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Lockdown blues? Feeling unmotivated?

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Pretty much every client, friend and random person I’ve spoken to recently has told me how unmotivated and lethargic they’re feeling. We’ve gone from enthusiastically ticking chores off our ‘to-do’ list, to struggling to do the washing. The funny thing about motivation is that it’s fuelled by doing things. This means lack of motivation is fuelled by not doing anything.

Motivation is actually fuelled by something called dopamine. Dopamine is our ‘reward hormone’. It’s what gives us that 'I did it!' rush when we complete something. So if you’re feeling like you can’t be bothered to take a shower, let alone do a 10km run – you’re dopamine is probably down.

All it takes to boost your dopamine is to complete a task or do something you enjoy. The more you do something you enjoy – the more dopamine you’ll release – the more motivated you’ll feel etc. Start with something small: listen to music, take a walk or get into the garden. You can even trick your brain into feeling motivated by writing a ‘to-do’ list which includes things you’ve already done (just so you can tick them off). Here’s how to dial-up your dopamine:

  • Drink a cup of tea. It contains an amino acid which will boost your dopamine (and serotonin).

  • Soak up some sun. Vitamin D is building block for dopamine.

  • Exercise often. Walk. Run. Dance. Dance. Anything you enjoy.

  • Hug a person or a pet. You'll both get a dopamine boost.

  • Drink a quick fix smoothie (banana, baby spinach, egg, ice). These foods contain the ingredients your body needs to make dopamine

Feeling flat and need to talk to someone? Penny Dillon is a counsellor and nutritionist who's passionate about mood and food. Book an appointment.

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