How Do Tassie Athlete's Manage Tough Times

As our first 'Community Reach Out' article, we're asking the Tasmanian sporting community to share what tips, resources or things help during tough or lonely times...
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Community Reach Out
October 12, 2020

Updated May 2020

It's not like we needed to say it, however the Tasmanian sporting community is awesome...

What initially begun as a small training diary piece and an Instagram story has blossomed into something bigger; thanks to the overwhelming response.

Via our social media platforms, we reached out to our followers to compile a short list and some information about what has been helping them through the tough times of the COVID-19 situation.

Given the initial response, what started as a running blog has now grown into a download and hopefully helpful resource.

So, what helps Tassie Athletes through tough times?

Here's our latest list of what's helped you lately

1. Going for a run or doing physical activity
2. Reflect on things you're grateful for
3. Redefining your routine and structure
4. Getting out into nature
5. Practicing mindfulness

1. Going for a run or physical activity

Running and getting out and about was a common theme in submissions from our Instagram story.

Tasmanian runner Bailey Murzecki-Hince provided some great insight into why running is important for him at the moment.

"For me, I think getting out for a run just helps me disconnect from all the negative things going around me or the distracting aspects in life.”

”I find myself enter a kind of flow state, where my concentration is just on one thing and it’s like nothing else matters.”

2. Reflecting on things you're grateful for

Another regular recommendation was taking a step back and practicing gratitude.

Along with practicing yoga, Jess Graham enjoys a run and says that "writing down the things I'm grateful for" helps her focus on the positives.

“I find that when I get into the routine of reflecting on what I’m grateful for and have in my life, I actually start to notice these things throughout my day more.”

”I think it’s a really important time to be kind to yourself and others as much as possible.”

Hobart based runner Ruth Wilson also extends on the premise of being appreciative of the smaller things each day by kindly providing an overview of how to create a gratitude list:

“I’d recommend just starting simple and doing this before you wake up or before going to bed, and writing down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for.”

"This can be anything from your morning coffee, a sunny day, or being able to get out and go for a run."

"It’s a great way to start seeing the positives in your day to day, especially when things are overwhelming or stressful. It’s also nice to reflect back on a week or a month, knowing you’ve spent some time to yourself. You’ve also got a list of things that you know are really positive in your life, and can look to these during your down time.”

3. Redefining your routine and structure.

Along with gratitude, thinking about developing a routine and getting some structure seems to help reduce stress and unfamiliarities that life may present at the moment.

Middle distance athlete Henry Masden said: “Having a structure keeps my mind in check, and it gives me a constant thing to focus on.”

“Knowing that after a tough day, for whatever reason this may be with school, work, health or external factors - knowing that as a part of my structure I’ve got something like going to the gym or doing a workout gives me a sense of comfort.”

“Having the structure in place means that I can have some time to myself, to be in my element, and to get back to familiarity.”

Jumping between soccer and tough football, Carissa Lilley advocated for getting back to your core pillars of health can help when times get tough.

“Particularly at the moment, I’m trying to be more mindful of the four pillars of health - physical, mental, social and spiritual - wherever I can.”

“This includes getting back to basics with sleep and nutrition - two things that we often overlook but are often the foundation of us feeling good.”

4. Getting out into nature

Casually browsing through Strava on a regular basis, Di McShane's activities leave us in awe as she regularly tackles some epic rides and runs around Hobart.

Di is a huge advocate for getting into the outdoors and spending some time in nature.

“You caught me at a good time, I’ve just got back from some time on the mountain.”

“I was out with a friend and good part of our chat was around COVID-19. We found a new trail that neither of us had been on before and were swept away by its beauty and become completely absorbed in the environment around us.”

What we love about Di's approach is the healing and rejuvenating properties being out in nature often bring."

“Getting back to nature nurtures your mind, body and soul - it reminds you that it’s the simple things that bring you joy, not our material possessions, but our health and happiness...”

5. Practicing mindfulness

Mind Matters Athlete have been great supporters of the Tassie Athlete, so hearing about their approach to mindfulness and reflecting on a sense of purpose was great.

“I approach mindfulness from two ways:

1) focusing on performance which uses science to sharpen the brain’s ability to be fully present when training and;
2) the emotional aspect - encouraging athletes to channel ‘off bike’ feelings into certain efforts on the bike.

This can lead to an increased sense of purpose during training which, in turn, can lead to a greater performance.”

Also incredibly insightful was TIS Rower Eleni Kalimnios and her approach to using Smiling Minds, a mindfulness app, when you may be too overwhelmed to guide yourself through meditation.

“Aware, accept, action, acknowledge is something that I reflect on a lot, both in and out of training.”

“The app - Smiling Minds - is great for when you need some structure to your mental training. For example, I use it on racing mornings if my mind is too busy to do a ‘self guided’ mindfulness session.”

Sweaty Scientist and ultra runner Jessica Collins also offers some insight in achieving mindfulness in another way - a body scan.

“The way I approach the scan is to focus on one small part of my body at a time - where I realise that no part in isolation actually feels that bad.”

“Then usually by the time I have got to my head, a fair amount of time has passed and I feel my pain threshold and tolerance has been reset.”

On behalf of the Tassie Athlete - thank you to everyone who shared some insight and further comments for our first Community Reach Out (CRO) article.

We're incredibly grateful for all the story replies and comments - with our next CRO already confirmed in the coming months.

If you've found one of the tips from our TA community helpful as you navigate these unprecedented times of COVID-19, let us know by a DM on Instagram or Facebook.


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