[This is me trying to state simply for myself a conceptual distinction I think is well-known.]
The point of PR-narrative is to make your actions understandable to other people. The point of strategy is to make high-level decisions about the (more local) aims of your thought and action, that you expect will have the consequences you want.
For whatever reason, good or bad, your PR-narrative may contain lies of commission or omission, and ontological confusions--thinking something "is even a thing" that really isn't, or vice versa. (E.g. because you want people to approve your actions more than you want them to understand and predict them.)
You might confuse your strategy with your PR-narrative. Both of them summarize your behavior in terms of purpose, but strategy is trying to modulate your more-zoomed-in aims to contribute to your larger aims, while PR-narrative is supposed to modulate other people's expectations of your more-zoomed-in aims. You might have both a PR-narrative and a strategy of doing X. "Going through the motions" is sometimes like, you're having the PR-narrative guide your zoomed-in behavior and not having your strategy guide it, so your behavior kind of looks like what it's supposed to look like. You can tell it's not guided by your strategy because it's not ongoingly answering to your detailed judgements about "will this result in X". (That could also happen e.g. because you've reached a local maximum in the motions you're going through.)
When you become aware that the activity you're doing is inconsistent with your PR-narrative, there's a rising tension. Should you keep going, and cover up that you're doing it? Or admit that you're doing it, but say you're trying your best to do better, spending some social capital? Or should you try to convince people that what you're doing is actually consistent with your PR-narrative? Or force yourself to stop, so you can say you did the right thing?
A similar thing might happen when you become aware that the activity you're doing is inconsistent with your strategy. A difference is that you have read and write access to everything involved in the conflict, so you could resolve it by comparing different possible strategies. Another difference is that it's more clear there shouldn't be a conflict if only you could think things through, it's all just you after all.
When you've done something that's consistent with your strategy but not with your PR-narrative, you might find yourself "scrambling to get your story straight" for if/when someone asks you about what you did. "Oh, I was just trying to [...]", "Oh, oops, I didn't realize that [...]", etc.
When you've done something that's consistent with your PR-narrative but not with your strategy, you might feel mysteriously sad or depressed. Or tired or "unmotivated".
This is only a phenomenological description, not a normative prescription. It might be normative if you're assuming that you're inevitably in conflict with the people your PR-narrative is addressed to.