One thing I’ve found really difficult to maintain while stuck on my own in this lockdown is motivation. That elusive drive to do anything. Whether it’s getting out of bed, eating, exercising, cleaning your living space or even keeping yourself clean, any one of these things requires motivation to do.
I’ve had days when motivation slapped me in the face and I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to for that day. I’ve also had days when I didn’t get out of bed unless it was to use the bathroom or to make myself something to eat (even though I didn’t want to eat anything but understood that I need to eat to survive.) I’ve also had days when the motivation I experienced was somewhere in between the two extremes. On those days, I would merely do the bare minimum, such as eat three meals, do a bit of exercise and watch something on YouTube or Netflix that made me think and expand my mind.
“But Mr Bearded Man, we all have good days and bad days like that. It’s just the way life works” I hear you all saying. That’s very true and there’s nothing wrong with having that outlook on life. The issue I have is that it’s very often difficult to chalk up my lack of motivation to being the result of a “bad day”. Especially when my lack of motivation extends to span over several days in a row. When that happens, my natural reaction is to think that there is something inherently wrong with me. That I’m just a lazy bugger and am incapable of looking after myself. I start to feel like my life has no meaning and that there is no point in looking after myself, especially since every single day will be the same anyway: eat, sleep, repeat.
Now, I’ve been through a lot with my mental health and I know in my bones that such a nihilistic outlook really is not helpful. I understand this completely. Except, one of the unfortunate side-effects of depression is that it can cause you to react irrationally and hold viewpoints that directly oppose your character and understanding of life. I know full well that, when I do pull myself out of this depressive episode, I will look back on it and cringe at the fact that I was being so negative and so nihilistic. Oh, how easy it is to be reasonable when you have the benefit of hindsight, eh?
Right now, I’m not really cringing at myself, as that would more than likely cause me to fall down again and maintain my negative outlook. Instead, I’ve decided to take a conscious step towards giving my life meaning. Setting myself goals and achieving them. Building a routine and giving my life structure. This is going to be very difficult for me, as I’ve become so accustomed, during this period of isolation, to not doing anything. Before I fell into this really toxic pit of depression, it started with the seemingly harmless notion that I would just “take things as they come” and that I “didn’t need a routine because these are unprecedented times”. Boy, did that turn out to be catastrophic for my mental health. Well, no more. I’m going to push through, regardless of how tough it is for me. I will reach my goals and I will maintain a structure to my life, as I understand that not doing so will only result in pain and suffering.
The first step in my plan was to write this post. It will now serve as a promise that I’m making to myself and a reminder of why I am pushing myself. The next step is to start building a routine. Oh, and I’ll also make something really nice for dinner tonight, as a reward for taking that first step. After all, food really can change your mood almost instantly.
Love and Peace.