Why it’s okay to lack motivation whilst under lockdown

Prior to a world where Covid-19 headlined the news every day and ate away at the NHS, our weekend and evenings were spent out socialising. We were off with our friends taking part in activities that now we can only reminisce about. It never occurred to me, until this pandemic hit, how much I took for granted being able to go to the cinema every couple of months with friends or family. 

Photo: Flickr

My friends and I could travel around London at night, seeking out the next best drinking and dancing destination. I never once thought there would be a time when I was forced to spend my Friday evenings inside or on a lonely hour long walk or run. For many of us, going out and having fun consumed any free time we had. Unfortunately, viruses thrive off physical contact and large groups in close proximity to one another. Staying in and limiting our social contact is crucial to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and is a safety precaution we all need to take. During pandemics, safety must come first. However, with the lack of social life and many events we were looking forward to attending now crossed off our calendars, social isolation has come with a lot of free time for many of us. Though more free time does have its benefits, it can cause us to overthink and spiral into intense self doubt and criticism. Society tells us that we must always be bettering ourselves, taking on projects and learning new things. There is this constant force of productivity surrounding us that can be exhausting to deal with. If we fail to be productive during this new found free time we automatically associate ourselves with failure. If we’re not doing, we’re letting ourselves down.There has been a post circulating on social media stating that if you don’t come out of this lockdown with: “a new skill; more knowledge and better health and fitness, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline.” You, your friends, your neighbours, everyone in this world is experiencing a collective traumatic event, yet it feels as if the world is screaming at us to use this lockdown to work on ourselves. This mind-set of having self-discipline during lockdown is toxic and harmful to our mental health. It refuses to acknowledge the bigger picture and the fact that we’re going through a worldwide crisis. It can help to stay busy and distracted but this constant notion of work, work and more work is bound to lead to burn-out. 

All of us are having to adjust to a new lifestyle and schedule whilst under lockdown, and for the most part, it’s not going to be a fun experience filled with creative projects and everyday workouts. It’s going to come with anxiety, cabin-fever and loneliness. It can be overwhelming to admit how much strain this Covid-19 crisis has put on our mental health and motivation levels. Social media being filled with ‘lockdown glow up posts’, and people sharing their productive daily quarantine routines, is only going to make us feel worse. We begin to compare and feel ashamed of ourselves. We need to take a step back from constantly doing and creating and ask ourselves why we feel this sudden obligation to use all this free time to work. Productivity can feel rewarding but constantly having a need to be doing things can cause us to neglect our emotions and mental health. We become too wrapped up in our projects and workouts that we forget to take care of our wellbeing. Also, what about those who don’t have access to WiFi or key workers who are going to be worn out by the time they get home? This ‘lacking discipline’ view fails to consider how much Covid-19 is impacting the world. Nothing about this situation we’re all in is fun and pretty. We’re going to be missing the life we once had and being able to see our friends and family members. We don’t have access to a lot of resources that we once did like being able to attend therapy appointments in person or going to that workout class you enjoyed. Our motivational levels are going to be far from high. It’s okay to be struggling, and it is important to remind ourselves that surviving through each day is good enough. Tell yourself it’s okay to lack motivation, especially whilst under lockdown. We’re only human, and Covid-19 has changed all of our lives.

Article written by Emmie Cosgrove


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