1(904)362-3629 [email protected]

5 Olympian-Worthy Coping Strategies to Use During the Pandemic

Youd never think that Tessa Virtue had any self-doubt. But the recently-retired Canadian ice dancerand most decorated female Olympic figure skater in historyremembers worrying about falling in front of judges, despite the countless hours she spent practicing. The moments of uncertainty, self-doubt, stress, pressure, and anxiety are endless as an athlete, says Virtue.To succeed as a professional athlete, it takes not just physical strength, but also mental strength. Virtue credits her ability to manage her negative thoughts to Jean Franois Mnard, mental performance coach and public speaker. His approach ensured I not only expected nerves, but rather embraced and practiced handling them, says Virtue.Mnards coping strategies arent just reserved for athletes ahead of a game or performance. Virtue also applies Mnards advice to her everyday life, when facing worries during the pandemic. Crafting healthy routines, being comfortable within the uncomfortable, and celebrating little wins are three pillars I have held onto (tightly), says Virtue.In light of Mnards book Train (Your Brain) Like an Olympian published in January, 2021, we caught up with him to learn about the coping strategies he teaches Olympians that everyone could use right now. Here, Mnards five ways to weather through the mental toll of uncertainty.(Related: 6 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety That Can Help You Feel Calmer)

1. Accept your lack of motivation

We are not as focused as we were before [the pandemic], says Mnard. Now, many people are juggling working-from-home with childcare, housework, and sharing space with other family membersall on top of pandemic stress. Everything is different than it was before the pandemic, so if we compare our motivation to what we had then, were going to lose, Mnard says. This may mean creating new goals for yourselfones that are more realistic given the current stateand readjusting your perspective.

2. Practice mental toughness

To deal with difficult situations, we require mental toughness, says Mnard. For that, he recommends using “FEAR,” an acronym for face everything and risewhich involves adopting a positive and constructive attitude. Rather than succumbing to the deluge of bad news, appreciate the strength you gained to overcome it and the lessons you learned. Think about what it is going to take later on [after the pandemic] to throw you off, says Mnard. You have the chance of coming out stronger.

3. Embrace sisu

The key to building up mental strength is “sisu,” a Finnish concept that basically means you need to establish a combination of perseverance, resiliency, courage and bravery, says Mnard. Its the act of pushing yourself forward despite the uncertainty of the pandemic and finding the discipline to adapt and keep carrying on when it feels like you cant. Mnard gives the example of having to work from home: you could either continue to stress over the office reopening or you could accept the situation and work on organizing your current environment to make it work for you as best as possible. The achievement is in knowing that you did everything you could to come close to pre-pandemic productivity levels.

4. Get more SENS

I dont think there is a better time to take care of ourselves, Mnard says. He uses the acronym SENS to stand for sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management. While this one might seem obvious, he points out that many of us simply dont prioritize SENS enough in our lives. Youre in full control of your inside world and that is where you need to put your focus, he says.

5. Remember: It is what it is, not what its supposed to be

This quote is from Mnards book. Get away from what is supposed to be or what you would love to do, says Mnard. Bring your thoughts back to what is going on right now. If 2020 was the year of cancelled plans, 2021 is the year of not even knowing what to plan for, and that can make us feel out of control. Instead, try to appreciate the simple bits of pleasures found in your day-to-day life.As a perfectionist, I often have to remind myself to rejoice in the little victories, however small, says Virtue. As long as such celebrations are consistent, she says, theyll help build confidence and boost your mood.Next: How Rumination and Obsessive Thoughts Are Linked to Anxiety and Depression

The post 5 Olympian-Worthy Coping Strategies to Use During the Pandemic appeared first on Best Health Magazine Canada.

Site Link