2020 did, and 2021 Will Test Our Resilience 1

One of the many qualities of the swimmer is being strong and resilient.  Especially if you are a long distance and an open water swimmer, your resilience has already been tested more than once by the rough and always changing conditions in the open water.  The pandemic is definitively testing our resilience.  It feels like we signed up for the 50 freestyle, but our coach put us in the 1,500 and might force us to do the 10K postal!!!  It has been now more than 10 months under some sort of restrictions and shutdowns.  Not everybody is under the same guidelines and experiencing the restrictions and burden the same way, but we are all in the same boat.  We need to stay strong and resilient, help each other weather the crisis and stay safe.

It is understandable that people are experiencing quarantine fatigue.  Everybody is stressed, anxious and nervous about going through the holidays without our loved ones while trying to stay safe from the invisible enemy.  Under those conditions, with still no end in sight, it is even more crucial to approach 2021 with a plan to adapt and stay positive.  Here are a few tips to develop your resilience:

  1. Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot. Create new traditions and something fun to look forward to, based on what we still can do. If you cannot go swimming, maybe you can still go outside for a long hike every day.  Change your mindset, you will be way happier when you decide to no longer focus on the 1,000 things you cannot do anymore and instead focus on the 1,000 things you still can do.
  2. Control what you can and accept what you cannot. A lot of what is going on is out of our control, but you can control your attitude and response.  For example, stay motivated and fit, but accept that there will be no group workouts or races soon, for some maybe no swimming at all.
  3. Be grateful. Each day think about three things that you appreciate, and you are grateful for.  Although you might have been hit hard, remember that for most of us living in a developed and at peace country, our very worst day would be another person’s miracle.  Having a gratitude mindset gets us into the habit of looking for the positives.
  4. Commit daily acts of kindness. Making an effort at spreading kindness and love makes us feel so much happier.  Remember the spirit of the holidays, and support the families you know who have been hit so much in 2020 by either losing a loved one, losing a job, losing a house thru the fires, or having to endure the stress and fatigue to work in a hospital ICU unit dealing with COVID patients, or any other essential business.
  5. Stay healthy. Exercise: move your body every day.  It is important for your physical and mental health, your stress relief and to strengthen your immune system.  Get outside as much as you can.  Breathe slow and deep, or meditate, to calm and relieve your stress.  Eat a healthy diet.  Right now, preserving your physical and mental health is critical.  Be safe and follow the guidelines.  They are here to protect you and your neighbors, not to pester you.

Under those conditions, I am wishing everybody a happy and prosperous 2021.  I am grateful to the scientists who have worked tirelessly to find a vaccine, to the doctors and nurses who have saved lives, to the thousands of people who are searching and creating new solutions to make 2021 a safer and better year for all of us.  Let us find the light at the end of the tunnel!

Do not forget to register at USMS for 2021.  Even if there is no in-person competition, USMS is still offering some virtual events, including the one hour postal in January, organized by our LMSC, or the February Fitness challenge organized by the Tualatin Hills Barracudas.  As most of us are currently swimming by ourselves, USMS is also offering an extensive workout library to give you ideas, tailored to different needs.  Support your community and register.  Together we will get through this storm.

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