In general, athletes, especially jiu jitsu players, are familiar with drilling technique. In the current pandemic situation, we are required to find a different form of drilling. That means, scaling back or changing the format of physical training while staying home. For some, it’s a difficult transition; for others, it’s a welcome break from routine. For many, there’s an unsettled feeling between calm and crisis that changes throughout the day. Perhaps this is an opportunity to drill some mental health techniques. There are many, but let’s start with the basics.
While at home explore these three simple, but perhaps not easy, mental health drills for recalibration:
If possible, give yourself (and kids) permission to sleep as often as you’d like. In times of stress, it’s better to sleep more than less. If your schedule was filled every hour of the day, now is the time to recalibrate your activity and rest cycles. Allow yourself to sleep.
Give yourself permission to eat what you like. If your appetite increases, follow it. If your appetite decreases, follow it. Trust your hunger, this is a time to recalibrate your eating. If you fear you will eat only junk food, it’s ok. Eventually you will have your fill and want something else. You might start to crave vegetables. If you feel called to impose structure with a tracker, then do that, but don’t force yourself to do so. The point is, learn to trust your urges for food, the type and timing.
Give yourself permission to do nothing as often as you like. When you are ready, you will do something.
We are in a time of transition. Usually transitions are stressful, with good/helpful stress (excited, new activity) and bad/unhelpful stress (constant worry, irritability, restlessness). Whatever your stress level and response, one strategy to manage and cope with it is to follow your drives for action or non-action. This is a time to recalibrate your system. If you feel motivated to do many workouts, then do that. If you feel called to contemplate the meaning of life and stare out the window, then do that. It’s important to use this transition time to closely pay attention to your inner compass and trust yourself about what you are interested in and need. Don’t force yourself to do things. Rather, allow yourself space and time to recalibrate. Keep checking in with your thoughts and feelings. Sleep, eat, and pause. At some point, it will be time to play Jiu Jitsu again.
Darla Sedlacek, Ph.D, is a Psychologist, Certified Yoga Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, and Jiu Jitsu coach. In private practice she works with those struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and body issues. She specializes in sport and performance psychology, working with athletes from many sports and levels of experience. From Cleveland, Ohio, she heads a women only program called Transform Jiu Jitsu, teaches self defense workshops for teen girls, coaches and trains at Hurricane Jiu Jitsu and is an ambassador for Girls in Gis Ohio Chapter. Purple belt Jiu Jitsu, black belt Tae Kwon Do, ultrarunner, avid athlete, captain of compassion. www.drdarlased.com and www.transformjj.com