Ep 34: How to get going when you’re not feeling it

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Some days just make you feel kind of done. You may have low energy and your mood is tanked. So you just sit still. That’s okay.

But when it stretches into longer days, it might be time to try to activate yourself. Learn how behavioral activation can help you get going.

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Full transcript

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

One of the hardest things to combat with stress is the amount of energy it depletes from you.

If you end your day yearning for that moment that you can get in your PJs well before dark, then you know what I’m talking about.

It takes real energy to do what you do every day.

  • Trying to be your best positive self at work in spite of the challenges.
  • Getting your kids to all their practices and tournaments.
  • Helping your kids stay on top of homework after all that practice so they can finish the year strong.
  • Worrying about how much more money you seem to be spending.
  • Remembering to pull together the rest of the information for your taxes from that pile of papers on the kitchen table. That one’s coming, isn’t it?

Life today is so extra.

All of this activity and task management can be a drain on your energy reserves.

These are the days when you just don’t want to do anything.

And that’s okay. You may need some time to recharge and refresh your battery today.

But what if it extends beyond just today?

It’s hard to find that mojo to get moving again when you’re kind of done. All of your best energy just went into THIS day.

It’s easier to just keep sitting still. And after a while it can start to affect your mood.

How do you get going again?

The behaviors we run to when we’re stressed feel really good at the time and we give in to them.

  • Watching endless hours of TV feels like an escape without responsibility.
  • Sleeping too much gives us a break from reality.
  • Closing ourselves off from the rest of the world means we don’t have to answer how we feel.

But these behaviors are the very things that maintain our negative mood and loss of motivation.

We know they’re not good for us, but we can’t seem to find motivation to stop. And so we continue to have low mood and low energy.

It’s a loopy double edged sword.

Here’s how to break that loop.

Activate yourself.

Behavioral activation is a mental health treatment method that uses simple commitments to basic behaviors to help you start feeling a little better now.

Behavioral activation won’t solve all your problems. It’s designed to simply get you moving.

No judgment.

No master plan.

No epiphanies about a brand new you.

Just movement you can live with.

Here is a quick way to activate yourself and get going.

Make a list of activities you know how to do and already enjoy.

Not a long list. Just a couple of things that you know hands-down you enjoy doing.

Today’s not the day to do that energy zapping work out if it’s not something you love.

Once you make a list, pick the easiest activity for you.

What we want to do is quickly bring you a reward for your activity so you’ll feel good about that. So you want to stick with something you already have skills for and is easy for you to implement.

If a 10-mile run is not easy for you, please don’t include it on your list. We’re not trying to be a hero here.

Take just the first step of that easiest and most enjoyable activity.

So for example, maybe you really enjoy walking and it’s relatively easy for you. Great!

But let’s not even commit to walking.

Your very first step is to put on your shoes. There’s no commitment past that.

But here’s the dealio.

Once you get your shoes on, it will probably be doable for you to go ahead and walk out the door for your enjoyable and easy walk. I mean, you did just put your shoes on.

Still, you’re not walking yet.

Now, just commit to walk out the door and close it. Awesome!

Hang there for a second and appreciate the fact that you’re up and moving around.

Now start walking.

The rest is up to you.

Above all, don’t forget to congratulate yourself.

You get credit for taking a small action to help you feel a little bit better about today. Give yourself that checkmark.

Tomorrow, maybe try the next most enjoyable and easiest activity on your list.

Activating yourself is a quick and easy way to pull yourself out of that loop and just get going.

With each activity you can start to rebuild your energy, and your motivation won’t be far behind.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
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