Staying Motivated During the Quarantine

By: Joshua Song

As society has gone into lockdown and quarantine, staying motivated has become more difficult than ever before. Despite this, many students have faced very little repercussions until now since many of them have had very little tasks due to being on summer break. However, now that schools have started, students now have a variety of tasks ranging from regular schoolwork to college applications to seasonal sports practice. Consequently, motivation has been becoming more and more vital for students to maintain their productivity in order to get their tasks done in a timely manner. 

One of the most difficult things to do during this quarantine period is keeping track of things, such as what you have to get done and when you have to get them done by. An effective and easy way to keep track of things is to write one’s necessary tasks down. This can be written down anywhere: from sticky notes to a planner to the phone’s note-taking application. The tasks written down can span any range of time that users want, but using the range of either a day or a week seems to bring about the most practical results for the majority of people. Writing these down can help one organize their day and mind, while also potentially helping one free up time for leisurely activities. 

Exercise is also an extremely useful way to keep oneself mentally motivated while having the incredible side-benefit of keeping one’s physical health up. In discussions of mental health, the discussion of  physical health is often left out, but it is extremely vital to note the crucial role that exercise plays in the overall functioning and health of an individual. Various studies show how exercise helps increase blood flow in the body and reduces stress. By keeping stress levels down and body active, the likeliness of burn-out and subsequent demotivation is significantly reduced. In a similar vein, meditation and yoga are also great methods in maintaining motivation. 

Psychological wellness is also something that is often overlooked by a fair amount of people in the context of staying motivated. People often attribute a lack of motivation to one’s character, when in reality, it could be related to a large number of psychological factors. Even outside of quarantine, individuals should always seek mental help if necessary, but as people are having to stay more and more within the confines of their own home, many people’s mental health have been worsening. An easy way to deal with some of the more minor stresses in life would be to take a break and indulge in one’s hobbies and try to relax. These hobbies could include watching movies, reading books, playing games, playing an instrument, calling friends, or taking a relaxing bath. In more serious situations, it would be wise to obtain some professional help, either through a therapist of sorts or even various helplines suited for each need [ex) SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP; National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255]. Many teachers and counselors at school are also quite willing to help any student out with their personal needs as well. 

Now, even with these goals, it may be difficult to actually implement them into one’s daily routine. A way to accomplish this would be to set specific amounts of time to finish certain tasks in smaller sessions. For instance, by allotting 1 hour of exercise as a goal each day, it would be easier to follow and maintain that goal in comparison to having no goal at all. This would also allow users to maximize efficiency by utilizing the flexibility of shorter time periods allotted for goals.

Whatever path individuals choose and deems appropriate for oneself, it is vitally important for one to not forget the practicality and usefulness of staying motivated and getting tasks done on time, especially when faced with larger projects, such as college applications.

****For reference:

Deslandes, Andréa et al. “Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move.” Neuropsychobiology vol. 59,4 (2009): 191-8. doi:10.1159/000223730

Wielgosz, Joseph et al. “Mindfulness Meditation and Psychopathology.” Annual review of clinical psychology vol. 15 (2019): 285-316. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-021815-093423