Feeling Unmotivated or Lacking Energy? You’re Not Alone. These Are Some of the Most Common Signs of Depression

Feeling Unmotivated or Lacking Energy? You’re Not Alone. These Are Some of the Most Common Signs of Depression

When you struggle with depression, it can feel like you’re trudging through a fog as if each step takes a monumental effort. Depression becomes more than a feeling, but rather a roadblock that stops you from moving forward. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Feeling stuck or unmotivated is a very common symptom of depression. Let’s take a look at other symptoms and how they may impact your day-to-day life.

How Depression Affects the Brain

Depression isn’t just a matter of feeling sad; it’s a complex disorder that can affect your brain’s function. Neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are our “reward” chemicals, which help regulate mood and give us good feelings when we complete a task or engage in something we like. It’s like your brain’s way of giving you a pat on the back!
Those suffering from depression often have imbalances in these chemicals, so you may not feel the same happiness for the same tasks you once did. This imbalance can also cause executive dysfunction, in which you have trouble planning, initiating, and completing tasks. Executive dysfunction is often associated with ADHD, but it can also be debilitating for those with depression.

Common Symptoms of Depression

As if a lack of motivation already isn’t frustrating enough, depression can also unfortunately affect other areas of your mood and life. If you’re experiencing depression, you may also experience other symptoms like:
• Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
• Lack of energy
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Little interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
• Poor concentration and dissociation
• Becoming withdrawn, irritable, or detached

Finding Motivation

Depression often slows your body down. Even the simplest tasks can require huge amounts of energy and feel overwhelming. It’s no wonder there’s a lack of motivation when it can take all your strength just to complete one task, but there are strategies you can use to help accomplish goals and reclaim your motivation!
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Set Achievable Goals

Who says you have to do all your laundry or all your dishes at once? Anything worth doing is worth doing halfway. Swishing mouthwash is better than not brushing your teeth. Taking a walk or doing some stretches is better than not moving at all. Doing 15 minutes of a hobby is still progress. Do what you can for yourself with the energy you have to spare. It may seem like baby steps right now, but one day you’ll look back and see how much distance you were able to cross.

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Reward Yourself

With depression dampening your dopamine levels, finding joy in everyday activities can be a challenge. You can “hack” your dopamine levels by rewarding yourself with a treat after achieving a task. You can do little acts of self-care, indulge in your favorite hobby, or even light a nice-smelling candle. If you do it enough, your brain will associate the rewards with completing a task, and it will help motivate you moving forward. Remember, progress is progress, no matter how small, and it should be celebrated.

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Make it Easier

You don’t have to live by imaginary rules, so if a task is overwhelming you, don’t feel bad for taking a shortcut. If doing the dishes feels like climbing Mount Everest, opt for disposable plates until you have the energy to tackle them. If making dinner is a chore, get pre-cut veggies or ready-to-make meals, so that’s one less additional step for you to take. Can’t get out of bed to wash your face? Keep a packet of face wipes by your bed. Small adjustments can make a world of difference.

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Make Your Schedule Work For You

Wherever you can, it can help your depression to rearrange your schedule to fit your needs. For example, you can break down tasks into manageable tasks instead of doing the entire task at once. If you have more energy at night, schedule your hardest tasks then, or if you do better in the morning, schedule most of your activities at that time. Don’t forget to schedule breaks and give yourself time for rest.

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Challenge Negative Thoughts

 Recognizing and avoiding negative thoughts are easier said than done but challenging negative thoughts is the first step to overcoming them. When you have a negative thought, ask yourself if that thought is constructive to what you’re doing. Is that thought even true? Is it helpful? If not, then ignore it and replace it with a more neutral or positive thought. You are capable and deserving of self-compassion!

When It’s Time to Seek Help For Your Depression

During a depressive episode, it’s essential to remember that you are not alone. If your depression is affecting your quality of life in any way, you should reach out for help. With the right support and strategies, you can find your way again and rediscover your happiness in life.
At With Behavioral Health, we are here to provide the support and treatment you need to navigate your depression. Through our intensive outpatient program, we offer group therapy tailored to your unique needs, empowering you to take control of your mental health and find hope for a brighter tomorrow. Contact us to schedule your intake appointment and start on the journey toward improved mental health.

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