Routines – They Work! | Center for Sport Psychology and Athlete Mental Health
April 2, 2020

Routines – They Work!

For athletes, routines are a key part of their success…whether that's in how they train/practice (what they do each day), how they fuel their bodies, or how they prepare themselves to compete. Their routines define what they will do each day, what's important to them…they provide direction and stability in their lives…and give meaning to the hard work and effort they put forth as they work toward their goals.

Routines are as important to you as they are to athletes, particularly during times of stress. Yet, in this time of crisis, many of the routines that formed the foundation of your lives (and performances) have been pulled right out from under you. Whether it's where or how you worked…or where you lived and went to school…or even if you are no longer able to train and compete in your sport...many of the routines that you relied on for so many years are gone.

Athletes understand the power of routines and work hard to maintain them, even when circumstances and environments change drastically. Having a routine, even when it's been adjusted to the realities of a new situation, helps athletes feel comfortable and confident with themselves and perform consistently.

So, take a look at your routines…the ones you had before mid-March and realities of COVID-19 hit…what were the activities and actions you took that were important to you (that were part of your routine). For example:

  1. Did you get up every morning and workout at a specific fitness center?
  2. Did you have lunch or drinks with friends a couple of times a week?
  3. Did you always take a walk in the middle of the afternoon to clear your head?
  4. Did you go to a movie once a week?
  5. Did you study in a certain place every night?

Now, compare what you used to do (and what was important to you) to what you are doing now…how closely do they match? Sure, you can't go out to a restaurant or bar right now and meet friends, but what can you do (e.g., skype/facetime with them)? As best as you can, given the realities of physical distancing, try to integrate the important aspects of your old routines into what you do now. Just like an athlete, adjust your old routine to the realities of the new circumstance…and continue to feel confident in, and happy with, yourself and engaged in the work you are doing.