This article is part of our ‘Covid-19 & the Job Market’ resource pack. View more here.

It happens to the best of us. Although we plan and plan it’s not easy to keep yourself motivated at a time like this. An unprecedented global crisis as the one we are witnessing has brought about an array of mental health issues none of us were ready to face. Experts have also argued that what we are feeling is grief: we are grieving for the world as we know it. Like any other loss, it’s a sudden change that no one wanted.


Fortunately, there are things which we can do to help ourselves from falling into a rut. The newfound hobbies we all started a week or two ago suddenly seem distant and our interest has waned. We’ve suddenly become overcome by the realisation of the unknown and the unknown scares us. Yet, we all need to get up in the morning and get stuff done anyway. The good news is – you’re not alone. We’ve done some research and this is what we found.

Don’t give up your Rituals

Research has shown that grieving individuals tend to seek rituals after a loss. Each family has its own idiosyncrasies that are unique to it and a grieving individual attempts to keep them up when reeling from a loss – such as a movie and pizza night on Fridays. If it means, Family Fridays need to be held over Zoom (or any other of the several apps available), then so be it. If dressing up to go out is essential for you – do it – even if it means changing back to lounge pants in a second. These rituals allow us to retain what we are used to. If your sacred ritual is a glass of wine with Netflix for an hour a day, don’t give up on it.

Routines are important

Since this crisis has robbed us of our usual routine, this may take a toll of those of us who usually suffer from anxiety as a lot of unknowns are ahead of us. Routines present us with an opportunity to take control of our day. They also remove the need for constant decision making – thus avoiding the decision fatigue that has become usual for these times. Routine also helps us implement things that are good for us – such as exercise – without having to think about it. If you’re used to getting up at 7am, it will help to stick to this. Set up a plan for the day and stick to it. If it helps, prepare your lunch and snacks ahead – this will avoid having to constantly think of  “what’s next.


It’s easy to forego the usual end of day, and leaving work at the door if your kitchen table is your desk. It’s also difficult to go from breakfast to business on the same table. Make sure your space is set up and organised and set boundaries for yourself. Find time to relax and be patient with yourself, it’s not easy to adjust. Always remember – you’re not alone in this.

Reach out

It’s easy to forget you have colleagues you can sound off ideas with when you’re not seeing them. A quick “what do you think of this?” does not come as easy when it involves having to video call a colleague who is usually just in front of you. Don’t underestimate the power of brainstorming. Scheduling a call every so often makes sure you keep those creative juices flowing and keeps you motivated with new ideas and different voices. Reach out to your friends and family too. Be mindful of those who may be alone and call them first. You feel better and they feel better. Win-win!

Re-assert and Re-assess

Review your goals and reassess them periodically. This will keep you on the ball and motivated with updated and revised goals.

Tag a friend or colleague who needs to read this.

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