How to Beat the Covid Blues – by Douwe Hoogstra

If you feel like you have to dig deep to stay positive and find the motivation to stick to your routine in these challenging times, you’re not alone. A new, super infectious strain of Covid-19 is out in the community and next minute we’re at home again. Then some of the country is starting to go back down the alert levels, and some stay at the higher levels. It’s frustrating.

When we came out of that first lockdown, most people assumed that our roadmap was pointing firmly towards a return to pre-pandemic normality. Everything felt okay again for a while, we had beaten the virus, and all was ticking along just fine. Then August 2021 rolled around and suddenly, life was turned on its head once again. This time it feels a bit different, and the future quite uncertain as we are negotiating the path to open up again. Life is affected. Business are affected. Big time.

All this uncertainty can have a hugely detrimental effect on people’s motivation, productivity and energy levels. Unfortunately, that’s an inevitable side effect of the Covid environment. From working from home to trying to decide how best to utilise our time, all whilst keeping up to date with what’s going on in the changing world around us, there’s an awful lot going on in our brains. At some level we’re all triggered, and it’s only normal that some sense of disempowerment creeps in.

So, how do we snap out of it and get our motivation back? It starts with taking good care of ourselves and keeping our focus on what we can control.

This blog is likely most applicable for those in lockdown, however the principles also apply in the lower alert levels.

Ignore peer pressure

There is a lot of pressure from others to use your free time effectively. The neighbours are out with their chainsaws tidying up the garden, your friends are into online yoga or doing Les Mills classes with TV on Demand, your sister has unleashed her inner-Nigella, your mum has signed up for a free trail on Audible to learn French, and your direct competitor has launched a new website and stepped up his social media game.

While this make-the-most-of-it approach works for some people, others may just need this time to directly invest in their mental health and simply do less. If you sleep more than you usually would, you probably need it. Whatever self-care is for you, do just that. Just make sure you don’t ignore your business altogether.

Instead of focusing on what you ‘should’ be doing in your free time, focus on what you ‘want’ to do. If you see this time as a good opportunity to do a bit of work on your business, then create an action plan and get started! Find out where you can evolve or pivot and look for opportunities that this pandemic has laid bare. If you need some help with that, let me know.

Go offline and venture outside

Do you really need to watch the live updates with the PM every day and check on Stuff to see if anyone else has tested positive for the virus? Probably not unless you really want to. It’s okay to take some time away from social media, too. It’s so easy to get immersed and mindlessly scroll on Facebook or Instagram but taking some time away from it can help you to relax and feel better.

Get out of the house every day. Going outside into nature and soak up some sunshine also helps to reduce your body’s production of the stress hormones and improves your overall mood. Whether you go for a walk round the block or head to your nearest beach or nature reserve, spending time outside can give you the energy you need to get things done when you get back home.

Stay connected and check in with others

The only characteristic that distinguishes the top 10 percent of people when it comes to happiness, career achievement, occupational success and income, is the strength of their social relationships. Social interactions are critical to your wellbeing and for the success of your business, too.

When we are being social, we produce a pleasure-inducing hormone called Oxytocin which helps to reduce anxiety and improves concentration and focus. We become more productive, engaged and energetic which makes us more resilient. Staying in contact with others reduces stress and anxiety, helping you to stay healthy.

During this time, more than ever, it’s important to make sure you stay connected. Check in with your friends and loved ones and connect with other business owners, too. Feel free to join us for a coffee in the virtual pop-up café on Friday mornings at 9.30am. It’s relaxed and informal, and we’d love to see you there.

Get yourself into a routine

Your Ideal Week may look a little different now but getting yourself into a routine is one of the best ways to stay motivated and to keep on top of your work. Get into the habit of doing the same things every day, whether this is simply just waking up at around the same time in the morning, having your meals at set times, or sticking to a work schedule.

When you have a routine, you can work on mapping out the time to do the things you need to do and ticking those tasks off the list can give you the structure you need to stay motivated. Try your best with your work and allow your best to be enough. Even doing a small amount of work can go a long way and keep you in the flow.

Focus on what you can control

Uncertain times gives us an opportunity to reflect and do some personal and business planning. It might feel that you don’t have too much control and that forward planning is hard to do or almost impossible. However, reconnecting with your overall goals, and breaking these down into 3-month goals, then into actionable steps, will most likely get you back into purposeful activity.

Get stuck into some of those outstanding projects. Once you’ve figured out what are important tasks and which ones are not. You may want to spend some time getting stuck into some projects that you have not had the time for in the past. Maybe you wanted to update your website, or tidy up the inventory, or work on other big tasks that will help you later.

Look after yourself AND your business

There’s no exact formula for staying motivated during this difficult time, and everyone deals with things in their own way. Just make sure to look after your own health and wellbeing first, as that will benefit you now and later. Don’t let the business side of it slide, as it will be much more difficult to recover when you need to. You don’t want your competitors to be miles ahead.

If you feel like you have lost your Mojo a bit and could do with some support to get you back on track, remember that I’m here for you. The right support can make a crucial difference, so feel free to reach out for a chat anytime.


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