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The world is currently going through an unprecedented time. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread shut down of cities and societies in an attempt to curb the spread of a virus that is sadly taking many lives. As we all know by now, these lockdown measures have caused the professional, social and individual aspects of our lives to run into major disruption for the greater good. 

However, as necessary as these measures are, they themselves cause their own problems which we have to be mindful of. Individually, we’re seeing the routines of our lives being ripped apart, which means it’s more important now than ever to take care of our mental health. 

A study by the Mental Health Foundation found that 24% of UK adults have felt loneliness during the Coronavirus lockdown, which can cause some issues relating to mental health. Further figures around this are available here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/news/almost-quarter-adults-living-under-lockdown-uk-have-felt-loneliness

For those in the Jiu Jitsu community, this could be a particularly prevalent issue. Like most other sports, Jiu Jitsu has been hit hard by the pandemic. Classes have been cancelled, gyms shut and the competition calendar halted – pretty much eliminating the chance for training or competing. And for those who rely on Jiu Jitsu for their income, these are seriously testing times.

What draws many people to Jiu Jitsu is not just the physical aspect, but the many benefits that come along with it. This sport not only engages the body, but also the brain with its problem-solving mechanics and the mental awareness required to progress. For those who have dedicated years to the craft, this pandemic is probably the longest period of time they’d have had without the influence of Jiu Jitsu, including removing the vital social aspect of the sport. For these reasons, it’s vital to keep on top of your mental health and wellbeing.

The official NHS website outlines in great detail what mental health and wellbeing issues are, how to spot that you might have them and what possible measures you could take to improve any problems. Most importantly, they outline where you could get urgent help for your mental health if necessary.

So with all the official advice available, what steps could those within the Jiu Jitsu community take to keep on top of their mental health while on lockdown? 

Stay in touch

If you’re somebody who trains multiple times a week, chances are you’ll have built up a rapport with your coaches, training partners or anyone else you might see around the gym. Taking away these social interactions could leave a hole in your life. It’s important to continue to keep in touch with people around you, even if it’s just for a quick chat over calls or texts, to keep spirits up.

Keep an exercise regime

Studies have shown that exercise has a direct correlation to improving mental health, so if Jiu Jitsu was your main source of exercise, it’s important to fill that gap with a regime. If you’re not in a position where you can practise any of your usual drills, then you’ll have to switch it up to get a routine going. Luckily, there are plenty of options. With guidelines allowing for outside exercise, the opportunity for cardio is there, while there is plenty of fitness guidelines online that lay out some great routines with little or even no equipment.

Learn new skills

One of the most under-appreciated aspects of Jiu Jitsu is the way that it engages your brain. There is a lot of problem-solving involved and often it’s the smart quick thinker that comes out on top when rolling. With this out of the picture, you might find it difficult to keep your brain active positively and allows for worse thoughts to creep in. You can combat this by throwing yourself into a new skill, whether online or physical. There’s plenty of resources available, and you might even find yourself a new hobby out of it! 

Hopefully, the majority of you are able to keep yourself busy and active in these tough times, but if you do find yourself struggling then that’s okay. It’s a common issue and the most important thing to do is to reach out if you do need help, whether it’s to a friend, family member or any of the countless professional resources available through the NHS or fantastic mental health charities.

With any luck we can all get through this and we’ll see you on the mats very soon.

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