How many times have you heard the following phrases "during this time", "these unprecedented times", "coronavirus crisis", "the new normal" or "during the lockdown"? I could go on and name more but I got fed up of writing them down as I could hear myself saying them! I don't know about you but after 12 long weeks of hearing these phrases if I never hear them again it'll be too soon! Even us therapists get a bit fed up sometimes, I am still human after all....
If you're like me and starting to feel like it's groundhog day you may be experiencing what I am now calling covid-fatigue. Symptoms include; switching off the news, refusing to talk about it with anyone, feeling like the days are blurring into one and genuinely meaning it when you say nothing new has happened this week. I am seeing it come up more and more with not only clients in the therapy room but also with new enquiries as well as friends & family. Don't get me wrong, I am coming from a very fortunate position of still being able to work and keeping healthy but by following the rules we've had to adapt ourselves to such an extent we may be starting to feel tired an demotivated.
When lockdown first started there were lots of influencers & advertisements out there trying to promote new things we could learn - learning a new language, baking, starting a new hobby or exercise. Even Prince Harry suggested training to be a counsellor (don't even get me started on that oh so helpful piece of advice!) Has anyone done those things? It's great if you have, however, that doesn't always mean it's right for everyone. For some people just getting out of bed is a win, and that's worth celebrating too.
When I am feeling demotivated I use a technique called Behavioural Activation, I use this with clients too. It's finding 3 x 15 minute tasks per day that are simply for you. It doesn't sound like much but if you do it each day that's 21 things per week that you do for yourself. Below I've listed a few suggestions, lockdown friendly obviously, that might help you get started:
Going for a short walk
Having a hot drink with no distractions
Watching a new series on TV
Taking a longer shower/ bath
Putting on a fresh pair of pyjamas or comfy clothes during the day
Making something you enjoy for lunch (or for any other meal you prefer)
Listen to a podcast or radio programme
Put on some music and sing!
Call a friend
Start a journal or blog
Sleep for an extra 15 mins
These are just a few ideas to help you get started but even if these don't feel possible at the moment then doing whatever you feel is right for you is absolutely fine. We can often feel like we need to be doing something all the time in order to feel productive, however, breathing and getting through the day is also productive.
As lockdown is starting to be lifted we may get a sense of not feeling like we've been productive recently, or even feel the life we had before this started may not be able to return. We can only take each day as it comes and by starting to do things in your day that focus on you, rather than someone else, can help build a sense of achievement. Above all else, staying safe is the biggest achievement so if that's the only thing on your list then call it a job well done.
Take care and stay safe