Staying Motivated in Lockdown – Fionnghuala Drumgoole

Digital Ambassador Fionnghuala Drumgoole shares some tips on staying motivated during Lockdown 3.

Motivation is something that we’re all struggling with at the moment. Burnout is real and things feel more difficult than ever in this lockdown. I’m not writing this article pretending to be perfect and motivated – it’s taken me nearly a month to finish it! I’m here to offer some tips that have helped me get back to productivity.

Tip number 1:

Make a daily/weekly plan. I find that if I write down my goals for the day, I’m much more likely to hold myself accountable and get the task done. Don’t overestimate how much time or energy you have in a day – have realistic and reasonable expectations. Some days are harder than others, so be flexible and don’t be too tough on yourself – you’re surviving a pandemic!

Tip number 2:

Set long term musical and personal goals for yourself. I chose some new pieces to work on for the next while and it has left me feeling musically refreshed. Monotony is the enemy, so find music that interests and engages you – this is more important than ever in these times! Aside from music, set some personal goals – I want to run a 5k again in the next few weeks. Find something that captures your attention, even if it’s learning to cook one new dish so you don’t have to survive on pasta!

Tip number 3:

Take time out. Time away from phones, work, College and especially the news! I’m guilty of doom-scrolling myself, so ignoring negativity in the media for a few days does me a lot of good. Life has become all about staring at a computer screen all day, so make sure you take time out from that – your eyes will thank you! When you do use it, use technology for good – Zoom practice rooms are a great way to feel more motivated. I feel less alone in my practice when I can see others working too!

Tip number 4:

Do something small for yourself every day. Whether that’s taking a walk, reading a book that isn’t assigned, practising mindfulness/meditation, or catching up with a friend. If you’re feeling down, reach out to someone. The stresses of my day melt away when I have a good laugh with my friends, even if it’s only virtually. This lockdown will end sometime but we need to mind each other in the meantime.

Tip number 5:

Since college returned in January, there have been days where I’ve really struggled to practise. Take days off, but on days where you need to practise and don’t feel like it there are things that can help. I tell myself that I only have to do two minutes of practice at a time, which helps me to actually pick up the violin. Once you’ve started, the hardest part is over. If you don’t feel like forcing yourself to play pages upon pages of studies and etudes, play something you enjoy playing. At the start of some practice sessions, I like to play snippets from childhood pieces of mine that I loved. It reminds you of your purpose and is a gentle start to practising.

Remember – don’t be so hard on yourself! You are surviving in unprecedented times. In the meantime, think of better times in Manchester, when we can all make music together again!

25 February 2021