What’s Up: Staying motivated during a pandemic
In this month’s What’s Up Student Column, members of the EUSA Student Commission discuss their current situation during the COIVD-19-pandemic, with some very useful tips on how to stay active and motivated.
No competitions means no practice with my teammates. To be honest, it’s quite hard to stay motivated during these days. But I’ve found my own way to continue my practice in a proper way. I set my own individual goals. In the gym, I’m working on my muscle ups (hope to get five in a row by Christmas). In triathlon, I’m working on my fundamental endurance to make a harder practice in spring and summer possible. For these goals I set some milestones on my calendar, and have some fixed dates when I want to achieve these milestones. This motivates me. At university I speak with a lot of my classmates about my sport and I help them identify their own individual goals. Even if we can’t practice together, we can reach our goals together.
Since I work in football, we’ve already had a few scenarios since the coronavirus started. The first scenario was total closure and work from home, later we were in a 14-day long quarantine and for now we are working in our office. Sport is a very sensitive area. Infections can occur quickly, and can spread among the players and in the worst-case scenario, they can cause the competition to be interrupted. This is why everybody working in sport in Slovenia must be extra careful and stick to the rules that our government has given us.
In this time, these chaotic times, taking care for ourselves was a little neglected. But as we all know, we should be taking some time to get our exercise on schedule. For when you cannot leave home, a simple YouTube follow along exercise is perfect. Just pick one, you can mix and match. Start with easy ones and then maybe move on to something more challenging. I also like to follow some online yoga videos. If YouTube is not for you, there are dozens of exercise apps that you can also use free of charge. At the end of the day it really doesn’t take much to move a little. We just need to decide and start doing it. All you need is one square foot of space, no fancy equipment or tons of money. On the other hand, if you can leave your home, then go for a walk, maybe for a run or take out your dog. All of this will do just fine. Fresh air can help so much with our mental health too, so take advantage of it.
In the recent months I have been focusing on fishing. This is my passion and recently one of the safer forms of activity. I also really enjoy mountain biking, mainly in forests, and I exercise at home a lot. Unfortunately, I can't train rugby because practise is cancelled now.
To reduce the spread of the virus, the University where I am working on my PhD has organised distance learning courses. As I am teaching second-year law students and master's degree students, it is regretful for me to not meet students. Fortunately, I can communicate with them on Zoom and it is a chance in these present circumstances. Thus, I can provide them advice and give them motivation for their work. Currently, I am very busy due to the organisation of courses and upcoming exams. Every day, my motivation stems from sport. It is quite hard because sports centres have been closed and sporting events have been cancelled, but to keep my motivation intact, I do some exercises at home and I have started practicing yoga.
It is hard to stay motivated when there are so many uncertainties around you. But I believe physical activity is more important in these days than ever before for your physical and mental health. In the times of social distancing, getting outside into the nature and doing outdoor sports is one of the best things you can do for your well-being. Enjoying the fresh air, the different colours of each season, the beautiful landscapes, the sun or even the clouds while being active makes you forget about everything else for a moment. There are so many ways to be active outdoors. For me being able to go to the mountains regularly for hiking or trail running helps a lot to keep myself focused, fit and healthy.
Although the Coronavirus situation in Finland has been relatively good, it affects our daily lives. Many sports opportunities are closed, and besides, people voluntarily do not participate in sports because they want to protect their own and others’ well-being and safety. Therefore, there are many limitations. Still, on the other hand, I think it also opens up a lot of new possibilities. I found many new sports facilities that can be used, for example, outdoors or at home. When cafés are closed, I often meet my friends on the jogging path. Working remotely from home enables an efficient daily rhythm, and I can get sufficient rest. Also, I have time to do yoga in the morning and running in the evening, for example. At these times, I encourage you all to think openly about new ways of conducting sports!
The ongoing pandemic is quite challenging for me too: since I’ve just moved to a new city, it’s hard to get to know new people during times of social distancing. That’s why I took the opportunity to actually get to know myself better. In retrospect, I kind of hustled through the (first and hopefully last) lockdown in spring. Now I realised that I needed to go a step back and set smaller goals, such as working on my flexibility, mobility and coordination. My two ultimate goals are learning how to juggle and do handstands. Also, I focus on the smaller, yet highly important muscle parts, like my toes – I am being serious. There really is such a thing as toe yoga- it’s very important, you will thank me!
I am very grateful to be living in the Alps, because here it’s not difficult to get motivated. The mountains are kind of magnetic to me, I could explore them every day. If you have the opportunity, go for a walk or run and try to choose a new path or a new street every time. Whether you are an athlete or not – maybe now is the time to finally learn about nutrition in sports or the anatomy of the body. Learn how your body functions! Thus, my advice is: toe yoga, fresh air, exploring nature and setting small (!) goals. Because without a goal you can’t score ;)
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