Corona – a global pandemic and mental health

This is the first blog post for GDT Sportconsulting written by Paiam Yazdanpanah, mental coach and coach @yourathlethiczone

A global pandemic. Let’s emphasize on the word global because for the first time in our lifetime we are all living under the same terms and conditions all around the world. Our social status doesn’t matter, neither does our educational or financial status. We are all in the same boat. Don’t go outside, avoid everyone even your friends and loved ones, no sports, everything is closing, and people are losing their jobs or getting sick, it certainly is a scary time. There is nothing more understanding than people being scared, uncomfortable or anxious during these difficult times because that is how we react when our future is either out of our control or unknown. Yes, the fear is justified but is it the right reaction? Is panicking, not following rules or simply giving up the most productive way to deal with what’s going on? Or is there a way to actually come out of this situation better than the way we went into it? Is there a silver lining in all that’s happening?

The first step to deal with what is going on is to distinguish between the controllable and uncontrollable factors of the situation. The virus, social distancing, events being cancelled or businesses closing down are all uncontrollable, meaning there is nothing you can do about it, doesn’t matter if you think or stress over them 8 hours a day, it’s not going to change. In other words, the only outcome of what you are doing is torturing yourself over something you had nothing to do with or can do anything about, a waste of time and energy.

Now we get to the more optimistic part, what can we control? An objective truth plus your perspective is what builds your reality. Since you can’t change the objective truth, change your perspective. You can focus on all the horrible happenings we mentioned before or see what is happening as an opportunity to not only change yourself for better but also do everything you never had the time to do. We live in a very fast pace time, work, university, internships, gym, studying, meetings and on top of all that you are constantly on your phone and laptop meaning you are doing something all day long. Why don’t you take this time to slow everything down a bit? If you live with your family, spend more time with your parents, build a stronger bond with your kids, go for that run you have been talking about the past 6 months, learn how to cook, watch the series your friends recommended to you or learn new skills. This is a beautiful time to stop your daily routines set by the social construction around you and come up with a new one that you have the sole control over and it’s actually what you enjoy doing.

It’s also an opportunity to catch up and overtake your competition. Again, for the first time in our lifetime, the playing field is equal for everyone. You can’t use others having better facilities or a better access to personnel as an excuse for why they are doing better than you. The disciplined people are going to come out of this pandemic as winners. Write down everything you can do during the day, here are a few examples: you can go for a run, workout at home, meditate, practice imagery, research, do yoga, spend time with your family, read books and a lot more. Schedule three different activities a day for a week. And there you go you have a new routine structured by yourself consisting of activities that are productive and enjoyable.

What is happening is hard for everyone, and that is understandable but it’s up to you to look at it as an excuse to regress or an opportunity to progress. We may have a blessing in disguise here, we just have to change our perspective. Stay home and stay safe, we are all in this together.

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