It is relatively easy to achieve new heights in your career, buy a sea-facing bungalow, or invest in your favorite luxury car when everything is working in your favor. However, the real test of your conviction lies when all you can see are the dark clouds over your head with an endless downpour of negativity on your current mental state.
My experiments with spirituality and mindfulness techniques have led me towards some unique observations and life experiences. A large part of which, I would like to chunk out in this article, about how to remain motivated during a crisis, or a period of stagnation.
Easier said than done, I know. Being self-driven, and self-focused, could be difficult, especially during these times of utter chaos and disruption, when many have lost their jobs, or are struggling with their finances, health issues, and more so with poor mental health. COVID-19 is taking a toll on everyone in some form or the other. Subsequently, resulting in a stalemate situation when most of our plans are a pipedream.
Yet, it’s only during such times of adversities, when our spirituality and resilience come into play. To keep thriving, regardless of any unfavorable occurrences – the following measures may help.
1) Best Time To Connect With Your Inner Being: So you may have heard of meditation, yet, never tried it before? It is often in the midst of utter confusion that we accidentally bump into an opportunity to connect deeper with our inner selves while asking for guidance. Treat this to be an ideal time for your personal growth and transformation. Meditation opens our minds to new possibilities. An article by UC Davis Health, In times of crisis, remember to meditate talks about simple breathing techniques that can reduce stress and health symptoms. And hence, don’t overlook this powerful technique to conquer your fears and inner demons.
2) Work Out/ Exercise: Needless to say, that exercise has it’s health benefits. You have practically no reason to stay away from your fitness routine because of a stressful situation. Exercise boosts happy hormones, the release of endorphins during workout once interact with your brain reduces the perception of pain. Aerobics, Yoga, Tai Chi are perhaps, the best form of exercise to improve your mood. In specification to COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO guidelines state that “Regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers – all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19.”
3) Read: We have a whole list of books on Google on “Reading through the pandemic.” From news articles to magazines, there is no dearth of reading material on the internet. Therefore, bring your inner child out and read or reread the books that you’d loved or always wanted to. From Fiction or Non-Fiction to the biographies of great leaders, anything that fancies your interest. Go for it!
4) Learn And Develop New Skills: Realize your best potential by leveraging this time of crisis by learning and developing new skills. We can take this time to add value to our professional growth. If it’s affordable, go for a degree or a certification course. It will be helpful in many ways. In one place, it will distract you from the ongoing stress, and on the other hand, you’ll be renewed and would be much more ready to take on the world with a new version of yourself, once you come out of this dark tunnel of hopelessness.
5) Journaling: Journaling is a part of mindfulness practice and can be a great way to keep your sanity maintained during hard times. Write down your short term and long term goals. Journaling has been a proven technique for recovery from traumatic or stressful events. So, bring your inner writer out, or vent it out through your creative writing skills.
6) Strong Support System: It is essential to surround yourself with like-minded positive people during times of crisis. I call them “Real People”; they can be your friends, family members, or a mentor. Find your tribe of good listeners and non-judgemental folks you can trust and lean on in difficult times. The whole point is to find much-needed comfort you’d been longing for while going through a stressful period.
7) Spirituality: Trust me when I say this, that a period of crisis in your life is your period of real awakening and transformation. You would eventually see yourself breaking through old patterns, old belief systems, and norms. Believe in the power of prayers, be grateful for whatever you have in your life, and keep moving. Spirituality teaches us to have trust in the process and that everything, in the end, will work out.
8) Motivational Coaching/Podcasts/Webinars: Let’s admit it, that we live in an era of motivational coaching. Thanks to the technology, that a great deal of mentorship is only a tap of a finger away. Listening to podcasts of motivational speakers or attending an inspiring Webinar, can bring back your zeal. Most of the time, it is like a refresher course, something which you’d always known, yet, lost touch with it while battling with life challenges. It helps as a positive reinforcement of our long lost values. I have an endless list of motivational speakers I listen to. However, some of my favorites are Abraham Hicks Robin Sharma and Tony Robbins.
Often a period of stagnation comes to teach us some imperative life lessons. We get to learn that we cannot control our lives, yet can control our actions. So instead of choosing to become a victim of circumstances, we must strive to rise above the challenges and keep propelling forward. Just remember to build your resilience and keep evolving. And as the saying goes, “Tough times don’t last, tough people, do.”