Lockdown And Mental Health

Given the current scenario, uncertainty has become our new normal. Not only for athletes but for everybody, life has slowed down and there is this growing ambiguity that we all are collectively. Such situations affect not only our physical mobility but gets emotionally overwhelming too, having said that there is help available for you to deal with this better. The most reverberated statement, “stay safe, stay healthy” is being echoed and I urge you all here to take care of not just your body but also you mind. Because, pink of health also accounts for a healthy mind!

This situation is also stressful for athletes since the sport calendars have gone for a toss, their practice facilities have been locked down, and in all, the athletes have been drawn away from their comfortable environments. All of this impacts their emotional and mental health. Being a Sport Psychologist, I continue to work with my athletes using the available online mediums. I prefer looking at this current scenario as ‘physical distancing’ instead of ‘social distancing’ as we all can make good use of social media to stay connected with our team mates, coaches, support staff, practice partners, etc. We’ve come across the quote “Sport is 90% mental”, and the current time is the perfect scenario to work on this 90%.

So, what can be done while you are home to ensure your mental wellbeing?

  • Visualization Drills – an athlete can invest this time in training his mind by getting the mental repetitions going. An athlete can visualize the technical strokes or body language and make amends where necessary.
  • Performance Analysis – staying connected with the coach online and going over your competition performances or even training clips can be beneficial. An athlete can maintain notes of these analysis sessions. Ensure that you are being critical but just enough and at the same time investing in positive analysis, because balance is key.
  • Learning To Learn – a lot of times athletes spend the time in their sporting environment and may not get to indulge in their hobbies or learn something new – get creative, learn a new skill online, reading a book, enrolling for online courses, etc. It will help you strike a nice balance and may help you stay productive.
  • Stay In Touch With Your Sport – doing one thing daily that is going to help you perform better and stay connected with your goals, do the basics right. Schedule video calls with your practice partners and friends to stay connected.
  • Focus On Your Physical Fitness – even if you are home, you can still work on your fitness level. If need be, workout with your team mates online, it might help you stay motivated.

It is imminent to understand that this is not a productivity contest, it isn’t a race, don’t treat it like one. Accept your emotions and feelings, because it is absolutely okay to feel low on some days. Know that we are all dealing with the crisis to the best of our capacity. Taking one day at a time will help you manage your overwhelming thoughts. One last thing that we all can practice is gratitude, it has profound benefits on our overall mental wellbeing. Every night before sleeping spend 4-5 minutes reflecting on your entire day. Think about the things that you are grateful for – food, electricity, water, internet; however basic those might be. It’s a good practice to indulge in, I vouch for this personally! If further, you still feel you need to offload or have a conversation with someone non-judgmental, you can always connect with me on my Instagram handle @thepinkkproject. It’s always good to have an unbiased ear, isn’t it? Help is available, its just a text away. 😊

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