I Don’t Want To Do Anything… Why?

By: Sarah Fader

Updated July 08, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Audrey Kelly, LMFT

Have you ever felt like "I don't want to do anything" but you weren't sure of the reason why? One of the most frustrating things in life is losing the drive to do anything. It can be very disheartening to know that you have wonderful and great people and things going on in your life and you just cannot seem to enjoy them. In many cases we aren't aware that feeling lazy may be a sign that we need to attend to our mental health, wellness, and to engage in self-care.

Feeling unmotivated or apathetic towards life can happen to the best of us from time-to-time, and can especially have an effect on young adults. Abuse survivors and sexual assault victims often report high levels of apathy.

Something is preventing that from happening, but you just don't know what it is. This is especially true if this has been going on for a long time. It seems as if these feelings just popped up out of nowhere, and then suddenly you find yourself with no motivation to do anything anymore. Then, you 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 want to leave the house or do anything.

You 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?"

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If any of the above sounds familiar, you may require the help of a mental health provider to help support you through this. It's possible that you are suffering from depression. A professional can give you life advice and help you to assess what is going on to rule out more serious issues.

Your family may see you going about your day lackluster and say that it's just laziness, but unless you are knowingly choosing not to do anything, there may be more to it. Many people who are suffering from depression experience 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.

If all you feel like doing is lying on the couch and watching Netflix rather than to go outside and start living, more often than not, then 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 hopelessness and sadness creep up.

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 you don't have to suffer alone. There are successful tools to help you find and develop your sense of motivation and start living again.

What Now?

First, you may want to visit your primary care doctor, especially if these feelings are unusual for you. Your doctor will be able to perform some diagnostic testing and blood-work on you to rule out an underlying health issue in order 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. Likewise, certain medications can have some side effects that could cause these symptoms, as well. If your doctor can identify the problem, the fix may be as simple as a vitamin supplement or other medication.

If your doctor is unable to determine why you lack motivation, then he or she 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 are finding it 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.

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How Can I Feel Better?

First, it's important to understand that you are not alone. There are tens of thousands of people across America that have experienced lack of motivation at some point in their lives. New parents may feel so lethargic and exhausted due to a new baby that they do not leave their house for weeks. 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 to form a course of action to get back to your old self again. It is extremely important that you are 100% truthful with him/her so that they have all the information he/she needs to determine the treatment plan. It's important to be honest during therapy sessions. Withholding any information at this point will only harm yourself, 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. The Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) class of medication has shown to be extremely beneficial to those suffering from depression, whether it be long-term or situational.

Don't Beat Yourself Up

Above all, it is especially important that you do not 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. There are so many factors that contribute to our moods and feelings every day, which can make it seem hard to always feel in control of ourselves. The way that you're feeling can be related to everyday circumstances that are causing your mental health to suffer. Every single person has moments where they do not feel within the control and where they feel completely overwhelmed to the point of contemplating giving up. It's time to seek help if you feel stuck in this unmotivated place.

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 members, your therapist or someone else who you feel confident that you can confide in.

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 stronger and more confident person in the end.

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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. 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.

The counselors at BetterHelp know what it's like to feel numb at these times in our lives. They are experienced in helping people that have been experiencing the same feelings that you're feeling no to navigate their complex feelings and figuring 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 other mental health related prognosis.

Your therapist supports you in deconstructing your feelings and working hard to get the help that 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. If you suspect that you are suffering from depression, clients of BetterHelp have seen a 70% improvement in their depressive symptoms after spending time in helpful online counseling sessions. If you are experiencing depression, your counselor at BetterHelp is here to support you in getting the mental health treatment that you need. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor 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 that caused me so much pain. But I was pleasantly surprised by the way 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 so much 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 actually think we've made more progress in between sessions just by being able to communicate things that are coming up in real time. Neil is intelligent and kind. I really 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 give 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 have more control in my life. I feel a lot happier."

Moving Forward

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 be the best future that you can build.

If you are feeling better, focus on that and be grateful that those dark days are behind you. If you were able to make connections 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 now your ability to help others. It will show that those rough days all had a purpose after all.

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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 far bit bigger than just a touch of laziness and could possibly be related to mental illness. Then, lay out 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 to identify 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. Getting back to the things you used to enjoy is possible-all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Is it Ok to not do anything?

It's normal for people to feel like "I don't want to do anything" from time to time. If this feeling lasts for an extended period of time, it's time to seek professional advice from a mental health professional to rule out a potential mental illness.

What do you do when have no motivation?

If you suddenly feel like you have no motivation, reach out to trusted friends and family members to let them know how you're feeling. Lack of motivation can take a serious toll on sex, relationships, friendships and your overall well-being (if left unchecked). Try getting some fresh air. Take a break from using social media. Go outside for a short walk and see if this helps.

How do you start something you don't want to do?

Getting motivated is not always easy. Start by spending time thinking about your goals and the end result that you want to have. You can write down your goals and thoughts in a journal. Once you see your goals written down on paper, you're more likely to follow through with doing the work it takes to achieve them.

Is "lazy" a feeling?

Feeling lazy is usually a symptom of another underlying condition and can often be related to issues with undiagnosed mental illness. When feeling lazy starts to affect your sex, relationships, and family situations, it's time to get help from a professional to seek mental health treatment.

Is laziness a mental disorder?

Laziness is a term that relates to the symptoms of feeling lack of motivation or apathy towards life in general. Laziness is usually related to some undiagnosed condition or underlying issue like drug addiction that can be resolved with proper mental health treatment so you can start living again.

Is laziness a symptom of depression?

Yes. Often times feeling lazy or apathetic is a symptom of depression or other undiagnosed mental illness. People who are suffering from lack of motivation in sex, relationships, career, and other important areas of life should seek appropriate mental health treatment to improve the quality of their lives.

Is The Occasional Lazy Day Bad for Your Mental Health?

No, it's not. If you're usually a productive person, taking an occasional day off for yourself can be good for you. Sleeping in helps your brain, eating more than usual can keep your body's metabolism on its toes, and entertaining yourself with Netflix or video games can be a way to relieve stress and feel happier. Just limit your lazy days.

How Do I Take A Mental Health Lazy Day and Not Feel Bad About it?

People who are workaholics should still have a day where they are a little lazy. It's good for one's mental health, after all. However, some people may feel some guilt. Realize that being lazy on an occasional day is being productive depending on the context. You're unwinding and having fun, preparing you for the next round of work.

How Can I Improve My Mental Health Through Exercise If I'm Lazy?

Exercise can be great for one's mental health and can make you less lazy, but for many, it's hard to get into. This is another case where starting small is good. Do a few crunches, or walk a little bit. Don't go too hard, or you'll regret it. In extreme cases, you may want to hire a personal trainer or have a workout buddy to keep you motivated. It's hard at first, but once you work out, you may not want to stop.

FAQs

What does it mean if you don't want to do anything?

When you don't feel like doing anything, it could mean a variety of things. You could be tired from a busy schedule, bored and not sure what to do with your time, or be depressed.  It is also common for people experiencing a mental illness, substance abuse, or behavioral health concerns to feel this way. If you're not interested in doing activities you usually do, feel hopeless, or you don't want to be around others, such as family members or friends, you could have depression.

Sometimes people dealing with health and substance problems may feel hopeless, leading to the feeling of not wanting to do anything. Perhaps you've experienced traumatic stress that's affected how you take care of yourself or your performance at work. Many turn to substance abuse when they feel like no one cares about their problems. Substance abuse only makes things worse because it can lead to alcohol or drug addiction.  

There are health services available, including free talk support through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While you may not have thoughts of self-harm, using a resource such as the National Suicide Prevention imitative encourages you to share and explore your ideas to find a better solution. Many who have used the National Suicide Prevention helpline had similar feelings of not wanting to do anything but found a solution by talking to someone. Many asked questions about why they feel this way and what to do about it. A suicide prevention measure is to talk about your feelings to learn better options to help you cope.

What to do when you don't want anything?

Try engaging in positive activities beneficial to your wellbeing. When you don't want to do anything, it is one of the most common symptoms of depression, many overlook. A mental illness such as bipolar disorder or depression could lead to feelings of not wanting to do anything. Many young adults experience similar feelings while leading to unhealthy behaviors.

If you've been through traumatic stress, feel emotionally overwhelmed, or are struggling to deal with mental health and substance problems, you're not alone. Whether you have a mental illness, behavioral health concerns, or you're just struggling to deal with unwanted emotions, you can do something about it by reaching out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers confidential support anytime you need it. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline makes it easy for youth and adults to get help. Many who use the Prevention Lifeline for the first time use the frequently asked questions section on the website to help them make the call.

People with eating disorders or receiving mental health treatment find the Prevention Lifeline useful. If you need health treatment or support for substance abuse, you can get directed to a local help source. Talking to a counselor or help source such as the National Suicide Prevention helpline may help you understand why you feel this way and what your next action should be. Suicide prevention isn't just for people at risk of harming themselves. It may help you understand other options for dealing with unwanted feelings. Many have asked questions about why they feel empty and learned helpful options on what to do next.

What does it mean when you don't want to leave the house?

What to do about not wanting to leave the house is a frequently asked topic. Some people that don't want to leave their home may have a form of anxiety, mental illness, or fear places or situations that bring unwanted feelings (agoraphobia) such as embarrassment. Many may not know there are health treatment options available to help you cope with anxieties and personal fears. Others may have a substance abuse problem making it difficult to do daily tasks. A substance abuse problem makes it challenging to focus on priorities, including those that require you to leave your home.

When you don't want to leave the house due to fear or anxiety, you can get help through options such as support groups. Such groups help answer frequently asked questions about a lack of motivation. People with behavioral health concerns can get mental health treatment to help them cope with their anxieties. There are health care options to take advantage of online or by phone as a first step to facing your emotional challenges.

A person may not want to leave the house if they are dealing with mental health and substance problems. Some fear being judged by others or don't want to experience uncomfortable feelings. You can learn about health treatment options to help you cope with your emotions to make leaving home easier. A person may have intentions to harm themselves if they don't want to leave their home. Suicide prevention support through online or in-person health treatment options can help. Help options include exploring commonly asked questions about personal feelings to learn how to handle related emotions.

How do you motivate yourself to do things you don't want to do?

As one of many frequently asked questions, it is common for people, including young adults, to lack motivation from time to time to get things done. Learn ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Think about things that make you feel good. Avoid choices with negative consequences. What are the ways you can help people you about? Engage in meditation or relaxing ways to clear your head. Think about ways you can use your skills and talents to earn more income. Think about the attributes you value about yourself.

Even if you have a mental illness or behavioral health concern, there are ways to motivate yourself with support from local mental health services. Sometimes motivation comes through a national suicide imitative that works to keep people motivated by talking about their feelings.  While you may not have thoughts of self-harm, there are health treatment options to help you deal with persistent lack of motivation, such as therapy or counseling. When you feel worthless and find it very difficult to motivate yourself, try talking about your feelings with a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline counselor. Talking about your problems may prevent risky behaviors such as substance abuse, and it is useful in suicide prevention.

How do I stop being so lazy?

Asked questions about laziness is common. When you're feeling lazy, think about ways to be productive. Make a plan to encourage productivity based on things you like to do or the goals you want to reach. Think about the goals you want to achieve and how to make them possible. Think about accomplishments made and how to grow from them. Identify and limit distractions. Identify your strengths and how to use them to your advantage. Be comfortable with imperfections. Use words and thoughts to build yourself up instead of putting yourself down.

Feeling lazy may contribute to a lack of responsibility and priorities. It is encouraged to get active doing things you enjoy or look for ways to help others. Sometimes laziness leads to feeling out of place. A person may feel they have no purpose. Such thoughts lead to substance abuse or other unhealthy actions influencing your behavioral health.

Some people learning to cope with a mental illness may feel lazy. Part of their behavioral health support includes learning activities to boost your mood and increase personal interests. Get support from friends and family members by planning to do an activity, so you have something to look forward to. If you have behavioral health concerns that affect your ability to get things done, there are support groups and health treatment options such as therapy or counseling to help you cope. These options also help with suicide prevention and frequently asked questions about laziness.

Why can't I get out of bed?

How to get out of bed is a frequently asked topic for different reasons. Sometimes when you don't feel like getting out of bed, it could be depression. Maybe you're not in a good mood because something happened. Perhaps you're just tired from the day before or lack motivation. People with substance abuse problems may find it challenging to get out of bed. Mental health and substance problems could worsen when left untreated.

When you continue to feel this way regularly without reason, there are things you can do to help yourself feel better. Take small steps toward getting out of bed by doing small actions such as making your bed or stand up and stretch. Take your pet for a walk. Think about the moments when you felt good. Have someone you trust help you stay on your toes for support and accountability.

Not wanting to get out of bed may be a behavioral health concern when the feeling occurs regularly. For some, it could signal health and substance problems. Sometimes it's a sign of dealing with traumatic stress or mental illness. If you're feeling sad or hopeless with thoughts of self-harm, there are prevention hotline options available to help you. Using the Suicide Prevention Lifeline may help you understand your feelings behind why you don't want to get out of bed, especially when feeling extremely sad. Suicide prevention options include talking about your feelings and why you don't want to do certain things to find a solution.

How do I get motivated?

Think about things you've completed that made you feel good. Think about the progress you've made getting things done related to personal goals. Keep the momentum going as you make progress. Connect with people who are role models and offer positive support. Learn ways to improve your mental health. Keep setting goals to encourage yourself to be mentally and physically active. Give yourself permission to feel worthy. Consider support groups offering peer encouragement. There are also prevention lifeline help options when you want to talk about your feelings.

It is common for people with a mental illness or behavioral health concern to lack motivation. Many feel discouraged when they lack motivation and may turn to substance abuse or develop a drug addiction when they feel less worthy or as if they want to give up. Even when you think you can't get motivated to do something, there is always help through support options such as the suicide prevention lifeline.

How do I get motivated to go to work?

As another frequently asked topic, it's challenging to get work done when you don't feel like doing it. Getting motivated to go to work includes changing your mindset. It is work but think of it as productivity to complete in increments. Avoid viewing it as hard work, but instead, something that will help you improve or gain. Set small and achievable goals. Jump in and get started without thinking about it too much. Focus your time and energy on what matters. Reward yourself when completing tasks.

Some are only motivated to go to work to maintain their health insurance, but it helps to establish priorities and think about the benefits of going to work. If a mental illness or behavioral health concern such as depression is keeping your motivation low, consider learning about mental health treatment options to help you deal with your feelings. If you've lost motivation to do anything, consider using a suicide prevention help option to explore your feelings further.

How do I get motivated to work?

Think about the result when the work is completed. Think about positive and encouraging words to keep your mind focused on the task. Give yourself permission to achieve success. Start small and work your way up. Set a time limit on how long to work on the task before taking a break. Look for ways to stay focused and limit distractions. Think about how good you'll feel when the work is finished.

If you notice you lack the motivation to work, consider other ways to gain motivation. Check local health services available in your area to learn about mental health services such as low cost or free counseling. Your health insurance may cover such services. Maybe exploring the reasons behind why you lack the motivation to work may help you find new motivation. Connect with peers and ask questions about how they get motivated. If you have a mental illness or behavioral health concern, there are health treatment options to consider, such as talk therapy and counseling. Some who use a suicide prevention help source ask questions about how to get motivated when their motivation to do anything is lost.

Is staying in bed all day bad?

Many like the idea of staying in bed all day, but behavioral health and wellness experts feel its not a good idea. The human body needs regular physical activity, and it may pose problems for your mental health. Staying in bed more often could lead to health care risks. If this behavior usually occurs, it could be a mental illness or sign of a behavioral health concern. People with substance abuse problems may feel this way too. If you feel empty, sad, or worthlessness, there are health treatment options to help you cope.

How can I force myself out of bed?

It is common for young adults to need to force themselves out of bed, especially when trying to work through a lot of pressure or traumatic stress. Think about the tasks you want to accomplish for the day. Start small by just getting yourself out of bed. Do some light stretches. Open a window and get some fresh air or step outside for a few moments. Channel your thoughts to positive actions to encourage yourself to get up and get moving. Think about feelings that bring good vibes. Turn on some music.

It may be challenging to get out of bed if substance abuse is a problem. Sometimes behavioral health concerns are behind reasons why you don't want to get out of bed. There are health treatment options to help you deal with your feelings. You may also learn other ways to get yourself out of bed.

Why do I stay in bed all day?

People who stay in bed all day may experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, or have problems getting a good night's rest. Whether you have a mental illness such as depression or substance abuse or deal with insomnia, such conditions may worsen if left untreated. Some may experience suicidal thoughts. There are national suicide help sources available to help you cope. Even if you don't experience feelings of self-harm, using a national suicide help source may help you understand a better way to cope. You may gain more motivation to help you get out of bed. If you are concerned about your behavioral health, there are health treatment options to help you cope with your emotions.

What happens if you stay in bed too long?

Staying in bed for too long can make you physically uncomfortable because it affects blood circulation and your muscles. If you don't have a medical reason to be in bed for prolonged periods, health care experts may view this as a mental health concern. Wanting to stay in bed for extended periods may signal a mental illness or behavioral health concern to address.

How do I get out of bed faster?

Since many people admit they struggle to get out of bed after waking up, a frequently asked topic includes how to get out of bed fast. Drink water when you wake up first thing. Water helps improve oxygen flow and may help you feel more awake. Place your alarm clock further away to make yourself move more to turn it off. Turn on music to help you wake up. Do an activity to help you wake up, such as stretches or reading. Go to be when you're tired. Have tasks such as clothes picked out and what to have for breakfast planned the night before. Consider seeking behavioral health resources to learn healthy sleep habits to make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.


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