After a tough 18 months, do you feel like you’ve hit the wall? Here’s how to re-energise your mind and your motivation
Feeling constantly worn out and sapped of mental energy and motivation?
Welcome to the club!
Researchers at University College London have done a COVID-19 Social Study of 70,000 Britons. They found that, compared with last year, 30 per cent are engaging less with hobbies, 40 per cent are exercising less, and that life satisfaction in general has deteriorated.
After a draining year, it’s no surprise that we all feel like we’ve ‘hit the wall’.
But constantly feeling worn out isn’t healthy. It leaves us feeling less productive, less engaged with those around us and less happy.
So what can we do?
Here are some simple steps we can all take to boost our emotional batteries.
In need of a quick emotional boost? Scribble down three things you’re proud of yourself for every day. It can be as simple as getting those two loads of washing done or braving the rain for a short walk.
Experts believe that complimenting ourselves lowers our stress levels, improves our self-esteem and leads to positive habit formation, meaning we’re more likely to feel better and get more done.
If you’re even the slightest bit dehydrated, your emotional energy and motivation will run low. In fact, research suggests that while increasing our water intake has a beneficial effect on our energy levels, reducing it can lead to fatigue, impaired concentration and a less balanced mood.
Get into the habit of starting your day with two glasses of water. By creating positive habits that become automatic routines, we’re freeing up our mental energy to focus on other things.
Avoid emotional vampires
Look at the company you keep. Studies suggest that the more time we spend around negative or emotionally draining people, the more likely we are to end up being like them.
This is because humans often subconsciously synchronise moods by copying the facial expressions, posture and movements of those around us. By contrast, studies have found that happiness can be contagious.
Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, if you’re over-committing, you’ll feel emotionally drained and unhappy. Research shows that poor boundaries can lead to resentment, anger and burnout.
Assess which meetings you really need to be at, which social occasions you could miss, or which correspondence you really need to engage with — and be assertive about your limits. The more control we have over our lives, the calmer and more productive we are.
Limit screen time
Did you know that the average Brit spends nearly four hours a day glued to their phone? Yet research suggests that smartphones reduce our concentration, productivity and attention span — and negatively impact our emotional state.
In fact, a recent study found our smartphones can impair our focus just by being in close proximity to us, and even if they’re turned off!
Stop the mental and emotional drain by putting your phone on airplane mode, at least for the first hour of each day. How we start our day sets the tone for our positivity and productivity.
Ever heard the expression: Action cures fear? Worrying and stressing consumes huge amounts of emotional energy, but is rarely helpful. Similarly, unmade decisions and unfinished projects drain us.
Instead, take action. Sort your problems and projects into two lists — those you can take steps to resolve and those that are out of your control. Tackle what you can, and for those things you can’t, take a deep breath or go for a run, then let it go.
Carve out quiet time
Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed? Try to carve out some quiet time. Too much noise can elevate levels of stress hormones, harm our performance and decrease motivation, whereas silence helps replenish our emotional energy. Studies show it can even reduce our blood pressure and heart rate.
So, whether it’s enjoying a long shower or a peaceful dog walk, the more peace and quiet you get, the more restored you’ll feel.
Edited by Stephanie May