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Lockdown: Sapping all motivation

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Question: How motivated are you and your family? As this lockdown continues, are you finding motivation is an issue for you, your other half and your children? Is it a challenge to do, well, anything?

Man with no motivation sat on a sofa
On the sofa in a pyjama / hoodie combo playing video games. For the avoidance of doubt, I have never actually done this, but motivation levels during this lockdown have worried me at times.

I am going to be entirely honest and tell you that, personally, speaking, I do not have a problem staying motivated. That, however, is only because I found I was having issues, recognised it was a potential problem and did something about it.

During the Christmas holidays, we leapt from the relatively relaxed Tier 2 to the much more severe Tier 4 in just 24 hours. There was suddenly nothing at all to do and we weren’t allowed to visit anyone. With school having broken up for the holidays, there was also no school work to keep the kids occupied.

There was nowhere to go and nothing to do. For some people, that’ll sound like a dream, but I like to be active. Having nothing to do and nothing in the diary was….energy sapping. I found myself getting sucked into the social media rabbit hole for a bit longer that I maybe should and I knew this couldn’t go on.

As the lockdown dawned, I took action. It wasn’t much, but I found it worked. I simply wrote myself a ‘to do’ list each morning and fastidiously did my best to work through it.

In addition to this, I’ve also found it very useful to work through a ‘what I’ve done today’ list in the evenings. I usually do this in my head, but I find it incredibly uplifting to reflect on what I have achieved in a day and I find it spurs me on to do more.

I’ll give you to two examples. Over recent days I have both filed my tax return and repaired the patio paving at the back of the house, a DIY job that’s required attention for well over a year. Oh yeah, tax returns and dull DIY jobs, my motivation levels are sky high!

One other thing I’m doing: I’m wearing after shave every day. It’s just nice to make that little extra effort when I get up every morning.

What worries me is the impact of the ongoing lockdown on Helen and Izzy. With the school term having started, they have a programme of remote learning to work through each day, some of it live lessons, some of it not. I have to say, they’ve both taken to it very well and the education provision from their schools has been very good.

All well and good, but you can sense it can’t you? Yes, I am building up to a “but.”

Schoolwork is keeping them busy for several hours a day, but then what? They can’t visit friends or go to museums, cafes or the cinema. We can’t visit family and we shouldn’t really be travelling anywhere for exercise.

As a result, we’re limited to going for walks. What I’m finding is that we’re doing the same walks and the kids are getting bored of the same sights, not to mention the fact everyone in our locality is doing the same walks so all the footpaths have been reduced to quagmires (I’d hate to be a landowner right now!) Every time we go for a walk, I find myself reminiscing about my youth and the Rivers of Mud Years at Glastonbury Festival and I’m pretty sure my kids are bored of hearing my stories.

The one thing my kids are enjoying is cycling. We’re doing a five kilometre circuit a couple of times a week and they’re loving it, but I wonder if they will tire of this eventually. Some comments have already been made so I’m not sure how long this activity will be a regular fixture.

The other thing that worries me is the suspension of all sports activities. My kids are both keen gymnasts. Their gymnastics classes have moved online, which is great, but it’s not top of their mind like the face-to-face classes.

With face-to-face classes they would remember they had them and they’d put their leotards on after being reminded, oh, what, only seven or eight times. With the online classes, they need to be reminded the classes are taking place and Mrs Adams and I get eye rolls and mild complaints.

I guess a big difference between the first lockdown in 2020 and the present lockdown is that Lockdown Number One happened as we were entering into spring. We could at least read books outside and have barbecues. Any walks took place when it was warm. The ground beneath our feet was solid and we didn’t all need a change of clothes when we got home.

This COVID madness has been going on for so long now that I am concerned about the possible impact on parent / child relationships. When families are around each other 24/7, parents will, naturally, find themselves having to ask their children to tidy up after themselves, clean their bedrooms and so on. I know I am asking my children to undertake this kind of activity several times a day and, truth be told, it’s draining for me having to issue all those reminders so it must be draining for the kids hearing me drone on about keeping the house tidy!

I also worry about the developmental impact of the continuing lockdown on all our kids. I’m sure I’m not the only parent concerned about their children’s motivation levels, plus the impact on their learning and social skills.

It’s the steadily draining levels of motivation that concern me the most at this stage. I know the lockdowns are essential and I am not calling for the instant re-opening the nation’s classrooms.

Nonetheless, I do look forward to having something in the dairy that isn’t virtual. I look forward to the kids going back to the classrooms and I look forward to being able to take the kids to gymnastics classes, football lessons and netball classes. Oh please, let’s just get that vaccine rolled out and rolled out as quickly as possible.

4 thoughts on “Lockdown: Sapping all motivation”

  1. I couldn’t agree more John.
    It’s getting a bit tedious, very much ground hog do. I too have a ‘to do’ list for each day.. but like you say, once the kids are finished lessons for the day… what can they do!?

    1. Och, the end of the school day is always interesting! That tends to be when we get outside for an hour but that’s all we have because it starts getting dark. At the very least some sunshine wouldn’t go a miss but I guess we have the harshest days of winter to come.

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