PHOTO CREDIT: CLARA BONOMI
Reposted from Darby Bonomi PhD.. Darby Bonomi is a practicing psychologist and consultant that works with people of all ages to achieve lasting change and establish foundations for mental wellness. Darby combines her life-long experience in the equestrian world with her vast toolbox of psychological and coaching interventions. Riders of all levels and their families reclaim joy in the sport, leading the way to improved performance and better health.
These are anxious times. For all of us, plans and routines have been completely upended—indefinitely. We’re in limbo, wondering when we can resume some semblance of normal life and training. For serious athletes, this disruption challenges us physically, emotionally, and mentally.
How do I continue to train and develop myself when I don’t know when I will compete again?
How do I stay mentally in the game when I can’t ride, go to the gym, get coached, play with my team, etc?
How do I navigate around the abyss of anxiety and despair?
Is it possible to be positive?
Here are some ideas from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, of which I am a member. I have edited their suggestions for brevity:
Talk it out: Identify people you trust who you feel can be sources of support and guidance during this time. Stay in touch with your coach and teammates via text, video, and social media. Mental health experts can help.
Consider how you want to continue engaging in your sport: While keeping the latest social distancing and general recommendations in mind, you may be able to continue training to a certain degree. You can use your new-found time to rest and recover, engage in other interests, manage school or work commitments, and/or continue training and maintaining your level of fitness.
Remember your “why": Even with no competition on the horizon, reflecting, remembering, and recommitting to your “why” can help you to remain positive and motivated while adapting to current restrictions.
Focus on physical and mental fitness: If you decide to continue investing in your training, it may be easier to continue improving flexibility, strength, and your mentality during this time. You can improve mental skills such as confidence, focus, goal setting, relaxation, or visualization as well.
Establish a daily routine: We have decent control over decisions we make about how we start and end our days as well as items we prioritize daily or weekly. Solidifying morning and evening routines, getting enough sleep, and deliberately incorporating other acts of self-care (e.g., journaling, engaging in personal hobbies, and eating nutritious foods) into our lives helps to partially reestablish feelings of control and comfort while supporting our health and well-being.
While these are all valuable guidelines, I would draw your attention to #3.
Remember your WHY.
At my core, what am I about? Why am I here? Why do I do what I do?
Have a long term, big picture point of view. This crisis will pass, and we will all be changed by it. Staying connected to our why will keep us oriented during this uncertain time.
We’re in this together. If you need support, please reach out by email, phone or text. I am here.
My why is to help you.