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How do you motivate yourself

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Depression and Coping
I posted this under another thread, but thought it would be more appropriate here.

I'm having a difficult time getting myself motivated - I just don't want to do anything. I don't have a job (and there aren't very many out there right now) so I'm home during the day and my house is messy, the laundry needs to be done, etc. etc. etc.

I'm not in unbearable pain, so that's not the issue. In the evening when hubby's home, I make dinner then start writing down things I want to do the next day. But after I get up and send him off to work, I can't seem to make myself do anything. I just want to sit at the computer or in front of the TV. I just feel so lethargic, bored and unmotivated, even to do the simplest things. ACK!

How do you pull youself up by your bootstraps and get out there and live? What can I do to get out of this crappy rut I've put myself in?

Thanks for any suggestions.


  • Hi Cath, I have the same problem but am still working. I get into a rut, going to work every day and plodding through. Kinda like auto-pilot. When I'm home I face the same challenges though. On my days off I don't want to do any more than try and recover from working -- that really wears me down.

    How is your golf game coming along? :)
  • Well, then you're not much help are you? LOL

    About the golfing, that's the thing - it's an absolutely beautiful day today and I can go to the driving range, but I haven't even been able to get myself into the shower yet. My game isn't going to get any better that way, is it?

    Nice to talk to you again Jay.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    another, I think we can all get into that mode. For me recently, it wasn't because of spinal problems, but because of the situation of being laid off and starting retirement.
    Since the actual retirement date is not for about another 30 days, I have found myself moping. I get up, put a pair of sweats on, hair a mess, have a cup of coffee. Go over to the computer and check on things (before it used to be work, now its Spine-Health, so that is good)
    Then I just mosy around the house, see a DVD I want to watch, plug it in, etc.
    So for the good part of the day, I accomplishing NOTHING!

    The way I started to motivate myself, was to get back onto a schedule, it may be a simple one, but it puts my mind more into a discipline mode vs a lazy one.
    I get up early with my wife, drive her into to work, and on M-W-F I head over to the Aquatic Pool for my workout, come home do some grocery shopping, arrange for the nigtht's dinner (well, that is something I always did, lazy or not),
    write down my appointments for the week. Before I used to just keep them in my head, but I have found that just by writing them into a calender online or paper, just forces you into a schedule mode. So my calendar is fall of all things, Doctor appointments, Deep Tissue Massage, Special events, Recycle pick up days, etc. Just something ot get me more focused.

    I still have one more thing to conquer. Since I have been working from home the past 10 years, I really dont interact with people that much. Here on Spine-Health is my only times when I do intereact.
    So, I have started forcing some things for myself to get out. (Besides doctor appointments)
    - Joining a monthly kayak club with my neighbor
    - Do social working. Its not real working, cause in our communtiy, you can go only about 2 houses before you start talking to a neighbor, next thing cocktails are being served, snacks, etc. My real walking is done around 5:30 in the morning.

    Its a learning curve and almost a retraining of your mind.
    After going full speed for many years and then into stop mode for whatever reason, its hard to get back into motion.

    Having a to-do list is good also. Only problem, the items there I dont recall putting them there, but they appear.
    Today, its sanding some doors in the house so we can repaint them. Hmmm, maybe I should just go sit and watch a movie!

    Cathie, I have no doubt in my mind, you will find whatever works for you and you will do it well
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I think I would be better served to watch this thread evolve.
    I sure do not have an answer to how to motivate yourself.

    Nothing much works for me right now, I just keep waiting


    I thought I was doing myself a favor by taking a vacation. Seems I am now feeling worse than ever.
  • I found that it is vitally important for me to get up, eat, shower and put on some clothes other than lounge around clothes. It is a mental thing and that's exactly what it is I have to battle ... my mind.

    Even the late Paul Harvey went on the air talking about how because he worked out of his home for so many years, he got into a rut where he quit showering and getting dressed for work like he had for so many years. He said that stumbling around in his lounge clothes without a shower or shave, allowed him to transfer that to his emotional state and soon he found himself depressed and everything in his life was suffering for it. When it dawned on him what had happened, he went back to showering, shaving and dressing for work (even though he worked from home) and his entire outlook and how he felt about himself changed back to the better.

    I quit working last July and I make myself get up every day no later than 5:30am. I keep to a routine of breakfast and showering and dressing in something other than PJ's even though I may be staying home all day. I find at least one thing to do each day that forces me to leave the house, even if it's just going to the post office or the corner market. Like Ron, I keep a schedule and I stick to it. I make sure that I get the house cleaned up and dishes done before my husband comes home from work. I feel it is the least I can do.

    It's not a perfect science, but it does help tremendously.

  • Now that the warmer weather is here I get dressed and take a walk and if I'm having a bad day I force myself out to the porch everyday for 15 minutes. I never get bored as there's so much cleaning and organizing to do. I also have a hobby of Ancestory which is interesting but it's long hours on the computer. I also use facebook and I've seen and chatted with second and and 3rd cousins I tracked down. Good luck Cath and Wrambler I hope you feel better. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • It's very interesting how many people feel like I do. I really had no idea.

    I agree with Ron and "C" that creating a routine is probably the best way to start. I do have my hubby get me up at 6 am every weekday morning and I take care of his lunch, water jug, etc. and feed the pup.

    Charry, that's a good idea. If I don't feel like getting out or if I don't need to (who can afford to go shopping?) at least going into the back yard for a few would be good. And thanks for the good wishes.

    After I made this post yesterday, I PM'd with Jay and we challenged each other to get out and do some things and I kept up with my end of the deal. I went and had lunch (Mexican food - yummy!), went to the Library, picked up my scripts then headed for the golf course to hit a bucket of balls. That was after 3 pm and apparently it was highschool girl training day as there were tons of teenage girls on the driving range. I opted out. But, I did try!

    Now we need to see how Jay did. Anyone else up for a challenge? :D

    Thanks for all your replies. Like I said, it's interesting to see how many people find it difficult to get motivated so your suggestions are great.

  • Ha ha, if it isn't one thing it's another huh? I'm still goin' Cath, they open at noon!! I have errands to run too, buy a new battery for my car and get the oil changed in my wife's. I sure hope all this doesn't mess me up!

    Hey, maybe the trick is to get something necessary done then go out and have fun as a reward? Can't have one without the other.

    [edit] oh yeah, if I actually put on real clothes a heck of a lot more happens that day too! [/edit]

    Anyway, details to come.... :)

  • I totally agree that if you get dressed it's much easier to get things done. I'm still in my robe, however.

    Walk slow, take it easy, don't let this get the best of you!

    I'm waiting... :-)
  • To the process than getting dressed and getting out there.

    What do you do if you do get dressed and get out there. yet there is still no spark?

    What do you do when you have one or a series of those days?

    I think I need to figure out a "more" for me. The parks at Disney are so alive, this place, work, my life is so NOT fun.

    "C" has suggested I give myself a set number of days to be miserable, So I have. Since I have three days off starting tomorrow I have decided to be over this by morning :D

    I just have not figured out what to do with that time?
    I hurt myself opening a frikkin door... Exactly what can I safely do? I am still hurting about 2 notches up from norm, all because I pushed a door open with my good arm and something popped in my back. Very frustrating... I have NO break through meds, no something for the bad day. just a hope and a prayer that I will soon hear about the permanent SCS. Oh, and I still have to contend with my PMs message I can't take narcotics after I am healed from having it implanted. Yay! :T

  • Yeah Wrambler, there is more to just getting dressed. Once I do that it's usually enough to get me to go out the door and as long as I don't push my pain levels up too high I will do stuff. Maybe not what I planned but still, something.

    Cath I did it!! I was worried I would hurt bad so I only paid for one round. I had so much fun I bought a second!! I love competitive shooting and haven't done it in so long, it was fun just to get out. We'll see how I feel later, the ol' shotgun makes the shoulder sore after a while....
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    to get motivated. Yesterday, I was a log, a log that was going nowhere.
    Today, even at 6:30am, I felt alive, it was going to be a good day.. Sunny and warm, well for us up here in CT, about 60 degrees.
    Put on my old jeans with holes in the back that are getting bigger and bigger, whipped out my old white sweatshirt and went into the yard. My wife and I spent about 4 hours in the yard, cleaning up, raking, moving leaves into the woods, etc.
    I do have to say, now that I am retired, I didnt push myself, since I know I have unlimited time to do this.
    But I felt GOOD, real GOOD. I had a purpose, I helped shape our yard into something my wife and I have always been proud of.
    Now, tonight, I am sore as hell, my fingers hurt, my toes hurt, my neck only moves in one direction, I no longer have a back, my thoracic spine is someone in the backyard.

    But I am good and I know tomorrow, I will feel so good about motivating myself today.
    It will be the thing I need to do tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • sometimes I sign in here and then I just feel happy and I want to go get my shower in so when I come back I feel refreshed and raring to go as far as I can possibly go. Challenging one another is a great idea.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Yesterday I thought I was totally motivated so after being on the computer for a while I got up and got dressed. Then? I sat in my recliner and watched TV all day. Hmph.
  • YAY. I'm so glad you got out there. Now you have something fun to do, that you CAN do, and that might help you get out of the house more often.

    Well, I guess I better ask this question first: How do you feel today? I haven't seen you on, so I'm a bit concerned here...
  • I wonder what makes us motivated some days and not others?

    I'm proud of you that you worked so hard on your backyard. I'm sorry you had to pay for it, but that kind of pain is a good pain, isn't it?

    "What???" you say? "GOOD pain???" Yep, it's out there. Somewhere.
  • SH forums can be a motivater, can't they?

    Maybe we should start "The Great Spine-Health Challenge". Hmmmm.
  • Finding a songwriting partner has helped me as I HAVE to get songs recorded before he comes over to sing (and chat...;>)

    Mostly I just try to do the basic housecleaning everyday but am learning that when the pain starts hitting badly, to just say 'forget it' and rest or take a nap instead of trying to muddle through the day half dazed and getting nothing done.

    It's hard to find something to 'latch onto' per day that brings any comfort or joy, but I try to do something each day (housecleaning) and then 'reward' myself afterwards with a nap or movie or something I'd like to do (if I have any energy or non-depressive desire afterwards).

    Having the sun stay out for more than a few minutes helps too!
  • Boy, Jim, your music is a big motivater for you. That's good - how can we hear some of your songs?

    For a while, I was trying to do at least one thing around the house or a chore out of the house a day. Then I just started saying "Why?"

    Well, that's pretty stupid. There are a lot of answers to that question, isn't there? I think you're right, I need to get back to that state of mind.

    I also agree about the weather. It's been cold and windy here the last couple of weeks and that doesn't help.

  • I find that I get on SH and want to post, even type one in. Then I go back and read what I've typed, and it doesn't even make sense. Half the time I delete my post without sending it. If I could put the worse out there it might be different but it just doesn't work well. I can't believe it's hard to click on the "post" button. :(

    Cath, I think I gotta be careful. As much fun as I had Thursday there were some pain repercussions. I think a lot of it was from standing but there is a bit of shock involved. I'll go again, don't get me wrong, but I might only do one round at a time for a while.

    Have you tried to go back out to the range?
    Have a great easter!
  • I probably delete more posts than I make. I will often type a comment out and by the time it is finshed find myself no caring enough to post it, or I myself can't understand it so I just close the page without posting.

    Right now I find that even forcing my motivation through to an activity leads me only to further pain and depression. Crawling muscles and muscle pain in my back, the same old shoulder pain just takes the wind out of my sails. I soon retreat to a hiding place and surrender.

    Calls to my doctors only get me a "hang in there we'll know soon about the SCS"...Easy for someone not hooked up to this pulsating painfull mess that I used to have fun in ...
  • If you saw my reply to your "I did it!" post, I was concerned about what pain you might have felt after your shooting spree (heehee). That recoil from shooting can be painful even for someone who doesn't have chronic pain, so I was wondering if it affected you. Apparently it did and I'm really not surprised.

    I'm sorry you're not feeling that great, but it'll be a nice memory for a while until you feel you could do it again.

    No, I haven't tried to get back on the range because the weather's been pretty crappy. We need winter to come back to Colorado again so we can get out and do stuff. It's been worse weather-wise this spring than it was in January!

    Hope you're doing better, my friend. :-)
  • Well Cath111, here's my Tavern musical comedy website:
    Building/performing/producing that pretty much finished off my back. But i've slowly been collaborating with an old guy (Ron who's 66 and not a musician but write good basic lyrics) and just found a great keyboard player after a 2 year search.

    Here's my other 'song' site with old & new stuff including the 2 songs I wrote based on Ranchhands & Spirit of Shilohs poems they wrote & posted here (archived threads):

    Music is my last motivator and if I wasn't co-writing with Ron, i doubt I'd have been doing any recording lately as the ol' back is getting worse even with the warm weather we've been having here in NH.

    As much as I love writing tunes, it's very hard to sit long enough to really produce any meaningful recordings at one 'session/sitting' or to stand and sing all the way through a song without the legs going numb and the shooting/stabbing back pains.

    I recently signed a medication 'contract' with my pcp limiting me to 100 pills every 20 days but I think i'm going to have to get him to up the amount. The qty is based on what i've been taking the last month but I've also not been doing anything and now the warm weather is here and i'll be wanting to (try and) do yardwork or maybe fishing occassionally and 100 won't be enough!

  • Every morning I get dressed and run errands. (Since there seems to be no end to errands...) Getting up and out seems to get me moving for the day. I find if I don't do this then I am still sitting around at lunchtime and end up being a slug for the whole day.
  • I desperately need motivation each day. I see my family off to work/school and then I drink my coffee in bed watching the everyday lunacy on all the news channels. I doze off for a while, and then wake back up to internet surf or watch some more mind numbing television. I keep telling myself "the kitchen needs to be cleaned up" but my body won't cooperate. I may get it later on, or the next day but I make sure the morning coffee is made everyday. I want to tackle the laundary (it never ends)but it is upstairs and there are sometimes I won't go up there for fear of an accident while I'm all alone (I've fallen, and I can't get up- oh, no..not me!!). I do what I can when I can and if I can't it will be there the next day..and the next..and the next..etc.
  • Well I get up each morning at sunrise or just a bit before, maybe 4 AM. Pretty regular about that to. Mostly because I'll turn over and have a stabbing pain in one-side or the other of my lower back. I'll get up, turn on the radio and heating pad, go outside and put out grain for the birds when they get up and arrive here. Then onto the heating pad for two hours or so until the hips and back are warmed up enough so I can stand and make a cup of coffee. I listen to NPR every morning. When I go to make coffee with my espresso machine I'll also take my vitamins. I'll sit while drinking my coffee and look out the front door as the sun comes up and the birds start arriving. The turkey are the greatest to watch and photograph. The deer sometimes show up too. Friend is a character and will come on the porch and look in the window to see where I am. He always gets me up and outside. He likes to go on walks with me or we sit and talk. Summer time is better for me not that it's getting warm but it's been in the 30's for such a long time this year. Every day is an adventure here where I see something new each day. Even sitting on the porch listening to the birds is wonderful. My backs gotten so bad that I'll get a couple hours of upright walking per day. The computer helps me do research, checking on earthquakes, my art, video editing. I don't leave here all that much since it paradise and I don't have to see or deal with people. Now that's depressing. Have to say the thoughts have run through my mind but I believe that's normal. It's the acting on those thought that isn't normal. It's slow long breaths and looking and seeing the world. After facing other life threating medical problems this is one more stage of life. Which I see if the linear line of time. There's always positive things happening every day. Some days are better then others. So on the plus side of the graph it's say, 1 to a 100 being the best. Those negative things that happen just take you down a notch but it's still on the positive side of the graph. Just waking up is a plus you have to admit that. then there's the taste of the coffee, the stories I hear on the radio. Some of which you can inter act with and are current events so that's a lot of food for thought. Gardening, taking care of the yard, taking care of the trees and forest. Seeing a new bird or a bird call. That's all positive. There's never a day where you reach zero. If you do that's the point your dead. Sun light is real good for you and helps to get you in the right frame of mind. Also taking vitamin D 1000mg is real good along with vitamin C 1500mg. Even being messed up you need to keep the bodies chemistry in order. Don't be afraid to seek help from a doctor and explain all of your emotions, write them down and bring a list so you don't forget any detail. 25 years in AA also got me in touch with my emotions. Funny how when your doing everything right the life does a turn of fate. You just need to play the hand your dealt.
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