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How to Stay Motivated While You're Stuck at Home

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Hansa Bhargava, MD - Blogs
By Hansa D. Bhargava, MDBoard-certified pediatricianApril 9, 2020
From the WebMD Archives

Some days, it’s hard to be motivated – even during ‘normal’ times. We all have days that we feel productive and ready to go and other days when it's only Tuesday and you are dragging to get through the rest of the week. As we shelter in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, many of us are home and in situations where it may be tough to get through the day. You may be living with a spouse who lost their job, or you may need to work remotely but also take care of several very young children, or you may be older, alone and in self isolation, due to worries about getting infected. And of course, there is no exit – and no clear end in sight.

I have twin teens that have been doing online school for a few hours a day but then most of the rest of the day is free. I need to get my own work done, so it’s been a struggle to make sure they take a break from their devices, come down to eat their meals, and frankly to just clean up after themselves. This is between work meetings and getting projects done online. Every day there are battles. There have been mornings, I confess, when I am not very motivated to do any of it.

So how do we deal with this?

Here are a few tips that may help:

  • Add structure to your day. I know this may sound hard, but just getting up, doing stretches and even just changing out of your pajamas may help change your mindset and get a kickstart to the day. I usually put on my workout gear, hoping that will motivate me to do ‘something’ to get some movement in.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated. Getting some greens, and veggies in and steering away from ‘junk’ foods will not only help the waistline but also can help your immune system. Many veggies and fruits contain vitamins that can give you a boost, helping to protect you from infection.
  • Sleep. This may seem basic, but it is really important. Getting enough sleep can also help ‘arm’ your immune system, but also helps with your focus, energy, and mood.
  • Socialize. Whether it’s Facetime, Zoom, texting, or just an old-fashioned phone call, make sure you connect with others regularly. Reach out to a friend to vent or to ask how they are doing. Our emotional health can benefit from even small interactions, so carve some connection time into your schedule.
  • Show compassion. Reach out into your community to see if there is anyone who needs anything. Is it an elderly person who you could drop some cans of food for, a local restaurant that you could support by ordering food, or maybe there’s a program to drop food to the hospitals for our ‘frontline’ health workers? Anything you do can help to others will also help you.

One last thing: Let it go. If you have a ‘blah’ day, so what? Letting go of expectations is just as important as any of these other things we do. These are unprecedented times, and none of this is easy.

Today, I let my kids just be. They slept till noon, wandered down the stairs sleepy and in pajamas and had sugary cereal for breakfast/lunch. Sometimes you just have to let them be. Tomorrow I will put a little structure in place for all of us and aim for a different type of day. But today, we can just let it go.

This too shall pass, and we will all be okay. In the meantime, we can try to be okay now, too.

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About the Author
Hansa D. Bhargava, MD

Hansa Bhargava, MD, is a medical editor and WebMD's expert pediatrician. She oversees the team of medical experts responsible for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the pediatric content on the site.

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