Having trouble getting out of bed or completing simple tasks at work? Your mental health might be affecting your ability to get and stay motivated.
Inner motivation can inspire us to do what we know we need to do, like clean the house or do a workout. But battling a mental illness can make it hard to do anything. We know we should want to be motivated and energized to cook a healthy meal, but we just can't.
There are also still stigmas around mental health in spite of awareness campaigns. Outsiders can look at a messy room or withdrawn behavior and see only laziness. That can make us feel even worse, creating a vicious cycle that's hard to get out of. Laziness and a lack of motivation are two different things. A lazy person doesn't want to do the things they need to do but probably has the energy to do them. A depressed person wants to perform everyday tasks but feels like they can't, even if they have the energy.
Fortunately, knowing that a loss of motivation is a side effect of several mental illnesses can be the key to healing. Consider making a list of all the things you used to love doing, or the things you want to start doing when you get better. Maybe there's a trip you always wanted to take, but fear held you back. Or maybe you used to love painting and gardening, but depression or anxiety has been holding you back from the easel and the garden.
Positive behavioral changes can lead to a more rewarding and productive life. As you work through your specific challenge, you may find your motivation starting to return. A trusted friend or licensed professional can help. Psychiatry focuses on diagnosing and treating mental and emotional disorders.
Even just small, incremental changes can have a powerfully transformative effect. Someone who has lived with mental illness for a long time may have trouble articulating their goals. Recovery is the process of no longer struggling with symptoms, but recognizing that they are there and finding appropriate coping mechanisms to deal with them. Identifying that a lack of motivation may be a symptom means that someone doesn't have to feel overwhelmed by it anymore. Instead, they can feel empowered to become motivated again.
Social connection, or reconnection, is another key step in recovery. Everyone needs a social network to support them. It shows someone that they are worthy of care and attention. They are free to be themselves, warts and all.
Your mental health can affect you in many ways. Understand that healing is possible and reach out to your loved ones and therapists for support.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves to write for business, health, and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.