Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that we certainly did not see coming a year ago, that most of us probably would not have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days are apart and bad news continues to grow, it is easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that are not helpful, like worrying instead and interacting with people on the internet to fight.
Almost half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is affecting their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us have had routines in place in the past to deal with stress, the stress we are exposed to during this time is unlike anything we have experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and this is the toughest time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If so, keep it simple and reach for little things to make you feel better and find your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to get positive momentum:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you weren’t motivated to exercise, eat healthy food, have sales pitches, or just do something, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Check out some great TED lectures, go to YouTube and look for people to motivate you and google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer conversations all over the internet. You just need to find someone you are related to and who will speak to you.
2. Do something you love
When we are not motivated, it is easy for us to get used to doing what we love. Sometimes it feels like a chore just to get out of bed or from the TV. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what did you do? What do you absolutely love to do, if you had the time, would you do all day and not realize that no time has passed at all?
Find out how to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if you currently can’t. When you spend time doing what you love, everything that is wrong can distract you and find inspiration.
“If something is important enough, you should do it anyway, even if the odds are stacked against you.” – – Elon Musk
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple When we’re in the rut, we give ourselves every excuse not to do something. Suppose you gained some weight. You might tell yourself that you have to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before doing anything else. Stop trying to make it complicated and keep it simple by finding one thing that you can do now, however small it may be. You don’t have to wait for the timing to be perfect and the stars to align for you to move in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and move
This is probably the last thing you want to do now, but as soon as you get up and move, your blood will start to flow. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do what you can to move. This is the hardest day if you haven’t done it in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you will build up momentum and get used to the habit again.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy to worry and wander our minds to places where we can’t control anything. This is neither motivating nor helpful, and we always have a choice to divert our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are. So focus on the solution rather than the problem and find out the next step, what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one: divert your attention from what you cannot control and what you cannot do. Step Two: Ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind Follow the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us in a more positive mood than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make it your theme song. Always put it on when you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, learners will inherit the earth, while scholars will feel wonderfully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote from Eric Hoffer. In times of change there are great losses, but also great opportunities. Continuous learning opens up new possibilities for you and leads you on paths that you may not otherwise have found.
“Work like someone is working 24 hours a day to take it away from you.” – – Mark Cuban
If you are already a meditator and have broken away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried it, it’s easy to set a timer for five minutes (or less, start with a minute or two) and focus on your breath. Listen to the inhale and exhale. Say silently “in” when you breathe in and “out” when you breathe out. Even taking a few minutes can calm yourself down and refocus your mind.
When we are not motivated, our momentum moves in the other direction. Slow down that swing by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed the swing down move it in the right direction and you are well on your way.
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