Fighting the Slump Part 2: Motivation and your mental health

TDB Fitness Newsletter 7/18/2021

Many people struggle with motivation in general. Loss of motivation can be an indication of unaddressed mental health needs. See this week’s trainer’s tips for 4 ways to address low motivation.

Motivation

Even if you don’t have a mental illness, you still have mental health needs that matter. When your mental health needs go unaddressed they work like 1-2 inches of snow on a Texas freeway; grinding everything to a halt. At this point, a cycle often develops. A cycle where poor mental health leads to low motivation. Then, there’s the negative self-talk trap — which always just makes your mental health worse.

I’ve personally fallen into this trap many times. If this sounds familiar to you, here’s some ways to address your low motivation that hopefully work a bit better:

4 Ways to Address Low Motivation

Be kind to yourself

Rather than punishing yourself for having low motivation, what if you took it as a signal to engage in some self care instead? Feeling unmotivated isn’t proof there is anything “wrong” with you. It does not make you a failure. Rather, you could just need a break.

You’ve heard the cliches before: the only person who can make you feel incompetent is yourself, the only way to guarantee failure is to quit… I’m paraphrasing. However, the cliches are true. Instead, what if you try challenging your negative feelings about yourself? Is there any evidence they’re true? What might be direct counter-evidence? If your friend was going through what you’re going through now, how would you speak to them?

Feel your feelings

When I start to feel unmotivated, it’s because my brain is lying to me. If I stop and take stock for a moment I’ll realize I most likely have been working too long of hours, neglecting my sleep schedule, forgetting to eat, and overanalyzing all of my social interactions. These are all signals my mental health is slipping, and they are unfortunately easy to ignore.

Our society places little importance on things like feelings and mental health. People often sacrifice their health in many ways for the sake of security and wealth. Ironically, allowing ourselves space to be mentally and physically healthy actually improves our job performance.

Take some time for yourself. Reflect on your own feelings; physical and emotional. Define them. Trace back to their origin. Write in a journal about them, or talk about them with a therapist or trusted friend. This practice helps you process your feelings, as well as move passed them. Your motivation will return naturally on its own.

Know your “why”

This list may seem similar to last week’s list about motivation and working out. That’s because knowing why you’re doing something will always help motivate you to do it. When I had my mental breakdown, I realized I needed to reassess my life. When I did, I found I had been forcing myself to do certain things, and act in certain ways, that didn’t feel like “me” at all. My motivation problem had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with what I was forcing myself to do.

Once I targeted the source of my low motivation, I was able to address it directly. By making really important changes in my life, I refocused my energy and found my motivation again. I obviously still struggle with motivation at times, and always will. However, I now understand how to stay self-aware and feel empowered to make the choices that are right for me.

Prioritize your “to do” list

Even when we do everything above, we often can’t avoid doing things we don’t want to do. It just seems to be an inherent part of adulthood. I have always found list-writing helpful for staying organized. However, more so than just having a “to do” list, it helps to prioritize your “to do” list.

For a long time, I had a habit of loading my “to do” lists so full, I couldn’t possibly accomplish everything on it in 24 hours. By doing this I set myself up for failure. Just looking at a list like that is enough to kill my motivation. Instead, I put a lot of thought into my “to do” lists now.

I don’t use one long list anymore, instead I use a weekly calendar. That way, I can split all my tasks up between the days of the week — it feels less overwhelming that way. I also schedule tasks according to when they have to be done (if something isn’t due for three weeks, why worry about it now?) I also cap my daily “to do” lists at four or five items. This increases the likelihood I feel the satisfaction of crossing off my entire list each day. Prioritizing my “to do” list hasn’t made me more motivated to do the things I don’t want to do, but it does make sure I do them.

Low motivation plagues everyone. Fluctuations in energy and interest are a natural part of life. Forcing ourselves to ignore our mental health needs and “pushing through,” however is not. Low motivation can be a signal you have mental health needs going unaddressed. Give yourself permission to slow down and self reflect and your motivation will return eventually.

Team Announcements

T-shirts

Interested in supporting the Team by buying a Team Di Bella Fitness t-shirt? Well, we’re officially open for pre-orders! Click here to fill out the form and we’ll get you a shirt ASAP. Thanks for your support!

Team Cardio Outside

For our July outdoor workout, we would like to take the Team on a hike! Saturday July 24, 2021 meet us and the Team at LeFurge Woods Nature Preserve for some light cardio and Team bonding. Hope to see you there!

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