We’re all learning to live with a massive adjustment due to the coronavirus. Part of that is figuring out how to stay motivated during quarantine.
I cannot tell you how many friends, family members, and strangers I have seen on social media asking how to stay motivated during quarantine. And it doesn’t come as a shock.
When we are home, we settle into our comfort zone. After all, home is where we relax after work and on weekends. Even if you regularly work from home as I do, being home during all of your off-hours just hits a different way.
When your bed or couch is in sight, it is easy to melt into the cushions and get absorbed into a new TV series. And for the first few days, that may have felt like a much-needed break.
The thing is, too much lounging in the same location can feel depressing. Doing nothing puts us in a rut that can be hard to break out of. Therefore, everyone and their aunt is looking for ways to stay motivated during quarantine.
Like most of you, after a few weeks of quarantine, the novelty of endless Netflix and pajamas wore off. You can only do so much laying around. For those of us that want to feel productive and accomplished, we need something to break us out of our lazy rut.
With that being said, we are going through a worldwide pandemic. This is traumatic. Whether you have been personally affected by the virus or find the constant stream of news overwhelming, it is okay.
This is a time that will go down in history. This is a time filled with anxiety and fear for our health, our loved ones, our livelihoods, and our futures.
It is okay to feel like doing nothing. There is nothing wrong with doing the bare minimum right now. Anyone who expects you to take up a new hobby or accomplish a life-long goal just because you’re home is either really good at compartmentalizing *or doesn’t understand the magnitude of what’s happening*.
If you truly want something productive to focus on instead of the news, then this is the article for you. But, if you feel worried and unable to focus on learning a new language, that is perfectly normal. You are doing so much just by staying home.
Just because some people on social media are remodeling their house or rebuilding car engines, it doesn’t mean you reaching a new level on Animal Crossing isn’t also an accomplishment.
Do not let the internet guilt or shame you for your quarantine routine. We are all just surviving in our own way. Whether you bake bread from scratch or switch from day pajamas to night pajamas.
Now that you have been enlightened to the fact that you do not have to stay motivated during quarantine, nor should you feel guilty about that, here are the tips on how to stay motivated for those going stir-crazy.
#1 Get outside. Fresh air really does change everything. It perks you up. It energizes you. Whether you go for a walk while remaining six feet away from others, do some gardening in your yard, or just open a window to let a breeze into your place, this can give you that push you need.
#2 Do what you normally do. If possible, stick to your normal routine. Wake up at the same time, make your bed, shower, even pack your lunch for work, even if you’re working from the kitchen table.
Just go through the motions of applying makeup, styling your hair or changing into actual clothes. It can remind your subconscious that there is work to do, and you are prepared to do it.
#3 Make a to-do list. I know it sounds cheesy, but to-do lists make such a difference in how accomplished you feel at the end of each day. I have been making to-do lists at least once a week for years. This not only reminds me to get certain tasks done but it feels great to check things off.
Put even small things on your list like changing a light bulb or replacing the batteries in the remote. You can even add things you normally do like showering or laundry to remind yourself that you’re getting more done than you think. [Read: Don’t stay stuck – 16 strategies to get your shit together]
#4 Spruce up your space. It is spring after all. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to go out the window just because you can’t. Yes, that was a quarantine joke. Do everything from surface cleaning to scrubbing the floors and vacuuming under the couch will breathe life into your place.
Of course, we should be cleaning common places repeatedly anyway, like doorknobs, railings, and light switches, but going above and beyond will help you enjoy your space more. Instead of feeling trapped at home, sprucing things up by cleaning, organizing, and even rearranging can make you enjoy it more.
#5 Check in with friends and family. Although you may feel lonely, you are not alone. Everyone is going through this huge adjustment. Talking to friends and family about how you feel, and hearing from them can remind you that we are all still finding a new normal.
Also, checking in can help you feel motivated during quarantine so you have something to share. Without going out or interacting with others, topics of conversation are in short supply. If you get things done, you can fill your friends in on how you painted a feature wall with every random color of paint you had in your house. [Read: How to handle social distancing from your partner without feeling lonely]
#6 Do a group activity *if possible*. If you live with others, do something to help motivate you because now you have others relying on you. Play board games, create an obstacle course, or even join the rest of the world and film a TikTok dance.
#7 Challenge yourself. If you are competitive by nature, this will be perfect for you. Challenge yourself to accomplish something each day or week. Cut a minute off of your run time or wake up 10 minutes earlier each day.
You can also do this with your friends or roommates. Text each other your week’s goal and check in and remind each other. This will help you stick to your goals. When you have accountability, you can’t think your way out of.
#8 Make plans. Obviously, you can’t go out to eat with friends, but you can have a virtual cocktail hour or even a video game party. Make plans for a group of friends to all log on to a video chat at the same time with their drink of choice and share your weekly gossip.
#9 Acknowledge the small stuff. Instead of guilting yourself for not doing more, be proud of the small stuff. Washing your hair, heating up a frozen pizza, and finishing that three-hour movie may seem insignificant. Applaud yourself for even those things that will most boost your morale. [Read: 11 ways to spread the love to those who need it]
#10 Do something for others. If you can’t work up the strength or willpower to get motivated for yourself, do it for others. Find a simple sewing guide and learn how to sew masks for frontline workers. Start a Facebook group for anyone wanting to share positive news during this time.
Help out your elderly or immunocompromised neighbors by cutting their lawn, getting them groceries, or even picking up their prescriptions.