What to do When You're Feeling Unmotivated

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Would I love to be creative, productive, and happy all the time? Hell yeah! But is it possible? Absolutely not. It is 100% impossible to always feel creative, productive and happy.

 Recent studies show that there are 27 distinct emotions that humans can express that could lead us to do a thousand different things. Combined that means that we have over a thousand and twenty-seven things we could be doing and feeling at every second.

 So when we fall into these uninspired and unmotivated periods of our life, we haven’t lost our ability to be creative or productive in the slightest.

We just let some other things take over for a while.

Once we acknowledge that this period is a just natural part of the cycle and throw judgment out the window, we can start working on ways to bring ourselves out of this place that can be downright frustrating and into a place that feels better.

#1 “Me” Time

When I find myself feeling unmotivated and uninspired it’s usually because I’ve reached a burnout period. I still struggle with balancing work and self-care and while I have gotten better at it, I still have periods of extremity. I’ll have high periods of extreme productivity and motivation, which I can sustain for a few weeks, and then I inevitability I get too exhausted and burnout.

Leading up to the burnout period, the more amount of time I dedicate to my work increases while the time I spend taking care of myself decreases. So when the inevitable burnout period occurs, the first thing I do is schedule time in my day for self care.  For me this usually involves meditating for about 30 minutes to an hour and getting back into my full morning routine.

Maybe for you, “Me” time means sleeping in, taking your dog for a long walk, or having breakfast outside.

 Whatever “Me” time is for you, schedule time in your day to tend to you, and only you.


#2 Look Good, Feel Good

When I’m not feeling the best on the inside I have a tendency to reflect that on the outside. My hair is going in every direction, I’m definitely rocking my PJ’s from the night before, and whether or not I washed my face is up for debate.

While it’s tempting to stay in the comfortable and familiar when we’re feeling a little blue, I find that making an effort with how I look on the outside can really make me feel a bit better on the inside.

So I put on one of my favorite outfits, run a brush through my hair (or just throw it all up in a ponytail if my hair isn’t behaving), put on some makeup and strike a power pose.

Because we can do anything.


#3 Change Your Environment

When I am in an unmotivated state I tend to gravitate towards what’s comfortable and familiar, like my home. The problem is that by staying in my home I am not finding any more motivation. There is no new energy, stimulants, or information to process.

While my familiar surrounds bring my comfort, it also serves as another reason to continue to be in my current unmotivated state.

If you do not feel comfortable enough to go to a place where there are people, just sit outside in your backyard or even front yard. Take notice of everything around you and perhaps you’ll find things that interest you. The breeze as it touches your skin, the sun as it warms your back, the grass that feels scratchy under your fingers.

Taking ourselves out a place of extreme comfort and putting ourselves in a place that invites new energy can be just what we need to find motivation.


#4 Treat Yourself

While I believe it’s important to treat yourself every now and then, I think it’s extra important to treat yourself on the days where you just aren’t feeling that great.

This treat does not have to be monetary at all. It can be as simple as taking the time to make yourself a cup of tea or spending an hour watching TV.

For me, a treat for myself usually consists of buying myself food from a café or a restaurant. I mainly cook at home so buying food outside, even if it’s just a pastry, is quite a treat in it of itself.


#5 Do That Thing 

Do those things that you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t. Complete the tasks that you started but stopped. Start on that bucket list.

In order to re-motivate ourselves we need to begin to feed our mind with things that feed our souls.

Learn that stuff. Take that class. Feed your mind. Do that thing. And you’ll get back into your rhythm before you know it.


#6 Look Within and Let it Go

Sometimes we are able to pinpoint the reason or multiple reasons for our unmotivated state. This reason does not reveal itself immediately because it is usually overpowered by the other voices in our head telling us that “we better snap out of it” and “we need to be productive, or else!”

In these moments when our head feels like it’s about to explode from all the shouting and our hearts feel like they’ve been put through the wringer, take a pause, and look within.

Sit in stillness for 5 minutes; try to quiet the mind by focusing on the breath, the hot and cold feeling of the air, the rise and fall of your stomach. Observe the natural sounds around you—the trees, the wind, the cars. Then close your eyes and look within.

When you look within you may find that you need to let go of some emotional baggage. It doesn’t have to have a name. It can be pent up frustration, anger or sadness. You can release it in the form of tears, exercise, talking with a close friend or whichever way you are comfortable doing so. 

When we are able to let go of the emotions that seem to be weighing down our chest, heart and soul, the reason has a chance to reveal itself to us. And that reason becomes our starting point.


#7 Love Yourself

You got this.