I know that many gymnasts are dealing with gym shutdowns that are not only happening once, but over and over again as covid cases surface in the gym.
It can be disheartening to be in the gym one day, only to be out the next day or for two weeks at a time!
Here are 6 tips for staying positive during gym shutdowns:
Tip #1: Allow yourself to feel disappointed
Too often we push our emotions aside because they're ones we "shouldn't" be feeling. But the truth is, every emotion we feel is something real to us. And the last thing we should do is pretend we don't have that emotion or that it's not alright for us to have it.
Repeat after me: It's ok to feel disappointed when my gym gets shut down!
You are ALLOWED to be upset, to cry, to be angry, to throw a tantrum.
In order to move past those negative feelings you have to move through them, even if it feels ugly.
So let yourself vent, journal in your notebook, or cry ugly tears in the shower if you have to.
You have every right to feel the way you do.
My only suggestion is not to wallow too long in these feelings. Feel them, get them out of your system, and then work on moving forward one step at a time.
Tip #2: Remember that your gym shutdown won't last forever
It might feel like an eternity right now but remember that your gym shutdown is only temporary.
Eventually things will stabilize and you'll be able to train in the gym consistently.
This is something that will pass and will be long behind us soon enough.
Dwelling on what you've lost or the things you can't do right now in gymnastics will NOT make this situation go away any quicker.
If anything, when you keep dwelling on the negative you just keep attracting more negative your way.
So as hard as it may be, remind yourself that this situation is only temporary and that you will be on the other side of this soon.
In the meantime, look for some positives in your current situation. Maybe you haven't had the time to work on your dance elements or to increase your strength because you've been training your skills a lot in the gym. Or maybe you've been slacking on working on those mindset skills that you really should have been doing all along.
Now's your chance. Use this time as a great way to "catch up" on the things that were lagging behind.
Tip #3: Stay in the present moment
You can't predict what will happen tomorrow but you CAN make things happen today.
Focus on what you can do now instead of what you can't. Things like your home workouts, doing your dance run-throughs at home, journaling in your gratitude journal, and stretching.
When you allow yourself to feel helpless thinking of your current situation, you give away your power.
Instead, find ways to control your NOW by taking charge of your training routine and doing things that will help you get ahead in gymnastics.
Take it one day at a time and be present in the moment. Often times when unexpected situations happen to us, there is a silver lining or blessing in it that we might not be able to receive unless we learn to live in the present moment.
Tip #4: Know that you're not alone
While it feels like this is just happening to you, it's not! In fact, gym shutdowns are happening all across the world.
Think of your teammates who are also home and unable to get into the gym to train.
Think of your coaches who aren't able to go to the gym every day like they normally do.
Think of your parents who miss seeing you practice and compete.
This is a collective event that is happening to all of us so remember that you are not alone.
Also remember that while you can't train in the gym, most likely your competitors can't either. So you are all on the same playing field.
Tip #5: Be prepared with a plan B
While some people say having a Plan B ensures a Plan B, I strongly disagree.
I believe it's important to have a Plan B to ease anxiety and to exercise some control over a situation that feels out of control.
In this case, a Plan B might be what you will do if your gym gets shut down again.
Do you have a home workout training plan already figured out?
Do you have zoom calls scheduled with your teammates to keep up consistency when you're not in the gym?
Do you have a way to track your training when you're not in the gym?
Having these things figured out and set up ahead of time will give you a sense of control and will help to stop any uncertainty that you might be feeling.
Tip #6: Positivity is a choice
It's easy to get swept up in the negativity of your situation.
You might feel like this situation isn't fair. And you'd be right. It isn't fair.
But you have a choice over whether you stay in that negativity or choose positivity instead.
It might not come naturally to you to find the positive in a situation like this, but it IS something you can do with a little effort and focused intention.
To help you along, try writing down 3 things that are positive in this situation.
When you feel yourself going off to a negative mindset about your gym shutdown, look at your 3 things and remember that it is not all bad. There is a silver lining in everything.
Gym shutdowns are frustrating! And because they are so unpredictable, it can be tough to get into a flow and rhythm with gymnastics. Remember, it's ok to be disappointed as long as you don't stay there too long. Your gym shutdown won't last forever so keep repeating the mantra "This too shall pass." Stay in the present moment instead of thinking about the future or past. Remember that you're not alone in this situation. Plenty of other gymnasts and coaches are going through what you're gong through too. Come up with a Plan B to ease the uncertainty and choose positive thoughts over negative ones. You've got this!
If you or your gymnast needs support, in addition to the resources below I also offer one-on-one coaching sessions via Zoom.
- Resources: Get gymnastics downloads to help your gymnast work on her mental skills in gymnastics
- Mental Health Training for Gymnasts: Help your gymnast learn about her brain and the fight-flight-or-freeze response.
- Free Facebook Group for Moms of Gymnasts: Join this group to chat with other gymnastics moms and get tips for how to help your gymnast navigate through the mental ups and downs of gymnastics