First priority is to keep calm and stay well informed.

Challenge yourself and your entourage to set new goals and adapt your daily behaviour to any changes in your situation.

Stay in regular contact with your friends and family.

Paul Wylleman
Netherlands - Performance Manager
Sport psychologist
The Team NL sports psychologist specialises in high performance and mental health

1

Choose trusted communication channels 

Major news stories can lead to an overwhelming amount of information coming your way. It is important that you have trusted sources that you can check two to three times per day, but make sure not to consume too much information, as this may lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed or even helplessness. To find out whether new information matters to you as an athlete, ask yourself: “What does this mean for me and my entourage?”

2

Manage your thoughts  

It is normal to feel a certain amount of confusion and anxiety during times of uncertainty. Make sure you stay on top of this by actively controlling your thoughts. You have to accept that you cannot always be in control of the situation, but that you have the ability to take some specific measures that can deal with your challenges, to keep your daily life as structured as possible.

Negative thoughts and feelings occur to everyone in a challenging situation, but avoid paying too much attention to them. Try to shift your attention by focusing on a word, thought or behaviour that actively helps you to relax, let go and live your daily life.

One technique you can use is the 456. Four times a day, you should breathe in for five seconds and then breathe out for six seconds while slowly lowering your shoulders. This will help relieve tension and unrest.

3

Adapt to new situations 

Visualising how you will behave can help you to keep up your daily activities and deal with the feeling that something is missing.

4

Keep your eye on the future

Make sure you regularly speak with your coach and entourage about how to manage your daily training, but also coach yourself to maintain supportive thoughts and feelings. Part of this can be done by setting new, concrete goals. Establish realistic and achievable goals, which you have discussed with your coach and plan to achieve through daily activities.

ONE TECHNIQUE YOU CAN USE IS THE 456. FOUR TIMES A DAY, YOU SHOULD BREATHE IN FOR FIVE SECONDS AND THEN BREATHE OUT FOR SIX SECONDS WHILE SLOWLY LOWERING YOUR SHOULDERS. THIS WILL HELP RELIEVE TENSION AND UNREST.

PAUL WYLLEMAN

5

Sharpen your online social game

One of the most important things you can do is to talk to others, and we are fortunate to live in an era where we can chat to others digitally with ease. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others is an important part of being human. It can be a lot harder to do online, but maintaining regular contact with your entourage and other people who are important to you is vital to staying #MentallyFit.

6

Lean on your network 

Challenging situations can make you feel restless, irritable, or even insecure. Sometimes this can also lead to a feeling of lack of control, avoidance behaviour, disturbed sleep, anxiety, or even panic.

You will not always be able to communicate with body language, but make sure that you are able to speak to others. Sharing your problems as well as your daily activities will help you to maintain a stable lifestyle during times of uncertainty, and contact with a licensed mental health professional will help you to deal with the psychological impact of the situation.

Be part of the solution by filming your activity and sharing it with fans; this can be therapeutic for you too.

Check out the resources on Athlete365 designed to help you stay #MentallyFit