We all have those days – days when we cannot seem to get going. Perhaps we want to stay under the duvet. Maybe we feel like watching movies all day. It might be a rainy day and we might just want to relax. Take a bath, read a book, watch our favourite program – slow down.
These days are much needed – of course they are. We talk about them all the time in therapy. Self-care is so important. Resting is so important. Listening to your body. Giving it what it needs. Its all so important. It truly is.
But what happens when it keeps happening. When that feeling of wanting to hibernate is there every day? What happens when you feel like you just do not want to get out of bed? When the things that once interested you seem pointless. And the tasks you once sailed through feel so overwhelming. Suddenly you don’t have the urge to get ready, to get outside, your watching tv far more then you used too, you are not communicating as much. You have slowed right down. Your eating and drinking habits have changed. You do not seem to have that spark that once made you ‘you’. Life feels generally mundane.
Some would say that these are the signs of depression. And to be fair they can be. When those feelings and experiences get more and more intense a person can feel themselves slipping deeper and deeper into a very dark place. Becoming more and more isolated. Struggling to cope.
All of that said – depression is far more then the above.
What we are talking about in this blog is a general lack of motivation. A loss of libido. Libido for life. Sometimes people slow right down – and they find it hard to get back up again. The real challenge is even working out how to get back up again.
The less we do – the less motivated we feel. That is a fact.
This year has been beyond challenging for everyone – living through a pandemic is so difficult. Lockdown has caused such stress for people. But amongst all the fear, all the sadness and all the anxiety, many people have talked about lack of motivation. A general sense of slowing down. Doing less. Feeling less productive. And once this starts for people it becomes very hard to stop it, and very hard to pull themselves back up from it.
As more and more people have worked from home – and many continue to do so. They remain in a position of having to keep themselves motivated. Having to keep themselves going. In a routine, with structure etc. And that is not always easy.
Another major component of this is isolation. The more isolated people feel – the more they shut down. The less they communicate and the less they connect with others. Lock down has really exaggerated this for people. And as a result, the quieter life feels the quieter it then becomes. People reach out less. They connect less. They talk less. They shut down – and the cycle of isolation continues. And general motivation decreases.
Many outlets for people stopped – and while some have started again, there has been a lot of loss this year. And this continues for everyone at different stages and for different reasons. If you think about gyms for example – they shut down, and people lost their outlet for exercise and stress relief. As well as the social component that comes with that. While they are now reopening, and people are starting to train again socially. It is not always easy or accessible and there is still a lot of fear around for people.
So, when you break it down – isolation, lack of connection, lack of routine, lack of belonging, lack of structure as well as life slowing down so much and changing so much. There are so many reasons why many people feel de motivated right now. There is a lot that has contributed to this and many different factors have played a part. Understanding it is the first step. But changing it is the most important one.
So where do we start?
How do we start to get our ‘mojo’ back?
Firstly – we are kind to ourselves. We accept where we are right now. And we acknowledge and understand where it has come from. We tell ourselves that its ok to be feeling this way and we are gentle with ourselves as we start the journey of climbing back.
In addition to this we do not put any pressure on ourselves. Life is not a race and nor is this challenging time. We do not have to get there quickly. We do not have to get back to how we used to be right now. We do not have to change it all today. We get there when we are ready.
On top of that – maybe we will not go back to being exactly as we were before. Maybe this period of time will actually be quite healing for us. Perhaps we will learn more about life balance. And while we do not want to lack motivation. We also do not want to be running at 110 miles per hour all the time. This could be the chance to find the middle ground. To work towards the place of moderation. To find that balance.
So from this kind, compassionate and gentle place. We can now start making some small changes. Maybe start with routine and structure. Think about a time of day to start each day – a reasonable one that allows you time to do what you need to do. Set the alarm and get up. It sounds simple, but it makes such a difference and starts the day in a more proactive way. You can always give yourself flexibility at the weekend.
Get outside!! Each and every day. No matter what the weather – a short walk can make such a difference to the way you feel. Exercise is of course so important. But walking is a basic foundation for feeling better. You alone can make that change each day. Even coming away from your desk at lunchtime can make all the difference.
Start to plan your week better. Look at what is ahead for the week and start to make plans. Plans that allow time for your work, friends, family etc. But plans that also factor in you time. It is more important then you realise. While you may have found yourself tuning out of life a bit too much recently it is still important that you do not go the other way and lose any time for you. Make it happen. The more organised you are the better you will feel.
Balance is total key. We need time to exercise, but we also need time to have that food or drink that we would really like. Moderation is key. It does not have to be all or nothing. So many people live like that and swinging from one to the other never truly makes them happy. Work on your sense of balance. You will be surprised at what follows.
Make lists – it sounds so simple. But its so true. Sit down every day and write down the tasks ahead. You will feel calmer for having them all down on paper, and you will feel better as you gradually work through them all bit by bit. Remembering that not everything has to be achieved right now. Not everything needs to be done today.
Connect – make sure you make time to connect. Each and every day. You will notice the moment you do – the minute you reach out and speak to others. You will feel so much better. That sense of being alone, feeling isolated. It leads people to go further and further down – into a darker place but also to a far less motivated place. Where it becomes easier to hide away from the world – then to get out there and start to interact with it.
Make time in your day, and in your week – to connect with the people that bring out the best in you. Surround yourself with their energy. You will feel so much better. Step back from those that bring out the stress in you – we all have a sense of when that happens. Step back from anything that does not make you feel good. Sounds simple I know, but once you start, you will feel a huge difference.
These are some of the ways to start feeling more like yourself again. They will help you to start to feel re charged and to restore your balance. Your motivation will begin to come back as you take these steps in the right direction. Amongst all of this – do not forget time for fun, time for enjoyment, time for laughter. These are the things that many of us have overlooked and found difficult in the last few months. But when you think about it – they are fundamental for our well-being. They provide us all with an outlet. And everyone needs that.
Everyone is so different – we all relax in different ways. We all enjoy life in different ways. So take stock. Reflect. Think about the things that make you feel calm and happy. And add more of them into your week. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.