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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 that goal was reached my motivation starting to wane with the reality of my long term mobility challenges. 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.

For me, the solution was four-legged. A dog does not care about your knee pain or joint aches, the regular need for walks has dragged me outside even on days where the bitterly cold wind or determined rain would have seen me rather lie on the sofa. The therapeutic benefits have been profound. However reluctantly I may put on my raincoat and pick up Meg’s 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 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 find my way as it 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 walk softly in the dark.