Has your work ever left you feeling completely depleted, unmotivated, and hopeless? Have you had one of those work weeks where you feel energized and productive? What I’ve realized, especially lately living through a pandemic, is to consistently seek pleasure, joy, and fun. When I have these, I sustain and create motivation to do better at work as a mental health professional. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean by this.
How to Do Better at Work During a Pandemic
Finding motivation during the pandemic has been quite a challenge, both personally and professionally. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and especially hiking, which has been my main source of fun during the pandemic.
The trails near my Los Angeles area home have closed on and off during the last seven months, either because of crowds or fires. When the trails closed I noticed my mental and physical wellbeing suffering. Losing trail access removed an important outlet for clearing my mind and gaining clarity. Simply put: Reduce fun, motivation drops. Add fun, motivation increases.
Staying Motivated Through a Pandemic
With only one option for fun to focus on for my mental and physical well-being over the last seven months, I’ve changed how I enjoy the great outdoors! As a result of being on the hiking trails near my home for the last seven months, I’ve been motivated to up my game and take hiking really seriously. My endurance has steadily increased, and now I hike 12,000-foot mountains in Nevada. My next hike is a 14,000-foot mountain in the Eastern Sierras. Hopefully, the California forest fires will be out and the trails open soon!
Challenge Yourself to Do Better
The inspiration for challenging myself mentally and physically on the longer and higher trails has helped me gain and retain confidence and motivation in my work when things get tough. Also, this helps in maintaining my work / home life balance.
I continue to do what I love and love what I do even during a pandemic. If the pandemic had not happened, I would not have focused my fun time on hiking. My fun time would have been spread amongst several activities. Forced to focus on just one fun activity during the pandemic has been a great takeaway for me during this time. I’ve had to wrestle with my thoughts on a long, strenuous hike to finish and complete it teaching me how to motivate myself at work, as well.
I encourage you to do what you love and love what you do. Who knows, Mt. Everest may be on the horizon for both of us!
Note: Another version of this article was originally published at Practice of the Practice in Fall 2020.