It’s no secret that the lockdown has forced us to rip up our routines and get used to the ‘new normal’. It’s left some of us working from home, while others are using extra free time to get fitter, learn new skills, or even tick off those big jobs around the house that we’ve been putting off for too long.
However, whilst homebound heroes like Captain Tom and Rob Ferguson continue to inspire and amaze us, some of us may be beginning to feel our own motivation levels dwindling. You’re not alone in feeling this way, and we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to beat the lockdown blues.
Why are we losing motivation?
There are loads of reasons why you might be experiencing a dip in your usual get-up-and-go. Boredom, interrupted sleep patterns, anxiety, even the sudden disappearance of April’s beautiful weather. The key isn’t to know why you’re struggling to motivate yourself, but to understand that it’s completely normal and totally fixable. Don’t give yourself a hard time right now; no getting around it, things are weird, and bound to have an impact. But that said, there are things you can do to maintain your mojo.
Start a journal to track your daily activity
Journals are a fantastic tool for self-reflection and can give your motivation a big boost. Start out by setting yourself some daily tasks and finish each day by scoring your motivation, feelings of accomplishment, or general happiness levels out of 10.
It’s a good idea to write down something that you’ve achieved each day, no matter how small. You’ll be amazed at how many little wins you forget about until you log them in your journal. If you’re on a quest to improve your health and fitness, consider logging your diet, too, to see if certain foods and drinks have an impact on your motivation and happiness levels. As well as helping right now, you may find some strategies for success to take with you on the other side of the lockdown.
Save your sleeping pattern
It’s easy to let your sleeping pattern fall by the wayside when you don’t have to be up early, but sticking to a routine will do your energy levels the world of good. You’ll feel much more clear-headed and look much less like you’ve just rolled out of bed on your 10 am video conference call.
Trying to fix your sleeping pattern all at once can have the reverse effect. Make sure you adjust your schedule by no more than 30 minutes per day. This helps your body clock adjust naturally and won’t leave you feeling exhausted.
The Science of Sunlight
We won’t win a Nobel Prize for telling you that exercise and time spent outdoors will help you feel happier and more motivated, but you may be surprised just how big an impact it has on your mood. We recently caught up with Jessicarr Moorhouse, a Physical Activity Clinical Champion for Public Health England, who taught us about how sunlight exposure helps to boost our vitamin levels and regulate our circadian rhythm.
If you’re suffering from a bit of cabin fever at home, try walking, running or spending time in the garden each day.
Look after your work-life balance
There’s plenty of scientific evidence that your work-life balance and stress levels go hand in hand. With so many of us working from home or struggling with the lack of activities after work, it’s no wonder that our motivation and productivity is taking a hit.
Try not to work in the same places that you use to relax, such as the sofa or your bed. If possible, designate an area of the house as a mini office environment, such as a spare room or your dining table. It’s also important to take regular short breaks and finish work at a sensible time to prevent burnout. Once your working day is over, try spending some time outdoors as soon as you finish to help draw a line in the sand between work and life.
Cut back on scrolling
It can be easy to get sucked in by social media. You check your notifications on Facebook and suddenly an hour has passed by and all you’ve done is watch someone delicately restore an ancient bread cutting tool. Sound familiar? On top of this, the endless sequence of bad-news stories isn’t helping anyone’s sense of wellbeing.
Restricting your screen time will give you more time to spend being productive and enjoying new hobbies. It will also help you cut down on blue light exposure. You can check your screen time data on your smartphone at the end of each day.
Make time for fun
Winding down is just as important as winding up. Make sure you set some time aside to do the things you love, such as playing video games, painting, exercising or reading. Nobody is productive all the time. Like everything else in life, the trick is finding the right balance.
These uncertain times are providing a great opportunity for us all to push ourselves and achieve something to be proud of. But it’s important to remember that we all have good and bad days when it comes to motivation – and this is not a competition with yourself or anyone else.
Don’t feel pressured into off-the-shelf challenges like Couch to 5k or stay-at-home marathons if they don’t work for you. It’s all about conquering YOUR Everest, whatever that may be.