Everyday Lifestyle, Self-Care & Well-Being

Self-Care Tips For When You Don’t Have the Energy To Do Anything

Setting aside some time to take care of our physical, mental and emotional health should be an integral part of our lives. Self-care helps us cope with stress and anxiety, it gives us a chance to work through challenging situations and provides a boost to our overall self-esteem. But what if you just don’t have the energy to do it right now? What self-care activities can you do when you feel this way?

One thing that is really important to understand about self-care is that it is not about being happy. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but self-care is about being aware of when you need to take a moment and do something that lets you self-soothe, heal or get a mental reset. A positive side effect might be that you create some happiness, but that should not be its aim. Self-care is a tool that we need to learn how to use effectively, especially when we’re experiencing a lack of mental or emotional vitality

It is also important to note that self-care is not a cure for any type of depression. If you’re feeling overwhelmed to the point where it’s interfering with your everyday life, or your ability to function in a healthy way, you should seek further, more in-depth/professional support (some useful links are included at the end of this article).

self-care tips for when you don't have the energy to do anything 3

I’m currently experiencing some situational depression and anxiety that has left me feeling exhausted and struggling to take care of myself as well as I normally do. I’ve had to adapt my self-care tools to include ones that take little effort or time to complete. By starting small, I’ve found that it’s had a knock-on effect that accumulates to help boost my resiliency and overall energy to a level where I can start to step out of the low ebb I’m weathering.

By creating repetitious, small moments to self-care that don’t sap already diminished energy levels, we can all start to feel the accomplishment of doing something positive for ourselves that helps us achieve, and accumulate, a sense of wellbeing we may have lost for a while.

Here are 6 Small Self-Care Steps …

1. Give yourself permission to let certain things go if you’re currently struggling to do them (cleaning, laundry, wearing make-up, sleeping well, etc). Our everyday routines might get disrupted, and that’s okay. Don’t focus on what you’re not doing and become overly critical but instead view it as a temporary change.

self-care tips for when you don't have the energy to do anything 1
help yourself start your day in a positive way

2. Do one thing consistently at the beginning of your day. It could be as simple as starting off with a cup of tea and no social media browsing (something I’ve implemented) or making your bed as soon as you get up. Morning routines improve our overall mental health and can set intentions for the day.

3. Use an aromatherapy oil diffuser/mister for 5-10 minutes a day, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. It’s like a mini-meditation that will help you relax and start to clear your thoughts. For some ideas about different essential oil blends you can use, click here.

4. Do a few minutes of colouring-in or origami — they’re both creative but don’t require too much thought. You can relax and put your focus on something without it becoming too involved that helps stimulate your brain without overwhelming it.

self-care tips for when you don't have the energy to do anything 2
tidy and declutter one small area a day

5. Declutter one thing — pick a cupboard or drawer or bag, desk, computer or phone files, etc to tidy and sort out. It’s a simple way to start reducing stress and get on track with returning to a routine.

6. Get some sunshine — if you don’t have the energy or time to go for a walk during the day, open your curtains, sit next to the window for a few minutes (or on your porch/in your garden) and just take some time to focus on your breathing and feel the light on your face. Sunlight helps boost your serotonin which is a mood-boosting, calming hormone that can help you deal with some stresses in your life.

Further Info & Support:

NAMI Helpline – a free, nationwide U.S. resource that offers experienced peer-support guidance and advice

CheckPoint – global (by country) resources for mental health support

Why Self-Care Is Hard For Depressed Individuals – Psychology Today

Why You Struggle With Self-Care – NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness)

10 Ways To Reduce Stress By Decluttering Your Life – Huff Post

If you enjoy reading Transatlantic Notes and would like to show your support for the work being done, please consider making a small donation. Thank you.

38 thoughts on “Self-Care Tips For When You Don’t Have the Energy To Do Anything”

    1. I need to remember that one too so wanted it as number one, haha! As soon as I do it, I create space to actually do things that help me self-care and get to a point where I can get back to doing the things I’ve had to leave for a while. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. I always love getting out in the sunshine (if it’s out of course). I need to find my ‘origami/colouring’, it might just be writing that helps with my creative outlets, which then de-stresses me. Great tips there 🙂


  2. Love the number one about giving yourself permission to let some things go. Sometimes we just have to say not right now so can take a step back and recharge our batteries.


    1. Exactly! I’ve piled on the pressure with thinking I have to do everything but as soon as I gave myself permission not to do them, I gave myself the space to start caring for myself so that I can get back to doing those things. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. I always feel so much better when I take an item or two off my list of things to do and just accept that it isn’t going to happen. I love scented candles for just sitting and breathing for a while. Or ASMR!!! Xx


  4. Great tips! I find the getting a little sunshine one to be especially useful for me when I’m feeling in a funk. Lots of clutter tends to cause a bit of anxiety for me as well, so that’s very helpful. I like the theme of starting slow and being kind to yourself. Thank you!


  5. Brilliant post and so apt right now. There’s so many things I want to do, sometimes just breathing takes my energy and that’s ok! If all I can do is breathe then I’m winning!


  6. Great tips, thanks for sharing them! I have a little book with mandala and I use to colour them every time I feel overwhelmed by the events. It really helps me 🙂


  7. These are all just really good tips for self-care. So important even in the best of times, and even more so now that so many people are struggling. If we don’t take care of ourselves now, big problems can result later. Great post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s