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Over the past three months, I've cycled maybe once per week, maybe two weeks out of each month.  My job allows me to work from home pretty much whenever I wish, and I've been abusing that privilege.   

The issue is exacerbated by my wife's hours.  If I cycle in, I'm out of bed at five and on the road by 05:15, and so usually back home by 4 PM, whereas she doesn't even finish work until about seven.   The time she gets to the station, home by train and I drive to pick her up, we're usually both home by about 8:30 PM, and by nine, I'm usually in bed.    So if I want to spend any time with her, I'll hang on until about 11 before going to bed, which effectually f**ks my chances of getting up at five the next morning.  I could cycle in later, but London drivers are insane enough at 5:30 in the morning.  At seven or eight, it's downright impossible.  Plus, the later in the morning, the more cycle commuters there are, many of whom have as much an idea of 'road sense' as I do of quantum physics.

Let me just throw in an edit here to say that I'm not blaming my wife.  I'm the lazy one, not her. 

So I'm sitting in front of the Mac at home now, 'working' from home but of course am on Facebook.  My boss doesn't really care, as despite everything, I do get the job done.   But this is having a detrimental effect on my mental health.  

How do I force myself to get up and out in the mornings?

52 comments

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peted76 [1320 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Motivation in the winter can be tough going, I try and look at riding my bike in this way...if I can get on my bike once a week, I'm just about ticking over.. twice a week I'll not loose fitness, if I can get on my bike three times or more, I'm getting fitter.

Personally I need a 'regular schedule' to stick to, or lack of motivation gets in the way and I'm buggered, so through winter I run a roller class on a Wednesday evening for my local club, the main reason being, that if I didn't have that commitment I probably wouldn't get on my bike. I ensure that I ride on a Sunday morning with the club, so there's my twice a week tied up. If I can get out on a Thursday night or manage to cock a leg over the turbo on Friday night I will do that also. I found that last winter road.cc Zwift races the ran, which I think were on a set day for a number of weeks was also a motivation, to actually be somewhere at a certain time with an expectation. 

You've got some pretty odd hours to work around so you might find it difficult to find local riders to ride with weekly, but why not commit yourself a spin class twice a week, that way any actual riding you can get in, on top of that is a bonus. You only need about an hour for each session.

I do find turbo training generally to be really unmotivating, it's more fun on rollers, you can't switch off as you can on a turbo.

 

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srchar [1218 posts] 3 months ago
10 likes

There seems to be a few things going on here.

1) You're tired.  You've identified that you don't really get enough sleep.  Annoyances, like seeing poor riding, are magnified, as are their impact on your mood.

2) You're not getting out of the house enough.  When I work from home, I always make a point of going to a local cafe for lunch, or at least a coffee.  It gets you out in the fresh air, in the daylight, speaking to other people, and gives you a proper break.  Spending all your time indoors is not good for your mood.

3) It doesn't sound like you really enjoy the type of cycling you're doing.  If you don't enjoy cycle commuting, don't worry that you're not doing enough of it.  If your boss doesn't care about you being present at your computer, get out for a ride during the day.  Delete (or de-activate) your FB account and spend the time on your bike instead.  Think to yourself, "I'm getting paid to go for a ride!".

Maybe a little competition would help?  My partner has a FitBit and is always doing some sort of challenge with a bunch of her mates - who can walk 500km in the least time, who can get the most steps in a week etc.  Have you got any mates on Strava who would be up for something like that?

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Jimmy Ray Will [1011 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes

I think srchar nails it.

If you can't motivate yourself to get up (for very good reasons it appears to me) then you have to go back to the drawing board. 

With flexible hours and a track record of getting the job done, I'd definitely be looking to build rides in to your day. 

Could you get up, and get to your home office for say 8.00am, then take a 2-3 hour lunch break before working on to say 5.30 - 6.00pm? 

During that lunch break, you could go for a lovely ride, clear your head, etc. etc. It will lift your mood, improve your fitness, leave you time and freshness to be with you missus of an evening. 

 

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Mungecrundle [1301 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Do something else.

Cycling is not the only fruit. Do you have access to a local gym? Because I am a soft southerner I find it far easier to be motivated and fit in a gym schedule where it is dry and warm.

Keeping up your fitness over the winter is a great motivator to be back out and on your bike when spring rolls around, the clocks go forward again and riding to work and back in daylight is far less stressful.

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davel [2720 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I'll echo others here but I'd say gor for a jog instead. Doesn't have to be far, it isn't hard to throw jogging kit on, ticks the fitness box and a 20 minute effort round the block will work wonders.

If you're struggling with the winter too, a SAD lamp can help - I occasionally stick it on first thing when I'm working from home. Seems to jolt me awake more.

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cycle.london [87 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
srchar wrote:

There seems to be a few things going on here.

1) You're tired.  You've identified that you don't really get enough sleep.  Annoyances, like seeing poor riding, are magnified, as are their impact on your mood.

2) You're not getting out of the house enough.  When I work from home, I always make a point of going to a local cafe for lunch, or at least a coffee.  It gets you out in the fresh air, in the daylight, speaking to other people, and gives you a proper break.  Spending all your time indoors is not good for your mood.

3) It doesn't sound like you really enjoy the type of cycling you're doing.  If you don't enjoy cycle commuting, don't worry that you're not doing enough of it.  If your boss doesn't care about you being present at your computer, get out for a ride during the day.  Delete (or de-activate) your FB account and spend the time on your bike instead.  Think to yourself, "I'm getting paid to go for a ride!".

Maybe a little competition would help?  My partner has a FitBit and is always doing some sort of challenge with a bunch of her mates - who can walk 500km in the least time, who can get the most steps in a week etc.  Have you got any mates on Strava who would be up for something like that?

Almost spot on.  Comments:

1. I've suffered from depression most of my adult life, so perhaps it's a chicken and egg scenario. Is being inside all day affecting my mood, or is my mood making me not want to go out?  Probably a bit of both.

2. Going to a café for lunch is pretty tough as I'm vegan and there are no cafés like that near me. However, a coffee? I like this idea. After the confcall I'm on right now ends, I think I'm going to have a shower and walk down to the parade for a Costa.

3. I actually do enjoy commuting by bike. I get into the office on an almighty high, which doesn't wear off until well into the afternoon. And my colleagues are a decent bunch of people, many of whom are cyclists themselves. The office has free tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks, and I can basically sod off to the pub with the colleagues if I feel so inclined, and come back three hours later with no one bitching to us (although if this happened regularly, I suspect that they might say something).   London drivers are indeed twats of the worst kind, but I've been doing it for long enough now that the "spidey sense" kicks in and I'm aware of what's going on about me.

4.  My wife has a fitbit but I'm a fanboi and bought myself an Apple Watch Series 4 recently. So no chance of having a bit of healthy competititon with her.  She used to cycle into London but stopped after a colleague of hers was killed by a lorry driver two years ago.  She is too petrified to get back on the bike.   Even when she did cycle, we occasionally cycled in together, but she's too slow for me, and she doesn't enjoy feeling 'pressured' into going faster. 

I need to do something, though. 

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cycle.london [87 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

I'll echo others here but I'd say gor for a jog instead. Doesn't have to be far, it isn't hard to throw jogging kit on, ticks the fitness box and a 20 minute effort round the block will work wonders.

If you're struggling with the winter too, a SAD lamp can help - I occasionally stick it on first thing when I'm working from home. Seems to jolt me awake more.

I can't jog.  Buggered my knee twenty-five years ago.  I can only run for a hundred yards or so. 

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srchar [1218 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I am restricted to working from home only two days per month (because piss-takers) and I do view it as a privilege.  However, in a previous job, I worked for a start-up that didn't have an office, and spent most days working from home.  I ended up hating it and was about to rent a desk in a shared office space, when I found another job.

So, given that your office sounds great, you enjoy cycle commuting outside rush hour, your company is very flexible on working hours and you need a routine, how about this?

  • Go into the office at your usual (early!) time.
  • Leave at lunchtime and ride home.  When the weather's crap, use the direct route.  If it's sunny, extend your ride.
  • When you get home, have lunch.
  • Have an afternoon nap*
  • Late afternoon, log on and tidy up whatever loose ends are left at work.

* Doing all your sleeping in one big chunk during the night is a relatively recent trend. http://slumberwise.com/science/your-ancestors-didnt-sleep-like-you/

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davel [2720 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
cycle.london wrote:
davel wrote:

I'll echo others here but I'd say gor for a jog instead. Doesn't have to be far, it isn't hard to throw jogging kit on, ticks the fitness box and a 20 minute effort round the block will work wonders.

If you're struggling with the winter too, a SAD lamp can help - I occasionally stick it on first thing when I'm working from home. Seems to jolt me awake more.

I can't jog.  Buggered my knee twenty-five years ago.  I can only run for a hundred yards or so. 

That is tough - walking it is then... a brisk one can raise the heart rate.

Is any other exercise feasible? Do you have a garage/yard where you can do anything else? I tend to use my WFH days to mix it up, but I'm in the fortunate position of having a bit of a home gym in the garage and a garden where I can chuck dumbells around etc.

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cycle.london [87 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
davel wrote:
cycle.london wrote:
davel wrote:

I'll echo others here but I'd say gor for a jog instead. Doesn't have to be far, it isn't hard to throw jogging kit on, ticks the fitness box and a 20 minute effort round the block will work wonders.

If you're struggling with the winter too, a SAD lamp can help - I occasionally stick it on first thing when I'm working from home. Seems to jolt me awake more.

I can't jog.  Buggered my knee twenty-five years ago.  I can only run for a hundred yards or so. 

That is tough - walking it is then... a brisk one can raise the heart rate.

Is any other exercise feasible? Do you have a garage/yard where you can do anything else? I tend to use my WFH days to mix it up, but I'm in the fortunate position of having a bit of a home gym in the garage and a garden where I can chuck dumbells around etc.

My wife goes to the gym three times a week.  Maybe I'll join her.  Most of all, I need to stop sitting here finding excuses for not doing anything.  I'm not of the school of thought that thinks depression can be "cured" by a "kick up the arse", but I don't think it's helped by constantly saying, "Oh, I can't that...".

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HawkinsPeter [3085 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

It sounds like your work is flexible, so could you change your hours?

I'm a believer in habit over motivation, so if you can just fit cycling into your daily routine, you won't be thinking about it - you'll just be cycling as a matter of course.

So, change your hours to better fit with your wife's and then make a point of always commuting, say every Tuesday/Thursday and go from there. I'm not sure there's a good solution to avoiding other commuters apart from changing your route/home/work, so maybe you should see it as a challenge - accelerate as quick as possible where feasible and slow down for any obstacles.

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PRSboy [449 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

- Do you have space for a turbo?  I've found it helpful on the basis that it is not weather dependent (and indeed if its better than expected, then go out for a ride) and less time dependent.  You can do a great session in 45m-1hr, there is not so much faff with gear.  The caveat to this is to not mindlessly spin away, but rather have a specific session in mind.

I like TrainerRoad for this as it offers good structured programs.  Not only does this provide routine, but the steady increase in effort in each block gives demonstrable improvements which is motivating in itself.  There are of course other platforms available.

- Have you ever done a cycling holiday?  I've done a couple of trips to the Alps... not only does a week in the mountains provide a fitness goal that you have to work toward, but the experience was absolutely brilliant and uplifting.

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cycle.london [87 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
PRSboy wrote:

- Do you have space for a turbo?  I've found it helpful on the basis that it is not weather dependent (and indeed if its better than expected, then go out for a ride) and less time dependent.  You can do a great session in 45m-1hr, there is not so much faff with gear.  The caveat to this is to not mindlessly spin away, but rather have a specific session in mind.

I like TrainerRoad for this as it offers good structured programs.  Not only does this provide routine, but the steady increase in effort in each block gives demonstrable improvements which is motivating in itself.  There are of course other platforms available.

- Have you ever done a cycling holiday?  I've done a couple of trips to the Alps... not only does a week in the mountains provide a fitness goal that you have to work toward, but the experience was absolutely brilliant and uplifting.

yeah, we have a BKool but it's in storage.   We have four cats, and there's nowhere to put it up and exclude the cats, so that curious paws won't get mangled in spokes.  

No, I think the best option is to get to the gym.  No excuses, just bloody do it.

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PRSboy [449 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Gym's good.  Spin classes particularly, convert very well to cycling fitness.

I can imagine cats could be a liability (to themselves) around a turbo!

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alansmurphy [2097 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

With Hawkins here, habit over motivation.

 

I have a (free) sit up ap, there's no way I'd do the exercises without the habit and it basically nagging me.

 

My commute, since being extended, has even had a detrimental affect on my weekend ride (as the legs are more tired and I'm fearing boredom). There's a huge difference between doing something because you want to versus have to.

 

If there's an option to mix it up and drive or train in a couple of days then get back and put the trainer in the garden or shut the cats out, do 20 minutes at full beans. Will possibly do more for your motivation than another commute. 

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cycle.london [87 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
PRSboy wrote:

Gym's good.  Spin classes particularly, convert very well to cycling fitness.

I can imagine cats could be a liability (to themselves) around a turbo!

Oh, we have one that would almost certainly get her paws into the spokes!  She's adorable beyond words, even if she is a clingy, attention-seeking little witch.

Gym classes as from Monday, on the days I don't cycle. 

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cycle.london [87 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

With Hawkins here, habit over motivation.

 

I have a (free) sit up ap, there's no way I'd do the exercises without the habit and it basically nagging me.

 

My commute, since being extended, has even had a detrimental affect on my weekend ride (as the legs are more tired and I'm fearing boredom). There's a huge difference between doing something because you want to versus have to.

 

If there's an option to mix it up and drive or train in a couple of days then get back and put the trainer in the garden or shut the cats out, do 20 minutes at full beans. Will possibly do more for your motivation than another commute. 

What's the app?   I used to have the '200 sit-ups' one, but I think that got discontinued, or not updated and so won't run on my iPhone.

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Duncann [1488 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Change job?

Not an instant fix and I don't know what you do but there are lots of opportunities for lots in lots of sectors/roles in London.

If you like your current job (or it pays too well) then maybe there's scope to negotiate some changes?

I don't think anyone mentioned Zwift. Never actually used it myself but it seems to work for some.

If you're in central London, there's also the Regent's Park circuit, which would get boring after a while but beating your own/others' times would make it a bit more interesting. See also Richmond Park, Swain's Lane, Mott Street, Broleur's bergs, etc.

Might be worth mentioning what part of town you're at for home and work - there's bound to be others on here who know the patch and might have suggestions.

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Nat Jas Moe [185 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Sorry but my motivation comes from my wallet. This morning out by 06:15am so up at 05:45. Not back until 19:45. Some weeks I'm leaving half an hour earlier. Yes the weather does not encourage nor the fact that it's dark at both ends. But my wallet is definately healthier for it as is me. Yes I'm a London commuter too.

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Judge dreadful [322 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Do, or do not, there is no try.

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Simon E [3597 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
cycle.london wrote:

My wife goes to the gym three times a week.  Maybe I'll join her.  Most of all, I need to stop sitting here finding excuses for not doing anything.  I'm not of the school of thought that thinks depression can be "cured" by a "kick up the arse", but I don't think it's helped by constantly saying, "Oh, I can't that...".

Even active people without depression can struggle to be motivated and many of us have seen first hand what depression can do to people. But exercise, preferably outdoors, has been shown to be beneficial in reducing the symptoms and helping you out of a hole (which shouldn't be a surprise as it's beneficial for everyone).

This is a tough time of year to be getting up before 5am. Going to bed late is only going to make it even more difficult. Is there a 'middle ground' for settling ona a time to go to bed?

Could you put some structure into the days when you're at home? Not just fitting in some exercise but dividing the day into parts where you do (or focus on) different things. And I'd agree with rationing or banning social media and use of the internet. If you're heading to a cafe then leave the technology behind and spend half an hour reading a book.

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don simon fbpe [2873 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
cycle.london wrote:
srchar wrote:

There seems to be a few things going on here.

1) You're tired.  You've identified that you don't really get enough sleep.  Annoyances, like seeing poor riding, are magnified, as are their impact on your mood.

2) You're not getting out of the house enough.  When I work from home, I always make a point of going to a local cafe for lunch, or at least a coffee.  It gets you out in the fresh air, in the daylight, speaking to other people, and gives you a proper break.  Spending all your time indoors is not good for your mood.

3) It doesn't sound like you really enjoy the type of cycling you're doing.  If you don't enjoy cycle commuting, don't worry that you're not doing enough of it.  If your boss doesn't care about you being present at your computer, get out for a ride during the day.  Delete (or de-activate) your FB account and spend the time on your bike instead.  Think to yourself, "I'm getting paid to go for a ride!".

Maybe a little competition would help?  My partner has a FitBit and is always doing some sort of challenge with a bunch of her mates - who can walk 500km in the least time, who can get the most steps in a week etc.  Have you got any mates on Strava who would be up for something like that?

Almost spot on.  Comments:

1. I've suffered from depression most of my adult life, so perhaps it's a chicken and egg scenario. Is being inside all day affecting my mood, or is my mood making me not want to go out?  Probably a bit of both.

2. Going to a café for lunch is pretty tough as I'm vegan and there are no cafés like that near me. However, a coffee? I like this idea. After the confcall I'm on right now ends, I think I'm going to have a shower and walk down to the parade for a Costa.

3. I actually do enjoy commuting by bike. I get into the office on an almighty high, which doesn't wear off until well into the afternoon. And my colleagues are a decent bunch of people, many of whom are cyclists themselves. The office has free tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks, and I can basically sod off to the pub with the colleagues if I feel so inclined, and come back three hours later with no one bitching to us (although if this happened regularly, I suspect that they might say something).   London drivers are indeed twats of the worst kind, but I've been doing it for long enough now that the "spidey sense" kicks in and I'm aware of what's going on about me.

4.  My wife has a fitbit but I'm a fanboi and bought myself an Apple Watch Series 4 recently. So no chance of having a bit of healthy competititon with her.  She used to cycle into London but stopped after a colleague of hers was killed by a lorry driver two years ago.  She is too petrified to get back on the bike.   Even when she did cycle, we occasionally cycled in together, but she's too slow for me, and she doesn't enjoy feeling 'pressured' into going faster. 

I need to do something, though. 

I would suggest, with experience and respect, that you should address the root of the depression professionally instead of from a few internet pseudo experts. The rest is likely to fall into place after that. Good luck.

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don simon fbpe [2873 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes
Judge dreadful wrote:

Do, or do not, there is no try.

Broken leg?

Walk or don't walk, there is no try.

Depression?

Understand or don't understand, there is no try.

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Yorkshire wallet [2429 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

A job where you can work from home whenever and 3 hour pub trips. You'd be very depressed and demotivated in most other people's jobs.

Work from home and have 3 hour bike ride?

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DoctorFish [180 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

A job where you can work from home whenever and 3 hour pub trips. You'd be very depressed and demotivated in most other people's jobs. Work from home and have 3 hour bike ride?

I'm not sure you understand depression.

 

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srchar [1218 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
don simon wrote:

I would suggest, with experience and respect, that you should address the root of the depression professionally instead of from a few internet pseudo experts. The rest is likely to fall into place after that. Good luck.

This is a tad unfair, Don.  I don't think anybody's claiming to be an expert, but many people commenting on this thread will have experience of depression and I think everyone has struggled for motivation to swing a leg over the bike at some point. The standard of mental health care in this country is hit-and-miss to say the least; for many suffering from mental health issues, discussing them on forums like this one can be very useful.

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don simon fbpe [2873 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:
don simon wrote:

I would suggest, with experience and respect, that you should address the root of the depression professionally instead of from a few internet pseudo experts. The rest is likely to fall into place after that. Good luck.

This is a tad unfair, Don.  I don't think anybody's claiming to be an expert, but many people commenting on this thread will have experience of depression and I think everyone has struggled for motivation to swing a leg over the bike at some point. The standard of mental health care in this country is hit-and-miss to say the least; for many suffering from mental health issues, discussing them on forums like this one can be very useful.

I'll let you decide as to whether I include myself under the pseudo expert umbrella, or not.
Talking is always good, talking with a proper trained expert is always better. There's some pretty shit advice in here already which probably doesn't help people open up, or not.

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rjfrussell [515 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

if you want/ need external motivation, sign up for one of the spring classics sportives-  RVV, Amstel Gold, LBL all good.

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peted76 [1320 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Agree 100%, having a goal is a good motivator! Whether that's a 10k run, doing your favourite loop at a certain pace or just not getting dropped by mates on a 100mile sportif, whatever it is, setting a goal helps motivate.

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madcarew [945 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Just wanted to say what a great supportive tone in this thread. Best wishes to our London Commuter  1

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