What to do during COVID-19

Dear Athletes,

I know most of us never predicted that 2020 would be the year that a virus would have sports across the world cancelled. It’s interesting, I’ve always believed sports to be the medicine we take when things are going wrong in our society, now we don’t have as much access to our favorite drug, to our lively hood.  For some of you, this virus just ended your season, postponed your dreams or even sped up your retirement; and I want you to know that it is perfectly okay to be upset, confused, stressed or anxious, with so many unknowns around us right now. I wanted to give you some tips and tricks to minimize your anxiety and stress and make the most out of the game you love.

Stress and Anxiety

The irony of all of this is, the more we stress or the more anxious we are the more at risk we put ourselves at risk of becoming sick. Stress and anxiety weaken our immune systems so if we over experience those emotions it essentially becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, you will eventually get sick. That does not mean it will be Coronavirus but even a regular cold can be complicated at this time.

  1. Grounding -When you find yourself becoming anxious bring your attention back to the room by identifying :

2 things you see

2 things you hear

2 things you smell

2 things you can tactically feel (like clothes, the ground etc.)

2 things you taste (I know this is a hard one)

  • Deliberate Breathing-

Sit up tall and uncross your arms and legs OR lay down flat. Place a hand on your chest and a hand on your diaphragm. Breath in for 4 seconds then out for 4 seconds. Do this with the same cadence until you feel yourself relaxing. Focus on your breathing or imagine something that you are grateful for while you continue your breathing.

*if this style does work with you, inhale for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale for 3 seconds.

What to do while you can’t play or formally practice:

  • Practice Imagery- Imagery is an easy way to practice a sport and get better when you physically don’t have the capabilities to practice. Our brains don’t know the difference from when we are physically practicing or mentally practicing, and we can still improve our skills just by visualizing. Make the image as real as possible, incorporate as many senses as possible and begin working on skills and techniques you need to improve or to reinforce the basics.
  • Stick to your Routine- As much a possible stick to your already established routine, make sure that you are getting sleep, still practicing, working out , educating yourself and NOT just becoming a vegetable on the couch. What will most likely drive people crazy is feeling like they are trapped, if we stick to our routine it will feel less restrictive and easier to transition back when this is all over.
  • Workout – Keep moving and staying physical. If you can afford it, order some resistance bands, jump ropes or any other light equipment that will help you stay mobile and not lose any conditioning. Working out also boosts your immune system. Do not stop working out, if you need help coming up with ideas look online for plenty of at home workouts or go for a run or even the gym is still an option (if you disinfect). I suggest Yoga for relaxing, flexibility and a goof stretch.
  • Eat healthy- You will not be working out as much as before so please keep track of your macros, eat fresh food as much as possible and don’t use this as an excuse to start binging on junk food. Again, we want to keep our immune systems strong and stay in shape because we never know when this will be all over.
  • Pick Up a New Hobby- This is the time that you can start marking stuff off your bucket list. Try something new like art or music, maybe read that book or watch that movie you’ve been putting off. That is all self-care.
  • Stay in Contact- If it gets to the point that we must go into isolation or be quarantined please do not stop talking to people that are closes to you. FT your teammates, coaches, friends and family and continue to talk. Use this time to strengthen your relationships and reconnect with those most important to you.
  • Research- Watch film. Watch film of yourself, watch film of professionals, watch interviews and specials that you can find on ESPN or YouTube. These are great learning opportunities for you to be able to continue to develop your skill and see where you can begin improving.
  • Journal and reflect- Write down your thoughts and how you feel, separate yourself from them. April 1st  I will publish a mindfulness workbook for the month of April, check it out.
  • Ask For help- If you need me contact me, as we all go through this journey it is okay to reach out to someone who can understand your emotions and help you get through it. If you’re realizing that you can benefit from a Mental Coach, now is the time to reach out. If you are struggling with any of the above-mentioned tips, I am here to help.

Remember, we are in this together. Wash your hands, relax and be patient. We will get through this.

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