Lockdown: Finding meaning in the moment
In this episode of the XTERRA Podcast, five-time off-road triathlon World Champ Lesley Paterson and sports psychologist Dr. Simon Marshall talk to experts about how to cope with COVID-19 and share their own stories of dealing with uncertainty, the good and bad of social media, and how the concept of ‘structure, routine, and reward’ can help.
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“Well, I haven’t washed my hair in three days, but other routines I’ve got going on like getting into the garage and working on little things with my training are helping,” said Paterson, who is sheltering-in-place with her husband, Dr. Marshall, at their home in San Diego, California.
“She’s like a caged hamster. It’s incredible. The amount of frenetic exercise she’s churning out in such a confined space could power the house,” joked Dr. Marshall.
And that’s one way to deal with the natural anxiety and fear that comes with the situation, explains Dr. Kensa Gunter on the show.
“The idea of navigating this constantly changing situation, in real time with the rest of the world quite literally, it’s something none of us have ever dealt with before,” said Dr. Gunter, a licensed psychologist. “We don’t know where the end is, so this feeling of having to manage it without a known time limit is breading a lot of anxiety and fear in all of us. We as humans like to have structure, have a sense of control, and this is challenging all of that, so we’re all just trying to do the best we can do.”
One of the things many of us are doing, maybe too much, is consuming a lot of social media.
Dr. Gina Merchant, a behavioral scientist specializing in psychology, public health, and data science, talked about the impact that could be having on our mental health.
“We’re drawn to the novelty of it, and the aspirational things, and once we’re in that environment there’s a danger to just keep going,” said Dr. Merchant.
Additional resources provided by Dr. Gunter:
- The COVID-19 Pandemic – Tips for Athletes, Coaches & Parents from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology
- AFSP Taking Care of your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
- Video - Coping with Uncertainty (Mind Tools)
- 10 Traits of emotionally resilient people
Meet the Guests
Dr. Kensa Gunter is a licensed psychologist and a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) based in Atlanta, GA. She provides mental health and mental performance services to individual athletes & teams and serves as a consultant for various organizations. Dr. Gunter is listed on the USOPC’s Sport Psychology Registry and she is currently the President-Elect for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). You can connect with her on Twitter at @DrKensa.
Dr Gina Merchant is behavioral scientist specializing in psychology, public health, and data science. Her work broadly examines how online and offline social networks influence our health behaviors and healthcare decision-making. A former Postdoctoral Fellow of Biomedical Informatics at the University of California San Diego, Dr Merchant is now the VP of Behavioral Design and Science at OneDrop, a diabetes management platform that harnesses the power of mobile computing and data science to empower people with diabetes to live their best lives. You can connect with her on Twitter at @DrGMerchant.
About the Podcast
Hosted by five-time off-road triathlon world champion Lesley Paterson and her husband Dr. Simon Marshall, the new XTERRA Podcast explores the stories and science behind the quest to Live More. The XTERRA Podcast will feature guests who live, work, and play off the beaten path, share first-person accounts of epic outdoor adventures, and provide valuable tips from industry leaders in the physical and mental health industries.
Find The XTERRA Podcast on major platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio. You can always look here as well to use our embedded player to listen to every episode.
Learn more about the podcast here: xterraplanet.com/podcast
Lesley Paterson & Simon Marshall
Lesley Paterson is a five-time world champion triathlete, professional mountain biker, coach, motivational speaker, reluctant fitness model, and foul-mouthed Scotts lassie. Growing up in Scotland, Lesley was the only girl who played rugby on an all-boys team. When boobs appeared she was banned from playing with the boys so she started competing in running and triathlon. Lesley went on to become a national champion in cross country and an international triathlete.
Dr. Simon Marshall grew up in Africa and the UK. He spent his childhood playing rugby, soccer and tennis before finding competitive cycling. He started training and racing at age 12 and hasn't stopped. Simon has a bachelor’s degree in Sports Science, a master’s degree in Kinesiology, and a PhD in Sport and Exercise psychology. He is a former Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at San Diego State University and Professor of Behavioral Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
Simon and Lesley own Braveheart Coaching – a San Diego based company that trains endurance athletes to be faster and happier. Together they wrote the best-selling book, The Brave Athlete - Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion (VeloPress, 2017).