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Build Your Resilience Like A Para-Athlete

Last year resilience had been a bit of a buzzword, and for good reason. Many of us have had to show more resilience than ever before in the face of so many continuous challenges.

But it’s not always easy – sometimes persevering is the last thing we want to do in times of trouble, and it can be difficult to know what you need to do to be resilient. But like all skills, resilience is one that can be learned and trained and with the right mindset, tools, and techniques, you can learn to thrive under pressure.

Spatone has partnered with charity partner SportsAid, to speak to a few incredible athletes who have managed to show unending resilience this year and see what it is that has helped them to keep on going when times get tough.

Below are a few tips and tricks to help you learn to build your own resilience and face 2021 with the skills you need to thrive.

A change in routine

Like it did for almost everyone in the world, 2020 caused a massive disruption to these athletes’ routines. From training non-stop towards a goal, to having to stop everything due to lockdown, we wanted to know how the athletes have managed to adapt to the change.

Para-Cyclist, Alex Pope, was thankful to have been able to buy a Wattbike and gym equipment prior to lockdown. So, though he wasn’t able to have track time or train in the gym, he was still able to train at full potential.

One of the things he did to continue building his fitness was setting different targets each week. Doing this allowed him to focus on one thing at once, making the most of the task ahead.

Instead of focusing on the negatives that happen and fixating on what you can no longer do, try to think like Alex and focus on all of the other things you can do instead.

Coping with pressure

Pressure is something these athletes have to face all the time in their training, but 2020 brought a new set of pressures never experienced before.

Keeping to a new routine has helped Wheelchair Basketball player, Alex Wilson, balance both his college work and training.

He has made sure to get up early in the morning to do a quick workout on a specifically designed turbo trainer for his wheelchair, before having breakfast and going to college. When he comes back, he usually does a bit of work and another workout before going to sleep.

Though this might seem like a lot for many of us, he’s said that his routine helped him take the pressure off college; the morning and evening workouts helped him stay focused on college during the day.

While the average folk might not be up to a full-blown workout in the morning and evening, try to think of one productive habit you can implement to frame your days, every day.

Sometimes we can get caught up in how these changes in the world have affected our life in the present moment.

Harrison Walsh, a Para-Athletics athlete, says one of the main things that helps relieve pressure is to take a step back and remember that though his access to a track and training sessions has been limited, he is doing this for something bigger than himself, that he’s still new to the sport and that another year means he will undoubtedly come back stronger for Tokyo 2021.

Talking to people, such as his grandmother, has also helped Para-Athletics athlete, Karim Chan, relieve pressure, by putting things into perspective and focusing on what’s important.

When feeling under pressure, take a moment to think about why you’re doing something and what you’re working towards. If you’re still in doubt, reach out to friends and family for a second opinion.

Staying motivated and energised

It’s amazing to see how strong these athletes have been – the small setbacks haven’t brought them down – but how have they stayed motivated?

For most of them, remembering their long-term goals and their dreams has been the answer. Alex Wilson told us ‘What motivates me the most in my sport is the success of what you could have in the future if I train hard.

This could be reaching the Paralympics, European and World championships. However, playing professionally for a club in Europe or the USA also highly motivates as well as the money in my sport, there are many players that play professionally that have very big contracts’.

However, it’s not just the long-term goals that keep them motivated. While Karim Chan dreams of representing Great Britain in the Paralympics someday, he also said he stays motivated by focusing on what he can achieve that maybe he couldn’t before, such as correcting the things that he hadn’t been able to achieve during training and competition times.

By knowing exactly what you’re working towards and what your goals are, you’ll be better prepared for challenges in the future.

Staying positive

Having a support network has been key for these athletes in staying positive and building their resilience. Though Karim Chan told us his mobility and learning difficulty issues are sometimes difficult to manage, consistent training routines and the support and encouragement of his family have helped him solve his problems and persevere.

Knowing why you’re doing something is also an important step to building resilience. For Harrison Walsh, it his love for athletics that drives him, as well as always reminding himself that ‘the process is everything’; that he’ll be better the longer he works.

2020 has taught Alex Pope that you never know what’s around the corner. His advice to build resilience and be successful is to always be prepared, try your best to be positive, and remember to set realistic goals so that you can appreciate how far you’ve come and how far you can still go.

Spatone®’s top 5 tips to build resilience:

  1. Take a moment to think about how you can use your strengths to your own advantage:
    • What are you good at?
    • How do you contribute to others?
    • How can you apply your strengths to achieve your goals?
  2. Identify the negatives and move on.
  3. Grab a notepad and a journal and list three good things that happen every day: this can help you improve your mood and reduce stress by remembering the things you have achieved. Looking back on your journal and reading your daily achievements is also great for those moments when you’re feeling a lack of motivation.
  4. The emotional thermometer: take a moment every night to write down how you feel on a scale of 1-10. You can do this for any emotion. Having a scale will help you understand how you’re feeling in relation to other moments in your life and might help you compartmentalise your emotions.

Spatone®liquid iron contains natural, iron rich water sourced from Snowdonia National Park. The iron in Spatone can help maintain iron levels whilst causing fewer of the unpleasant side effects often experienced with conventional iron food supplements.

Generally, iron is a difficult mineral for the body to absorb, however the iron naturally present in Spatonehas been shown to be more easily absorbed, with up to 40% bioavailability, compared to 5-15% from food and 10% from other iron food supplements.

Spatoneis available in two variants: SpatoneOriginal natural iron rich water and SpatoneApple with Vitamin C. This combines the iron rich water with apple concentrate and Vitamin C which helps with the absorption of iron. Vitamin C also contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system as well as contributing to normal energy yielding metabolism and a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Available in 14 and 28 Day packs, Spatoneis packaged in convenient single-use sachets, ideal for on-the-go use. Spatone and Spatone Apple 28 Day are available from Boots, Holland & Barrett and www.amazon.co.uk priced at £11.49 and £12.49 respectively. Spatone Apple 14 Day is priced at £7.99.

For more info visit www.spatone.com.

It is important to follow a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.

To find out more about SportsAid visit www.sportsaid.org.uk

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