In light of mental health awareness week here in the UK, I thought it was fitting to talk about the term ‘motivation’. My friends and I have been using this word a lot recently as we’ve had a lack of it. Stress and grief may be two of the consequences of lockdown for many of us and as we’re all incredibly individual – it means we all have our own ways of coping. With still no real end date to this confined madness this makes it difficult to find motivation during this period as there is no significant change happening.
Why are we losing motivation in Lockdown?
Anxiety – The impact of the lockdown on businesses has been immense as even with the business interruption loans announced at the beginning of lockdown by Rishi Sunak – millions of people are still now unemployed. This has driven anxiety up as people are fearful of being laid off or furloughed with a minimum of a 20% pay cut. This provokes the fight or flight mode in people as some may work harder as there’s a lot at risk however for some of us it may have a negative affect – anxiety can be the biggest killer for motivation so workers fears should be eased where possible.
Environment – Whilst there are a lot of people that are used to working from home as one of its traditional advantages is increased productivity – for those who thrive in office environments this can have the opposite effects. There has been talks not just In the UK but worldwide of there being a permanent shift to remote working, which is beneficial for the company saving money but the employees well being should be put to the forefront of any long term business strategy.
Distractions – During this time stranded indoors, the temptation to be distracted increases. When motivation levels are already low, we are more likely to turn our attention to non-urgent tasks such as housework, errands, and odd jobs: the psychological trick of still feeling fulfilled by keeping busy in order to avoid tackling the issues at hand.
Lack of ‘reward’ – While we thrive on routine, we are used to rewarding ourselves with trips to the cinema, meals, nights out and holidays. The great aspect of Great Britain is our freedom, the ability to plan holidays, take the afternoon to go shopping, enjoy a treatment at a spa. All those things that we work hard all year for so we have the ability to treat ourselves have been taken away and the urgency to carry out tasks have become tedious.
How we battle through
Plan for the future- Working, living and sleeping in the same space can trigger feelings of resentment. If you’re noticing a lack of interest towards your work it might be a good idea to question why you chose the career path you’re on, or even consider going to places you’ve never been before to travel – this pandemic has highlighted life is short so we should live it to the fullest.
Discuss goals- Even when we don’t know how the next twelve months will pan out, it’s crucial to maintain a sense of hope and create plans to stick on the near/distant future. These can be short term plans like reducing your screen time by the following week, or long- term plans for example just like Logical you can plan company parties/ trips once restrictions are lifted. Share goals with each other, whether it’s buying a property, running a marathon, or developing a new skill. This crisis is prohibiting a lot of things at the moment, so sharing our hopes and ambitions will inspire people to look beyond the present time and towards a brighter future.
Be strict with sleep – A letter addressed to UK residents written by an Italian resident at the end of March stated “You will not sleep well” .. and they were correct. However, when the days are all we’ve got having enough sleep really is paramount as whilst we’re at home we have the tendency to indulge in box sets and eat and drink into late hours. Approach sleep like you would a normal working say and preparing uncluttered space, switching off screens (get off Tik Tok), read a few pages of your book and stick to a ‘lights out’ time. Sticking to a consistent sleeping pattern will help you feel more energised and hopefully make time pass quicker.
We’re all human and it’s normal to have periods of time where there is a lack of motivation, however this isn’t permanent so don’t be too hard on yourself. Take this time to reflect and come out of lockdown with your priorities in check.
Written by Sophia Ghahramani