If you’re going through the motions of life, not really enjoying things but getting what you need to get done, you may experience an unsettling thought: This doesn’t feel like me.
Many of us have experienced times where we don’t feel like ourselves, whether it’s social roles we’ve been thrust into, jobs we don’t necessarily enjoy, or a lifestyle that doesn’t suit us.
This Doesn’t Feel Like Me – Common Reasons
When you start feeling “this doesn’t feel like me,” it’s a good idea to take a step back and examine your life. There are various possible reasons why you might not feel like yourself, so explore them to try to pinpoint the conflict.
Here are some common reasons why you might be feeling that your current life doesn’t feel like you and steps you can take to change things for the better.
You Aren’t Happy with Your Job
If you’re stuck in a role that doesn’t suit you, you may feel tired, overwhelmed, and unenergized. Going to work every day at a soul-sucking job is enough for anyone to feel like their entire life is in shambles.
Some hints that your job might cause your mental state include:
- Unstimulating work
- Toxic coworkers or bosses
- Low pay
- Lack of work/life balance
- A work culture not suited for your personality
You may overcome some of these challenges by talking with your boss. If your work is unstimulating, ask for additional projects that better align with your goals. You may be able to negotiate a better work-life balance.
However, a career change may be the only thing that can resolve some of these issues. If your job leaves you feeling drained and not yourself, freshen up your resume and see if you can find more meaningful work elsewhere.
Getting a new job takes time, effort, and possibly additional education and training. If that’s not in the cards right now, try to make the best of your time away from work. Engage in your hobbies, be present with friends and family, and make time for yourself. Set boundaries at work so you can have more time away.
Social Roles Leave You Feeling Trapped
Are you a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and employee? Due to these roles, are you expected to do most of the childcare, household chores, errands, family upkeep, and elder care?
Conforming to society’s roles is a top reason why many people don’t feel like themselves. Maybe you wanted to be a parent but didn’t want to conform to the role of “default parent.” Or perhaps as a woman, you only had children because society told you that’s what you should strive for, and you aren’t happy in the role of mother.
It’s okay to have complicated feelings about the various roles you’ve been assigned. Many people find that working through these feelings with a therapist is helpful. Others find that discussing the unfair division of labor with their partners leads to positive change.
Be aware that the outcomes aren’t always rosy. You may realize that your partner expects you to continue working in your assigned role and will not budge on offering assistance. An outcome like this may lead to a hard decision – should you stay knowing that you won’t get any help, or should you leave and try to restructure your life? This is one of the most challenging decisions someone will have to make, but sometimes, it is better to leave and live your life in the role that best suits you.
You’re too focused on what you SHOULD Do
You should attend medical school because your father was a doctor, and you’re expected to follow in his footsteps. You ought to keep the house spotless because that’s what society expects. Should, ought, need; someone expects you to do these things.
Sometimes, it’s hard to look past everyone’s expectations of you and consider what you want to be doing. Maybe you would rather be a scientist than a doctor. Maybe after working all day, you want to work on creative writing instead of washing the dishes. It’s okay to take time to do the things you want to do.
Of course, the caveat is that you can’t forsake all of your responsibilities. You have to pay for a place to live and take care of any family obligations you have. However, your entire identity doesn’t need to be wrapped up in those responsibilities.
Take some time for yourself for the things you want to do. One way to focus more on yourself is to set intuitions and daily affirmations. Visualize how you want your life to be, and set your intentions based on that visualization. Practice mindfulness to stop going through the motions of what needs to be done and focus on truly being in the moment when you want to do something.
Mental Fatigue is Wearing You Down
The feeling that “this doesn’t feel like me” may be related to mental fatigue. Have you been making all the decisions, keeping a mental task list, tracking all your household needs, and using 100% of your mental capacity?
If so, you may be experiencing mental fatigue, which can wear you down and put you in a rut. Your brain is so exhausted from thinking about everything you need to do that you don’t have time to explore who you are and what you want. You don’t have the opportunity to feel like yourself.
Mental fatigue is difficult to overcome, but a few strategies will help you feel less overwhelmed and give your brain the energy to focus on things that make you happy.
Preplan your schedule with a bullet journal
Batching is when you do more than one of a specific task, so you don’t have to think about doing it later. Meal prep is a form of batching, where you plan and prepare all of your meals for the week on one day, so you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the week.
Clear your mind with a brain dump
If your mind is so full that you can’t consider anything else, try using a brain dump. Grab your journal and start writing everything that’s in your mind out in the journal. Getting it all on paper will help remove it from your mind, allowing you to focus on essential things.
Use to-do lists
You don’t have to think about what to do next with a to-do list. You’ve made all the decisions in one sitting and have a list of what needs to be done. Rather than thinking about it again (which, let’s be honest, is the exhausting part!), you have to do it.
Ask for help
If you have a partner, ask them for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Other members of your household should share the mental load.
Self-Care is Non-Existent
If you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, you may not be taking good care of yourself. Sometimes all it takes to reinvigorate us is refreshing pampering.
We’re all busy, but remember you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take just a few minutes a day to indulge in something for you. Maybe that’s a minute of deep breathing or a relaxing walk to the park. It’s essential to recharge and refresh to continue to be the best version of yourself.
Self-care is a critical practice to help us feel good about ourselves. Show yourself that you matter with a bit of pampering. It will help reinvigorate you, and when you are refreshed, you may feel more like yourself.
You Lack Self-Esteem
You may be thinking, “this doesn’t feel like me,” because you lack self-esteem. If this is the case, building confidence is the best way to feel more like yourself.
Improving your self-confidence isn’t always easy. Sometimes we feel like failures and let negative self-talk get the better of us.
There are many strategies to help you boost your confidence. First, stop comparing yourself to others if you are. Remember that everyone is on their own journey and showing off their highlight reels. Stop beating yourself up if you aren’t where they are. It’s not your journey.
Next, try learning a new skill. Mastering something new is a great way to improve your confidence and feel accomplished. There are many strategies for strengthening your spirit, which will help you feel better about yourself. Find the methods that work for you, and you may find that improved self-worth was all you needed to feel more like yourself.
There’s a Brain Chemistry Problem
If none of those things speak to you, consider seeing a therapist. I’m not a therapist, and I can’t diagnose anything. Nobody should self-diagnose from a blog post. However, if you’ve been going through long periods of apathy, feeling down, and not getting any joy out of life, it might be a good idea to talk to a therapist.
Numerous mental disorders can lead you to feel like you aren’t yourself. Depression and anxiety are the most common, but a mental health professional will help you pinpoint the exact cause.
There’s still a stigma about mental health, but an important thing to remember is that bodies aren’t perfect, and sometimes they don’t work right. Your brain is just another body part that might not be working right. It’s okay to seek help if that’s the case. You would seek help if your pancreas weren’t working correctly, right? It’s the same concept. There’s no shame in getting medical help if you need it.
Not Feeling Like Yourself is a Problem – But it Can Be Overcome
Going through the motions of life feeling like you’re somebody else can be both frustrating and traumatizing. Let this post be your guide in examining potential causes in your life. However, it’s just that, a guide. If the small changes suggested in this post aren’t enough, please consider seeking professional help. You’re worth it.
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.