Fatigue and I-don’t-wanna-itis

Fatigue and I-don’t-wanna-itis- Portland Mindfulness® Therapy

I’m fatigued. Not Chronic Fatigue, just fatigue. I slept less than I need to or like to, and I just don’t want to do the things I need to do. Or so my mind says.

What to do when fatigued? Is it worth resting? Or do we “power through” with a caffeinated drink?

Chronic fatigue can be caused by many conditions, and can also be “idiopathic” meaning they don’t really know what’s causing it. I work with people with chronic fatigue as I’d work with anyone that has a chronic and debilitating illness. It’s certainly not the same thing as what I’m experiencing.


What I’m experiencing is an acute case of I-Don’t-Wanna-Itis. A severe inflammation of the attitudinal glands. Laziness. I’d rather sleep, but if I orient to my values and what’s really important to me… as if by magic… Hey presto! I have some energy to work with.

I guess that’s one difference between medical fatigue and an attitude problem. When it’s I-Don’t-Wanna-Itis, it’s pretty readily treatable with a good dose of values.

Values vs. Fear

By “values” I mean something very broad, not necessarily moral, religious, or ethical values. I mean anything that you find valuable. I find Led Zeppelin valuable, but I don’t make it a practice of actually worshipping them, nor do I see any ethical or moral implications to their music on the whole. However, the CD in my car today helped in reducing my fatigue, because I get my energy from what’s important to me.

It doesn’t really work to force oneself to find energy and improve one’s attitude, because usually when we think about it as “forcing,” that means we’re operating out of fear, rather than values. Fear of disappointing others, fear of disappointing ourselves, fear of various negative consequences. Not a very inspiring way to live.

Instead, I try to find something that genuinely inspires me to help me get past the I-Don’t-Wannas. That and 500 ccs of strong coffee usually does the trick!

How do you combat ordinary fatigue?

What works for you when you just don’t feel like doing stuff?

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Joseph Rhinewine, PhD. People collaborate with me to live life fully: with principle, passion and vigor. My expertise is providing and teaching Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an evidence-based, experiential and relational behavior therapy. I also apply Acceptance and Commitment processes to coaching those who wish to take their lives to a new level.

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