The COVID-19 Pandemic is causing disruption to the day to day lives of people all over the globe. There are plenty of us in the BJJ community who can’t train or compete with the current isolation measures, and no one really knows when things will return to normal. This is a very scary thought for most people, but especially for competitive sports men and women.
This crisis is not only taking a toll on people's physical wellbeing but also the state of their mental health. Many rely on exercise and getting outdoors to maintain a positive mindset, and not being able to do these things can be hard. However, there are ways to stay mentally fit while you’re stuck indoors. And, with all of this time we all now have to spare, there's no excuse not to focus on yourself!
Yoga & Meditation
Just because you don’t have a lot of room for intense body movement, doesn’t mean you have to cut it out altogether. Yoga is a great way to strengthen your core and work on your flexibility whilst relaxing the mind. Even if you just do it for meditative purposes, yoga is one of the best ways to maintain your peace in these trying times. There are plenty of free yoga tutorials on YouTube, from beginner to advanced level, to keep you busy for the next few weeks in isolation.
If you want all the benefits of yoga without the movement, you can try meditation. Meditation sometimes gets a bad wrap for its alternative origins. However it is a proven relaxation method that is often recommended by psychologists for anxiety and depression sufferers. Practicing mindfulness trains your brain using helpful coping skills to reduce stress levels and refocus your thoughts. Apps like Smiling Mind, Oak & Happy Not Perfect are fantastic to get you started on your meditation journey.
With the busy lives we all lead, many of us neglect the activities that make us feel most content. Whether it be running a nice bath, reading a book, playing a video game or investing more time into passions besides work and sport; these leisurely activities are so important. When you stop investing time and energy into yourself, you allow space for unwanted thoughts and sadness to settle in, especially when we’re in such uncertain times. So, treat your isolation like a mini holiday and use breaks in work or parenting to spend time on yourself.
Starting new hobbies
It's easy for adults to get stuck in a comfortable routine that is enjoyable and low stress. However, strict routines don’t leave much wiggle room for experiencing new things and expanding your knowledge. We all have those little activities that we’ve always wanted to try. For example, you might want to paint something for a wall in your house or start a bullet journal. It’s important to remind yourself of the small victories in life and the amount of satisfaction you can get from achieving something small. Get those endorphins pumping!
If you’re not sure what to do, try doing something completely opposite to your usual hobbies. If you’re not much of a reader, pick up a book. If you like being in nature but hate TV, watch a nature documentary. There is always something to learn from doing something outside of your comfort zone. Being able to put your personal agenda to the side for a new experience shows strength and further proves that you can do anything!
It's okay to not be okay
If you find yourself struggling during this time and need to speak with a professional, you can call one of the Warmlines (Mental Health Helplines) available in your state. If you or anyone you know are in crisis, please call 911 or dial 1-800-273-TALK to speak with a professional from Mental Health America. Remember to look out for others, but most importantly, look out for yourself.