With the pandemic wreaking havoc, there are no sports events to speak of, the opportunities for training are limited, and the future of sportspersons the world over is looking bleak. Many athletes have no idea when they will be able to return to their pre-pandemic competitive routines. The uncertainty of what the future will bring is causing an enormous amount of stress and depression. Some useful strategies for the general public and sportspersons for improving the mental framework:
Develop a Daily Routine
With no competitive events to look forward to, you may think you have the freedom to do whatever you like the entire day. However, it can leave you feeling directionless. You need to build a schedule that you can follow, starting with when you rise in the morning, cook breakfast, spend time with the family, or train at home. With the environment being dynamic, you should be open to changing your schedule after consulting your coach all the way. You need a sense of purpose and a structured routine, including training, to help you from getting into the rut of depression, observes Michael Osland. While extended training may no longer be possible, you should still try to make the most of the time you can devote to it.
Practice Visualization Techniques
Even though physical workouts with other athletes may not be feasible, you can use imagery to get mentally ready to return to action. For example, if you are a competitive swimmer, you can try to imagine how the water looks and what you will feel as you dive in. Try to imagine yourself participating in an important event because you can train your brain to work despite being in an imaginary situation. To make it even more realistic, you can use a stopwatch to time your imaginary participation and see how far you can match your actual performances by watching videos of your earlier events.
Get Enough Sleep, Recommends Michael Osland
Maintaining sleep discipline is essential for keeping your mood positive and reducing stress and depression. Make it a point to go to be at the same time in the night and rise at the same time in the morning. Do not carry your mobile phone or laptop to bed or try to watch TV in the bedroom. You may find it relaxing to take a warm bath before retiring. By making the bedroom a silent zone with the curtains drawn, you can get restful sleep that will reduce your stress level and improve your immunity. According to Northwestern Medicine, a daily routine can also help you to get better sleep.
Perhaps the biggest issue that sportspersons and others are facing due to the pandemic is the loss of social contact. With restrictions in movement and the need to maintain social distancing, getting together with your buddies may not be possible, but you can still maintain and nurture your social relationships using your phone, video conferencing, messaging, and other methods of reaching out. Above all, dare to admit that you are not feeling well mentally and need assistance to get going again.