This site provides mental health information for those who are staying at home under COVID-19 pandemic.

The relationship between what you do or don’t activity and your feelings

behavioral activation

This article will explain the mechanism of “Why I lose energy when I am inactive.”

First, let’s take a look at the case of two people: Mr. Sato, who is stressed by the refraining from activities, and Mr. Suzuki, who feels fear of infection due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Sato has less energy.

Mr. Sato is no longer able to do activities that he loved because of the self-quarantine recommended due to the emergency statement.

Mr. Sato originally spent most of his free time outside of the house. On weekdays, he spent his time after work exercising at the gym or going out to eat with colleagues. He also enjoyed watching sports on the weekend. Therefore, since the request for self-quarantine was issued, he has been unable to do most of the activities that he loved. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, he tries to spend time at home as much as possible and avoid behaviors that fall under the “three Cs,” but he doesn’t know what to do at home. Recently, he spends his time watching TV, but it doesn’t make his feel better. He tried to think of things he could enjoy at home. However, all of his ideas seemed so boring compared to his previous activities that he couldn’t bring himself to do them, and he felt even more depressed.

Mr. Suzuki feels anxiety.

Mr. Suzuki is really afraid of becoming infected with COVID-19, and he has not been able to do any activities.

Mr. Suzuki was a worrier by nature. The more he watched TV and Internet news about the COVID-19 infection statistics every day, the more anxious he became about the possibility of contracting the virus. Mr. Suzuki’s  workplace allows him to work from home, so not having to commute by train was a relief to him, but after spending so much time at home, he has become very anxious about going out. Because he doesn’t have anything to do at home, he ends up collecting information about CODID-19 when he has time. Every time he does this, he gets anxious or depressed. Although he would like to do something to take his mind off of the virus, he is too anxious to do anything when he thinks, “What if I am infected with CODIV-19 due to my activities?

Some of you might have found that some of these examples apply to you.

Often, when people are worried and stress, their range of action tends to be narrowed down, and as a result, their mental energy goes down steadily.

Next, let’s take an example of how Mr. Takahashi is still able to enjoy his activities in his way.

Mr. Takahashi is having fun.

Mr. Takahashi is enjoying finding things to do despite the current adverse situation.

Mr. Takahashi was very busy with his work on weekdays and spent his days off sleeping at home. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, his workload is much less now than it used to be. Now, he basically works from home and spends a lot more time there. Mr. Takahashi was disappointed that he was no longer able to work as he had hoped. Since he had been spending most of his time there, he was initially unable to spend his time at home comfortably; he was often depressed. However, Mr. Takahashi thought, “Now that I have more time to spend at home, I should try something I haven’t been able to do before,” and started learning to speak English online. In the beginning, he started it just to improve his English speaking, but he found that talking to the teacher made him feel a little better. Mr. Takahashi has always liked collecting various interesting items. He remembered that he had bought many things that he thought he would use someday, such as a shaker set for making cocktails at home, plastic model kits of his favorite Japanese cartoon, video games, novels, and manga, etc., but kept them in a closet. So, he decided to use the time he spent at home for his hobbies. Of course, he felt more fulfilled and accomplished when working hard and going out for drinks with his colleagues, as he did before. However, in his current situation, he can enjoy different activities and spend his time with a positive attitude.

What’s the difference between the three of them?

Regarding these cases, Mr. Sato and Mr. Suzuki are spending their days anxious and depressed due to the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, although Mr. Takahashi also feels the stress brought on by the pandemic, he has managed to find something to look forward to in his current situation. What do you think the difference between the three is?

The important difference is whether they completed activities that lead to feelings of pleasure or mastery. You may think that it’s because Mr. Takahashi just happened to have fun at home, but it’s very important to do activities that lead to feelings of pleasure or mastery to keep your energy in daily life.


I hope you understand the reasoning behind “why you don’t feel energetic if you are not active.”
The following article includes a brief practice session where you can reflect on your behavior patterns to understand the mechanisms by which your behavior affects your mood. Please give it a try.

Reflecting on your life patterns
This article introduces the mechanisms by which a person's behavior influences their mood. The figure below shows the...