Ever woken up all motivated and ready to conquer the world, only for that attitude to dwindle right after you’ve had a look at your tasks for the day? I know I’ve faced this way too many times in the last couple of months. Making an extensive to-do list, but only managing to complete barely half the tasks listed, or just procrastinating my way through the work, it is a fairly common feeling. If you too feel the same way at times, it’s perfectly alright. What you must remember is that this feeling should not dictate your life. Here are some tips to stay motivated when you’re feeling low.
Before we get to the tips, let us first understand when we feel low on motivation. Dr Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, rehabilitation and sports medicine department, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai points out the following signs to look out for:
1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness: towards things happening with you or around you.
2. Loss of interest in daily activities: Even in the things you previously enjoyed.
3. Appetite or weight changes: Significant increase or decrease in appetite and fluctuations in weight.
4. Sleep changes: Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
5. Anger or irritability: Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. You are easily irritated, have a short temper, and everything around you tends to bother you easily.
6. Loss of energy: Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. You feel tired, your body feels heavy, and it takes a considerable amount of time before you finish any task.
7. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt: You are extremely critical of yourself, often shaming yourself for your own thoughts and actions.
8. Reckless behaviour: You engaging in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, or life-threatening activities such as reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
9. Concentration problems: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
10. Unexplained aches and pains: The stress translates to physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain. Which further hinder you from completing your tasks for the day.
On the days when you feel down and out, Dr Dordi recommends the following tips to keep you motivated:
1. Self-care and compassion: Don’t forget to be compassionate to yourself. Acknowledge that we as human beings have ups and downs in life and that can sometimes make us feel upset and down. Don't criticise yourself for feeling these emotions.
2. Taking care of your body: Proper nourishment, exercise and sleep are very important aspects of self-care and to keep yourself motivated to do things and achieve goals.
3. Connecting with others: Loneliness is a fertiliser for other diseases; loneliness can accelerate many physical and physiological problems within an individual’s body. Positive social connections, are very important and you must make time for that. So, call up a friend or meet them for a bit.
4. Routine: Following a routine and maintaining discipline in life is also a very important method in which we can increase our capacity to deal with difficult situations.
5. Tracking: Keep a track of your emotions by journaling or writing it down. You can also keep a track of your routine which would help you cope better emotionally and be more productive.
6. Be goal oriented and have a problem-solving attitude: Do something regularly, even if it seems like a small accomplishment, which enables you to move toward your goals. Also developing a problem-solving attitude is very essential in building our resilience. Instead of looking at the problem, look at how you can solve them.
After all this, if you still find yourself feeling low or demotivated on most days, you must not hesitate to seek help from a mental health practitioner.