I can’t motivate myself to do much exercise at the moment. Instead, I find myself taking a robust ‘I would rather stay at home in the warm’ stance. It’s not like me at all. I suspect there are many of us feeling the same with the cold weather, the dark, short days and the social deprivation of another lockdown.
With no immediate end to the lockdown in sight, I turned to Google for suggestions to help overcome this lack of motivation. I typed in a few words to describe how I was feeling and instead found myself inundated with suggestions and explanations for my lack of ‘get up and go’. With the luxury of time, I began compiling a list of possibilities.
‘Apathy’ and ‘depression’ were the first terms I came across. They sounded a little melodramatic for the way I was feeling but I added them to my list. For balance, I added ‘lockdown blues’ and ‘fed up’ as well as they sounded a little more generic and less concerning.
Now, I am not usually a hypochondriac but by this time, I was beginning to enjoy myself, so when I came across ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)’, it sounded plausible and I added it to the list as well. ‘Winter blues’ seemed to be another term for ‘SAD’ but I added this anyway. A simple case of ‘laziness’ also seemed to fit the bill, as did feeling just a bit ‘fed up’ and having ‘lethargy’, so I added these too. Before I knew it, my vague ‘I’d rather stay at home in the warm’ feeling had become a long list of potential disorders.
‘Behaviour that shows no interest or energy and shows that someone is unwilling to take action, especially over something important.’
‘A common mental disorder characterised by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities.’
‘Extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.’
‘A lack of energy and enthusiasm.’
‘The medical name for this winter depression is seasonal affective disorder (SAD).’
‘Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that you experience during particular seasons or times of year.’
‘Averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion.’
‘Annoyed, unhappy, or bored, especially with a situation that has existed for a long time.’
‘can’t be arsed: used when you do not want to do something because you feel lazy.’
I was getting carried away with my ‘research’ at this point and made the mistake of searching for synonyms for apathy only to find that these included words such as indifference, dullness, insensitivity, weakness, inactivity, idleness and disregard. Logic got the better of me at this point and I realised I had to stop ‘googling’ or I could easily spend another day at home in the warm, avoiding exercise.
My list was far too long to be of any real help, so I had no sooner compiled it when I started to whittle it down again using absolutely no scientific or evidence-based criteria whatsoever.
For apathy, I could relate to having no interest and no energy, but I took issue with the suggestion of an unwillingness to take action and I was more than a little upset that I might be perceived as dull, insensitive, weak, inactive or idle! On this basis alone, I decided to rule apathy out in favour of something more appealing.
Lethargy sounded very similar to both apathy and fatigue, so I crossed this off my list too.
Depression seemed to be by far the most serious of my potential diagnoses so to avoid sounding like a hypochondriac, I ruled that out despite learning that depression affects 50% of people with Parkinson’s at some point during the course of their disease.
Having never been prone to the ‘winter blues’ or ‘SAD’ during my past 51 winters, I am not keen to start now. I thought these highly unlikely so I ruled these out too.
I quite liked the idea that I might simply be ‘fed up’ like everyone else with the ongoing social restrictions and reduced exercise options due to coronavirus, so I kept this on the list, just in case. It seemed to me that ‘fed up’ was fairly synonymous with a mild form of ‘lockdown blues’ so I took the latter off the list to avoid confusion.
I couldn’t really bring myself to accept a label of plain old ‘laziness’ even although there was, admittedly, an element of this at times. ‘Fatigue’ is probably a more appropriate description than ‘laziness’. ‘Fatigue’ however, deserves a whole blog of it’s own and can’t be squeezed into today’s ramblings, so I took them both off my list.
I reflected on whether compiling and deconstructing my list had been helpful to me in any way. I realised there was one thing that they all had in common. That was the very clear evidence that exercise is one of the most effective things we can do to help combat most of these conditions. Forgive me but I’m sure lack of motivation to exercise was what kick started this whole process……………
This left only ‘CBA’ on the list. ‘CBA’ is a concept I was introduced to when my three teenage boys were all at home. At that time, I was working long hours and I remember thinking how lovely it might be to have the opportunity in which to have some ‘CBA’ time. Maybe my time is now.
With the benefits of exercise, too impressive to ignore, on Monday morning, I’m going to get back into my exercise routine. I’m going to write a plan over the weekend, set a few realistic goals, share them with my family, get their support and get moving again.
In the meantime, I’ve got another 48 hours in which to enjoy my ‘CBA’ time.
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