FINDING YOUR INNER MOTIVATION AFTER A YEAR OF PANDEMIC LIFE
Updated: Mar 23
Wait, how is it March again? A year later and we are still in lockdown. We are all living in this forced ‘in between time’, a time of waiting, limbo. This waiting is trying our patience and making some of us irritable. It’s hard to remember what our world was like before pandemic life. Humans are surprisingly good at evolving and adapting to whatever is thrown our way. But in this case, I don’t think any of us want to go get used to this “new normal”, it’s not normal at all. We are tired and have endured many lonely months in isolation. Humans crave connection and physical contact with friends and family. This isolation goes against our nature.
So what are we going to do about it? Wallow in our own pity party or pick ourselves up and dig deep for a spark of motivation to move forward.
While it is still cold outside and we are spending more time at home than ever, make the most of it! Here is a list of useful things you can do with your pandemic time to help you get started and motivated to change your life. Just think how amazing you will feel when things start to progress and you can check items off your to do list. Go for a walk and think about all the things you have wanted to do but never had time for. Hobbies you had as a kid that got left behind or maybe you wanted to try but kept putting off. I also included some practical adulting things to the list that are not fun but necessary and will be a relief to get done.
Let’s dive into the areas of life to make positive changes and find inspiration and motivation:
1. Reading Books Reading good books offers an amazing escape from reality and negative news. You can jump into a different world and get lost in a story. Let yourself be moved by the emotions and inspired by powerful stories. Motivational books, self help and inspiring stories are very uplifting for the soul. They can help you heal past trauma and teach you how to release old patterns that may have been holding you back in your love relationships and career.
2. Health, Fitness and Weight loss Has anyone been able to make it through the past year without gaining weight? I have always been an emotional eater so the stress and anxiety of covid just made matters worse. But that’s okay, we are all in the same boat and we can choose to break those habits and start fresh today. I really miss going out to socialize in bars and events and weddings and dancing. Sometimes you just have to blast your favourite playlist and have a dance party in your living room. If you are feeling lazy and stuck, dance is a great way to get motivated to move and sweat. There are tons of great free videos online and video classes you can pay for from your local gyms and yoga studios. My goal this year is to move everyday, whether it is a walk or even just 25 squats, an intense cardio and weights workout or a virtual yoga class. Get into the habit of movement everyday and little by little it will become a habit. Make changes in your diet; eating more vegetables, fruits and whole foods will do wonders for your mood and shred those covid pounds.
3. Self care day Taking time out to refresh your mind and body is so important. Take a warm shower or bath, deep condition your hair and do a face mask. Water cleanses your emotional body, so if you had a tough day, you can wash away all the stress and tense energy in the shower and regain your equilibrium. The long, cold winter can take a toll on your lips, leaving them dry and chapped. Try our amazing lip scrubs and lip serum repair kit to restore moisture. Shop: https://www.spoilmebeautiful.ca/lip-care Then you can finish with SMB’s luxury gloss to look your best on your next zoom call. Shop: https://www.spoilmebeautiful.ca/shop-1
4. Financial planning and money management Did you save money not going out in the past year? Or did you make up for it with ordering in take out and online shopping? Whatever your financial situation is you can always find ways to save and plan for the future. Make a plan to pay off your debt. There are simple templates you can find online to create a budget. Look at all your monthly expenses and find small ways to cut costs to redirect your spending on things you are passionate about, like your next vacation when the world opens. Saving for a new rental or buying a home in the future is another great motivator for parking your money in savings... Put some money into investing for your future in a TFSA account or contribute to your RRSPs. Contact your bank and set up a call with a financial adviser to discuss your goals.
5. Quit smoking or drink less alcohol – This is a big one for people during the pandemic! It’s tempting to sit at home drinking and snacking with everyone, watching Netflix, but before you know it has become a bad habit. A lot of people I know did a dry month recently. Maybe you want to try only drinking on the weekends or one night a week. It’s a good time to look at your habits and see which ones are serving you or not. It’s really hard to kick a craving for sugar, be it in sweets, designer coffee, pizza or beer, wine and spirits. But you will wake up with more energy and feeling healthier if you cut down on alcohol.
6. Clean out your closet or reorganize your whole home – it is a great time for cleaning with Spring just around the corner! Clearing your space helps clear your mind and energy! So get started and check out The Home Edit on Netflix if you need some inspiration and want some great organization tips!
7. Do your taxes early… I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but you’ll feel so much better ahead of the game . Most people dread taxes but it’s an important part of adult life. Get it done so you can move onto the fun activities! If you’re lucky, you might even get a tax refund that you can use towards your summer wardrobe or next vacation!
8. Learn an instrument – check out YouTube video tutorials or singing lessons. Music is an amazing mood booster and it always makes me feel better on a rough day.
9. Education / Self Improvement / Online Courses
Another great use of this time at home is to continue your education. There are so many online courses available. There are free videos and also some reasonably priced courses. Check out StackSkills.com
10. Work on your resume. Even if you are lucky enough to love your job, it is always good to have an up-to-date copy of your resume ready should an opportunity come up. If you are ready for a change this is a great time to polish your resume and start applying for jobs.
11. Challenge yourself by making a list of things that you’ve always wanted to do but were too scared to. Now try to set a deadline of when you can challenge yourself to do one of those things. I faced my fear and did something I have been wanting to do for the last 8 years! I just had laser eye surgery in February, and it turned out to not be scary at all, it was painless and easy, and I now have better than 20/20 vision! This was the perfect time to get it done and recover while I have to stay at home anyway.
One thing this pandemic year has taught me is that time marches on whether we like it or not. We have all had a covid Birthday and our age has ticked over another year, but it feels like we have been frozen in time. We don’t know how much longer we will be in this situation so it’s up to us to find our inner peace and happiness and make the most of the lemons life has thrown at us.
Look for the glimmer of hope; you are stronger than you realize. We made it through some scary times filled with uncertainty and we’re still standing.
I decided that I didn’t want to feel sad, depressed and full of anxiety anymore, so I changed. I decided to make of list of things that I have always wanted to do and made them happen. There are many things we can do from home related to DIY projects, hobbies, creativity, art, writing and music. If travel is your passion, like me, you can still daydream about your future trip and start planning your itinerary online. That way you will be all set when the world re-opens.
Great, now you are excited and ready to get moving on your list. Let’s look at how you find that motivation to finally start changing — and then to keep going when the changes inevitably get tough.
What happens when that little voice in the back of your head starts chiming in. What gets in the way?
None of these are insurmountable, but they can often cause us to put off major changes. So be aware of them:
Fear of change
Not wanting to be uncomfortable
Fear of uncertainty
Fear of failure
Fear of not being good enough
Not having time; being too busy
Waiting for something to happen
Being overwhelmed with all that you have to do
Not knowing how
We all have these fears and reasons for not taking action.
Guess what, they’re all bullshit.
Yes, the fear of failure and change and discomfort and uncertainty are real … but they’re not good enough reasons for inaction. They can all be overcome. Successful people have all dealt with them. You too can face these fears. When I feel fear in the pit of my stomach, I remember the words a wise old woman once told me. “Fear is not real, you are just passing through an illusion.” Yes indeed, fear from danger and threats to your life are real. That is why our bodies go into fight or flight mode. However, the fears we make up in our minds that are not life threatening are what I am referring to. It’s the little voice in our head telling us people will mock us, it convinces us that we are not good enough. That’s the illusion; it’s all in your head.
Yes, you’re busy, tired, overwhelmed … we all are. I would get up early to work out and work on my creative projects because I knew I’d be busy later in the day with work and life. I didn’t have more time or energy — I was motivated, and I prioritized. You can make that happen too.
So let’s look at how to overcome these fears, find motivation, and prioritize with these actions:
Find a purpose. You might already know what your purpose is, but it’s good to review it and keep it at the forefront of your thoughts. If you don’t have a purpose, start here: what will you want to look back on at the end of your life? What will make your life feel significant? What will give your life some meaning? If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it’s worth spending a little time here. Go for a walk and think about it.
Embrace your desire. You’re reading this article because you have a desire to do something positive in your life. Embrace that. Isn’t it wonderful that you have this desire? See this as the first positive step, one you’ve already taken. Now use it and take action.
Create the space. You won’t make any changes if you don’t create a small space for the change. When will you start making the change? In the morning, in the evening, during your lunch break? Don’t wait for the change to happen — make it happen. Block off some time on your calendar each day, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes. If you don’t have the time, think about how long you spend each day on social media, watching shows and movies, games, or doing smaller tasks that aren’t as important. Push those back just for a little while, and do what’s most important to you first.
Surround yourself with like minded people. The best way to effect change is to surround yourself with others making a similar change themselves, others who will support your change. Find a buddy or small group of people that you can talk to regularly for motivation and accountability.
Take a small action. If you’re overwhelmed by a large change, or a bunch of large changes, just focus on one small step. What small action can you take today that will move you forward? Take a small step, and get moving. Movement creates momentum. Now take another small step. This is how change is created.
How amazing will it feel come summer that you crushed your to-do list and made so many positive changes in your life!? You’ll be looking great, feeling positive and accomplished by making the most of your time. When social events start up again you will be ready to enjoy and be carefree because you know you took care of the important things in life you have been putting off.
Hope is the anchor in the midst of a storm. We can’t see what is swirling all around us, but we know we are going to be okay; the anchor is keeping us from being tossed about. Stay strong my beautiful friends, we will make it to the other side of these crazy times!
By Valerie Maltman • March 9, 2021