This pandemic that the whole world is facing has affected all of us in some form or another. Some of us had to bid goodbye to our final season as a student-athlete as we were abruptly sent home for the whole of the spring season. Whilst some of us have to wake up everyday to a life of uncertainties like not knowing when businesses will return to regular hours and whether we will still have our jobs when all this is over. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which would be a relief to some athletes, but a major disruption to others as it means putting aside yet another year of their lives for the love of their sport. Cancellations, closures, postponements, uncertainties, if you are stressed by all that is happening around you, you are not alone. Here are some tips on how you can cope with all these changes.
Changes are hard because it affects our daily routine and when your routine is out of sync, some of us may feel lost and/or even depressed. The first step to move forward is to know that it is normal for us to feel this way. We as people, are creatures of habit and we need some sort of certainty in our lives but right now, there are so many uncertainties and that can leave you feeling frustrated, especially for some of us who are Type A individuals who want things to be in our control. It is important for us to acknowledge that these changes are happening. Let us accept that this is happening to us, to our loved ones, our neighbors, to the people around us and everyone around the world.
Tell yourself, “I am aware that these changes I am going through with work/school/training/life are challenging. Now what can I do about it?
6) Control the Controllable
There are a lot of things that are out of our control right now. We do not know when this pandemic will end, we are not sure when life will return to normal, or even if it will. We do not know what policies and regulations the government will have for us tomorrow. So, let us focus on things we can control instead. A famous saying reminds us that, life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it. What is in our control? Our thoughts, our attitude, our actions and our behaviors.
Wake up everyday seizing every opportunity to learn, grow and be better. It is not Groundhog Day, it is another opportunity to be better than we were yesterday. A few days of brooding over the self-isolation policy is enough, now time to get off the couch and get life going!
We are not fortune tellers - we do not know what the future holds, so let’s not worry about the future for now. Focus on the now. What can you do now that your future self will thank you for?
"We are not fortune tellers - we do not know what the future holds, so let’s not worry about the future for now. Focus on the now. What can you do now that your future self will thank you for?"
5) Learn something new each day
Use this time to learn and grow. Have you always wanted to learn to play your ukulele that has been sitting in the corner of your room collecting dust? Read that book you bought and have not touched? Learn a new recipe? Pick up a new language? The options out there to do something even in the confines of your room are endless!
We are connected to the whole world via the Internet. However, be careful of what you absorb from the online world. Some information may be inaccurate or even dangerous, so be diligent with what you read and watch. This is not a time for bad energy or criticisms, instead, spread love, hope, prayers and kindness. The world needs more of that right now.
The days, weeks and months will pass whether or not you did something different or learnt something new. So why not make the most out of this time?
"The days, weeks and months will pass whether or not you did something different or learnt something new. So why not make the most out of this time?"
4) Get back into a routine
Yes, we all have fallen out of our daily routine. Gone were the days we wake up at 5am to row with our crewmates in the dark. Working from home is filled with distractions- the TV, the snacks, the couch, the dogs, and the kids! So what now?
Set yourself a new routine! It is your chance to take control of yet another thing in your life. The only person who knows yourself best is you. If you have the most energy in the morning, get that workout done before the day begins. If you love coffee but your favorite cafe is closed, make your own coffee. Not everything has to go out of sync. We have to learn to be a chameleon here- change and adapt.
Make time blocks for your daily schedule and be disciplined with yourself about it. 7-9am is time to get my workout in. 10-12pm you are in work mode. 12pm-1pm is lunch time and time to scroll through your social media platforms. Remember to give yourself breaks. Let’s get to it!
"Not everything has to go out of sync. We have to learn to be a chameleon here - change and adapt."
3) Stay connected
Being socially isolated is challenging because we are social creatures and we are so used to being around people, especially the bunch of us who live in big cities. This is a time to connect to the people who we have yet to catch up with because of our busy lives.
For those of us who see our teammates almost everyday, we still can see them everyday virtually. Get a Zoom workout in with your crew. Each person suggests 1-2 exercises and everyone performs a few sets of them!
2) Ask for help
Everyone is facing his or her own challenges but wear your heart on your sleeve and embrace these moments of difficult times. Talk it out with someone you trust and do not be afraid of asking for help or advice. You may not get the answers or help you want but sometimes, just knowing that there are others who are going through the same obstacles as you can make you feel better. Most of the time, you will realize that the issues that you are facing are negligible as compared to what others are experiencing.
That does not mean that the problems you are facing are not stressors. The change in perspective may help make things become more manageable and allow you to take control of some aspects that felt out of sync in your life.
Boston Marathon has been postponed from April to September, which means it is back to the drawing block for some of us who have been training for the big day. The Olympics has been pushed back to a year later. All the hard work that we have put in during winter does not have to go to waste. Take it as an opportunity to be better prepared for our big races.
Some of our races are cancelled and yes, that is awful! But hey, there are future races to train for. Your life as a runner or a rower or a swimmer does not have to end just because you have to miss a whole season of racing. Who you are and what you are made of lie in what you do on a daily basis and not in the position you obtain at the national championships. The time will come for you to shine.
And for the rest of us who have been giving plenty of excuses that we do not have time to train, well, now is the best time to workout. The gyms are closed but bodyweight exercises and functional training can do wonders to your body.
For us who are still allowed to head outdoors for some form of physical activity but still are maintaining a safe distance from others, use this time to explore a new trail and enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. If your state or country is not allowing you to be outside, there are many online fitness programs for you to do right now.
Share with your family and friends these tips and let’s continue to stay at home, stay safe and healthy. Wash your hands with soap regularly and let’s all work together to get through these trying times.
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