Feeling unmotivated or down? I’ve got you in today’s post with 15 self-care ideas that are low-effort with a big payoff.
In a perfect world we’d always be nourishing ourselves and doing all the things we know we should do to care for our bodies with ease. But the reality is that life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes we don’t feel motivated or our best and carrying our various actions are downright difficult.
I’ve put together a list of 15 self-care ideas for when you’re unmotivated or feeling down. They’re simple, easy to do, and don’t take a lot of effort but have a big payoff mentally and may even be a catalyst to get you out of a bit of a rut.
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1. Do a Brain Dump
A brain dump is a form of writing whereby you simply write out anything and everything that’s on your mind. Grab a pen and paper, don’t worry about “how” or “what” you’re writing, and just get it out! Brain dumps are a great way to help you take an objective look at what’s on your mind and better understand what is and isn’t important.
2. Break Chores Down Into Small Steps
I know how insurmountable chores can seem when you’re feeling really unmotivated. To make things more doable, (e.g. dirty dishes, making the bed, cleaning the bathroom) break down the steps into tiny chunks and try to do just one of those steps.
For example, washing the dishes may seem completely overwhelming. Break it down like so: walk into the kitchen, clear food scraps into compost, fill up the sink with soap and water, wash a dish… and so on.
Breaking things down can help you get started and build momentum so that you may even complete the whole task.
Stop Scrolling on Your Phone
Scrolling on our phone constantly is a surefire way to feed into our feelings of lethargy or even a low mood. As hard as it can be to put our phone down sometimes, once you break free for a few mins, you’ll notice your world open up.
Putting your phone down gives you the mental and physical space to do something that’s more satisfying and fulfilling and can take you out of the trance that is being stuck in social media or news land, which often harbours negative feelings.
4. Focus on Some Wins
That’s right! Focus on some wins, my friends. Write ’em down. What is going really well today or what have you accomplished recently?
Cheering ourselves on and encouraging ourselves is absolutely a form of self-care. It’s just like being proud of a close friends’ accomplishment. Do it for yourself. We need to encourage ourselves, too, and doing so definitely has the power to shift your state of mind.
5. Stretch in your seat (or wherever you are)
I’d wager that if you’re feeling really unmotivated right now, the last thing you feel like doing is some form of lengthy or strenuous exercise, no matter how good it can be for you.
Instead, stretch. Reach your arms up and feel how good it is to move in such a simple, low-effort way.
6. Drink a Glass of Water
When we aren’t feeling our best, things like staying hydrated are often forgotten about. Here is your reminder to pour yourself a glass of water and hydrate. Simple, yet effective. Staying hydrated is key for helping us feel well.
7. Eat a Piece of Fruit
You can never feel bad after eating fruit. You just can’t! Fruit is tasty and nutritious and doesn’t need lots of preparation. Grab an apple, a banana, an orange, a peach, plum, or handful of berries. Nourishment at its finest.
8. Take Your Supplements
While I can’t tell you what supplement to take, if you are currently on a supplement regime from your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist, here is your reminder to go take them to support your body. This is another act of self-care that often gets put by the wayside when we feel really unmotivated. But taking your multivitamin, probiotic, or vitamin D can go a long way in helping you feel like you’ve done something–even small–to care for yourself.
9. Make Your Favourite Warm (or Cold) Beverage
This could be your favourite tea with milk, a matcha latte, hot chocolate, or perhaps a coffee. Whatever is most comforting to you, take a moment to sit down and enjoy it for a few minutes. I always find this so soothing when I’m feeling down.
Magnesium powder by Natural Calm is one of my favourite warm bevvies to enjoy. It’s great for reducing stress and tension, too.
10. Remind Yourself That This Too Shall Pass
It’s true. You will not always be stuck in an unmotivated or low state. Recognize the impermanence and ever ebbing-and-flowing of life. How you feel will shift and change, I promise.
11. Put on a Song You Love
Play a song or an album or playlist that you absolutely love. Music has such a huge impact on mood and even motivation in some cases because of how a good song gives us a rush of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. And if you’re feeling up to it, dance! This really helps to take you out of your mind and into your body. Plus, the added movement will boost endorphins, too. Win-win. Dancing to my favourite songs always improves my mood BIG TIME.
12. Step Outside Into Fresh Air
No need for a long walk or run here — if you’re feeling unmotivated, just step outside on your front step, backyard, or balcony. Fresh air is good for the soul, and bonus points if you can get some sunshine on your face!
13. Give Yourself Permission to do Nothing
Sometimes all we really need is to do nothing, and to not feel guilty about it either. I’m sure you can relate to the horrible feeling of being “unproductive” but feeling really bad about it. Resisting the need to do nothing only makes us do it more, but in the least enjoyable way.
Let yourself fully rejuvenate by giving yourself absolute permission to take a time out for yourself to do nothing at all. And don’t feel bad about it! We can’t be productive at all times, nor should we be. Our brains need breaks in order for us to function at our best.
14. Have a Bath or Shower
Whenever I’m feeling particularly blah, taking a shower or a bath really helps me to feel freshened up and a bit more put-together. It’s a simple act, but can certainly make a difference in how you feel.
15. Make a Joy List
I’ve talked about this before but a joy list is basically a short list of all the things that make you really happy. What brings you a sense of peace, contentment, and joy? Reflect on this list and which activity you may feel most interested in doing right now.
I hope you found this list of self-care ideas helpful. Let me know in the comments below which one you want to try most!