Life seems to have frozen: why does apathy arise and where to get the strength? Psychologist’s advice

You don't want to do anything, the news no longer arouses emotions, and everything that happens around you does not worry you? The state of apathy is now familiar to many Ukrainians. Together with Susanna Angelova of the psychological project "Unbreakable Mom" from the "Masha FUND", we are trying to figure out how to deal with this.

How does apathy appear? Of course, it can be a symptom of many mental disorders. However, now it is a mass phenomenon, an integral part of our psyche’s response to military stress.

 – The full-scale invasion of the russians destroyed the ordinary life of most families in Ukraine, – explains psychologist Susanna Angelova. – I often hear from women from the “Unbreakable Mom” ​​program: “My world has fallen to pieces”, “I don’t understand what to do”, and “I can’t stop this horror”. The main signs of apathy are the lack of energy to do the usual things, passivity, ignoring one’s problems, unwillingness to learn new things or meet people, and not feeling emotions when good or bad things happen. In a dangerous situation, we react primitively: fight, run or freeze. These are the reactions we inherited from the dinosaurs. However, we have ways to tame our inner dragons.


The three keys to regaining your zest for life are attention to your body, creativity, and communication. Do what always used to make you happy before. Try something new. Help your brain remember how to enjoy life.


Here are some coping ways that psychologist Susanna Angelova advises:

  • Try to exercise every day. They should include cardio, stretching, and relaxation.
  • Spend more time with friends and loved ones.
  • Try to make some new friends or relationships, or get a pet.
  • Allow yourself to rest. To return to life, you need to sleep enough and establish circadian sleep rhythms, that is, sleep at night and be active during the day.
  • Think of a scent you associate with the happiest moments of the past. What is it: cinnamon, coffee, citrus? Perfume? Fill the space around you with this scent.
  • Find a creative activity that pleases you. It can be cooking, drawing or sculpting, needlework or music.
  • Try phototherapy: look around and take pictures of everything you find beautiful, review happy photos from the archive, and have a new photoshoot.
  • Games add flavor to our lives, so play board games with loved ones, children’s games with children, run with your dog, or play with cats. All this contributes to satisfaction!


And what to do when there is a lack of motivation for many things?

  • Break large tasks into smaller ones so that you feel satisfied after each completed subtask.
  • Come up with a reward for yourself and reward yourself every time you complete an activity.


The “Unbreakable Mom” rehabilitation program has been developed by specialists in psychology and post-traumatic syndromes for women and children affected by war. It is a 3-week offline camp, where psychologists work with project participants, and then online support for three months

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