March 25, 2020
You cannot be expected to remain positive all the time through Covid-19, but if you share each period of positivity you experience with others, imagine the effect?
We have all learnt how an infectious disease spreads; one person sneezes on another, who shakes hands with two more people, who kiss two more people, and so on.
What if we take that knowledge and use it to spread a far more powerful and welcome infection; positivity.
Every time you hit a high point, share it with someone else. Call them, set up a video call, invite them to join an online fitness class with you, send them a recipe, send them a funny picture, or a memory, or voicemail.
That is how it starts.
We Need Community
Never have we needed each other more than now. Never have we needed our community of swimmers, divers and water polo players to come together to stay strong.
We are all used to imposing physical challenges on ourselves, and extreme mental challenges too, but they are controlled, and they are our choices.
The mental health challenge we all face now is not our choice, and is coming at us from all angles. Frustration at losing swimming, playing water polo or diving, at our isolation, worrying about our health, about our families, anxiety about the unfamiliar uncertainty of our immediate futures.
This mental health challenge is not our choice, but we do have choices, just like what we have shared above.
Below is some more guidance from Kate Hills, Swim Ireland Youth Development Director, who has also listed some reliable links for further help and information.
Let's start today thinking about our physical health, because this may be people's biggest concern.
What I want you to do is focus on doing one active thing every day. If you do more, that's fine, but try to never do less. That's where to start, and if you are struggling even to do that, then please read Ben Higson’s info on keeping positive, exercised and well.
And if you get stuck again, read it again.
We have also issued a full guide on staying healthy during Covid-19, our experts giving you tips on nutrition, cross-training, and home workouts.
Swim For A Mile's Beth Carson has put together a cracking core circuit video too, suitable for any level, and our Associate Head of Performance Services Paul Talty will continue to offer new recommendations to keep those indoor sessions fresh.
Be proactive about your mental well-being. At this time, it might not come automatically. Be positive by thinking about some of the smaller things in life we tend to miss in the hustle of our everyday lives. Increase your resilience by concentrating on things you are in control of:
- Good nutrition
- Being active
- What you read
- What you do today
Be kind to yourself as well as to others – and do something that makes you feel good if you feel overwhelmed. Most of all, remember to talk with your family and friends, often.
We know our members lead very structured lives between training, school, college or work; this is almost a must for those involved in swimming, diving or water polo training (for parents too!).
With the regular visits to the pool and gym gone for now, you should establish a new routine for yourself that includes whatever work you need to do, as well as giving yourself time to be active.
Write down a schedule, as you would a training plan, include your activities, meals, work, and down-time, and stick it to the wall wherever you will look at it most. You probably won't get it right first time, but rather than give up, edit, and try again tomorrow.
Start to plan time with your friends and family digitally. So if you would normally meet friends on a Friday night, get them together online. Get some digital events on your calendar.
Hot tip: many cinema releases are now going online first, and many music artists are now doing LIVE sessions on Instagram and Facebook. There are also safari parks and animal sanctuaries, like the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for orphaned elephants, doing live online tours.
Building on the above, remember you are part of a bigger family of swimmers, divers and water polo players so connect with each other:
- Tell each other how you are coping,
- Let people know how you are being active and
- What you are doing to stay healthy
Spread positivity, but also remember that your sporting family is there for you when you are low too.
Please also remember that connections on social media are widely read, so make sure your messages there are positive and factually correct, including in WhatsApp groups.
Really limit your time reading or listening to the Covid-19 news, and make sure your source is accurate and is just enough to update you. On television, RTE News is recommended, and online the HSE.ie, WHO, and Gov.ie provide the most accurate information.
Share any concerns you have about what is going on with your family or friends, or using the helplines below.
Remember that project, book, coursework, or podcast that you have been putting off doing because you didn’t have time?
Now is the time to rethink it, and get it underway, remembering the guidance to keep you healthy and be creative about how you might achieve your goal.
We know that already our diver Oliver Dingley has taken this leap with the launch of his podcast Life In A Bubble. Check that out >>here<< and try to be more Dingley, if only for today.
See you soon.
Links for help:
Information and Crisis intervention
Childline (Ireland) Tel: 1800 66 66 66
Childline (Northern Ireland) Tel: 0800 11 11
Lifeline (Northern Ireland) Tel 0808 808 8000
Samaritans (Ireland) Freecall 116 123
Samaritans (Main site) Freecall 116 123
Minding your Mental Health (Ireland - HSE information)
Minding your Head (Northern Ireland – PHA information)
Aware (Northern Ireland)
Jigsaw online (Ireland)
Action Mental (Northern Ireland)
Specifically, talking with children about Covid 19