Thank you so much for chosing to reach out. This community may be full of random strangers from the Internet, but you are among friends here.
I can’t imagine how it is to have to move to different places and learn to build new habits while it feels this year like our world is already on fire. As human beings, we need at least a bit of stability, yet it feels hard to find it in these circumstances. I hear you and the fact that you’ve been feeling very lonely. This year has been tough so far. It’s been isolating, even for people who are active and interact with their families and friends. Personally, I didn’t move to a new place this year, but I had my share of uncontrolled changes and it made me feel pretty lonely too, like disconnected from this world and others. Which results most of the t ime to find it ally hard to keep my motivation to do anything, even enjoyable ones. On the other hand it gets easier to isolate more and more. 2020 is a year that happened to be mentally draining. Which is also why I’m really glad to see you here, reaching out and taking the time to write this down. There are circumstances surrounding your message, I hear it, I see you, and I truly value your presence.
What I also see in your message is that you try. Even though it’s not easy, even though you’ve been losing your motivation recently: you try. You helped at the camp, you started to exercise, you’re working… it shows your strength and determination, despite the circumstances.
I’d like to encourage you to keep trying to exercise (or just any other activity/habit you might be willing to create, despite your exhaustion). Obviously for all the benefits it can bring to you, both physically and emotionally. But also because creating habits in the midst of uncertainty could be a way to create a solid ground for yourself, something that you can keep with you and rely on, wherever you go with your dad. I understand that, with the perspective of moving again, it can be difficult to stay motivated to create a routine or enjoy the time you spend with people where you live. I imagine that it can seem pointless to “really” live and not retreat yourself while you have no idea if what you’ll build now is going to last the way it is. Yet, despite this perspective of moving somewhere else, you are alive now. You are breathing, existing, and you have the right to live fully and not wait for the next move. Your environment might not be stable now, but you still have the right to spend time with others, create new habits, learn the things you want to learn. Because you are here and now. You are not out of life.
Exercise can totally be that kind of healthy habit. But like any other one, it needs time to be really part of your routine. It’s really normal to struggle at doing it regularly at first, especially these days. You might need to be very gentle with yourself at first, and not try to make radical changes suddenly. Even just 10 minutes of exercise X times a week is better than nothing. Then you make it 15, etc. Just babysteps. Because sometimes we have these expectations and ideas of what we should be able to do but we can’t, so we end to be disappointed, discouraged, and we simply stop trying. But it’s okay to lower your expectations and set some very small goals at first. It wouldn’t make you less strong or able to move on. Only a human being who’s going through a rough time and needs a lot of compassion and grace, including from themselves. Your first goal would be less about exercising and more about initiating this habit, creating a routine, getting your mind used to it so it requires less and less efforts to just start, and then you can adapt your practice.
I also hear that you asked friends for accountability and it didn’t work… well then, what could help you to stay motivated?
Just a few ideas, for the example of exercising, but this can apply to anything else:
- Scheduling the moment when you exercise. Eventually to keep it at the same day/same hour.
- Journaling/tracking your progress. You can create your own tracker, or find some printables online, then place it somewhere visible so you won’t forget.
- Preparing your clothes in advance and placing it where you are exercising. When I was still able to run, I used to place my running shoes next to my bed so I wouldn’t procrastinate on that all day long and was ready to go outside.
- Sharing your victories! With people you love, or if you want with the community here. For example, you can be encouraged by the community here on Discord: https://discord.gg/G3Ph4E - The channel “dreamcrusher” might be a good place for that.
- Rewarding yourself! The perspective of knowing that you’ll do something you enjoy after your efforts can be motivating. The “reward” is very personal and depends on what you like. What matters is that it’s a way to take care of yourself and celebrate your success.
It’s also really good to hear that you are keeping long distance friendships. I know from experience that it’s not easy to maintain those - especially this year with covid and everything. But it’s very precious too. Written messages and video calls are not the same as seeing your friends for real, indeed, but it’s still a connection. And if it lasted until now, then I guess it might be of a great value to you and worth maintaining.
Step by step, friend. Be gentle with yourself. The current circumstances are objectively difficult. But you will get through.
Instead, you live.