Self-care when you have ZERO motivation

Self-care, self-care, self-care.  It’s everywhere.  Magazines, TV programmes, websites, social media. All telling us to boost our self-care or how we should be doing our self-care.  But what is it self-care, why do we need it and how do you practice self-care when you have zero motivation?  Read on to find out the answers to these questions and hopefully some inspiration along the way too!   

What & Why?

What is self-care anyway?

Essentially self-care is that we look after ourselves.  Whether that’s our physical health or our emotional wellbeing.   Bottom line is it’s about being kind to ourselves in a way that ensures we are nourished. 

Why do we need self-care?

By caring for ourselves in the right way for us, it gives us the best possible chance of being physically and emotionally healthy.  Without it, our health and happiness, can be affected, in both the short and the longer term.   

Essentially self-care is our fuel.  It helps us feel as happy and healthy as we possibly can.  

Self-care can be anything from eating healthy meals to exercise, relaxing to music or getting a good nights’ sleep.  But more about self-care activities later on.

Motivation

When life’s good, it can be easy to look after ourselves.  If, however, things change, a crisis happens, we lose someone close to us, our mood drops or life just goes from 100 to a 500 miles an hour overnight, all of a sudden, our motivation can disappear and taking our self-care with it   Sound familiar?

Maybe, you’ve tried all the activities that used to fulfil you (possibly in a half-hearted kind of way) but nothings hitting the spot.  Leaving you feeling even less motivated, grumpier with people around you and even more frustrated with yourself.

There is hope though.  There are lots of different ways that you can look after yourself, giving yourself that TLC that you desperately need at the moment without it costing a fortune, taking up huge amounts of time, or require huge levels of energy and motivation which you haven’t got right now.   

There are lots of self-care activities that you can do which can begin to coax your enthusiasm and motivation back.  The key is to be patient with yourself and not be too hard on yourself, you are where you are right now and that’s OK.

Finding the right self-care for you.

We are all different, what works for me, might not work for you, so self-care can be a bit of trail and error, particularly if old hobbies or activities aren’t working for you.  The trick at this point, is not to overcommit yourself to trying 10 new activities in one day, you’ll end up doing none of them and not feeling great about yourself.

10 – 15 minutes a day

Focusing on just one self-care activity for just 10 -15 minutes a day can bring huge benefits.  It can really begin to rebuild your mojo.

Take a moment to step back and consider what feels lacking for you at the moment.  Are you craving connection with others, a way to express yourself, rest and relaxation or reconnection with our health or spirituality? 

Once you have an idea of what area of your self-care that needs your attention, it’s easier to figure out what might help the most right now.   Here’s some activities that only take 10 -15 minutes that you might try,

Craving

  • Accept offers of help from friends, family or colleagues
  • Reach out to a friend
  • Talk to a counsellor (OK, so this is the exception to the 15 minute rule!)

Needing to

  • Write a paragraph in your journal about anything at all
  • Draw or paint 
  • Say no to things you don’t want to do

Longing for

  • Change your bedding
  • Read a book or a magazine 
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Have a warm bubble bath
  • Wash your hair

Yearning for

  • Cook a healthy, tasty snack  
  • Sit and enjoy your favourite hot drink  
  • Walk round the block
  • Open the window and listen to the birds singing
  • Pray or meditate

So, these lists aren’t exhaustive, there might be something there that you think, yes I can do that or yes I want to do that.  Equally, you might be sitting thinking, no way but I could do x,y or z.  Either is OK, but choose something that will make a difference to you and your wellbeing.

Do something everyday if you can.  It might be the same thing, for example, a walk round the block or a bubble bath or, you may want to mix it up and do something different.  It really doesn’t matter, it’s your way and that’s the right way. 

Using reminders

It may feel like a real struggle at first.  If it helps, make a note in your diary or put a reminder in your phone.  But if this feels to pressured, try challenging yourself to do x activity tomorrow morning or tomorrow at some point before you go to bed. 

Sometimes we make ourselves feel guilty for taking time for themselves.  I get it, I really do, I’ve been there too but here’s the thing.  You can’t care for others around you if you are running on empty.  You wouldn’t expect a car to make a 200-mile journey with no petrol – think of self-care as your petrol!   And you really are worth it. 

Gradually over time, as your motivation returns, or time allows, you could try extending the time you spend on self-care, try new activities, or even try returning to some of your old hobbies that stopped working for a while. 

Be kind to yourself

Self-care is a habit which can easily break when we feel distressed, down or a crisis happens.  We can re-create the habit though.  It may take time, patience and a dose of self-kindness but you really can make the change you want to.   

Record your progress

Celebrate your progress

I believe it’s really key to celebrate our successes.  Particularly when we are feeling down or demotivated.  It can be so easy to beat ourselves up for not doing enough but by documenting and revisiting our successes, it’s easier to see our progress and how far we really have come.    

So, if you’ve made a meal, walked the block or whatever it may be.  Make a note of it somewhere, in your diary or journal, on your phone, or put little notes in an empty jar.   As your list or jar starts to fill, you can see how far you’ve come.  This can really help on a bad day.  Seeing our progress and achievements can be a motivator in itself for many of us. 

What now?   

If you are really struggling with motivation or are stuck on a low mood that you can’t shake, talking to a counsellor can really help.  Counselling really is the best form of self-care that I can think of and the benefits can last a lifetime.

I work with people just like you, so don’t struggle alone, get in touch with me on 07305 621885 or email me hello@sarahtinsleycounselling.co.uk

Thanks for reading

Sarah x

About the Author: Sarah is a qualified Counsellor, based near Chorley, Lancashire.  She works with adults, couples and young people (aged 10+). Helping them to gain clarity, find new direction, resolve conflict, recognise themselves again and be less haunted by painful emotions.  

Sarah has a particular interest in working with people who have experienced change (such as redundancy, retirement or divorce), loss or bereavement.

5 Strategies for a Better Nights Sleep

Hands up if any of these scenarios sounds familiar:

  • You struggle to get to sleep
  • You are sleeping 8-10 hours each night but waking up in the morning is a challenge.  You feel exhausted and rarely wake feeling refreshed.  
  • You wake up in the night and often lie there for what feels like forever desperately trying to drop off again.
  • The closer to bedtime you get, it feels like your mind has turned itself up loud and won’t let you quieten thoughts, memories or anxieties down.    

The truth is, around 50% of you reading this will have put your hand up to at least one or more of the above.

Sleep for health and wellbeing

Sleep is vital for our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.     Without good sleep, our mood and our physical health can suffer; Relationships with ourselves, our work and our loved ones can take a nose dive too! 

Sleep Facts

  • On average, adults need between 7 – 8.5 hours’ sleep every night.  However, we are all different, some of us will need just 4 hours sleep, whilst others need 10. 
  • Most people will occasionally struggle to get to sleep and to get back to sleep if they wake in the night. 
  • Events such as bereavement or loss, change or high levels of stress can make it more difficult to sleep.  Likewise, feeling anxious or depressed can contribute to poor sleep too. 
  • ‘Good sleepers’ will take around 30 minutes to fall asleep and will usually wake up briefly once or twice a night. 

We can get hung up on the number of hours we sleep but it’s quality sleep rather than quantity that’s essential. 

If you are struggling with your sleep, here are 5 strategies to ensure that you are READY for a great night’s sleep. 

R is for Routine

Putting a bedtime routine in place can really help our mind to recognise that sleep is on the way.    It doesn’t have to be overly complicated but relaxation time in for the hour before bed is key because it allows our bodies to recognise these activities as a reminder that it’s time to sleep.  Try not to watch TV that will leave you feeling stressed or energised.  Stay away from your phone, laptop or tablet; Avoid important conversations with loved ones just before bed too. 

Your bedtime routine should include activities that calm and relax you, starting at the same time every night.   This could be a warm drink (caffeine free), warm bath, listening to calm music or relaxation exercises.  

Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can really help to programme our mind and body for sleep.

E is for Environment

Make sure that your bedroom environment is comfortable.  Ensure that the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold.  Try to make your bedroom as dark as possible, too much daylight or artificial light can trick our bodies into thinking its time to get up. 

Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, restful and free from clutter.    

Don’t watch TV or other screens in bed.  Your bed should only be used for sleep and sex.

A is for Activities

So, we’ve talked about your bedtime routine already but the activity that you do during the day is as important when it comes to getting a quality nights sleep. 

Exercise is great, not just for our physical health but for our emotional health too.  Try to exercise in the morning if you can but if this isn’t possible, exercising later in the day is fine but steer clear of the couple of hours before you head to bed.   

 Try to eat and drink healthily throughout the day.  Wherever possible, opt for healthy, balanced meals and snacks with plenty of water.  Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine wherever possible, especially in the evening.   

If you aren’t sleeping at night and you are feeling exhausted, it’s really easy to give into the urge to nap but this can impact on our ability to sleep at night, so it’s best to avoid. 

D is for Dump the Worry

By dumping I don’t mean ignore it, far from it.  But, if you find that you mind becomes over active at bedtime or in the middle of the night, try different ways that allow you to put your worries down.    

For example, if you have a million and one things to do and lie awake frightened that you will forget something important, write a to do list; Journalling about what you are feeling can be helpful if you are feeling low or anxious.

If you wake in the night with racing thoughts, keep a pen and paper by your bedside so that you can write things down.  Maybe writing isn’t you thing, you could try drawing or speaking it out loud.   

Any act that involves you moving lists or worries out of you mind, can help you put them down to be able to get a good night’s sleep and offer you strength to focus on them in the morning if you need to.   

If problems with sleep have been going on for a while, and are as a result of a specific change, stress or loss in your life, it can really help to find someone you can talk to, maybe a friend or family member.   If friends or family are part of the problem, you are fed up of hearing unhelpful advice or you are worried about burdening them, seeing a counsellor maybe an option for you.

Talking can really help you to look at things in a different way, which can help turn reduce overwhelming thoughts that seem to increase in volume the closer to bedtime you get.   

Y is for Your Sleep Pattern

We are all different.  What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for all of us.  Spend some time understanding what your sleep pattern really is.  Figure out how much sleep you need, what activities make you feel relaxed before bed, and equally as important what makes you supercharged and has the opposite effect!  Work out what your ideal times are for going to bed and waking up in the morning.    

Once you have this clear in your own mind, communicate your needs with those around you to be sure that you are getting the sleep that you need. 

What now?   

Getting a good nights sleep is vital to our health and well-being. Events in our lives can impact on our sleep but how we sleep can also be as much about habits and routines we create for ourselves. In the same way that patterns take time to form, they take time to break too. 

Try to be patient and kind with yourself if change doesn’t happen overnight. But, if you follow the tips above and stick with it you are more likely to be READY for a good night’s slee

And Finally

I hope this blog helps you to get a better night’s sleep.  If you are wrestling with loss, change or bereavement and it’s affecting your sleep, you are not alone.  I work with people just like you.  Get in touch with me on 07305 621885 or email me hello@sarahtinsleycounselling.co.uk

Thanks for reading

Sarah x

Top 10 Myths about Counselling

Going to see a Counsellor can be scary, often we don’t know what to expect, what it’s really all about and the most important thing of all, will it make me feel any better?   There are many ideas out there about what counselling is or isn’t, counselling is portrayed in so many different ways on TV, in films, books and social media.   

These images can stop us from taking that first step of reaching for help when we need it most. 

Here are 10 of the most common myths.

Continue reading “Top 10 Myths about Counselling”