Finding Motivation in this Time of Isolation
By: Jonathan Taylor
I am sure that for many, the novelty of being home from work is quickly wearing off, and the reality of being confined to a particular space (both physically and mentally) has begun to add to the current angst and higher levels of stress associated with this unique situation. The more we are isolated and told not to leave our homes, the more we can find ourselves being sucked into the vortex of our own emotions, submitting to feelings of frustration, un-motivation, and even in some cases, depression.
Amidst this eerie atmosphere that blankets our country and its unknown expiration, many things that are vital to our health and life can quickly fall by the wayside if left unattended. Specifically addressing physical movement and exercise now, which has been shown to build both a resilient immune system, as well as provide positive changes in mood and outlook, might be one of those vital elements in our daily schedules to be “mentally vetoed” in favor of less favorable counterparts. But in this time of isolation and seemingly unending challenges, we must stay intrinsically vigilant and internally motivated so that we can break through our own mental barriers and maintain high levels of health in these trying times. We must endure, we must overcome, and we must inspire those around us to stay positive and keep motivated!
So in staying with this theme, I want to infuse some simple thoughts into your mind that can help combat the mental virus that is unmotivation, and support a renewed resolve to stay exercising during this hiatus from normalcy.
1. Create short-term goals! Goal setting is incredibly powerful in combating unmotivation, but in doing so, the goal must be acutely defined. The more specific the goal, the better the success of measurement can be achieved. As an example, don’t tell yourself, “I will workout this week.” Rather tell yourself, “I will workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday specifically at 10:00am.” Further, write it down and place it on your fridge, or set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you of your commitment. The more you can specify, the more inward accountability the goal can create. Ask yourself, what is my goal for April? Then define each week, and be proud of yourself when we stroll into May.
2. Establish personal consequences and/or rewards! Record a consequence and/or reward for completing your goal. Or better yet, ask your roommate, spouse, or family to define it for you! As an example, if you didn’t workout, you can’t watch your favorite Netflix show for the next week! However, if you hit your specific goal by the end of this quarantine, reward yourself with a small and humble Amazon shopping spree! 🙂 Get creative and have fun with it.
3. Make yourself post one video per workout on a social media platform! Not only will this motivate you to exercise and create a “social media accountability,” it can also help motivate others that see you doing it. We live in a technological age. Use it to your advantage and also inspire others to stay motivated as well.
4. Reframe how you think of physical movement and exercise! Oftentimes we place exercise simply in the box of “I have-to,” or “I should,” which limits its effectiveness on our overall well-being. Instead of confining it to this thought, rather think, “Physical movement and exercise is a supplement that nourishes both my body and my mind.” Movement should be equated to a multi-vitamin or nutritional supplement and should be taken daily. And don’t just confine this thought to high intensity exercise. Sit in a deep squat while in front of the TV, diaphragmatically breathe while reading a book, try to stretch while surfing social media, or take hanging breaks from a pull up bar or even from a tree branch. Get creative. Movement enhances oxygen supply to the brain and the body, increases blood flow to your extremities, and helps flush waste and toxic build up in cells.
5. Don’t workout alone! Whether you get your family, spouse, or roommate involved, or you are ‘virtually’ working out with friends online, keep yourself accountable to others in your life. Share your successes, as well as your struggles. There is tremendous power in community and the personal relationships you already possess. And we all need this now more than ever. Reach out to a friend and ask them to be your accountability partner.
6. And just remember, this too shall pass! Remember this. Don’t look too far into the future, just tackle today. One day turns into a week, which later turns into a month. We only have one day to live at a time. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow will never be here. Practice living in the present. Make the most of it, don’t submit to negative thoughts, move as much as possible during the day, share in relationships, and we will get through this together!
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