in any given social situation may make it daunting to leave the house. Or, overthinking all of the possible things that could go wrong outside the home can cause enough stress to make it seem not worth going outside. In either case, if you think that anxiety is the reason you always want to stay at home, you should talk to a professional and see if treatment for an anxiety disorder or depression is right for you
How Do You Force Yourself To Do Something You Don't Want To Do?
Sometimes, there’s a lot of things that you need to get done, but you may not have the willpower or motivation to do them. In these cases, the best approach may be prioritizing and breaking each task into more manageable chunks and celebrating small victories.
When it comes to prioritizing what needs to be done, be honest and realistic. Complete the most difficult tasks first and leave the easier tasks for later. Consider each goal’s deadline and prioritize accordingly. It may also help to break each task down into smaller tasks. For example, if your goal is to clean the house, you may feel daunted by that large task. Instead, break that big project into smaller tasks. Focus on one room, or one part of a room, at a time. Then, as you finish each chunk of the task, be sure to celebrate in a small way. For instance, after working consistently for an hour or two, reward yourself with a cup of coffee and a little break. The prospects of these little celebrations can help you stay motivated throughout the course of the entire project!
What Is It Called When You Don't Want To Go Outside?
If an individual experiences a strong fear of public or crowded places, they may be experiencing agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the reluctance to go outside because you might be presented with stressful or awkward situations in which there are no obvious ways to escape, or you may be afraid of a sudden panic attack while out and about.
Can't Leave The House Because Of Anxiety?
If you find yourself consistently unable to leave the house because of anxiety, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder and it may be time to seek the support from a licensed mental health professional who can provide an effective treatment plan. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. You can also look into different panic control tactics, such as deep breathing and mindfulness which you can do at home. If you don’t want to leave the house to get this help, you can always talk to a therapist from the comfort of your own home thanks to online therapy and counseling.
What To Do When You Don't Want To Work Anymore?
If you find yourself not wanting to work, especially if you have a job you enjoy, it may be important to find new ways to stay motivated. One way to stay motivated throughout a project or long day at work is to divide your job into small, manageable tasks. This way, you can mark your progress step by step. The feeling of achievement and completion at each step of the project will encourage the boost you need to keep going!
If you find it difficult to start working, you can try the “tenacious ten” method. With this method, you set a timer for ten minutes and then commit to working on a project with all of your attention for just ten minutes. When the timer goes off, take a look at what you were able to accomplish in just the first ten minutes of working! You’ll often find that you’re doing a better job than you thought you would and that starting was the most difficult part of the work.
Looking at the project in steps or ten-minute increments can make your work seem more doable and much less daunting. While this won’t solve any underlying health issues or long-term habits that may be contributing to your overall lack of motivation, it is a great way to get started and keep going at work.
How Do I Get Motivated To Go To Work?
It may sometimes feel difficult to get the motivation to go to work. It may help to take things step by step and focus on the present instead of all the things you have to do, which can seem overwhelming. Breaking up larger tasks into smaller ones may help you get a handle on things easier. It’s also important to keep a healthy work-life balance. By doing things you often enjoy, you may feel more motivated to go to work. If this lack of motivation persists, it may be time to seek support from a professional. They may be able to offer other tools and therapies to help you get your motivation back again.
What To Do When You Don't Want To Do Anything?
It’s natural to have periods during which you feel unmotivated and find yourself not wanting to do anything. That is completely normal. Sometimes we need a little time for rest. In these cases, a little self-care may be good for you. Practicing mindfulness, such as meditation, breaking exercises, or yoga can be a great way to destress, get in the present moment, and find inner peace. Sometimes, if you’re not wanting to do anything, a nap can help refresh you. Watching something funny or talking to a loved one is another great way to lift your mood.
If you have continuous feelings of not wanting to do anything for an extended period of time, like weeks or months, it may be time to seek support. You could be clinically depressed or have other mental health issues that need to be addressed. You are not alone. This is very common and highly treatable. Don’t avoid taking any action. Talk to a trusted health care professional. A licensed therapist can be a very powerful tool to help you understand the root of your emotions and lack of motivation, getting you back on track to enjoy your life again.
Is It Normal Not To Feel Anything?
There may be times in your life when it seems as though you don’t feel anything. You don’t feel happy; you don’t feel sad; you don’t feel anything. What you’re experiencing is emotional numbness, and there could be several underlying causes that contribute to this, such as anxiety, depression, or severe stress. If you’ve had any traumatic experiences in your life, such as domestic violence, that could also be a factor.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are people who care that can help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has trained professionals available to talk 24 hours a day to give you the support you need. They are available at 1.800.799.SAFE(7233).
If you are experiencing emotional numbness, you are not alone. A licensed therapist can help. With the right treatment, you can overcome these feelings and get back to being you again. If you are feeling emotionally distressed or having thoughts of suicide, reach out to Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They are trained professionals to help you cope with any problems you may be having. There is someone available to talk whenever and wherever you need.
How Can I Be Happy?
Happiness is something we need to work towards every day. At times, it can feel not easy to reach, but we can all acquire happiness in our lives if we make an effort. Happiness usually starts within, so it’s important to manage our negative thought processes and change them for positive ones. Practicing daily mindfulness techniques is a great way to live in the present moment and redirect your negative thoughts. Keep a gratitude journal to reflect on all the good things in your life and focus on things you’re grateful for that make you happy. Take time to connect with loved ones. People we care about are a great support system and can really help to boost our mood. Learn ways to manage stress, such as breathing techniques or yoga. The body and mind are a two-way street, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle will contribute to an individual's mental health and overall happiness. Eat a healthy diet, get proper sleep, and don’t forget to exercise. If you’re regularly feeling unhappy, it may be beneficial to talk to someone. A trusted healthcare professional can offer support and provide different therapies that can help you feel happy again.
How Do You Make Yourself Work When You Don't Want To?
Most of us need to work to make a living, but it can be hard to find motivation sometimes. If you don’t feel like working or want to leave work, consider calling in sick or taking a personal day. Normally, we all need some personal time once in a while. If you don’t feel like working but have to, there are some things you can try to motivate yourself.
- Take a break - If you’re trying to work and feel unproductive, it could be beneficial to step away for a minute and go for a walk. This can clear your mind and help you get back on track when you return.
- Practice mindfulness - Regularly incorporating mindfulness techniques into your day can be a great way to relieve stress and give you peace of mind when you don’t feel like working. Try meditating in the morning or breathing exercises when you’re dealing with stressful moments.
- Set goals - big projects can be overwhelming. Breaking up projects into smaller tasks is a great way to focus and make things more manageable when you don’t feel like working. Don’t forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small.
- Change of scenery - Sometimes, the space we work in gets mundane, and we don’t feel motivated. If possible, change things up, and work in a different location. It may be just what you need to get yourself motivated again.
- Organize your workspace - It can be hard to concentrate when your workspace is a mess. Try organizing your workspace in a tidy and practical way. This can potentially make you more productive. Having a clean workspace and knowing where everything is can reduce stress and make you feel calmer.
- Don’t forget to schedule things you enjoy - Remember that it doesn’t necessarily need to be all work. Make sure you’re regularly continuing to do things that you enjoy.
If work still feels overwhelming and you’re having difficulties managing your emotions and getting things done at work, you’re not alone. A licensed therapist may be able to help. They can offer support and guidance to help you feel motivated again.
Am I unmotivated or just lazy?
Why do I want to sleep all the time and have no energy?
Is there a mental illness for lack of motivation?
- Previous ArticleReasons Why Birthday Depression Is So Common
Be an Overcomer
They often need longer treatment periods before achieving success. The brain does heal and damaged dopamine receptors may regenerate within 6 to 12 months. Dopamine levels rise, making recovery easier and more fulfilling. To treat anhedonia, there are several treatment options.
Anhedonia is a common symptom following traumatic brain injury. The neural basis of anhedonia is poorly understood, but believed to involve disturbed reward processing, rather than the loss of sense of pleasure.Why do I feel no pleasure? ›
Anhedonia refers to the loss of ability to feel pleasure and is a common symptom of depressive disorders and substance use disorder. It may be caused by a decrease in activation of the region of the brain involved in reward and motivation, referred to as the ventral striatum.How do I stop looking back in life? ›
- Learn from the past but don't dwell there. ...
- Express yourself. ...
- Stop pointing fingers. ...
- Focus on the present. ...
- Disconnect for a while. ...
- Think about the people around you. ...
- Forgive those who wronged you -- including yourself.
Feeling as if you don't care about anything anymore may be related to anhedonia or apathy. Anhedonia is a mental state in which people have an inability to feel pleasure. It is often a symptom of mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and substance use.What is the difference between burnout and languishing? ›
Burnout is specifically a work-related phenomenon. It arises from a poor work-life balance or doing work that isn't a good match for one's values and skills. Languish, on the other hand, is an overall state that affects every area of life. People who are languishing don't meet the criteria for a mental health disorder.Why do I have no interest in anything? ›
Losing interest or pleasure in activities or people that once gave you enjoyment, may be due to overworking, relationship problems or being in a temporary rut. However, a loss of interest in many things or people, that is ongoing, can sometimes be a sign you have a mental health condition.What happens if anhedonia is left untreated? ›
What are the effects of anhedonia? If left untreated, it may have some negative secondary side effects. For one, social withdrawal for long periods of time may cause anxiety when you do become exposed to social situations. It may also alter the relationships that you have with other people around you.Do people with anhedonia cry? ›
You might also notice a decreased capacity to express your emotions. Some people with anhedonia, especially anhedonic depression, do notice they can no longer cry easily — or at all.What is an example of anhedonia? ›
What's an Example of Anhedonia? Engaging in an activity that previously brought on a positive effect, but no longer elicits those feelings, is one example of anhedonia. If you used to enjoy playing video games every day after work, but now feel nothing when gaming, this could be a symptom of anhedonia.
What Is Anhedonia? Anhedonia is distinct from apathy in that while apathy refers to a lack of motivation or energy investment on many levels, anhedonia is the lack of a specific feeling: pleasure. It can, however, be a sign of apathy. It's not uncommon for a person to experience apathy and anhedonia simultaneously.Is anhedonia permanent? ›
Dr. Albers-Bowling explained: "The good news is that anhedonia doesn't have to be permanent. When treated, people are like a wilted flower coming back to life, interested in doing things and engaging in life again."How do I bring myself back to life? ›
- Start doing more of what you love. The list you made – do more of those things. ...
- Surround yourself with positive people (online and in real life). ...
- Try new things. ...
- Get organised. ...
- Look after your body. ...
- Set goals. ...
- Live in the moment. ...
- Journal and reflect.
You look down on yourself because either you are a perfectionist, or someone doesn't like what you are doing. If it is because you are a perfectionist, then you need to realize that it is impossible to become perfect. Doing the right thing is good, and it is good enough.Why do I dwell on the past so much? ›
What is rumination? When people ruminate, they overthink or obsess about situations or life events. 'The process of dwelling on past events that can't be changed is called rumination,' says Eék. 'Some people are more likely to experience this than others, especially if they have an anxiety-prone personality.What is the mental disorder where you don't care about anything? ›
If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may be seen as a loner or dismissive of others, and you may lack the desire or skill to form close personal relationships. Because you don't tend to show emotion, you may appear as though you don't care about others or what's going on around you.Why am I not motivated to get out of bed? ›
The inability to get out of bed is a common symptom of someone suffering from a mental health disorder or substance use disorder. Often people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or any type of substance abuse may find it challenging to face the day each morning by getting out of bed.Why do I randomly feel apathetic? ›
Sometimes, apathetic feelings are a result of things we can recognize and change—for example, we're feeling bored at work or we're no longer attracted to someone we once felt attracted to. But sometimes apathy is a symptom of a larger issue we're facing, like trauma, grief, or an underlying mental health condition.What does mental burnout look like? ›
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout
Detachment, feeling alone in the world. Loss of motivation. Increasingly cynical and negative outlook. Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
Indeed, studies have found that individuals experiencing burnout typically also display symptoms of depression and often meet the diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder [7,83,84,85].
The Similarities Between Burnout and PTSD
While workplace burnout might not be identical to PTSD resulting from the ravages of military conflict, many people emotionally and psychologically experience their workplaces as modern day battle zones.
A combination of therapy and psychoactive drugs is usually the most effective treatment for both anhedonia and depression. Medications that alter the way the brain processes rewards are especially helpful with anhedonia. Some people also experience an improvement with lifestyle changes.How long does it take for dopamine receptors to recover? ›
Normal, healthy dopamine production depends on a wide variety of factors, but many medical professionals believe that your brain's dopamine production will return to pre-substance misuse levels over a period of 90 days.Is anhedonia hard to treat? ›
Anhedonia is also associated with a poor prognosis, including heightened risk of suicidal thoughts. The condition is difficult to treat successfully.Can people with anhedonia cry? ›
You might also notice a decreased capacity to express your emotions. Some people with anhedonia, especially anhedonic depression, do notice they can no longer cry easily — or at all.What is wrong with me I don't want to do anything? ›
A lack of motivation over a prolonged period of time might indicate that you're struggling with an underlying mental health condition. For example, there is a clear link between depression and motivation, and not wanting to do anything can also be a symptom of conditions like anxiety, bipolar disorder and phobias.What deficiency causes anhedonia? ›
Dopamine is a signaling agent (or neurotransmitter) in the brain that plays a large role in our ability to experience pleasure. Thus a shortage of it can limit the ability to enjoy things and create the emotionally stunted feeling of anhedonia.
- Create exciting daily routines. Incorporate fun activities into your daily routine, even if they are mindless activities. ...
- Focus on perfecting your sleep schedule. ...
- Improve your diet. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Practice mindfulness. ...
- Listen to music.
- Exercise regularly. ...
- Eat protein. ...
- Reduce saturated fat consumption. ...
- Pay attention to “gut health.” Researchers continue to learn more about the digestive system and its role in producing neurotransmitters, including dopamine. ...
- Get enough sleep. ...
- Eat a diet that's high in magnesium and tyrosine-rich foods. These are the building blocks of dopamine production. Tyrosine is an amino acid. ...
- Engage in activities that make you happy or feel relaxed. This is thought to increase dopamine levels.
Studies show that medications including fluoxetine (Prozac®), escitalopram (Lexapro®) and ketamine (Ketalar®) can ease symptoms of anhedonia in patients with depression. Recent research has found that vortioxetine (Trintellix®) a newer medication, may have a significant impact on depression and social anhedonia.What vitamins are good for anhedonia? ›
Take Vitamins like iron, niacin, folate and vitamin B6.
Your body uses these to create dopamine. If you are lacking in any of them, your dopamine supply suffers and anhedonia lasts longer.
Anhedonia is commonly measured using questionnaires,18 such as the popular Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS). The SHAPS is considered “the gold standard for measuring anhedonia in depression,”18(p27) and is also frequently used to assess anhedonia in other patient groups.When does anhedonia end? ›
For some people episodes of anhedonia fade after a few hours or days. For others, they can last weeks. But with time, anhedonia symptoms don't last as long and don't happen as often.Why don't I want to cry anymore? ›
It's not an uncommon experience and it's called anhedonia. Simply put, anhedonia is when you lose interest in the social activities and physical sensations that you once enjoyed. It's a symptom of many mental health conditions, including depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.