I Don't Want To Do Anything - How To Regain Motivation

Updated October 6, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Common symptoms of depression can include fatigue, loss of interest, and a lack of motivation to do things. Depression can feel frustrating and scary, especially when you don't know where your depression came from. Even if you have wonderful things going on in your life, you can still experience depression or feel hopeless. Experiencing this from time to time is considered normal and natural, but consistent (occurring regularly for more than two weeks) or recurring depression may require some form of treatment. On a hopeful note, if you don't feel good, effective treatment options are available for clinical depression/ major depressive disorder.

Do You Find Yourself Feeling Like You Don't Want To Do Anything Often?

What To Do When You Don’t Want To Do Anything

Feeling unmotivated or apathetic towards life can happen to the best of us from time-to-time and can especially affect young adults. Losing interest, being unable to focus, and having a hard time getting started are feelings that affect most people at some point in life. You may wish you could feel motivated. Something may be preventing that from happening, but perhaps you just don't know what it is. This may be especially true if this has been going on for a long time. It may seem as if these feelings just popped up out of nowhere, and then suddenly, you’ve found yourself with no motivation to do anything anymore. You may feel you’re zapped of mental or physical energy, and spending time with loved ones or doing things you enjoy is becoming more and more difficult for you. Then you may find yourself saying things like:

  • 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 or do anything.

You may then begin to wonder what is wrong with you. You may say, "I feel fine. Why can I not get the motivation to do anything? What's wrong with me?"

If any of the above sounds familiar, you may require the help of a mental health provider to help support you through this. You may be experiencing symptoms of depression. A professional can give you life advice and help you assess what is going on to rule out more serious issues. Mental health issues can be concerning or even scary, but help is available.

People sometimes ask these common questions about the topic:

What does it mean when you don’t wanna do anything?
What do you do when you don’t want to do anything?
Why do I feel lazy and unmotivated?
Is apathy a mental illness?
Why do I have no motivation?
What causes the depression?
Is anxiety a mental?
What is being emotionless called?
How long can anhedonia?
What is social anhedonia?

Your family may see you going about your day lackluster and say that it's just laziness, but there may be more to it unless you are knowingly choosing not to do anything. Many people with depression experience a loss of interest or energy. It may feel as if all of these feelings are completely out of your control, and you may need some assistance to gain control once more.

Impact Of Doing Nothing

Suppose all you feel like doing is lying on the couch and watching Netflix rather than going outside and living more often than not. Or maybe even doing basic daily tasks like washing dishes making the bed or tidying your room seem like too much to accept. In that case, there may be an underlying mental health condition negatively affecting you. These feelings can be situational, such as if you experienced a break-up or are sick. They can also be more long-term in the form of depression, where those feelings of low mood, hopelessness, and sadness creep up.

Do you feel drained of emotional and physical energy? Or maybe you don’t feel like doing anything? Is it hard to get out of bed? Once you've started the day, are you fighting to get things done? What if it goes beyond these moments and you have no motivation to do anything? These are awful feelings and signal a lot of stress, and you don't have to be alone without any help by your side. There are successful tools to help you find and develop your sense of motivation and start living again.

What You Can Do

First, you may want to visit your primary care doctor, especially if these feelings are unusual for you or have lasted much of the time for days or for a few weeks Your doctor will be able to perform some diagnostic testing and blood work on you to rule out an underlying health issue to get to the root cause of what's causing these unmotivated thoughts and feelings.

Some autoimmune diseases and vitamin deficiencies can cause lethargy and feelings and thoughts of worthlessness or depression.  Autoimmune diseases involve the immune system attacking its tissues. Then, the immune system produces antibodies directed against the body’s cells.  As a result, you may experience various effects on your mental health, including anxiety and symptoms of depression. The symptoms can range from mild to severe cases, which could significantly impact your daily routine. 

Likewise, certain medications can have some side effects that could cause these symptoms, as well. If your doctor can find answers about the problem, the fix may be as simple as a vitamin supplement or other medication. For all guidance about medication, consult a licensed medical professional. 

Your primary care physician can help you find resources so that you can begin to feel better and break the terrible mood. For instance, if your doctor cannot determine the key to why you lack motivation, they may refer you to a mental health provider or another specialist. Therapists can be utilized both in-person or by using an online platform, such as BetterHelp. It's easy to sign up for a BetterHelp therapy account online by simply using your email address.

An online therapist can be especially helpful if you find it necessarily hard to muster up the energy and go to an appointment. Instead, you can log in from the comfort of your own home without having to expend much effort.

Start Feeling Better

First, it's important to understand that you are not alone in this hard time. There are tens of thousands of people across America that have experienced a lack of motivation at some point in their lives. You probably know a friend or family who has had the same emotions at some point. People may also feel unmotivated due to external conditions or current events, such as a pandemic.

According to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, young teleworkers have difficulty working up the motivation to follow through with their work responsibilities. Although only 20% of adults have said working has been difficult for them, people of all ages struggle with motivation because of an event that is entirely out of their control. You are not alone in wanting to gain back some positive energy.

New parents may feel so lethargic and exhausted due to a new baby that they do not leave their house for weeks; they lack the rest to even walk out the door. The important thing is to help decipher where the feelings are coming from so that you can figure out what's wrong, begin to feel better again, and get your energy back.

Your therapist will discuss your feelings with you, attempt to determine what's wrong, and help you form a course of action to get back to your old self again. You must be 100% truthful with them to have all the information they need to determine the treatment plan. It's important, to be honest during therapy sessions. Withholding any information at this point will only harm you, in the end, so please discuss all of your thoughts and feelings freely.

They may also recommend to your doctor or psychiatrist that you try certain medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Research suggests that SSRIs may be beneficial to people with depression. It’s important to talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about all potential medications. Research also shows that talk therapy can help reduce depression symptoms in people, whether they face long-term or situational depression.

Don't Beat Yourself Up

Above all, you mustn't beat yourself if you can't figure out the reasons behind how you feel. Not only will this not help, but it may leave you feeling worse off than you already were. You may find yourself getting frustrated with yourself and asking, "Why can't I just be happy?" It can begin to affect your self-esteem and cause other health impairments. When it gets to this point, it's time to seek professional advice.

The truth of the matter is, sometimes life is not that easy. Creating a good life with high levels of motivation and happiness is sometimes beyond our control. There are so many factors that contribute to our moods and feelings every day, making it seem hard to always feel in control of ourselves. The way that you're feeling can be related to everyday circumstances that are worsening your mental health; it might not all be in your head. Every person has moments where they do not feel within control and when they are feeling overwhelmed to the point of contemplating giving up. It's time to seek help if you feel stuck in this unmotivated place; choosing to remain stuck in this space will only make things worse.

However, most of those people can regain control over their lives, and so can you. Utilize your support: whether that be family, friends, co-workers, church, your therapist, or someone else who you feel confident that you can confide in.

Ask Yourself What You Want

Be honest with your feelings and emotions, as well as what you need from others. If your cluttered house is causing you to feel as though you cannot invite people over, confide in one person you trust, and ask for help. There is no shame in that. Everyone needs a bit of help once in a while, and asking for help will only make you a stronger and more confident person in the end.

Do You Find Yourself Feeling Like You Don't Want To Do Anything Often?


Reaching out to your primary care healthcare provider can be a sign of strength and an example of self-care. Peer-reviewed studies have shown that self-care strategies can be helpful for those living with depression and anxiety disorders. Self-care tips include spending time in nature, deep breathing, mediation, listening to your favorite music, talking to the right friend, and getting regular exercise. Just getting out in a low-key way or doing some light exercise can be a form of self-care. You might just visit and sit in your favorite coffee shop or take a short walk before you head to bed. Getting regular, healthy amounts of sleep can also be helpful. (To promote sleep and give yourself a break from a stream of social media, you might try to manage settings on your phone and computer so that you’re not constantly getting alerts.) Also, your mental and physical health are so much improved when you eat a healthy diet. The above tips can all help foster self compassion, improve your overall well being, and may be incorporated into a treatment plan so that you can begin to feel better. The best part is that you don’t have to wait to show yourself some self-care!

Finding Help

When you feel a sense of apathy or lack of motivation, it's extremely important to listen to these feelings. Counseling is an excellent place to explore and get to the bottom of these feelings. Even the absence of feeling is an emotion. It could be that you're feeling depressed, or you might need to change something in your life. Whatever the case may be, therapy or counseling can help. Online therapy through BetterHelp is an excellent way to cope with these feelings. In therapy, you may find helpful ways to feel better, improve motivation, replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and learn coping skills so that life doesn’t feel overwhelming.

In recent years, dozens of peer reviewed studies have been conducted on online therapy. One such study found that internet-based CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) had “clinically relevant changes” for those utilizing the service, comparable to in-person therapy.

The counselors at BetterHelp know what it's like to feel numb at these times in our lives. They are experienced in helping people experiencing the same feelings that you're feeling no to navigate their complex feelings and figure out why you may feel a certain way. Sometimes you don't know why you cannot feel, and that's natural; you don't have to know. Lack of motivation can be a related symptom of mental illness or another mental health-related prognosis.

Your therapist supports you in deconstructing your feelings and working hard to get the help you need so you can start getting well and figure out what's wrong.

Emotional numbness is a mental health symptom that often comes with depression. But, some people want to help you, including your loved ones and professional therapists such as those at BetterHelp. When you are ready, you can your story and experiences with a trusted professional and begin the journey of managing your emotional state and mental health. 

Learning about other people’s experiences with their counselors may help inform you of your important decision. Below is a list of reviews from people discussing what they felt when they their stories with counselors who are ready and willing to listen. 

BetterHelp Therapist Reviews

"I put off finding a therapist for a long time. I dreaded my first conversation with Neil and all the awkward, clunky explanations I'd have to give about my depression and anxiety. All of the things that felt like dirty little secrets caused me so much pain. But I was pleasantly surprised by how Neil accurately picked up on what I was saying and gave me more insight into how my brain was working.

It made my issue feel less of a personal problem and more of a universal problem we could examine together. He always gives me a thoughtful response within a day or two any time I send a message. I think we've made more progress in between sessions just by communicating things that are coming up in real-time. Neil is intelligent and kind. I appreciate his communication style and highly recommend him."

"Tamera is straightforward and supportive. She's not afraid of pointing out what to work on and giving you the right tools immediately. It is highly personalized just for your unique symptoms and situation! Tamera helped me manage my depression and anxiety, and I became more empowered to control my life. I feel a lot happier."

Moving Forward From Depression

While it may be easy to look back at this time and feel guilty for the feelings that you felt or regret some of the things that you missed out on, it is also important that you remember that you cannot change the past. Do not dwell on the "what ifs" and feel guilty about something that has happened in the past. You can only look to the future and work hard to make it the best future you can build.

If you feel better, focus on that and be grateful that those dark days are behind you. If you were able to connect with others dealing with these same issues, you could pay it forward by now assisting them with your newly discovered wisdom. By making the most out of your experience, you can feel good about yourself and your ability to help others. It will show that those rough days all had a purpose after all.

Another helpful idea is to get back on the road to health, wellness, and reconnecting with friends and family is to write a journal of your story. Start with the day that you realized that your feelings were a fair bit bigger than just a touch of laziness and could be related to mental illness. Then, layout your journey to finding happiness, motivation, and drive.

Keep this journal for if you feel like this again. This is an excellent place to start identifying your thoughts and feelings. That way, you can remind yourself of your dark days but, most importantly, how you overcame them. It is a powerful reminder of how strong you are and a reminder that you will want to do things once more. Even writing in it from time to time, perhaps once or twice a week rather than daily, is helpful if you feel you don’t have the time or desire to write every day. Plus, journaling can help you feel productive, which can help bust feelings of apathy and low mood.

Regaining motivation for the things you enjoy and miss is possible. Your health, happiness, and well being are very much worth it! Take the first step today.

Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:

What does it mean when you don’t wanna do anything?
What do you do when you don’t want to do anything?
Why do I feel lazy and unmotivated?
Is apathy a mental illness?
Why do I have no motivation?
What causes the depression?
Is anxiety a mental?
What is being emotionless called?
How long can anhedonia?
What is social anhedonia?

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