How can the pandemic affect athletes psychologically?

By Varadayini Chitale / Gorhe (Sport & Performance Psychologist)
(As told to Bipin Dani)

How can the pandemic affect athletes psychologically?

– Fear and anxiety of contracting COVID-19

– Fear of poor performance

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– Being extremely judgmental about people who have a normal cough, cold, fever.

– Remaining anxious through the day, triggering anxiety while thinking about matches, practice

How can being home-bound affect you, psychologically?

It can trigger worthlessness – since your routine is disrupted, you may only think about it and start feeling anxious. You may end up eating a lot more at home. Lack of physical activity will not help with your fitness levels. You may end up disturbing your sleep pattern, which will affect your mood during the day time.

Social isolation and not distancing. You may end up spending time all by yourself. Especially if you are staying alone. It can lead to feeling of depression and increased anxiety.

How can the pandemic affect athletes psychologically?
Varadayini Gorhe (Sport & Performance Psychologist)

What can be done?

*Accept the situation*

You, me and every athlete in the world is facing it. Get out of the denial mode, accept the situation. Accept the fact it can affect someone who is close to you, it can affect you as well. Half our battle is won once we have accepted that this is a Pandemic and we need to take care of ourselves by staying inside. For our own good.

Routine is the key

Do not think this is HOLIDAY TIME and I can sleep until 12 noon! It disrupts your day and you are on the verge of compromising your fitness and mental health too. Set a routine, wake up early, speak to your fitness trainer and prepare a schedule for your home fitness. Work on that.

Self-care time

As athletes, you may not have the luxury of time to pursue your hobbies and interest. It could be in the form of doing a pedicure or reading a leisure book. But it also means some time for yourself and unwinding.

Adopt new hobbies

Evening time is spent in front of your phones! It will make your irritable and frustrated! Make it interesting- pick up a few lessons of a new language that you always wanted to learn. Get on cooking some healthy dishes that you wanted to make. Attend that online piano tutorial that you’ve been contemplating to take up.


Start practicing some form of ‘being in the moment’. It could be just starting with 5-minute breathing practice by focusing on your inhale 4 counts- 2 counts pause- 6 counts exhale.

Look after your mental health first. If you feel you are having unnecessary thoughts that are worry or anxiety provoking to an extent that it is disrupting your life and routine, please don’t hesitate to take online sessions with a mental health practitioner- preferably a certified psychologist or a psychiatrist.

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