Most of us are feeling extra-challenged in engaging with our work at the moment. With the uncertainty of the pandemic you’re operating with less structure in your life than usual, the anxiety of the pandemic, and less contact with others than you normally have. You may also be facing additional stress due to personal or family concerns, concern over social or political events, or both. All of this can make it hard to stay motivated. Not only that but add on top the doubt of it ever being over and you get a very high stress and unmotivating situation.
While it’s a challenge, there are steps you can take to feel more motivated to engage in your work. According to the University of Washington, here are 10 tips for staying motivated during the pandemic.
Start your day with a plan or schedule. You’re more likely to exercise when it’s integrated into your everyday life, so you don’t have to think about it. Has your routine been disrupted during the pandemic? Take some time to thoughtfully create a new one.
Squeeze in shorter bouts of activity. Exercise doesn’t have to be long or grueling to be effective. We now understand that short bursts of exercise are beneficial, and often serve as motivation to exercise more. If you have a busy day, schedule in two ten or fifteen-minute workouts. Or make it a habit to do a round of push-ups while you wait for your chance to speak during that Zoom meeting! Look for other similar opportunities and turn them into habits!
Practice healthy and mindful eating. We all know that the food we put in our bodies influences how we feel – it keeps energy levels high, boosts the immune system, and enhances mood.
Be “social”. Studies show that having a fitness buddy makes you more likely to exercise consistently. Go for a bike ride with a friend or make a regular date to chat on the phone while each of you walks around your neighborhood. Want to meet new friends?
Notice how good exercise makes you feel. You’re much more likely to exercise regularly when you take a moment afterwards to focus on how good you feel. Observe how your energy has increased, pay attention to that feeling of accomplishment, and notice how your feelings of stress have dissipated. Remembering the positive impact that exercise has on you will motivate you to work out again tomorrow — and the next day, too!
Get enough sleep. Let’s face it, no one wants to exercise when they’re sleepy or exhausted. So get sufficient rest. We know your mother already told you that. Turns out, she was right!
Relax and recharge. Everyone needs some down time. Solitude, massage, a comedy podcast, a video game, or just doing nothing – what works for you? Now might be a good time to learn some new relaxation techniques: mindfulness, yoga, and meditation classes.
Reward yourself. Give yourself small rewards when you accomplish a task or goal – watch 10 minutes of cat videos after you finish that workout! Having something to look forward to makes it easier to stick to your exercise plan when you’re feeling a lack of motivation (or when you’re simply too tired to get started).
Prioritize your mental health. Are you down, anxious, or depressed more than occasionally? This can interfere with your motivation to exercise.
Be okay when you falter. Some days are like that. There’s no value in beating yourself up because you didn’t adhere to your exercise plan – no one’s perfect. Just remind yourself of how good you feel when you do exercise, and re-commit to your next exercise session.
It’s not easy but maintaining motivation to continue living your life to the fullest is possible. Try these 10 tips and watch how it gets a little bit better every day.
Source: Jeff Palmer, University of Washington, “10 tips for staying motivated during the pandemic“ https://www.washington.edu/ima/2021/02/12/10-tips-for-staying-motivated-during-the-pandemic/