It can be easy to fall into a career slump. Maybe you’re feeling lost, unsure what to do next with your career (or life), or perhaps you know what you want to do but you’re struggling to maintain the motivation to get things done. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, there are many options you can try to restart your inspiration and discover new motivations to help propel you forward.
Our inspirations can come from all around us. You may feel particularly inspired after reading a good book, catching up on a good series or podcast, through appreciating art, or any number of other ways. It can be easy to overlook the significant benefits physical activities can have on not only our physical health but our mental health and well-being, helping us to combat feelings of stress and burnout, spark inspiration, boost motivation, and help reinvigorate us towards making more positive changes across all areas of our lives.
How can physical activity spark my imagination and boost motivation?
Improve your overall health and happiness – when it comes to improving our overall health and well-being, we’d all love to find a quick-fix. It can be tough to realise there isn’t a magical cure-all – what we really need is to get back to basics. Through increasing our levels of activity, we can not only improve our physical health, but majorly boost our sense of well-being as well.
Exercise can reduce our risk of many major illnesses including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% (according to the NHS), all whilst lowering our risk of early death by up to 30%. Beneficial at any age, a recommended minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity can help lead to a healthier, happier life.
Boost your mood – research has shown that physical activity can boost your sense of self-esteem, improve mood, help you to sleep better, as well as reducing symptoms of stress and depression. Building your confidence and self-esteem can be tough when you’re feeling low or demotivated. It can feel like you are falling into a vicious cycle where stress takes over, disrupting sleep and upending your work/life balance.
Introducing regular physical activity can help you to reset, breaking negative patterns and helping you to start new, healthy, sustainable routines. Undertaking the recommended 150 minutes of weekly (split across multiple days), moderate activity can improve your sleep quality by up to 65%, helping you feel more rested and ready to face the day’s challenges.
Increase your energy levels – studies have found that regular exercise can help boost your overall energy levels. In healthy people, research has shown a reduction in feelings of fatigue, as well as a significant increase in energy levels for those with chronic conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) thanks to regular exercise.
Strengthen and protect your memory – exercise isn’t just good for our bodies, it’s good for our minds too. Research has shown regular exercise can help improve brain function, protect memory, and increase thinking skills. Studies have also shown it can stimulate the production of hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells, as well as causing the hippocampus (the part of our brain vital for memory and learning) to grow in size.
Three ways to increase your activity to inspire motivation
1. Dive into forest bathing – if you’re looking for a gentle way to up your activity levels whilst relaxing and destressing, forest bathing could be for you. Known for having both physical and mental health benefits, forest bathing can help you feel more grounded and connected with nature.
Research suggests forest air is not only fresher and better for us, but can also help improve our immune systems too. Studies have suggested it can significantly lower our cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
If you’re thinking of trying forest bathing, try to remember: it’s not all about hardcore hiking and pushing yourself to go off the beaten trail. It’s about restoring a sense of peace and calm, allowing your mind to be clear as you wander, focusing on the present and taking in the moment as you have a break from the worries and hubbub of the modern world.
2. Shake up your routine – according to recommended guidelines, we should try to be active every day. Instead of trying to make time to head to the gym daily, one of the easiest ways to achieve this can be making physical activities part of your everyday life.
Instead of driving to and from work, try switching to walking or cycling as part of your commute. If you work too far away for this to be viable, getting off a stop or two earlier on your bus or train can help, or parking further away from the office and taking the stairs can all add up. Using half of your lunch break for a vigorous walk can also help slip activity into your day, giving you a much-needed break from work and colleagues to help you reset and recharge, ready for the afternoon ahead.
If you’re looking for something a bit more engaging, trying a class can be a better option or finding a friend to go to the gym with. If you aren’t sure where to start, the NHS has some great suggestions for fitting activity into your daily routine at any age.
3. Take meetings outside of the boardroom – inspiration doesn’t just have to come from expensive away days or conversations with overpriced lattes. If you work within a creative industry, it can feel stifling to be entirely office-based. Meeting rooms and rows of identical desks can feel more draining than motivational.
Breaking away from your routine and getting out of the office can be a good way to not only gain inspiration, but to be a little active at the same time. Try having a meeting on the move. Discuss project ideas and inspirations with colleagues whilst walking around the office or nearby park. Getting outside of your usual working environment can feel like a breath of fresh air, all whilst providing the change for a new perspective.