Look after yourself

In times of uncertainty, it’s normal to feel worried, confused, stressed, sad or even angry. These are common responses to a very uncommon situation. Remember to stay engaged with your support system and to speak to someone if you need help. Remember that you are not alone; we are all in this together. Athlete365 is here to help you with a range of tailored content, tools and support.

  • The IOC Mental Health Working Group has developed some self-care tips to help you stay #MentallyFit during this time of uncertainty.
  • These include prioritising sleep and nutrition, staying connected, and challenging negative thoughts to improve your mental health.
  • Join the Athlete365 Community and follow our website and social channels for the latest updates related to COVID-19.

Your daily routines and schedules have been significantly disrupted. Try to find a new routine that includes the following self-care tips.

Keep up a healthy lifestyle, especially sleep and nutrition

Self-care is always important, but even more so during social distancing. Maintain your sleep habits and aim to sleep well in regular hours (seven to nine hours per night). Try to eat healthily (fresh fruits and vegetables, familiar protein sources, carbohydrates, matching energy intake to your exercise levels) and to avoid alcohol.

Maintain sufficient physical/physiological load

Maintain an appropriate level of physical/physiological load and focus on general endurance, sport-specific endurance (intermittent bouts of exercise), speed, strength, coordination and/or flexibility. For instance, strength, coordination and flexibility exercises can be performed outside, in the gym or at home. The IOC has developed for elite and recreational athletes from various sports the free smartphone/tablet app ’Get Set – Train Smarter’. Available in different languages on Google Play and the App Store, this app offers evidence-based and effective exercises and could be a handy tool for you over the next few months.

Stay connected

Social distancing should not mean social disconnection. Use apps and other technology to stay connected and be mindful that you might want to check in with your network on a more frequent basis than usual. Share your feelings with a friend or family member. Lean on your support systems and maintain relationships. Schedule joint home training with a team-mate and work out together remotely via FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp. And take this unique opportunity to re-connect with family and friends!

Take breaks

Make time to unplug and decrease sensory overload. Try to turn to activities that you enjoy. Listen to music, take a walk, read a book or watch a favourite TV show.

Work on your mental game

Focus on what you can control, as we can sometimes fixate on events outside of our control. Ask yourself: “What can I control in this situation?” Set your sights on what you can control and focus on making yourself look calm and in control.

Challenge negative thoughts

It is easy to assume the worst will occur and you won’t be able to handle it. Instead, remind yourself of transitions and challenges you have navigated in the past. Ask yourself:1. What is the worst case scenario?2. What is the likelihood of this scenario?3. Even if this were to happen, what are the realistic consequences? Could I handle it?4. Does worrying about this outcome help prevent it from happening?

Stay informed with the latest developments

Avoid reading everything on COVID-19 in the news or on social media, as this can unnecessarily amplify stress or worry. But make sure you stay informed with the latest developments from reliable sites such as the World Health Organization and Athlete365.

For more expert advice on how to stay positive, check out this piece from Team NL sport psychologist Paul Wylleman.