Ask Keri: The news cycle has me feeling really low and unmotivated. What are some ways to stay focused on my health and wellness?
Keri Says: Most of us have been spending more time at home lately than we’re used to, and as a result, we’re watching and reading the news more frequently – a news cycle which is flooded with stories about the pandemic. Yes, many of these stories are uplifting, and there’s no shortage of inspirational talk on social media about utilizing this time to try new things. “Read a new book,” they say. “Start a side hustle,” or “Pick up a new hobby or two.” Sure, that all sounds wonderful, but, if all you feel like doing is throwing on your sweats and binging on Netflix, I get it and I don’t blame you.
With constant reminders that our world is anything but “normal” right now, we’re all in the middle of an emotional roller coaster, and most of us could use a little extra motivation during these strange times. With the entire world in a state of uncertainty, you may not always feel like focusing on health and wellness all the time. Or, at all. And it’s absolutely okay to feel that way. Just don’t STAY there.
Prioritizing your wellbeing is more important right now than ever, and may be the very thing that can help you out of your funk. So, while it’s okay to give yourself a break now and then, it’s important not to lose sight of your health and wellness goals for too long.
When the world throws challenges at us, it’s easy to lose focus on what matters most. I challenge you not to give up, and hang in there. Here are some of the tricks I use to stay motivated and make healthy habits last.
1. Write Down Your Goals.
It’s time to put some pen to paper and get clear on your health and wellness goals. Writing down realistic goals, along with why you want to achieve them in the first place is the first step in making any healthy habits last. You know you want to eat healthier, but what’s the deeper reason? Maybe you want to have more energy, set a positive example for your kids, or feel happier. Whatever your reasons are, writing them down ensures you won’t forget why you started in the first place. When you feel unmotivated (because we all do, sometimes) coming back to your “why” will help you stick to your goals no matter what obstacles are thrown in your way.
But, just writing down general goals isn’t enough. They have to be specific and realistic goals that you can actually measure. Exercising more is a great general goal to aim for, but how will you know when you’ve achieved it? What does “exercising more” mean to you? . Instead of just aiming to exercise more, you should set a more specific goal, such as walking for 30 minutes, four days a week. Once you achieve this goal and build confidence, you can increase your goal to walking for 45 minutes, four days a week, for example, and so on.
2. Make an Upbeat Playlist.
There’s nothing like hearing your favorite song to instantly change your mood. If you’re feeling down or discouraged by the current events, play some music to lift your spirits and shift your mindset. Research shows that music can boost mood and even make exercise more enjoyable.
So, find some pump-up jams for your workouts, calming melodies for when you need to unplug, and happy tunes to inspire some dancing in the kitchen to make meal prepping a little more fun. A little music makes everything better, so don’t neglect to add some to your day.
3. Find a Buddy or Group.
Yes, we might be social distancing right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find support or a community of like-minded people to keep you accountable and inspired. If you’re living with your partner, roommate, or family, you can get them involved by trying new recipes together, going on walks, or unplugging together by playing some games.
On your own? You can also find virtual communities for everything from fitness to meditation, thanks to countless online classes and apps. You’ll be less likely to bail if a friend is expecting to see you for that live online yoga class. Plus, seeing others achieve their goals will keep you inspired and determined to reach yours.
4. Put it On the Calendar.
Feeling a little out-of-sorts these days? You’re not alone. The coronavirus has undoubtedly changed our routines and daily schedules, which means scheduling health and wellness into your day may be more important than ever. When you make something part of your schedule and write it on the calendar, you’re less likely to forget about it, and you have one less excuse for not doing it.
You can also try setting reminders on your phone for wellness breaks throughout the day, such as standing up and moving, drinking water, meal prepping, getting outside, or relaxing with a book. While these may feel like small things, they can make all the difference in your day, so don’t forget to make time for them.
5. Get Organized and Declutter.
A little Marie Kondo-ing might just be the refresher you need to feel less stressed and shift your focus to health and wellness. Our living spaces can have a powerful impact on our mood, so decluttering and rearranging your space to promote peace and wellness will set you up for success.
Consider finding a spot such as your bedroom, a corner in your living room, or even the bathtub, that can be your place for some Zen and restoration. Stock up on nutritious foods and hide the sugary treats. Consider getting a jogging stroller to take your kids with you on a run, and/or set up a spot for at-home workouts. Staying prepared and organized will help reduce obstacles and stay motivated throughout the day. You got this!
6. Dress the Part.
Let’s be honest – being able to wear comfy sweats all day is a major work-from-home perk. The problem is that loungewear can make you want to, well, lounge. Research suggests that how we dress can influence our mood and confidence, so if you need a little pep in your step it might help to dress the part.
Small changes like swapping your leggings for jeans, blowing your hair or throwing on a little mascara can have a big impact on your attitude for the day. This goes for your casual activities, too. If you need some workout motivation, consider investing in new fitness gear that you’ll be excited to put to work. Plus, you won’t want to waste your money, so a little investment can help you stay motivated.
7. Expect Setbacks.
We’re living through hard, uncertain times and sometimes you just need to throw on a movie or indulge in the ice cream. Even when we have the best intentions, unexpected roadblocks like a sick child or a new project at work can derail the best laid plans.
When we expect setbacks, it becomes a little easier to accept them when they happen, because they will. Instead of assuming every day will go according to plan (because, when does that ever happen?), be sure to allow for a few disruptions, obstacles, and setbacks. If you know it’s coming, you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel and give up when things get tough. Instead, you can keep moving forward and focus on celebrating the wins.
(Featured photo: Shutterstock)