27 Mar 5 Ways to Reframe When Training Gets Derailed
Hanging up your goggles for an indefinite period is enough to strike terror into the heart of any swimmer. Yet as the saying goes, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”
As athletes, we usually counter obstacles by going the extra mile, working harder, agonizing over technique. But since the outbreak of COVID-19, many sports—often a source of pleasure, camaraderie, and positive mental health—have been off-limits, leaving many of us feeling like fish out of water. The good news is that learning to refocus will not only help you stay sane during quarantine, it will also make you a better, more resilient athlete when you return to the ocean.
The spread of COVID-19 has been scary. Life right now is anything but normal. Quite aside from the disruption to your training, there’s every chance you’re feeling anxious and stressed, which will leave you exhausted, stiff and out of sorts. However, the good news is that instead of focusing on the negatives, you could use this downtime to make small but powerful changes.
Five tips to build mental resilience:
1. Accept what you can’t control: Yes, athletes do what they do by overcoming hurdles. They’re a stubborn bunch. But there’s gold in learning to walk away from what won’t serve you. Jot down the things that are truly out of your control. The written word has the power to help us process difficult situations. Make your list, look at it, read it out loud, accept it, then kiss it goodbye.
2. Embrace what you can control: Even when you’re stuck inside there are plenty of positive things that will focus your mind. Not only will it distract from bad news but it’s also a great technique you can use to become a more adaptable athlete. Create a checklist like this:
- Overhaul your nutrition (Your body will thank you for the extra TLC and be better primed to cope with unavoidable stress).
- Drink more water.
- Go for a run.
- Take Fido for a walk.
- Find a new favorite strength workout (follow @deuce_gym or @deuce_athletics on IG!)
- Try one of the many online yoga classes.
- Been looking for an excuse to get more sleep? Here it is.
Ultimately, It’s About Adjusting Your Attitude. See The Opportunities. Get Creative.
3. Story shifts: We all do it. Listen to the stories fed to us by our internal voice. Stories that aren’t necessarily true but we accept as gospel. When those negative stories pop up, accept any associated feelings, but instead of pushing them away, reframe them.
Right now, your story probably sounds something like: “When this is over I’ll be out of shape and there’s no coming back.” Flip the narrative. Tell yourself, “This is an opportunity to work on that weakness (whatever it may be) so I can come back stronger than ever.” Do it every day, on repeat. It takes time, patience, and repetition, but it pays off.
4. Stay connected: We’re social animals and in tough times, community is everything. Connect with coaches, friends, family, and lovers. Use tech for good. Join community calls, Facebook Live, virtual workouts, and stay in touch via social media. Set up a Netflix Party or Kast and watch a movie with friends. Never underestimate what we can achieve together. Use this time to dream up new goals or revisit enduring ones, share them with your community and allow people to support you.
5. Remember, you’re more than your sport: Sure, you might derive a keen sense of accomplishment from swimming, running or whatever you do, but you’re enough with or without your sport. For whoever needs to hear it—at all times, you are worthy. (Thank you, Brené Brown).
Keep calm, stay positive.
The most important thing to focus on right now? Doing everything to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy. This too shall pass. And when you feel frustrations rise or you feel out of control—know that’s normal and don’t beat yourself up. Reframe the situation as the freedom to try something new or work on those little details that get neglected in the pace of normal life.
Just know that the ocean will be waiting…