Why do I feel tired and lack motivation? (7 reasons)

In this blog, we will answer the question “why do I feel tired and lack motivation?”. We will discuss ‌what fatigue is, what causes fatigue and lack of motivation, symptoms of fatigue, how it is diagnosed, and the treatment of fatigue. We will also identify the factors that contribute to fatigue.

We will note down the ways to deal with fatigue and lack of motivation and vitamins that can be taken for lack of motivation and fatigue.

Why do I feel tired and lack motivation?

You feel tired and lack motivation because of: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of iron
  • Unhealthy or balanced diet
  • Sickness
  • Heat
  • Too much or no exercise
  • Being dehydrated

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is also known as tiredness is the lack of energy and motivation. It is normal to feel fatigued after doing strenuous work when you are bored, lack of sleep, or when having emotional stress. This type of fatigue can be relieved by enough sleep, being in a stress-free environment, and good nutrition.

Fatigue can also be a symptom of a serious mental or physical condition that cannot be treated through self-care. Chronic fatigue that goes on for over six months is called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). To understand the severity of fatigue, we will discuss various causes of fatigue.

Reasons why you feel tired and not motivated

Many factors can make us feel tired and lack motivation. We will divide them into subcategories so as to understand them better. The  factors that contribute to fatigue include:

Physical factors

The physical factors that can cause tiredness include;

  • The underactive or overactive thyroid gland 
  • Regular use of drugs like narcotics, cocaine and stimulants
  • Medications like antidepressants and sedatives, antihistamines, blood pressure medication and steroids
  • Persistent pain
  • Physical exertion
  • Being overweight/ obese
  • Lack of physical activities
  • Grief
  • pregnancy

Physical illnesses

Illnesses that cause fatigue include:

  • Anaemia
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia and apnea
  • Eating disorders, i.e. anorexia nervosa
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Malnutrition 
  • Heart failure
  • Infections, i.e. flu or those caused by terminal illnesses
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Psychiatric factors

The psychiatric illnesses that can make us feel tired at all times include;

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar
  • stress

Lifestyle factors

The lifestyle choices that can make us feel tired at all times include;

  • Lack of exercises
  • Eating unhealthy foods like junks
  • Not sleeping enough
  • Use of drugs and other substances

Diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome

There is no single test that can be done to determine whether someone has chronic fatigue syndrome. This is also due to the association of fatigue with other physical and mental illnesses. This means that fatigue can be a consequence of certain illnesses and not a cause.

The United States Institute of Medicine has diagnostic criteria that can ‌determine if one is suffering from CFS. for one to meet the diagnostic criteria, you have to present with one of the following two symptoms;

  • Difficulties with memory, focus and concentration
  • Dizziness that worsens with moving from lying down or sitting to standing.

The symptoms must last for at least 6 months and occur at least half the time with severe, moderate, or substantial intensity.

Treatment of fatigue and lack of motivation

There is no treatment for fatigue. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms each at a time, starting with the most severe or disabling symptoms.


Some illnesses associated with fatigue can be alleviated by taking medication prescribed by your doctor. Antidepressants are recommended for depression, those that regulate blood pressure and heart rhythm, and over-the-counter medications to treat migraines, stomach upsets, nausea and other ailments.


Counselling helps you deal with the underlying causes of fatigue and lack of motivation. It also helps you address sleep and eating problems ass well as exercises that can help with fatigue and lack of motivation.

Post-exertional malaise

This is a worsening of symptoms after engaging in physical, mental, or emotional activities in people with chronic fatigue. This can be eased by finding a balance between work and rest. Have a diary to record your daily activities and use it to determine how much work done is too much.

Self-care tips for reducing fatigue

Make sure that you eat a well-balanced diet and take plenty of water

 A healthy balanced diet helps in boosting energy levels. Pair your carbs with natural proteins to boost energy. Ensure that your meal also has fibres and anti-inflammatory foods. 

These help to Prevent Irritable Bowel Syndrome which has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Get enough sleep

Proper rest helps your body to rejuvenate and provides you with energy that will be sufficient for the next day. Improve your sleep by wearing loose clothes, meditating or practising yoga that will help you drift off to sleep, have a comfortable mattress and pillow, avoid distractions like tv or mobile during bedtime, and have a routine for sleeping and waking up.

Avoid the use of drugs and caffeine

Although some drugs, like alcohol, induce sleep, they do not allow you to go into a deep sleep that helps the body to relax and rejuvenate. Drugs throw your body off balance and cause fatigue when you wake up.

Though caffeine boosts energy in the beginning, the energy levels drop down immediately after it wears off. This leaves you feeling depleted and exhausted.

Exercise regularly

Exercises induce the production of endorphins that boost energy levels. They trigger feel-good hormones which improve our mood and increase motivation. Exercises also induce sleep, which helps the body rest and reduces fatigue. Create a working out schedule weekly and it can include a two-hour intense or moderate exercise.

Learn how to reduce your stressors

Stress decreases the motivation to do any activity and induces a feeling of tiredness and laziness. Look for healthy coping mechanisms that will help you reduce stress, i.e taking a day off work, exercising, socializing or going for a trip. This will help the body and mind rest enough and prevent fatigue and lack of motivation.

Quit smoking

Smoking reduces energy by reducing the amount of energy travelling to the lungs. Quitting smoking can be difficult, but having a good support system and a therapist can help you quit smoking. There are also medications that can help you quit smoking.

Talk to your doctor

Your fatigue and lack of motivation could be a symptom of an underlying physical illness. Visit your doctor if fatigue is a accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Severe back, abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal rectal bleeding
  • Vomiting blood
  • Severe headaches
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others

Foods that beat fatigue and lack of motivation

The foods that you eat determine your energy levels and your productivity. Most of the time we feel sluggish and exhausted after taking a heavy meal because the body uses energy to digest the food. We are therefore recommended to take many small portions of food for us to remain active throughout.

Fruits and vegetables

Fresh food contains high nutrient values that nourish our bodies and keep us active and energized. They also help in preventing some illnesses that may cause fatigue.

Lean proteins

Lean proteins like chicken and fish have less saturated fats and have healthy beneficial fats that are good for the body, especially the heart. They help in reducing cardiovascular diseases, which can cause fatigue.

Non-caffeinated drinks

Caffeine is okay when taken moderately and can be beneficial in providing a boost to energy levels. High caffeinated drinks, however, trigger high energy levels which come crashing down when it wears off. This leaves you feeling tired and having no motivation to do anything.


This is very essential to body functioning. It facilitates the energetic processes in the body and reduces dehydration.

Drink sufficient water throughout the day and avoid taking sodas and caffeinated drinks as substitutes for water.

Vitamins and supplements

Consult your health provider on taking vitamin supplements if you feel ‌your meals are not providing enough nutrients. There are many vitamin supplements on the market and not all of them are of value to your body. Go through them with your doctor and choose the best option for you.


They are packed with potassium, vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates, which boost your energy levels. Many cyclists take bananas to sustain their energy levels when on long rides. Another advantage is that they are a cheap alternative to energy-giving foods. 

Nuts and seeds

They fight hunger and boost energy. Raw unsalted nuts are the best in boosting energy levels and can be taken as snacks. Many people who work out love including nuts, in their meals to boost energy.


The blog has helped us define fatigue, and look at the causes of fatigue and the most common symptoms of fatigue. We have also noted down the common illnesses that are associated with fatigue and lack of motivation.

Finally, we have discussed the treatment options for treating fatigue and lack of motivation, lifestyle changes and foods that improve our energy and boost our motivation. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask questions in the comments section below.

Frequently asked questions: tired and lack of motivation

What causes fatigue and a lack of motivation?

Factors that can contribute to tiredness and lack of motivation include stress, anxiety, anaemia, diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, inadequate sleep, no or excessive sleep, etc.

Why do I have no energy and lack motivation?

If you have attempted to address lifestyle issues like sleep, eating and stress and you are still experiencing fatigue, it is time to see the doctor. They might be an underlying condition causing fatigue and a lack of motivation.

How do you know if fatigue is serious?

If it is associated with other symptoms like dizziness/ fainting, vomiting blood, chest pains and shortness of breath, then it is an urgent matter that requires immediate medical help.

What foods get rid of fatigue

Unprocessed food, lean proteins, nuts, lean meat, bananas, oats, uncarbonated drinks, whole grains, vitamins and supplements.


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Verywellmind, 13 Possible Reasons Why You’re Tired All the Time. retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/maybe-its-not-depression-2330495

Cronkleton E., (December 3, 2018). 15 ways to combat tiredness. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-feeling-tired

Mayo Clinic, fatigue. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/fatigue/basics/when-to-see-doctor/sym-20050894#:~:text=Call%20for%20an%20appointment%20with,and%20drink%20plenty%20of%20fluids.

Krans B., (March 3, 2020). Foods that beat fatigue. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-beat-fatigue

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