Why You’re Feeling Lethargic In Isolation And How To Stay Motivated

mindbody fitness
Kate Save


May 11, 2020

Whatever your goal is – whether it’s to get fit, learn a new skill, or reach your goal weight – it requires a level of motivation. Finding ways to be motivated can be tricky at the best of times, let alone while in isolation when normal routines have gone out the window and feelings of pressure and stress are intensified.

Beyond the obvious factors, there’s a scientific reason behind why we’re feeling less motivated than usual. To put it simply, in order to create energy, you have to burn it. And with most of us expending much less energy than we normally would do in a day, it’s no surprise many of us are left feeling lethargic and unmotivated. 

Creating energy has everything to do with being active, nourishing our bodies, and sticking to a good routine — all things that require motivation in the first place. And while it can seem like a bit of a vicious cycle, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to help build motivation in order to be more active and achieve your goals. 

Create a routine

Routine, isolation

While our usual routines have changed significantly and many of our typical everyday activities are no longer possible, it’s still important to stick to a daily routine as best you can. Set your alarm for the time you would normally wake up pre-isolation, commit to the same duration of exercise (even if it’s just a walk as opposed to F45), have your shower and get dressed, stick to normal meal times, and still aim for 7-8 hours sleep a night — even if you don’t have anywhere to go the next day. A good routine sets you up for a productive day, is great for mental health, and keeps you motivated.

Share your goals

Having an ‘accountability buddy’ means you’re significantly more likely to see your goals through to the end. In fact, one study found that participants were 65% more likely to complete a goal if they simply told someone else about it. So, get talking and tell someone who’ll make you feel more accountable. 

Speak positive affirmations 

Practicing positive affirmations can be extremely simple, and all you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it to yourself. You can choose to use positive affirmations to motivate yourself, encourage positive changes in your life, or boost your self-esteem. Dedicate a few minutes each morning to speak positive affirmations to yourself that reflect what you want to achieve. 

Keep moving

As mentioned, the way to reap energy is to sew energy. And the closure of gyms and other fitness studios is no excuse to stop moving — there are a plethora of online programs and workouts that can be done at home with no equipment. You can find all sorts of workouts from Pilates and yoga, through to HIT workouts and cardio. Some of our favourites include Master Pilates, Down Dog Yoga and Centr App. 

exercise, yoga

Plus, we’re still allowed to enjoy the great outdoors. Just five minutes of daily exercise can help you clear your mind, boost serotonin and give you an added dose of motivation. 

Create a motivational vision board

It’s really hard to stick to something when you don’t have an end-goal in mind. Taking some time to really focus on what you need to do and what the end-goal looks like can help you establish how you can get there. With a purpose and a pathway, it’s much easier to find the motivation to stay on track. 

Nourish your body properly

The brain uses approximately 20% of our required energy, so it needs a constant source of fuel to function properly. A well-balanced, nutritionally fuelled diet can provide a valuable boost to productivity by increasing energy levels, focus and improving how we manage stress. 

While we’re most likely to reach for foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates when we’re feeling stressed or down, the satisfaction they provide is short-lived and they are therefore best avoided on a regular basis.

Instead, reach for foods that boost brain function and sustain productivity and motivation. Interestingly, the microbiome within the human gut plays an important role in the regulation of behaviour and brain function so eating foods that promote good gut health is essential. Some examples include:

healthy, isolation, motivated
  • Plant-based foods that are high in prebiotics including garlic, leeks, and any colourful, high fibre vegetables and fruits
  • Fermented foods including yoghurt, kefir and kombucha
  • Polyphenols are a group of micronutrients with a range of health properties that influence gut microbiome. Good sources include turmeric, cloves, hazelnuts, high-citrus foods like oranges and berries, and cocoa products

Eating well doesn’t have to equal hard work either. Here are some easy to make and super nutritious Be Fit Food Slow Cooker Recipes that you can quickly prepare and set and forget until your timer goes off. Enjoy!


By Kate Save


Kate Save is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist and CEO and Co-founder of Be Fit Food. Kate has been working with clients struggling with weight-loss and weight management for more than 15 years.


The Carousel