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Staying Mentally Tough During COVID-19
- Updated: April 21, 2020
Focusing On What You Can Control Helps Manage Stress And Keep You Focused On Being Productive In The Face Of Uncertainty •
Firstly, I hope you and your families are healthy and safe. As we navigate these unprecedented times, I want to check-in with you and make sure you’re staying mentally fit. In our time together through my SportStars blog, we have undoubtedly discussed, “controlling the controllables.” Here is a list of ways you can use your mental skills for staying mentally tough during COVID-19…
Use your imagery skills to practice your sport, especially if you are unable to practice. As you know, the more sensory details you include in your imagery, the more you’ll engage your nervous system and therefore your muscle memory will stay intact. This will ultimately make for a smoother transition back to sport and minimize the feeling of being “rusty.”
Go to you imagery lists in your MentalApp account to revisit your priorities for technical performance (reps), tactical practice (sequences) and highlights. Set aside five minutes, 1 or 2 times per day to do your imagery sessions. REMEMBER: Imagery is the ONLY time to focus on being perfect. Only review your BEST performances. Delete any wrong execution that pops up in your imagery session.
2. GAP EXERCISE-
This is a form of meditation. Given that our lives have drastically slowed down temporarily, now you have the time to practice. Also, without the normal daily stressors, you may find that learning how to meditate is a bit easier as your mind is naturally quieter/slower. If you’re already feeling confident with the GAP exercise, then give a longer meditation a try. I strongly recommend doing a trial membership with the app Headspace or, my personal favorite meditation app, Calm. Both can be found in the App store or Google Play. This is an investment in your long-term mental toughness, and will come in handy when all of life’s stresses are in full-swing once again — especially competitive stress!
Another benefit to appreciate during the shelter-at-home order is the extra rest. Every, literally EVERY student-athlete I work with is not getting enough rest to support academics, training and daily homework. I’ve enjoyed seeing athletes (online) over the last few weeks well rested and less stressed. Enjoy it while it lasts, and be sure to “bookmark” the feeling of low-stress and rested, as full-life mode will return before we know it.
OLYMPIC ROLE MODELS: Mental Health During Covid-19
I know you’ve been personally impacted in a major way by the stay-at-home order with the cancellation of your season, your planned competitions and for many of you, even your daily training. This is devastating, I know.
We all hope to be back to our sports and competition as soon as is safe to do so. I have been incredibly impressed by many Olympic hopefuls and how they have responded to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being postponed for a year.
Training most of your life for one competition, only to have it postponed, is extraordinarily tough and completely uncontrollable. For some athletes, this will mean no Olympics. For others, it will mean a better chance at qualifying. Regardless, both those whom I am personally connected to, and those I’ve watched from a distance, are projecting a consistent message: As difficult as it is, postponing is the right decision.
This is resilience in action.
This is flexible thinking.
And this is mental toughness!
These athletes are serving as great role models for us all.
Do you Need support to stay mentally strong?
I’m working from home and available to meet with clients on Monday’s and some afternoons. I’d love to hear from you and help you stay mentally fit.
Does someone you know need to begin mental training?
Now is a great time to prepare for the return of competition. With extra time on hand, now is a great time for student-athletes to commit to mental training and add an important set of tools for upcoming competitions and training stressors.
Do you know a team, club or organization that wants to include mental training in their shelter-in-place break? EW Performance offers several fully-online courses to serve groups of all sizes and sports.