The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty in life. This, in return, can result in a lot of anxiety and doubt about the future. For someone with a mental illness, this time of change can make you more prone to triggers and anxiety spikes. As an athlete with OCD, this is a time where I personally have to make sure I am taking every precaution mentally. I need to use what I have learned through therapy and what I learned on my own to make sure that I am on track and keeping a positive attitude through all of this.
Here are some tips that have been helpful for me during this tough time:
Keep a Strong Support System
It is very important to be able to lean on your loved ones and support one another during this time. It is a stressful time for all of us and we need each other now more than ever. Just being able to talk to your family or significant other and voice your anxiety can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. We are very fortunate to have modern technology where we can talk to our family and friends at any hour of the day. Not only is talking essential, but take advantage of video chats like Zoom and Facetime. These features will make sure you stay connected with your loved ones. Human connection is key!
I have been in contact with my therapist through this whole process. I know it might be tough to see your therapist one on one, but if there is any way to do an online session, I highly recommend it. Just like many of us devote an hour to our physical health at the gym, it is just as important to devote an hour to your mental health at therapy. For athletes who have lost their season due to this pandemic, it is especially important to talk to someone. Just talking it out can make all the difference for your mental health.
Using the Calm app, I try to meditate at least a few times a week. During a stressful time like this, meditation can help you focus on the moment, slow down your heart rate, and relax your mind and body. Here are a few listed benefits to meditation:
- Reduces Stress
- Controls Anxiety
- Promotes Emotional Health
- Can Generate Kindness
- Helps you live in the moment
As an athlete, you have a daily routine for your sport; you go to the gym, go to practice, get treatment and make sure you are staying on a healthy diet. Being home and social distancing can break that routine and cause you to take days off. Taking rest days is great, but it is essential to make sure that you are sticking to some sort of physical routine right now. I am fortunate enough to have some equipment to use but if you don’t, I suggest trying to stay active with cardio and calisthenics.
This is the most important tip that can help an athlete through any part of their life. Positive self-talk during sport helps you stay focused and can bring your confidence up. If you lose your confidence, it has a direct impact on your game. Just like in life, you have to stay confident and positive self-talk directly impacts that. Other benefits of positive self-talk are noted below.
Just because we are social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy nature! Go and see what’s out there!
Try implementing at least one of these tips into your daily routine! We are all in this together and the most important thing to remember is to stay positive and this too shall pass.