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Counselor's Corner: Ways to Get Motivated and Be Productive After Going Through a Difficult Time

by stephanie reck  
10/20/2020 / Self Help

I just had one of those weeks last week where I did not feel motivated and was lacking in productivity. I had experienced a difficult week with the passing of a childhood family friend, getting the news that my cousin has melanoma, and knowing my father will be going back to MD Anderson's in a few weeks for radiation treatment to treat his melanoma. I also felt physically not well. Of course, like most of you when we get certain symptoms we think, "COVID." I can't say exactly what was going on with me physically, I just was beyond fatigued and had a terrible headache all week. Nothing will hinder your motivation more than being fatigued and not feeling physically well.


I tried with all my might to still maintain my same schedule last week, and continue to get up at my usual 5 am time. I failed miserably at both. I beat myself up for not being able to keep my same routine and schedule. I wanted to keep going, but my body was saying something else. I finally listened to my body and rested for about 2 days.


Now, this week I am feeling better, and my motivation and productivity are increasing as the days go on. I learned some valuable lessons during my time last week that I would like to share with you.


So what do you do when you don't feel motivtated and lack productivity?


If you are going through a difficult situation allow yourself a few days to adjust. It's not practical to think that you can keep going at the same pace when you have had a devastation, crisis, or stressful event happen. Stop. Rest. Readjust. Replenish.


If you exercise, continue to do so. Sure you might have to adjust the frequency and duration of your exercise, but it is important to do what you can. Exercise increases feel-good endorphins in your brain, and you will need this as you may have been dealing with low-moods, anxiety, or stress.


Get out in nature, and preferably spend 20 minutes in the sunlight. Being in nature boosts creativity, and sunlight increases vitamin D in your body that helps decrease depression.


If you make daily goals, try instead to make 1 or 2 goals a day that is obtainable during stressful times instead of making a lot of goals you know you won't be able to keep. When you go through stressful situations your brain may feel sluggish, and you may even have difficulty concentrating. This would not be the time to take on big projects.


Get inspired and encouraged. Read from those that have an uplifting and inspiring message, or listen to those that can encourage you.


Don't give up. You may not feel as motivated and productive, but remind yourself that even under normal circumstances motivation ebbs and flows. Productivity also is lower when going through stressful situations. Remind yourself you will be motivated and productive again.


Take a mental break from whatever is troubling you. Allow yourself space and time to enjoy life, and to reconnect with whatever drives your creativity.


Listen to soothing and/or uplifting music. Music can serve to motivate you to do things you just don't feel like doing.


Adjust your expectations and schedule. Let go of any perfectionist attitude. It's okay to have a day or so to not be full force.


Feeling distracted or foggy during stressful times is normal. It may take time to bounce back to how you were before. Practice self-care and self-compassion. Praise yourself for what you are able to accomplish.


Realize your productivity level will likely be lower during times of crisis or hardships. So make the best use of the productivity you have by prioritizing your most important tasks.

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
[email protected]
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, "Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!"

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