Updated: Jun 24
“I love waking up when it’s dark outside and a task as tiny as walking to the kettle results in a bout of frostbite,” said noone ever.
Your alarm goes off and you don’t jump out of bed in excitement at the thought of going for that morning run, or heading to the gym. In fact, you’re so unenthused by the prospect of that winter morning fitness regime that you mute the alarm, rub your ice cold toes together in bed, snuggle your now-frozen hot water bottle and roll over to go back to sleep. But then you can’t get back to sleep for fear of the impending reality that at some point you will have to leave the sanctuary of your toasty bed and venture into the arctic that is life. Sound familiar? Your levels of motivation are so low that even looking at your active wear gives you a heavy heart and reaching for that third biscuit is classed as a bicep curl (which is strength training right?)
I’d like to blame winter for the motivation dip, because let’s face it that’s when it usually happens, but the truth is said dip could happen at any time. However, popular opinion leads me to believe the winter blues are a demotivation enhancer. Being a chunky monkey and letting my arteries clog up just a little seem way more appealing than making my legs move anything faster than sauntering pace. My slippers have overtaken my trainers in the footwear usage tally and my pyjamas have developed holes from bed sores. My incentive to be anything other than lazy is zilch. So I know exactly how you demotivated folks are feeling – it’s rubbish!
What is with this inability to move my body in the manner it usually does? Why do my legs not want to run? Why is my mind addicted to thinking about movies and snacks? Why have I become a sloth? It’s a conundrum that I can’t say I like. I miss my active self who jumps out of bed like a spritely dwarf in the morning (can dwarves even be spritely?) I miss my morning runs not feeling like a massive effort and my body feeling like it doesn’t need a bit of WD-40 to loosen the bolts a bit. What the devil has happened all of a sudden?!
So I had a lie in bed and a think (whilst eating a family block of chocolate and cuddling my cold hot water bottle). I’m from the UK so I’m used to cold winters and the dark. I’m used to exercising in these dreary conditions and I’m used to that yearly winter lack of motivation. It seems you can be anywhere in the world and experience a missing portion of your usual get up and go. And it’s normal. I’m not the only one who can’t be bothered. A lot of people I’ve spoken to recently have mentioned the same thing. But what can we do about it?
Well, we have a few options. We can either ignore it and plough through or we can take a step back and listen to this slothical character that has taken over our once lively bodies. Sometimes, to put it bluntly we just need to ‘man up’. If we’re following a programme and training for something, if we’re being wimpy, if we need to rehab an injury,we just need to bite the bullet and stop faffing around. We don’t always want to go exercise but usually it pays to do it anyway. So a good old cup of ‘man up’ works wonders. Other times, when the dip lasts longer it may be wise to listen to the sloth inside. If you’re usually a keen bean there’s probably a reason you’re dragging your Pokemon slipper donned feet to the front door. This is where I’m at at the moment. I’m not training for anything in particular I just like keeping fit and being outdoors. When this is the case maybe the best option is to just chill out. Stop forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to if it isn’t necessary. Do something different, mix things up a bit and give yourself a break, maybe even take a week or two off to refocus and relax and then develop a come back strategy. Everybody needs a break sometimes and that’s normal, everybody gets bored sometimes and that’s also normal and everybody gets a tad
demotivated sometimes – professional athletes,weekend warriors and those who exercise to stay healthy. It’s normal, so don’t beat yourself up.
Over winter I’ve decided I may take a hiatus from pretending to be a runner and become a professional snowboarder instead. I mean, I love making snowmen so snowboarding should be a piece of cake. And this excites me a bit. A new sport. I even bought jazzy new pants for the occasion (didn’t know they had a hole in the crotch until my first bum shuffle down the slopes last weekend). In the meantime I’ve decided to do a bit of home yoga, plan at least one adventure run a fortnight to go somewhere different and follow daily core routines that are short and sweet. I will run with a group because I enjoy this and find it actually helps get a bit of my zing back. I’m also going to embark on a couple of winter hikes, just to spice things up a bit. And the best thing is, I want to do these things, as in – I’m actually looking forward to mixing things up. Hallelujah. I might even vary my biscuit variety – wild I know.
So when you hit that winter slump, remember you’re not alone and there are plenty of new and exciting things to get stuck into. Don’t beat yourself up about it but try and find things you DO enjoy. Also remember that bicep curling biscuits is absolutely classed as strength training, hanging out in bed is ok because sleep is the best form of recovery, holey snowboarding pants are not ideal and that home workouts in pyjamas are positively encouraged, because let’s face it….comfort is key.