As cities around North America and the globe move back into yet another lockdown, staying motivated to make healthy choices can be understandably difficult.
However, despite the craziness going on, staying focused on keeping physically and mentally healthy is arguably more important than ever.
Whether you are a young professional, busy mom juggling work, kids & at-home learning, or a student trying to navigate another yet another year of online challenges – we’ve got you covered with 6 important tips for staying motivated and healthy during lockdown.
1. Get Dressed. Every Morning.
Now this one might sound a bit silly, but seriously, how easy is it when you’re working/studying from home to simply stay in your pajamas or sweatpants all. day. long. What you’re wearing matters, whether you’re at the office or working from your couch.
A study conducted in 2015 showed that wearing formal business attire (versus casual attire) increased abstract thinking in participants.
Additionally, psychotherapist Jennifer Musselman was quoted saying that “staying stuck in your pajamas day after day sets your mood. It literally keeps you stuck.” So, if you’re wanting to keep your motivation high – consider getting dressed every morning.
2. Make a Realistic Exercise Schedule That Isn’t Dependent on Restrictions
Staying motivated to exercise has been hard with gyms flip flopping between being open, closed, open-with-restrictions, closed again – trust us, we get it. There is nothing more frustrating than getting into a great workout routine and then losing all motivation when you’re forced to stop for whatever reason (like a lockdown).
But what if you make a realistic exercise schedule rather than a perfect exercise schedule?
Include activities that aren’t dependent on the gym. Including a 30 minute walk every day (or most days) has been shown to have great benefits including: increased muscle strength and endurance, reduced body fat, and reduced risk of heart disease and stroke!
There are also heaps of online resources and challenges that allow you to get a great sweat on without having to invest in expensive equipment or set foot in a gym.
3. Cut Yourself Some Slack
We think this one may just be the most important takeaway. While it can be exciting and motivating to set big goals for January 1st, as we wrap up one year and look forward to the next, we need to consider that 2020 was far from normal.
In fact, there have been many reported negative psychological impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic that cannot and should not be ignored. We have heard from multiple people that they aren’t feeling motivated to set big goals, and they’re feeling especially down on themselves because of it.
While motivation is a great thing, cutting yourself some slack to give yourself space to feel the feels is also so important. If continuing to work from home, feed your family, and help your kids with online learning is more than enough for you (which it is for 99.9% of the population), cut yourself some slack. You’re doing great!
This doesn’t have to be the year you accomplish every single thing on your bucket list. For many of us, simply getting through each day is an accomplishment we should be proud of.
4. Consider Bringing on Help
Continuing on from #3, if this year has just put more on your plate that you can handle, consider the areas in your life where you can get some extra help. While finances can be a limit for many people, often there are ways to shift the monthly budget around to focus on priorities.
For example, if bringing on a house cleaner or hiring a healthy meal prep company allows you to work an extra shift each week, or even full-time instead of part time (and not go totally insane) then it may actually work better financially for you and your family!
The pandemic has given an unprecedented amount of work and responsibilities to moms, students and young professionals alike and recognizing the areas you need help can be a game changer for keeping you motivated.
When your task list is more manageable, and you don’t feel like you are spread too thin, than you’re able to focus more on the things that matter to you (like eating healthy, exercising, etc.).
5. Schedule Virtual Get-Togethers With Your Friends & Family
Oh, Zoom. The virtual happy hours and get-togethers were all the rage back in March 2020, but people quickly realized it didn’t compare to the real thing.
But what if you could connect your motivation to stay healthy with your level of social interaction? Would you consider giving Zoom just one more try?
An article published in April 2017 looked at the role of digital social interaction on user’s motivation to exercise. They found that increased social interaction did in fact increase the motivation to exercise, especially when the interactions were encouraging each other to complete the exercise.
So, if you’re willing to give virtual hangouts another shot, not only is Grandma going to appreciate a weekly check in, but your motivation might increase too.
6. Remember to Carve Out Time for Self-Care
When you’re working/studying from home it can be easy to just spend “one more hour” on the computer. And when you’re hardly leaving the house, except for the basic necessities, it can feel like you’re not accomplishing a whole lot (even when you totally are!).
On the flip side, if you’re at home with kids, your husband, and the family dog it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s important that no matter what your day-to-day looks like, you’re carving out some time for yourself to recharge.
Taking the time to go for a walk, forest bathe, or read a new book is so important for maintaining motivation during lockdown. In fact, taking breaks has been shown to help with recovering from stress and can actually help to improve your mental health and performance.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
No matter how you’re feeling in terms of motivation right now, just know that this too shall pass. While times are undeniably tough right now, and motivation may be hard to scrape together at the moment, better days are coming.
We hope that you can implement some of our tips above to help boost motivation while in lockdown 2.0, but at the end of the day, remember to cut yourself some slack. We will still have lots of time to take over the world and accomplish what we want to accomplish when the global pandemic is over.
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