It’s safe to say none of us predicted all the twists and turns 2020 has come to offer. From a global pandemic to economic uncertainty, it’s been a year unlike any other.
If you’re an athlete, chances are high that at least one of your marquee races or events was postponed or cancelled. Never before have there been such widespread event cancellations nationwide! As driven people, it’s understandable that athletes are feeling frustrated, lost, and even burnt out by the lack of clarity on what the next six months may bring.
At GritLink, we recognize that health is physical and mental. To stay physically healthy, you must also attend to your mental health needs. Here are some tips and tricks to keep you moving forward to brighter days ahead.
Remember your “Why”
At some point, you had a burning desire to jump into your sport. Even if you stumbled in more than “jumped,” there was something about the activity that held you captive (in the good kind of way). Whether the camaraderie of other athletes, the challenging races, the engaging training, or a combination of factors, certain aspects of your sport helped form your “why.”
As 2020 continues to evolve, it’s the perfect time to reassess and reconnect to your original “why.” Maybe you’ve come to find that you actually enjoy training more than racing. Perhaps your virtual training buddies are now a bigger part of your why than they’ve ever been before. Or it’s possible that you’ve recommitted to staying injury-free, and the excitement to race in 2021 is motivating you to get those strength workouts done.
Spend some time digging into that why – you may be surprised with what you come up with.
It’s Ok to Grieve
In this age of nonstop social media feeds, it is easy to get caught in the comparison trap. While many are doing their best to show positive, productive outcomes from these confusing times, it’s important to remember that you own your emotions.
If you’re feeling sad, angry, or just down about your big race being cancelled, that’s okay. You don’t have to pretend to feel otherwise. It’s key to take time to feel those raw emotions and not shoo them away. Those emotions mean you care and are dedicated to your goals.
To avoid getting caught up in your grief, though, seek out positive outlets like family, friends (from a safe distance!), and other athletes. It can also help to set a new goal, whether that’s a virtual race, a solo challenge, or new activity all together!
Many of us may identify as Type A athletes – we take care of others first, make sure details are squared away, and never miss an appointment. These are all excellent qualities, but they can be draining.
Carve out time each day – even just a few minutes – to take a deep breath, read some soothing quotes, or simply stretch out your muscles. Giving yourself even a small bit of time to press “pause” on everything and everyone else can help ground and reset your mind.
Apps like Calm, Headspace, and others can also provide soothing stories and soundtracks to keep you feeling tranquil throughout the day.
Now is a great time to refocus on your mental well-being – it will serve all of us well in the coming months and in 2021 when we are back on start lines across the globe.
Looking for more structured help? GritLink has providers in the sports psychology space.
By Kristin Goett. Kristin is a social media marketing and public relations professional who currently resides in the Denver area. A triathlete herself, Kristin knows firsthand how important it is to have access to great providers. When she isn’t checking Instagram or posting to Facebook, Kristin is spending her days in the Colorado mountains and training for her next Ironman.
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