Being a stay at home mom means you are your own boss. You have to schedule your own days, manage your own time and set your own goals. But when you are unmotivated all you want to do is curl up on the couch and binge on Netflix or read your favorite book, what happens?
The kids will find something to eat for lunch. Laundry has been piled on the couch for a week but at least it’s clean. Toilets need scrubbing, but at least there is toilet paper in the house. Right?
Ugh. So finally you decide to make a list of what to do and meter it out over the next couple days. But then you look around at all that has to be done and you lose hope all over again and just let the pen fall to the floor.
Or maybe you don’t have a huge list of things to do but you don’t feel well. The weather has got you down. Life has you down. Whatever is over-running your body and emotions has got the upper hand.
I know how paralyzing un-motivation can be. I’ve been there. And some days I did just sit in front of the TV or sleep all day. That was all I could do.
But then as I would end a day like that, I would set into place action steps for the next day so that I wouldn’t let that happen to me all over again.
Sometimes When You are Unmotivated You Need Help
I don’t want to minimize your real struggle by just labeling you as “unmotivated.” Sometimes physiological imbalances and seasons of life lead to more serious conditions that need help from a professional. By all means, get the help you need.
My Worst Season of Being Unmotivated
The first winter after I got married was a huge struggle for me. Looking back I’m sure it could be labeled as depression.
I had moved to my husband’s farm which was an hour and a half from my home and good friends. This may not seem like a big distance, but it was the hardest distance struggle for me in my life.
When I lived in Missouri, Vermont and Colorado, I’d hear about things back home and know that the distance was too great to just buzz back for a family gathering or friends coffee. Then I’d get on with my life.
Plus, those moves were temporary. I knew I could move back home at any time.
But being so close (but far) from home was different. I’d hear about who was getting together for coffee or a spur the moment walk and I’d want to be there. After all, it was only 90 minutes, right?
Let me tell you, Facebook was not good for me at this time. I’d scan my friends’ pages and see what I was missing out on. It kept me from getting on with my new life. So I quit Facebook, too. Not forever, but not ruling out forever.
Here are 13 Action Steps You Can Take When You Are Unmotivated
1. Get off Social Media
I’m not saying you have to get off social media forever. But for right now, get off. I chose to get off Facebook and it freed me. I wasn’t constantly reminded of the life back home. It helped me enjoy and focus on my new home and new life with my husband.
Pinterest and Instagram are the same. Get off these platforms so that you don’t feel the comparison game or shame breathing down your neck.
Maybe you don’t have to shut down your accounts like I did. But at least delete the apps off your phone so that you aren’t tempted to hop on every other minute.
2. Put on Uplifting Music
Cheery and/or inspiring music is a quick mood booster. Find something with a good beat and lyrics you can sing along with. Crank up the volume and attack the first thing on your list.
Hop on Pandora and set up your motivational channel!
3. Make and Keep a Coffee Date
As much as I enjoy being alone, periodic socializing energizes me. I love one-on-one or small groups in any setting.
By taking initiative and calling or texting a friend for a coffee date, I had something to look forward to.
And don’t forget about coffee dates with older women, too! They have much wisdom to share and are probably home more often for you to drop in on them.
Don’t feel pressured to host the coffee date at your house if you are already behind on household duties. Most people love that you are comfortable enough to call them up and initiate!
Getting your focus off of yourself is paramount. Being part of a cause bigger than yourself helps put things in perspective. It helps you remember that there is a whole world out there and that your dirty laundry is not the worst problem.
Even if you don’t want to be part of an organization, just stop in at a nursing home and visit in the common area. Play games with the residence or read aloud to them. Hospitals, too.
One of the simplest ways you can volunteer is by taking a bag or two and picking up trash on your street or road as you walk.
5. Go for a Walk
Speaking of walking. Get outside in the sunshine (or rain) and fresh air. Your brain will be cleared and the movement will energize your body.
6. Cut out Extra Sugar
One thing that helped me was cutting out sugar for three months. I realized I was stuck in a loop of craving it and eating more. Stopping sugar cold turkey was the only way for me.
I was a wreck for a couple days but then my body adjusted and I felt wonderful. Cutting out sugar gave me more energy and helped boost my mood.
Now I still enjoy sugar, but I’m more conscious of how it affects me. It’s a real thing! If you need some good reading check out Sugar Blues.
For help on cutting out sugar, learn all the ways you can use stevia in your sweets!
7. Get the Mail
Maybe a walk seems like too much for you. Set a more measurable distance of getting the mail, then. This forces you to maybe go outside or do stairs or some sort of movement. [Don’t look at the mail for a couple hours if there could be bad news in it!]
Some days when I don’t know where to start with my huge list I just put on shoes and get the mail. On my 97 second walk the fresh air helps me think and I’m able to choose one thing that I will do when I get back in the house.
8. Take a Supplement
Living in Wisconsin we have long winters without a lot of sunshine. With some research I learned the importance of vitamins A & D for brain function. I began taking large amounts of quality cod liver oil to help with the lack of sun during the long winters.
9. Write a Letter
Like volunteering, this is a way to focus on someone else. Write a letter or drop a short note in the mail to let someone know you are thinking of them. And who doesn’t like getting letters in the mail!? Use a piece of notebook paper or grab some cute stationery.
If you can’t get outside for a walk, do the stairs a couple times. Jumping jacks. Jump rope. Sit ups. Whatever you can handle, do it. Exercise will wake up your brain and get oxygen flowing. An instant mood booster and motivator!
11. Sit in the Sun
Thankfully we have nice big windows in our house. I can lay on the floor and sunbathe during the winter for an extra boost. Sunshine exposure has both emotional and physiological benefits. Even opening the shades and letting it fill your house!
12. Complete One Task from Start to Finish
One thing I have a problem with is multi-tasking. I do it. But I’m not good at it. So I have a million jobs half done. And I can’t cross one thing off my list.
Choose one task that you can complete and do it. Then cross it off your list and see that you got one thing done.
To help keep yourself on task, grab my day by day Deep Cleaning Planner so you know what to do each day.
13. Pare Down Your To Do List
If lists help you get things done, use them! But to help yourself feel like you are getting things done, make things as small as possible. For example, don’t write “Clean the house.” Instead write “Clean guest bathroom.” Don’t write “Do laundry.” Instead write “Fold one load of laundry.”
By making your list specific it becomes much more manageable and the tasks less daunting. And you will feel better each time you cross something off, no matter how small or easy the task.
Sometimes my unmotivation lasts only for a day, other times it lasts for a week or two. By implementing one or more of these action steps I can help myself get back on track. Do yourself a favor and implement a couple of these steps when you are unmotivated.