Winter motivation

My motivation levels have always ebbed and flowed. A friend once referred to me, not unkindly, as flighty. I like to think that she meant that my mind is constantly in motion, ideas come quickly but fly away if not harnessed. I get bright sparks of enthusiasm which can sustain me on projects, but sooner or later, they will diminish and burn themselves out.

After the accident, I was focused so clearly on rehabilitation, that I could push myself through apathy as there was a clear end goal; to walk. After the ankle fusion, my motivation starting to wane with the reality of my long term mobility, however the subsequent knee operation reinvigorated my enthusiasm as new physical possibilities were opened up.

The challenge is how to maintain the motivation needed to stop my recovery atrophying. I know that to stop exercising causes my mobility to diminish, my hard won leg muscles to weaken and joints stiffen, but I find it hard to find the daily motivation needed to keep going. Undoubtedly, it is hardest to find this motivation in winter. The weather magnifies all my weaknesses and the darkness leaves me sluggish and fatigued.

Since December, I have been swimming only once, I have not gone near my bike and my wetsuit hangs forlornly in the garage waiting for the warmth of spring. Life has got in the way of rehabiliation and I have not found the impetus needed to prioritise it.

However, whilst my formal exercise regime may have stalled, the puppy has refused to allow me to wallow on the couch. His insistent need for walks has dragged me outside even on days where the bitterly cold wind or determined rain would have see me previously refusing to leave the house. The therapeutic benefits have been profound. However reluctantly I may put on my raincoat and pick up his lead, after ten minutes walking my mood has completely altered. It helps that open moorland or tangled woods are only a couple of minutes walk from my front door, but it is more than this alone. I have started to find calm in the winter darkness.

My morning walk coincides with the creeping dawn when the light slowly throws detail back in to the world and my evening walk is cloaked in velvety darkness when the village is in stillness. I have stopped using a torch preferring instead to marvel as my way is gradually revealed to me by the dawn light or treading softly in the evening darkness being guided only by my companions nose and the occasional pools of lights from houses.

Whilst it is undeniable that motivation is easier to find in the warmth and light of the summer months, there is a completative quietness to winter that enriches rather than energises. I have found myself truly examining my thoughts on these dark walks and have taken myself to some emotionally uncomfortable places. I have started to not only seek the light on these short days but embrace the darkness too. The spring sunshine will return and I will burn bright with enthusiasm once more, but right now it is okay to give myself permission to pause.







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