Our brain is an amazing problem solving machine. This serves us well when we are grappling with dilemmas that can be thought through and have a foreseeable range of solutions. Do I enrol in this course? Do I select this person? Do I work on these skills? Do I do this training session?
But sometimes our problem is too big for us to come to a decision with any degree of certainty?
Take planning out your goals for the coming season. It’s within sight now but who really knows that sport will look like in 12 days’ time, let alone 12 months’ time? The current pandemic means that many questions can’t be answered. What will be the impact on my sport? How will my team be affected? What will happen to my income? How will sport and governing bodies fare with no crowds and reduced income?
Nothing is certain or in your control. It’s easy to feel like an emotional storm is coming as we count down the next 365 days.
If you find this uncertainty difficult, here’s what you can do to thrive in the looming shadow of COVID-19: S.T.O.P.
Slow your breathing:
Take a few deep breaths to anchor you in the “now”, mindfully observing your breath flowing in and out.
Notice what’s happening right now – what you are thinking, feeling and doing. Notice how easy it could be to get caught up in those feelings and thoughts.
Make space for your feelings and breathe into them. Step back from your thoughts, without holding on or trying to push them away.
Pursue what’s important.
Connect with your values and ask “What do I want to stand for in the face of this situation? How would I like to act so I can look back years from now and be proud of my response?
Most of us don’t get much of a say in how things will unfold in sport – it’s like the old adage, “You don’t get to choose the deck of cards you are dealt.” But we do get to choose how we play the cards we have.
So a useful question is: “Given this hand I’ve been dealt, what’s the best way to play it? What skills and capabilities can I develop? How can I learn from this? What opportunities are there for me to grow so I am better equipped for the future?
And take the next steps right now – in the next few minutes, the next few hours, the next few days, so that when 364 days have passed, you are well equipped for whatever happens after the pandemic.