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  • Writer's pictureJamie Ratowski, LMFT

#TherapistTellAll: Struggling to Stay Motivated During a Pandemic

Earlier in 2020 I wrote in a blog post about my goals for the year on wanting to be healthier, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I talked about my new and improved fitness routine and how I was striving for overall “wellness” in my life. I talked about how good I felt! 

Then the coronavirus happened. 

Suddenly my everyday life changed. I wasn't going to my fitness classes. Trips cancelled. Vacations cancelled. My best friend’s wedding was even cancelled! I am a pretty social person, so not being able to go out and socialize with people was also challenging. 

I wasn’t even going to the office. Not seeing my clients face to face for months on end was really difficult. Who knew talking to a computer screen would be so draining!? 

It can be an extremely discouraging feeling to work hard on getting your daily routine to a healthy, stable place only to have it ripped right out from under you. 

It took me a long time to develop a work, life, wellness balance that worked for me. Not being able to continue this routine threw me for a real loop, as I am sure it did many of you. I lost energy and experienced a decrease in happiness and fulfillment that this routine had brought me. 

I lost motivation. 

I started to sleep in more, skip workouts, and watch entirely too much TV. I just felt lazy but I couldn't find that familiar drive to get moving and make a change. Don’t get me wrong, a little laziness every now and then is perfectly fine, but this feeling was actually draining. I felt a total loss of my energy and even happiness. 

With my job as a therapist, I am often inspired by my clients’ ability to overcome challenges, persevere, and grow on a regular basis. I am lucky enough to be able to support and guide them in these journeys. I think this was my saving grace. Virtually supporting others during the pandemic inspired me to begin my own journey, one focused on overcoming my motivation struggles and hardships that the pandemic brought me. 

What Helped?

Not one thing will work for everyone, but I put together some of the most helpful tips that worked for me. Implementing them into my life and mindset is helping me boost my motivation and start getting back to normal! 

  • Take Baby Steps: Pushing myself too hard to create a new routine and revamp my entire lifestyle was too overwhelming, it made me feel even more unmotivated and discouraged. Instead, I found taking small, baby steps to get motivated was the most helpful. Going for a 15 minute walk, waking up 30 minutes earlier, and eating meals at regular times. It all sounds small, but that's the point. It's DOABLE. Small, manageable changes help us achieve our goals and make a larger, long lasting change. Slow and steady wins the race!

  • Talk To Others: Talking is probably my favorite thing to do, most of the time I can't stop.  Naturally, talking helped me. By creating time to talk with my friends and family, even if it was virtually, made things so much better. Hearing their own struggles and connecting with someone on a personal level who is going through the same thing was so validating. It reminded me, I am not alone. EVERYONE is going through this. It was easy to be able to support my clients during their battles associated with COVID-19, but hearing this myself from people I love and trust was just refreshing. I recommend consistent communication with your support system, whether it’s family, friends, colleagues, a therapist. Just communicate and stay connected!

  • Be Kind To Yourself: Take a little pressure off yourself and lower your expectations. These truly are unprecedented times and there is no “right way” to navigate it. I spent a lot of my slow days being lazy, and essentially feeling guilty for wasting a lot of the “free time” I had. I was feeling bad for not doing anything productive with this time. What I didn’t realize is that this is perfectly fine. Something that helped me immensely was telling myself “that’s okay”. On the days I don’t feel like exercising, I let myself know “that's okay”. On the days I sleep in, I allow myself, because it’s okay! There is always tomorrow. We are lucky to be able to say that, so be kind to yourself. Listen to your mind, body, and needs. 

  • Self-Help: I love the idea of incorporating a new skill or hobby into your routine. I have recommended plenty of self-help techniques for my clients throughout the quarantine to keep their mind stimulated and encourage a priority of self-care. Journaling, reading, and/or meditating. The list goes on and on. This hobby, skill, or interest does not have to be complex… it's very simple actually. It's anything that helps you. My favorite self-help activity during the quarantine was listening to music. If you didn't know this about me, I love music so much. In fact, I am pretty convinced music can save lives. I listen to music every single day while I am doing just about everything (cooking, cleaning, showering, running, or writing). It stimulates me and brings me joy and energy which I need a lot of during quarantine . What self-help interest can you incorporate into your life? What do you need most right now?

Help Is Available Today!

Remember, no one's struggles and experience is exactly the same, but there is help to support you through these challenging times, help in finding what works for you, and help to get you re-motivated. 

If you are interested in finding support during these challenging times, I am offering in-person, phone, and video sessions through a secure platform. To schedule, an appointment call my office at 954-391-5305. 

We will get through these challenging times together!


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