Student-athletes across the world are experiencing a major shift in their lives during this unprecedented pandemic. Due to the impact of COVID-19, student-athletes competing in spring sports were entailed to terminate their seasons prematurely for their safety and the safety of others to prevent spreading the virus. The necessity of prioritizing safety is something the universities were required to do, but the immediacy of the transition left many students with little time to prepare for this change. Life for student-athletes looks very different than it did a few weeks ago. The expectation of continuing to completing their coursework online still exists, but the option to participate in competitive sports, unfortunately, for the time being does not. Those who support student-athletes in a number of capacities can demonstrate to them that we are all in this together. It is possible that student-athletes may be experiencing feelings similar to those of the five stages of grief which includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There may also be feelings of fear and uncertainty. This is a situation in which we are unaware of how long the COVID-19 pandemic will impact daily routines. A suggestion for managing these feelings would be refocusing and becoming grounded in healthy habits and routines rooted in the mission to move forward. These three tips are tools that student-athletes can put into practice to assist with their adjustment to this transition period and work on becoming better at the conclusion of this period.
1. Make a Schedule to Stay on Top of Your Craft
Just because being inside is encouraged does not mean there has to be a decrease in productivity. Creating a list or a schedule can help with keeping track of goals. This list can also include a routine of physical and mental health activities to stay in shape even though practices and games are not occurring. Developing goals during this time can also provide room to get creative. Student-athletes may also want to consider leveraging their use of digital platforms to connect with others and consider their plans for the future.
2. Listen to Your Body
While in school student-athletes are trained to pay attention to their overall functioning. The food consumed and the amount of sleep achieved every night can greatly impact mood, thoughts, and emotions. Sometimes things can slowly creep up on us and we do not notice our change in mood, especially under circumstances of isolation. If you are a student-athlete that did not receive much sleep during your time in school, take advantage of any extra time you may have to rest and recover physically and mentally. This is a time in which working on self-awarenesses and listening to body signals can be a great asset.
3. Talk About It
It is okay to speak with others in a support network as well as mental health professionals that can provide strategies to assist with any adjustment period. Younger student-athletes can be hopeful to return to their sports when colleges and universities open again. Senior student-athletes may have had to finish the semester without much closure from their sport and overall college experience. Find a space where processing acknowledgment and acceptance of the current circumstance from a non-judgmental perspective can occur.
Student-athletes can use this time to reflect and figure out what is best for them during this period. Utilizing these tips can assist with this adjustment .