CAPSULE 6 – Learning From Our Lockdown Experience — Part 1
By Amélie Soulard, PsyD, Psychologist and mental performance consultant at INS Québec
and Véronique Richard, Ph.D., Mental performance consultant at INS Québec
When sports competitions were cancelled and all sports facilities, like gyms and training centres, were closed as of mid-March 2020, athletes—like most Canadians—had to stay at home, in lockdown. As we now know, the many weeks that followed took us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and changes. The motivation of athletes was seriously put to the test, but inspiration and creativity have come from all angles!
As lockdown measures begin to be lifted across the country and athletes gradually start returning to training, we now have the opportunity to learn from this extraordinary experience in order to move forward and achieve our goals more effectively. The first part of this article focuses on patience and tolerance, while the second part looks at creativity and its contribution post-lockdown.
Taking a moment to think before moving forward
In order to emerge stronger from this experience, it is essential that we take time to reflect and ask questions of ourselves. Trying to move on too quickly would be an unproductive way to break free. Here are some questions to help identify the individual and community resources that make up our safety net and ensure we can be resilient:
- Who is special to me and who did I instinctively turn to during the pandemic or when things became more challenging?
- What things and activities made me feel good?
- How did I respond at the height of the pandemic? Was I able to look on the bright side, have fun and be creative during this gloomy period? How did I do it?
Dealing with uncertainty
Although athletes are returning to their sports, the virus is still around, as is the uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of adapting quickly to change and how to navigate through uncertainty and ambiguity. Athletes, who had previously been used to a structured daily routine based on a cycle of intensive training sessions, had to develop a significant degree of self-reliance and a phenomenal amount of tolerance toward uncertainty. The agility and mental flexibility that have been displayed during lockdown could prove to be very useful tools in the pursuit of our sporting goals during periods of uncertainty.
Here are a few things you can do to continue developing your tolerance toward uncertainty:
- Focus on what you can control and let go of what is out of your hands.
- Take a check on you and your senses by asking yourself: “What’s happening here and now?” and “what facts can I use as a reference point?” »;
- Make a list of what uncertainties are stopping you from getting things done. Put these things in order of difficulty—from the easiest to the most difficult—and find ways to deal with them bit by bit.
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