What strange times we live in! If you would have told me a month ago that I would be spending my Easter holidays at home and leaving it only for essential groceries and the occasional run, I never would have believed you. But, this is reality now and it is so important that we all play our part and actually stay home and practice social distancing if we really do need to go out. I found it difficult at first to find motivation for just about anything and not become overwhelmed with worry and disappointment that these uncertain times inevitably bring with them. I am slowly starting to feel better and wanted to share the different strategies I have implemented over the past few weeks to get there.
I hope that some of these tips for staying motivated and positive are useful for you, where ever you may be in the world right now.
- Having a solid morning routine
I have found that getting out of bed between 7:30 and 8:00 every day has helped me be a lot more productive during the day. I typically don’t start studying or ticking off to-do’s before 10:30 but instead, I use the hours in the morning to take some time for myself, do some yoga, and have a nice breakfast. Before this Corona situation, I really wanted to try to build a daily meditation routine so I am giving that a try as well.
- Getting dressed and ready as I normally would
However comfortable my PJ’s might be, I have forced myself to put on a nice outfit every day and do my makeup as I normally would. I think doing this tricks my brain into thinking it is work/study time because I have found it be very helpful when it comes to finding motivation. It also helps to create a sense of normal and certainly makes me feel better when video-calling my friends and family (another tip I will get to in a second).
- My own, seperate, clean workspace
I am very lucky to have my own room with a desk, where I can work effectively. Whether you do or don’t, I would in any case highly recommend the following: 1) seperate your sleeping area from your working area – don’t study in your bed 2) keep your study area clean and tidy 3) make sure you have a good chair, that protects your back
I think there is little point in checking the news every hour. Of course, it is important to stay up-to date with the most recent developments but I can do that by checking the news twice a day. Much more than that and my mood significantly worsens. I personally find the conflicting information out there very frustrating and unhelpful so would rather spend the time reading something I actually enjoy.
In non-Corona times, I am in the habit of working out almost on a daily basis so I try to keep this up at home. Not having access to a gym has forced me to be creative and adapt my workout routine. I have gone on more runs than I am used to, I have picked up yoga a lot more and I have transformed water bottles into dumbells.
There are a lot of things going very wrong in the world right now, which casts a shadow over all the good things we can still be happy about and grateful for. Focusing on the positives at a time where we get a lot of dissapointing, frustrating and sad news is really difficult. But I think it’s very important and I have personally really noticed a difference in my overall wellbeing when I do so. I think it makes me more resillient and able to push through the bad better.
- Showing kindness and empathy towards myself and others
On a similar note, being kind to myself and to others helps soften the blow of this complicated situation. By this, I mean accepting that it is normal to feel down sometimes, lacking the motivation to do anything whatsoever or feeling anxious and concerned all the time. If like me, you sometimes feel like you should not have a right to feel sad or angry because so many people have it so much worse, remember that there is enough empathy and kindness to go around for everyone.
- Staying in touch with family and friends
I have really enjoyed all the calls I have had with family and friends over the past few weeks. Yes, it’s not the same or as fun as it would be catching up over coffee at your favorite café but it’s better than nothing and so important. Remember to turn your camera on, ask each other questions and share how you are feeling.
Finally then, rather than trying to control things I have no control over, I remind myself to stay patient. This crisis will pass and “normal” life will resume. In the mean time, I have made it a priority to make the most out of a bad situation, by doing all the things listed above and using this time as an opportinutity. An opportunity to spend time with my family, to work hard on my uni studies, to read the books I have been wanting to read, to stay active and fit and to appreciate all the good things.
Hang in there guys! As always, if you have any questions for me, let me know!