A global pandemic, gray weather, sluggish vaccinations. Staying motivated in this situation seems impossible. A psychologist reveals how it can work anyway.
Staying motivated, not that easy in 2021 – these 5 tips can help with self-motivation.
When you wake up in the morning, you actually want to look forward to starting a new day. The problem is, at the moment, a lot of people feel like there isn’t much to be excited about. Yes, technically it is a new day when you consult the calendar – but mentally it feels like the same day. Especially when you work from home. While we’re still in lockdown, it feels like everyone is on the hunt for one elusive thing: motivation.
Self-motivation in the pandemic: a psychotherapist gives 5 tips
“If someone feels that there is no connection between the things that are important to them, their innate passions, and the things that happen around them, it can cause a lack of motivation,” explains psychotherapist Anthony Turi. “You feel like you are only doing the things you have to do to meet the demands that are coming your way out there, but that is not really related to what is important to you inside.”
Do you recognize yourself? I thought so. Whether you are feeling separated from your family, friends and colleagues, or are mourning a lost music festival, it is getting harder and harder to find meaning. But don’t be afraid, finding motivation in 2021 is not impossible. We asked Turi to share his top tips on how to look ahead and stay positive – even when faced with a curfew.
- Accept your feelings
If you are bored, unmotivated and generally fed up, your first instinct may be to want to change something. However, as Turi explains, if you put yourself under pressure in this way, it could make things even worse.
“In Gestalt therapy [a type of psychotherapy that focuses on individual responsibility and our experiences in the present moment] we have what is called the paradoxical theory of change,” he says. “Basically, if you try to be what you are not, you will only make things worse. When you fully accept where you are, change begins. ”
“If you’re not motivated, maybe that’s fine. Can you just leave this like that for a while? Maybe it’s okay to be bored. Can you accept the fact that you are bored? Once you do this, bubbles [of inspiration] can often rise naturally to the surface. Trying to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do can make you even more uncomfortable. “
2. Engage in hobbies
From baking to cycling, one of the perks of taking time off is that it gives all of us the opportunity to spend more time on our hobbies. These are often an effective way to increase motivation. Doing something you enjoy in your free time can give you a greater sense of purpose in other areas of your life. But keep the pressure low! You don’t have to write a novel or start a lucrative sideline to feel productive and fulfilled. Remember, you are doing it for yourself.
“Look for things that are fun and that don’t feel compelled,” Turi explains. “Don’t think, ‘There’s a pandemic afoot and now I need to master a whole new skill.’ You don’t have to read ‘War and Peace’. Find things that aren’t too intense and just plain fun. Maybe it’s as easy as listening to music or watching an improvised comedy on Netflix.That kind of stuff.”
- Only set goals that are achievable
If you need a little more structure in your life, Turi suggests setting “SMART” goals to keep both long and short term goals from becoming overwhelming. If you set yourself goals during the pandemic, they need to be sensible and achievable so that they don’t become just another stick to beat yourself up with. When you have a goal in mind, try to make sure it matches the “SMART” goal points:
Spezifisch: Define a simple and clear end point.
Messbar: Make sure that there are easy ways to track your progress.
Ausführbar: Anything that is too ambitious, could dampen your motivation. Break down goals into small steps for best results.
R elevant: Set goals that are relevant to you and your interests.
T erminiert: Set a time frame by when you want to achieve your goal so that you stay focused and on the right track
“Whenever you have goals, be sure to keep them small, keep them light, and make them fun,” advises Turi. “One thing I really emphasize to my clients is self-compassion. It sounds almost superficial, but we live in very unusual times, so we shouldn’t be too harsh with ourselves. Let’s just take a break. ”
4. Get creative with connectivity
We know that after a long day of Zoom Meetings, the last thing you want to do is another virtual meeting on your calendar. However, taking the time to connect with friends and family will make a huge difference during this time.
“We’re designed to connect – and that’s the one thing that the quarantine is really affecting,” Turi says. “Finding ways to connect with other people is priceless.”
Before you roll your eyes at the thought of another Zoom quiz, try thinking about ways to make more sense of the virtual time you spend with loved ones. For example, Turi plays the guitar. So he started hosting livestream concerts for his friends on a Saturday night.
He also found an online meditation group where he and a few other like-minded people participate in group meditations. “It’s just a small thing that we do, but it’s very simple,” he explains. “We’re not talking about virologists or Covid. We’re just exchanging some useful relaxation strategies. This type of connection creates a positive feedback loop. For example, I played songs [on my guitar], people commented positively, and then I commented back. “
Think about things in your life that you can virtually share with others and get creative. Perhaps you and a friend could use Zoom to draw portraits, or just mix cocktails together on a Friday night. If you are interested in a specific topic, google it and you will likely find that there is already a community devoted to that topic. Comfort yourself with the fact that most people are in the same boat and don’t be afraid to hold out your hand. Oh, and if you arrange that zoom call, leave the camera on. “We’re biologically wired to respond to facial expressions, eye contact, and voices, so I set out to do FaceTime and zooms with people I’m connected to,” says Turi. “I think that also helps me get that kind of positive feedback loop.”
5. Give yourself a break
Here’s a radical idea: have you ever thought about just being nice to yourself? If you feel unmotivated and therefore unproductive, the chances are that you are beating yourself up about it. Stop, take a breath, and remind yourself that this is literally a global pandemic and you are doing your best. That’s enough for now.
“It sounds obvious, but I often say to people, ‘We’re ten months into the pandemic and we’re still here. You have made it this far, what has enabled you to get that far? ”Says Turi. “Man is resilient. People have gone through and got through very serious situations in history, so we have the capacities and skills to do that again. ”
Instead of looking black, remember that you were able to deal with the situation because you have been doing it for almost a year. “Try to be as generous as you can [when practicing self-compassion],” suggests Turi. “Say, ‘I’m fine. I am just about to find out. I don’t have to have everything under control right away. I’ll find out as I go. ‘ Ultimately, the answers will show up. “