I’m Feeling Stressed and Unmotivated (5 tips)

In this article, we will discuss why one feels unmotivated and stressed, what’s is burnout, its symptoms, coping strategies and signs.

I’m Feeling Stressed and Unmotivated.

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If you are unmotivated, stressed, worn out and don’t experience joy in the activities you used to, it’s possible that you’re suffering from a burnout. Burnout is a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion caused by chronic exhaustion and excessive levels of stress. It can happen to anyone anywhere, at school, home or school. Burnout can lead to serious mental and physical problems like depression or heart issues. It can also affect your social and personal relationships.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a severe stress condition that leads to serious physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and medical problems. It gets difficult and challenging for people to handle day to day stress and responsibilities.

 A burnout leaves an individual feeling sluggish, unmotivated about work and life. Fatigue equals less motivation and attention. Burnout leads to decreased failure and as performance decreases, emotional exhaustion and fear of failure also increase. Continuous exposure to stressful situations can lead to burnout.  

Burnout needs treatment and if left untreated can lead to various illnesses, physical, mental and emotional.

Signs of Burnout

Sometimes it can get difficult to recognise and realise that one might be experiencing burnout. These are some signs that can be used as a guide-

·         Exhaustion- feeling physically and emotionally drained and depleted all the time. A change in appetite and sleeping pattern. Chronic headache is a result of exhaustion. The reduced will to work or study or even getting out of bed.

·         Isolation- burnout leaves one feeling tired and in no mood to socialise or interact with people.

·         Irritability- people experiencing burnout will easily get irritated and angry. Coping with everyday stressors like household tasks, minor work tasks also turn into a challenge and start to feel like a burden.

·         Frequent illness- burnout takes a toll on the physical health of a person. The immune system is affected which makes an individual more susceptible to common illnesses like the cold or the flu. These illnesses also involve mental health concerns like anxiety and depression

The 12 Stages of Burnout

Burnout takes over a person slowly and not at once. These 12 stages were given by psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North.

1.      Excessive drive/ambition- it’s common for people to be ambitious about life and work. People want to work hard to excel and be successful but sometimes too much ambition and hard work can push a person to burnout.

2.      Working harder- a result of having ambition is also pushing oneself to work harder to achieve that ambition. All work and no play can lead Jack to a burnout.

3.      Neglecting basic needs- not getting enough sleep, not eating well, no exercise or movement, too much caffeine are all things that are adding to the burnout without realisation.

4.      Displacement of conflict- instead of recognising that one is overworking oneself, the blame is on everyone from the boss, job, colleagues but oneself.

5.      Non-work related needs- one starts to neglect all things other than work such as their hobbies or activities they derived pleasure from previously.

6.      Denial- the negative change in behaviour that takes place is blames on others rather than taking responsibility for it. Irritability and impatience mounts.

7.      Withdrawal- one begins to withdraw from family, friends and social situations or invitations like parties or movies because it begins to feel like a burden rather than a good time.

8.      Behavioural changes- behavioural changes such as anger, irritability, sluggishness, impatience start to take over frequently for no apparent reason.

9.      Depersonalisation-   the individual starts to feel like they are losing the ability to control their life.

10.  Anxiety- feeling of emptiness and anxiety develop and one might start to indulge in thrill-seeking behaviours to cope like substance abuse, overeating, etc.

11.  Depression- one starts to feel like all is lost and nothing can be fixed. Hopelessness and helplessness feelings push the individual into depression.

12.  Mental or physical collapse- one is not able to cope with the severe impact that all this has on the mental and physical aspect of the individual. Medical attention becomes necessary at this point.

How to cope?

There are ways in which one and manage and even avoid burnout

·         Learn to manage stress- try not to overwork yourself when not necessary. Get done with work on a daily basis and not leave anything for later to pile up and increase work pressure. It’s possible that there is a third factor that is the actual cause of the stress that one might be experiencing. Try to recognise that and if necessary seek professional help to identify and solve your problems.

·         Focus on health- it’s important to know that mental health and physical health are closely related. What you eat and do has a strong effect on your stress levels. Try to release some of this stress by exercising in whatever way you like. Try to eat healthier and getting enough sleep to rest your body adequately.

·         Set realistic goals- when clear boundaries and goals are set with accordance to the abilities of the individual it’s easier to achieve them, grow positively and avoid failure. It helps one focus on what’s important in life and how to let go.

·         Relax- find time to relax and rest your mind and body to reduce stress and feel lighter and better. Indulge in fun and relaxing activities with friends and family or even alone if that’s what you prefer.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this article, we discussed why one feels unmotivated and stressed, what is burnout, its symptoms, coping strategies and signs.

FAQ: I’m Feeling Stressed and Unmotivated

Can stress make you lazy?

Stress makes one feel physically and mentally drained and exhausted and hence not in the mood to do anything. This can be understood by some as laziness. Dealing with whatever is causing you stress and getting back on track by exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep can make you feel better.

Is it possible to be stressed without feeling stressed?

Sometimes a person doesn’t realise when they are stressed. Bodies react strongly to our mental health. You might not be feeling it but your body is. Some common symptoms are headaches, stomach problems like irritable bowels and bladders, muscle aches, reduced libido, irregular periods, etc.

Do I have anxiety or am I just stressed?

If you have an important event or test coming up and you’re worried about it, its stress. This stress is good because it makes you work hard but if you are experiencing feelings of even after the event and for no apparent reason that you might be suffering from anxiety. It’s advised to go see a professional to seek help and be clearer about the situation.

What are the 5 emotional signs of stress?

·         Lack of energy
·         Confusion and confliction
·         Irritability
·         Aggression without reason
·         Always feeling on edge
·         Impatience

There are a lot more symptoms of stress that one might experience other that those mentioned here.

How can I stop stressing?

One can’t just stop feeling stressed but there are some things that can be done to make the situation better. Spending time with friends and family and taking a break from work and studies. Indulging in self-care like going back to an activity that you gain pleasure from or enjoy doing. Eating better and exercising for lighter and fresher. Reduce caffeine intake.




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