How to motivate yourself when you're low on energy

Do you feel unmotivated when your energy is low? You just want to stay active, tick off those to-do lists, be productive, and make good use of your time. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, energy levels can dip drastically making us feel low, sad, unmotivated, and defeated. What do we do? Do we push through or is there another alternative? Before you push through warning signs and bring about chronic stress or possible burnout, consider the alternatives.


How can you keep your motivation high?

The first step is understanding where your energy comes from and what’s happening.

Your energy is your force, your strength, and your vitality. It tells us how we can sustain certain levels of work and maintain a well-rounded lifestyle. It's a much deeper level of self-care that involves much more than a pedi, a bath, or Netflix.

A turning point is realising that your energy is a resource that gets used up and therefore needs renewing. It’s like your car that needs petrol when needed. 

Once we actively start to decide where we put our energy and then use that information wisely, we can better our focus, effort, productivity, performance, and overall quality of life. Plus, there'd be much less procrastination and much more achievement in less time. Energy management is quite a new concept. It’s always been about time management.

What’s the difference?

Time management is more action-based, with time included, and task duration. Time management can give us clear and tangible examples of how to make the best use of our precious time in this busy world. It’s also a finite source; we certainly don’t have all the hours we would like in a day, so that makes it even more of an exclusive and sought-after element in this ‘productive’ career-driven culture. 

Energy management is very different, it’s about listening to our bodies and our health. It’s what we are capable of doing and how far we can go with what we have. And maybe you’ve realised already that if you don’t have your energy, you can’t enjoy all of life’s richness, including its challenges.

9 strategies to help you stay motivated and keep your energy high:

1. How well do you really know your energy cycles?

For example, the highs the lows, and what contributes to them? For a few weeks keep a little notebook next to you and, in the front, write 'Energy high' and, in the back, write 'Energy low'. Now have subheadings for each, for example, you could try:

  • went to sleep at/woke up at/how I slept
  • caffeine/alcohol/exercise/diet, when and amount
  • emotional notes
  • mental notes
  • physical notes
  • menstrual date and symptoms

In the evenings or as you go, write down as much information as you can about what may have contributed to your high/low energy levels. After a week or two, look back and see if there are any patterns. Is there anything you can do more of? Or is there anything you can do less of or even eliminate? 

2. Flow

Are you fighting against your feelings? Have you considered going with these feelings for a while, or just accepting them? How would it feel if you accepted these feelings? Can you use some affirmations to help? Try: 

  • This too will pass.
  • I work hard towards my goals, it’s only natural to sometimes feel unmotivated.
  • I am a human being, not a machine that can be going 24/7.
  • I don’t always need to be positive and motivated, sometimes it’s okay to feel a range of feelings.
  • I cannot do my best and be my best if I have no energy/good health/petrol in the car.
  • I am more than enough.
  • I don’t need to chase anything, I just need to make the most of my life. 

3. Consider your diet

If you have a few large meals a day, that could lead to big slumps in energy as you do a heavy digestion. Try for smaller, more frequent meals to stabilise your glucose levels throughout the day. Also, think about the variety of ingredients, protein, carbs, natural sugars, enough water, etc. Try having breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. 

4. Check online to discover your chronotype

This may explain how your body likes to work late, work early, needs naps, is more productive at certain hours, etc. 

5. Switching up activities can help when there are dips

Really listen here, is it a physical, emotional, or mental energy dip? Once you sussed that out, try changing to a very different task. For example, when I get a slump at noon, I’ll take the dog for a walk and I come back refreshed. This will keep you alert and boost your confidence again. 

6. Naps can be a non-negotiable

In Spain, it’s a very socially accepted thing to do. When people can, they’ll take a ‘cabecita’ which means a five to 30-minute snooze to rest and recharge. There is nothing wrong with you and having naps in the day does not mean you’re depressed. It means you’re recharging for the afternoon and evening. 

7. Visualise breaks as you plug in to charge like a phone

You can’t always charge for a few hours till you’re at 100% but you can recharge for a few minutes, even a micro-break will recharge you in some way. Take the breaks seriously, honour that precious time, and do something that will benefit you positively. 

8. Turn off your notifications

Beep beep, ding ding. That’s right, it’s those mentally draining notifications that are demanding your attention and pulling you in different directions. Turn them off and check emails/phone, etc, at a set time. All those distractions are draining you and making you lose focus or being able to finish tasks in one go. 

9. Connect

I’m a big fan, as you can see, of guiding others to reconnect to themselves in a deeper and truer way. But another important part of a fulfilling life is connection with others. Now be aware that over-socialising or doing activities which you don't have the energy for or don't like, will zap your energy further. But being in a safe space with a trusted friend, family member or coach can provide that boost, drive, and security that we all need. 

Which strategies will you try? Let me know - I’d love to hear from you. 

So embrace the practice of energy management today, and experience the powerful difference it can make to your well-being and overall outlook and experience in life. 

If this has struck a cord, I would love to support you. Visit my profile and send me a message. Let’s connect to see how you can work through these issues so you can live your best most energetic life yet.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London N12 & Peacehaven BN10
Written by Bianca Topham, Stress, Burnout, Wellness & Life Coach ACSTH ICF
London N12 & Peacehaven BN10

As an internationally qualified (ICF) Coach I help empower busy individuals to build a healthier, more well-balanced, and sustainable life to help them avoid burnout, manage stress, and regain motivation, focus, and energy for a life they’ll truly love.

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