Have you ever struggled with feeling like there’s nothing you’d instead do than lay in bed all day–doing nothing at all? Does the prospect of having to face a full day of work and other chores overwhelm you?
Often, people get so fed up with everyday duties that they start to feel like doing absolutely nothing. Feeling this way is legitimate, and, surprisingly, there are many things you can do in that situation. And, spoiler, mastering the art of doing nothing is the best remedy for getting out of this funk!
Why Do People Feel Like Doing Nothing At All?
Choosing to be utterly unproductive is one thing. But feeling like, no matter how hard you try, your brain refuses to get in motion is another thing. You might have asked yourself before why do you feel this way sometimes. And you probably didn’t find any reasonable explication.
Most people blame themselves when they get in these moods, thinking they’re too weak or unmotivated to get going. And in some cases, that can be true. However, most people have no control over these funks and have legitimate reasons for the state they’re in.
Most of the time, these feelings are fueled by stress or an overly busy lifestyle. Most people describe this as burnout. When prolonged stress reduces energy and motivation, you become unable to meet particular demands, so you feel like giving up. It can make you feel helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. If it’s a fleeting sensation, then it’s nothing to worry about. But if you struggle with burnout long-term, that might indicate something more profound is the root cause.
But not everyone feels like doing nothing because of burnout. This state of mind is often a sign of mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety. In that case, it’s not an event or lifestyle that fuels how you feel. Instead, your brain is intent on sabotaging itself. In some cases, this can tie to anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure. After all, why would you want to do things if they aren’t rewarding in any way?
For some, the need to do nothing stems from apathy, the state of lacking motivation for a prolonged period. Apathetic people don’t usually care about what’s going on around them. But don’t get it twisted. It’s not because they are sociopaths or something. It’s just that they are so affected by specific mental issues that it’s too hard to keep caring.
The truth is, sometimes wanting to do nothing is not that deep. Some days, your brain and body need a little time to relax and get some energy back. If you wake up one day and you feel this way, don’t panic. It’s probably just a short-lived feeling. But if you notice that these feelings persist, don’t hesitate to contact a therapist or psychologist.
In those cases where the feeling is manageable, you have a choice to make. You can either indulge in it or want to get over it as soon as possible. Read on to find tips that can guide you through the day in both cases.
Four Things To Do When You Feel Like Doing Nothing At All
Here are some excellent options when you feel like taking some downtime.
1. Roll With It And Take A Break
Just like Adler said, you have to allow time in which you do nothing to have things occur to you, to let your mind think. Sometimes, the best remedy is to take a step back and do next to nothing.
If you don’t have to attend to any responsibilities in the day you feel unmotivated, do nothing. Or, better yet, do whatever you want but don’t have time to do on a regular day. Want to catch up on that TV show you started months ago? Now’s the time to binge an entire season. Want to read a book? Now you have the time. A great thing you can do to relax and make yourself feel better is some simple self-care. Take a bubble bath, try a new skin-care routine, pamper yourself.
And if you don’t have the energy to do that either, just lounging in bed can do the trick. If your mind is asking you to give it some rest, listen to it. You even have to opportunity to get some extra sleep. After a busy week, relaxation can be a relief, and a few hours of “me-time” can restore all your energy. After taking a well-deserved break, you will feel rejuvenated and fully motivated again.
If your day doesn’t allow you to lay around all day, at least take it more accessible than you would usually. If you have to go to work, it’s ok to give the bare minimum on this type of day. Don’t bother taking on extra assignments or anything like that. Just get through the day, and don’t even think about working when you get home. Take those few hours you have left to disconnect completely. Stop thinking about work and other responsibilities and indulge in relaxing activities.
The Dutch have nailed the art of doing nothing. They even have a word for it: niksen. They use it as a form of psychological detoxing, a concept supported by Dr. Simantini Ghosh. And still, they are some of the most productive people on the planet. Why? Because you avoid having to make decisions at a time when you want to hide from the world. Instead of doing things superficially now, it’s better to take a day off and do them well tomorrow.
2. Catch Up With Friends
When you feel like doing nothing at all, it’s best to be close to the people you like most. They can cheer you up and motivate you better than anything else.
Hanging out with your friends or even family will make you forget about everything stressful you have to deal with. Just talking and laughing alongside someone can make your brain release all the built-up negativity you were feeling, making space for a positive attitude.
Meeting your favorite people is low effort and a great way to get your energy back. Simply talking to someone about how you feel and having them reassure you will immediately boost your confidence. You can even relax inside and watch a movie. Do nothing together! There’s nothing better than sharing your desire to lounge in bed all day with your best friends.
More often than not, feeling like doing nothing at all is not random. As discussed previously, it can be associated with underlying issues. If you’re in a slump and feel like you’re capable of doing next to nothing, try to understand why that’s happening. This self-awareness is critical if this feeling has been persisting for a few days. For that, you need to listen to your emotions.
Try to take some time alone with your thoughts and figure out what’s different now than before this state of mind took over. Are you working more? Have you not taken a break in a while? Do you have other reasons to be stressed out, like family issues or other things? Make a direct comparison, on paper if it helps, between your life before and your life now, and identify the differences.
Try working on those issues once you understand what changed that might have fuelled the way you feel. If you’re overly stressed, try reducing your load of responsibilities. If a friend is acting in a bothersome way, talk to them. Whatever the core issue might be, you probably won’t get out of the slump unless you work on fixing it.
This is a process, and it might not be resolved in just a couple of days. If you don’t get over the slump quickly, don’t give up. It’s ok to be less productive than usual and to focus on relaxing and being mindful. After all, even Gandhi agreed that “there is more to life increasing its speed.”
4. Do Small Chores Instead of Doing Nothing At All
If you can’t afford to waste time, you can try to get moving little by little. If you need to be productive, doing small things can motivate you.
When you feel like you don’t even want to lift a finger, the most challenging step is starting a task. So, do little things that don’t require much effort. The simple fact that you can accomplish some small goals can be a great reward on days when you feel like doing nothing at all.
If you’re at home, make sure your house is tidy. Do the dishes, make your bed, don’t leave things thrown around. The cleaner your surroundings are, the less stressed you will feel. Maybe your living space feels crowded, or you’re just bored seeing the same thing every day. You can try rearranging things, maybe move some furniture around, or get some new décor. A fresh-looking home might lift your spirits.
Take a shower and put something other than pajamas on. This will make you feel invigorated. Once you put a little effort into your hygiene and looks, this can trick your mind into believing it has an important day ahead. Thus, you can become more focused. If that doesn’t do the trick, exercise a little. Go for a run or to the gym.
Yes, getting there will require a lot of willpower, but you will feel energized after you’re done. If you want something low effort, try some yoga. And if you don’t want to engage in any physical activity, you can try some meditation. It can be relaxing and can help you put your priorities in order.
Every small task you get done will make you feel a little pride and bring your confidence back. The more you can prove to yourself you can still do things, the better you will feel.
No matter your views on life, one thing is for sure: doing nothing at all is an art you need to master. If done right, it can be relaxing and eye-opening. If you wake up one day and you feel like doing nothing, indulge. Lay in bed all day if that’s what you need. Not only is there nothing wrong with that attitude, but it can help your mind and body release built-up stress and anxiety.
If, for some reason, you need to be productive on days like that, it’s ok to give only your bare minimum. Just do small things, and don’t overwork yourself. Take the time you need to relax. When you shake that funk, you will be more motivated than ever.