This page was clinically reviewed by Christos Papalekas, Counselling Psychologist, CBT & EMDR Psychotherapist at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove.
People with depression often experience a wide range of symptoms, such as low moods, feelings of hopelessness and sadness, sleep disturbances and appetite changes. Another common symptom that people with depression experience is a lack of motivation in their day to day lives. Someone with depression may also feel a lack of pleasure regarding activities and hobbies they once did.
Here, we will explore what a lack of motivation might feel like for someone struggling with depression and provide tips on the things you can do to increase your motivation levels. We will also provide information on getting the support you need for your depression, if this continues to have a negative effect on your life and wellbeing.
Does depression cause a lack of motivation?
Experiencing little to no motivation is one of the core symptoms of depression. A lack of motivation when depressed may mean that you:
- Have little to no energy, causing you to feel lethargic
- Struggle to get out of bed in the morning and face the day
- Become uninterested in looking after your physical appearance or personal hygiene
- Become uninterested in activities or hobbies you used to enjoy
- Don’t want to socialise with other people
- Struggle to concentrate or perform well at work
- Struggle to keep on top of daily tasks and responsibilities
Some other symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness
- Crying more than usual
- Feeling irritable, anxious and restless
- Unexplained physical health problems, such as aches and pains with no clear cause
How to get motivated when depressed
If you’re feeling like you don't want to do anything or are unmotivated as a result of your depression, the prospect of doing things to try and motivate yourself may seem impossible and somewhat paradoxical. You may be wondering how you’ll find the motivation to motivate yourself!
However, there are a number of really simple things you can do that can help to boost your mood and motivation levels, helping you to feel better, more in control and enable you to cope with depression symptoms when they arise.
You could try the following:
- Set yourself a daily routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. For example, try to cook at the same time each day. You can then congratulate yourself when you tick something off your list – this can help to boost your confidence and sense of wellbeing, which could help to improve your mood. It’s important once you set up a daily routine or plan to follow the plan and not your mood, and to remember that actions of confidence precipitate feelings of confidence, which means ‘first you do and then you feel’
- Practise good sleep hygiene. The connection between sleep and mental health is well established. Too much or too little can have a negative impact on your mood, which is why it’s important to have a healthy sleep routine. Try going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, avoid napping during the day and try to create a relaxing bedtime routine to get you in the frame of mind for sleep. Ideally, we should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, so these steps can help
- Go for a walk or do some exercise. Endorphins are known to improve mood so it’s important to try and get active. You don't have to do anything too strenuous or lengthy, just being in nature or a 10-minute walk can help
- Socialise with family or friends. Socialising with people can help us to feel supported and less alone, and can help to increase your motivation. This doesn’t have to be a large social gathering – socialising in small groups in a laid-back setting, such as a café, can do wonders for your mood and mental health
Affirmations for motivation
Using positive self-affirmations can also help to increase your levels of motivation. Every morning when you wake up, pick a few of the following and say them out loud to yourself and/or write them down.
- I wake up feeling motivated to start the day
- Everything I need is within me
- I am rising above my depression
- I am getting better and stronger every day
- Today will be a good day
- I am strong and confident
- I can achieve whatever I want to achieve
- I am grateful for today
- I am constantly growing and evolving
- I am proud of myself
- I am motivated to achieve my dreams
- My past does not define me
Get Help for your Depression
While the above tips can help, it may be that you need professional support for your depression and associated motivation issues. At Priory, our depression treatment experts will be able to help you to overcome your symptoms and negative thoughts, understand the underlying triggers for your difficulties and take steps towards a lasting recovery.
We offer dedicated inpatient, day care, and outpatient treatment options, depending on the level of support you need, as well as a wide range of evidence-based therapy types.
You don’t have to struggle with depression; get in touch today to find out how we can support you to get back on track.
Get in touch with Priory by calling 0800 144 8969 for a compassionate chat about the difficulties you've been experiencing and how our treatment can put you on the road to recovery.
Alternatively, click here to book a free addiction assessment, where a mental health professional will examine your symptoms and outline the best possible route to recovery.