woman lying face-down on a bed

When you don’t feel like doing anything, often you really don’t want to do anything.

Nothing is good to you, and even well-intentioned suggestions from loved ones might make you cranky.

It is usually only temporary, and most people feel this from time to time. You might feel like this when you are busy.

However, a longer-lasting loss of interest (apathy) or reduced pleasure in the things you usually enjoy (anhedonia), may suggest something more serious.

Sometimes, not wanting to do anything is your mind and body’s way of asking for a break.

If you’ve been pushing yourself to your limit recently, heed this call before you reach the point of burnout.

Self-compassion is key in this situation. Acknowledge your hard work, and then give yourself permission to take some downtime. Take a nap, scroll through your favorite social media app, or curl up with your favorite blanket and a pet — whatever feels easy and relaxing.

Taking a break can help you.

  • Recharging mentally and physically.
  • Think more clearly and perform better.
  • Avoid mistakes at work, on the road, and in other situations.
  • “It’s possible to prevent burnout.”

A 2019 study found evidence that high levels of burnout in nurses can affect patient safety. Taking a break can benefit not only you but also those around you.

What are some signs that you need a break?

Even if it is just a 10-minute walk around the block, getting some light physical activity outside can help reset your mood.

Research has shown that exercise can benefit you in various ways:

  • Reducing the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cancer is important.
  • Depression and anxiety are managed.
  • Managing weight.
  • Strength, coordination and flexibility are boosted.
  • The immune system is strengthened.
  • boosting mood and emotional well-being

In one study, nurses who took a break in a hospital garden performed better in tests assessing the psychological symptoms of burnout than those who took indoor breaks.

Even if you just sit on a bench, simply spending time in nature can have benefits.

Changing your environment can help you to head over to your favorite coffee shop. Spending some time outside might help you feel better about spending the rest of the day on the couch.

What are the health benefits of being outdoors?

“Journalling can help you sort through your emotions, and explore your emotional state to understand why you don’t want to do anything.”

“If you haven’t been doing much for a while, this can be helpful.”

Ask yourself if you are feeling good.

  • anxious, worried, or nervous about something
  • angry or frustrated
  • sad or lonely
  • It is not possible to behopeful.
  • detached from yourself

“It’s hard to think about doing anything else when you’re occupied with any of the above emotions.”

Try some light journaling about how you’re feeling, even if what comes out doesn’t make a ton of sense.

If you feel up for it, try following up by connecting some of these emotions to specific causes. Are changes at work making you feel anxious? Is scrolling through your favorite news app making you feel It is not possible to behopeful. about the future?

Figuring out what is behind these emotions can help you come up with solutions or accept that things are beyond your control.

Positive affect journaling

Positive affect journalling is an exercise that encourages people to focus on the good in their lives.

In one trial, people living with chronic diseases answered questions such as “What are you thankful for today” or “Who did something nice for you?” in writing. They did this three times a week for at least 15 minutes each time for 12 weeks.

Participants reported feeling better after 12 weeks and showed a reduction in stress and anxiety.

The researchers said that journalling might be more uplifting than journalling on negative emotions. That can be a crucial role in helping people understand why they feel that way.

How can you start with a journal, and what are the benefits?

Of course, meditation is doing something. But try to think of it in terms of doing nothing in a mindful, purposeful way.

In 2019, a group of people participated in 13 minutes of meditation activities each day.

They showed signs after 8 weeks.

  • Reducing stress, anxiety and negative moods.
  • The ability to focus has been improved.
  • Improvements in working and recognition memory.

At first, meditation is not always easy. It can help you notice your emotions and accept them without judging yourself or pulling you down.

How do you start meditating?

When you don’t want to do anything, chatting to a friend, neighbor, or family member can sometimes help. You might look for a good empathic listener or just someone to go for a walk or hang out with.

Some researchers have suggested that older people who feel they have low levels of social activity might have a higher risk of developing depression. Others have found evidence that having a social network can help prevent depression and cognitive decline, which involves problems with thinking and memory.

“It can be tempting to hide away, but don’t do it for too long. Things may be worse in the long term if you give up social activities.”

What are the benefits of friendship?

“Music can fill the silence and give you something to think about when you don’t do much.”

While putting on your favorite music can help you relax, or even get you excited, it may also have benefits for your brain, including improved attention and memory.

Some research also suggests music may have the potential to help reduce pain and treat depression.

How does music affect you?

If you have a lot of boring things like chores, bills, or errand to get done, you may not want to do anything. If they have been piling up, the thought of tackling them might be daunting.

“Here are some easy chores that don’t require much concentration.”

  • The dishes are being washed.
  • Making the bed.
  • A cupboard is being sorted out.
  • Taking a bag of items to a charity shop.
  • Making one call.
  • A simple meal is being prepared.
  • Putting away some washing.
  • tidying up a desk

You can get a sense of achievement if you just do one task that you have been putting off. A tidy room or desk can help you feel more in control.

Try to create a list of everything you need to do. What needs to be done asap? What can we do now? You can organize them based on how easy they are.

Pick something that is easy to complete and make it your priority even if it only takes 20 minutes. Doing something small can help break you out of this rut of powerlessness and get you back on track.

Once you cross it off your list, give yourself permission to take it easy for the rest of the day.

What are some chores for kids?

“It can make you feel off and sluggish if you don’t meet your physical and emotional needs.”

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Am I hydrated?
  • Do I need to eat?
  • Should I get some more sleep?
  • Is anything bothering me?
  • Would I feel better around people?
  • Is there time alone?

Depending on your answers, you may need to set aside some time for self-care.

“Making a schedule can help you take care of chores and other responsibilities if you notice you don’t want to do anything.”

“A schedule can help you have a plan for what to do when you don’t feel like doing anything, even if you already use aplanner to note down important tasks or meetings.”

“You don’t have to account for every minute of your day, but you can create some general time blocks for.”

  • Getting up.
  • Preparing for the day.
  • Making meals.
  • School, work, or household responsibilities.
  • Seeing friends.
  • Going to bed.

Set aside time for activities you enjoy and spending time with your loved ones.

“If you can’t stick to this schedule, try not to be too hard on yourself. It could be a sign that you need to change something or set aside more time for something.”

Remember, it’s really okay to do nothing sometimes. But if you feel like you should be doing something or have some feelings of guilt around “wasting time,” reading a book can be a low-key way to feel productive, especially if it’s a nonfiction book on a topic you want to learn more about.

If you’re concerned about a low mood or having difficulty coping in the longer term, books on self-help or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might help. Research suggests CBT self-help books can reduce depression and boost overall well-being in people with mild to moderate depression.

“If you feel like you’re not enough energy to hold a book, consider an audiobook. If you have a library card, many libraries will let you borrow audiobooks or e-books for free.”

“Audiobooks are great for people who don’t have much time to read, since they can enjoy books while doing almost anything else. If you prefer to lie still and let sounds wash over you, they can offer a way to read.”

How can reading books help you?

“It can sometimes be a sign that you have depression if you don’t want to do anything.”

Depression often doesn’t improve without support from a mental health professional, so it’s best to talk to a therapist if the above tips don’t seem to help.

If you experience something, it is best to reach out.

  • The low mood was persistent.
  • You lose interest in things you enjoy.
  • Most things are uninteresting.
  • Low energy or fatigue.
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Irritated or other mood changes.
  • feelings of emptiness, It is not possible to behopeful.ness, or worthlessness

People living with anxiety may have a hard time doing things when they are worried. You might be restless and unable to move from task to task.

Therapists can help you work through anxiety symptoms, so it’s a good idea to reach out if you experience:

  • There are persistent worries or fears that seem uncontrollable.
  • thoughts
  • There is sleeplessness.
  • panic attacks
  • stomach ache

Not sure where to start? Our guide to finding affordable therapy can help.

You are the best judge of your own needs. Sometimes, doing nothing is what you need to do. Pay attention to other signs that may alert you to something else.

How can you keep working when you are not doing well?

Crystal Raypole worked as an editor for GoodTherapy. Her interests include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. She is committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.