We’ve all been there; not getting housework done, pushing deadlines in work or school to the absolute limit, just feeling ‘meh’ about having to actually do stuff – even stuff we like doing!
And some of us may have been ‘there’ a little more. We know that sometimes it can be hard to do anything. Even basic things like getting out of bed and dressed in the morning.
We’re here to say that it’s OK. Sometimes you just need to hear that. We all have our ups and downs but motivation is something everyone can work on and build upon. This post is packed with helpful reminders of some ideas and tips that may be useful to you.
When you wake up, start your day with a bang and you’ll be much more likely to be productive. Do something that refreshes you, shakes off your sleepiness and gets you excited about your day. I’m guilty of staying in bed and scrolling on my phone for hours, but I feel such a difference if I’m productive first thing. This could be staying off your phone for the first hour of the day, doing some exercise before you shower, or having a morning walk.
If I’m having a bad day where my mental health doesn’t feel great then I’ll get up and have a shower and make my bed (even if I get straight back in it- as long as I’ve had a little freshen up). I might put some makeup on or do my hair nice (I know when Si is having a tough day he’ll put his fave snazzy clothes on to make himself feel motivated too!) Just feeling good about yourself can be a great start!
If I’m having a really bad day where I know I’m not going to be able to do much, then I’ll start my day by making myself drink a big glass of water. I’ll open my curtains and windows to let some fresh air in my room. Sometimes I’ll even message someone I care about to let them know I’m having a tough one and might need a bit of support today. And that might be all I can manage but at least I’ve done something to help myself a little bit.
It depends where you’re at mentally, but doing what you’re capable of (and what you can commit to) then at least you’ve tried. It’s all about giving yourself the best possible chance at doing what you need to in a day. Even the days when it’s really hard.
I LOVE a list! But I’m very guilty of over-filling my schedule and having a million things to do every day that never end up getting done. Then I feel guilty for not achieving anything and end up putting loads of pressure on myself the next day. It’s a vicious cycle.
What I’ve learned though is that if I limit my to-do list and simplify my tasks, focusing on doing a couple of things well and completely, then it’s less daunting and means I’m more likely to do it.
Making a plan is a good way to keep yourself on track and you can be as detailed or stick to it as much as you need to in your day. Even if it’s just a plan to have a chilled one, to try and eat something, to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Make your lists as easy or as challenging as you need them to be. Set a goal and then break down the steps you need to make that happen. Get a nice notebook to write your lists in, save them on your phone as a note or a voice memo, scribble them on a post it note. Figure out what works best for you- and if you get a sense of satisfaction from crossing things off on your list! Having structure will also help you focus and will keep your mind busy so you’re not overthinking.
If a to-do list isn’t your bag, then write a gratitude or accomplishment list at the end of your day. What have you done? What’s made you happy and what are you grateful for in your day? That way you’re celebrating what you have managed to do. You can look at it and feel proud, and hopefully that will motivate you to get stuff done tomorrow!
If you’re still working or studying at home it’s important to be happy with your environment (see more of our WFH tips here!)
A nice separation between working and chilling spaces will mean it’s easier to focus and it’s easier to switch off when you’re finished working. If you’re living with limited space or are someone who likes to change it up (after months of sitting at the same desk) then try out different rooms or work areas (kitchen table, sofa, bed!) Make yourself comfy and make your work space somewhere free from as many distractions as you can.
I like to make my work spaces really motivational by putting pictures of loved ones and cool postcards with little quotes on them to make me smile and that remind me I’m doing OK. We have a bunch of positive affirmation postcards and poster packs on sale right now and also a bunch of free postcards you can grab from the HATW shop in Cardiff if you’re going past. When we post orders we put some postcards in for free too! So if you’re looking for anything to spruce up your walls, we got you! Just looking up from my laptop to give my eyes a break and inject a little positivity in my day. When I feel happy, I know I’m more likely to smash my day so any doses of joy I can get- I’m gonna take them!
If you’re feeling trapped by your four walls- then head out for a walk every now and again or get up and do some quick stretches. It’s good to connect to what’s around you to re-energise you and get your motivation levels back up. And BIG YES to physical resilience helping you build up your motivation to get stuff done!
Ask a pal or someone you work with to check in with you so you have someone holding you accountable for getting important things done. This is also good if you need a cheerleader to give you some encouragement! I’ve been trying this one out already with my boyfriend. If he sees me watching youtube instead of doing work he’ll give me a gentle “how’s that blog post coming pal?” and it helps keep me on track by chatting about it and encourages me to get stuff done.
Of course it’s totally fine to take a break and zone out for a bit but I am the Mayor of procrastination town! Over lockdown we even implemented “fun hour” during long days of laptop time. So just having a break away from your screen to listen to a record or play a board game or read a book in the garden just for an hour. Kinda like a reward for getting stuff done. Which leads me to…
Try one hour of solid work and then reward yourself with a bit of fresh air, a quick youtube video or half hour gaming, or some phone scrolling time! This is helpful if you don’t live with someone or have someone who can check in with you. Just bargain with yourself. Do what you have to but then treat yourself after! Or if there’s a daunting task you’re putting off, agree to do it for 10 mins. If after those 10 mins you’re fed up or can’t do anymore then stop. At least you gave it a try and did it. If after the 10 you feel like carrying on, do it! There’s something about making it seem manageable and giving yourself the option to stop that makes it seem a little easier to tackle in the first place. Give it a go!
Sometimes it can be useful to reflect on why you aren’t feeling motivated so you can understand yourself better.
Delve into some mindfulness, have some little moments of meditations, write down what you’re going through, call a helpline or chat to a family member over a cuppa. It’s so easy to get lost in a sea of overthinking and stress. Taking a moment, an hour, a day or a week to go easy on yourself and re-set is gonna help you so much. Make yourself feel relaxed and get your self-care routine nailed down.
Get a big bit of paper and write down why you need motivation right now and what’s stopping you. Seeing it written out in front of me sometimes gives me the jolt I need to see that I’m the only one in my way. Sometimes that forces me to just DO IT (imagine Shia La Beouf saying that) Once the ball is rolling and I’ve done the thing I’ve been putting off or dreading (and it 99% of the time is easier and not as scary as I thought it would be) then I feel proud that I’ve done it and it makes me want to do more.
Sling together a motivational playlist of ‘get up and have at it’ tunes (we put a class one together the other week- check it out here!)
Whatever you need to do just be aware of what’s going on with you. You don’t always need to spring into action. It’s OK. Accept that sometimes you’ll be really productive and other times you’ll feel like just getting up, drinking some water and opening a window is all you can do with your day. That’s fine. Go easy on yourself and try not to compare yourself to people you know or people on your insta. Everyones going at their own pace, you won’t always feel like this. So take care of yourself whilst you’re in this headspace. Motivation will come and when you’re ready you’ll feel that drive to get stuff done again. Keep going. Push the limits of your comfort zone and your comfort zone will just get bigger and bigger, and you’ll achieve things without even realising you’re doing it. As always dear reader: YOU GOT THIS!
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