Using Meditation to Manage Stress During the Unique, Covid-Complicated Tokyo Games
Irene Presenqui is an Argentinian sports psychologist and field hockey umpire with extensive experience. Her passion for both athletics and mental health is apparent to both fans and colleagues, as her understanding and use of meditation.
Given the unique aspects of the 2020 Olympic Games, Irene sought a greater sense of routine and guidance in her usual practice. After researching different mediation solutions and devices, she chose the Interactive Meditation as a tool to improve structure and afford her greater success at the Tokyo Olympics, especially when it came to helping to manage her stress.
“I must confess that discovering the Unyte Meditation device was my Gold in Tokyo.”Irene Presenqui, Sports Psychologist & Elite-Level Sports Umpire
As the youngest umpire to officiate the Women’s World Cup in 2010, and an umpire for multiple competitions including the Women’s World League Final, the Commonwealth Games, and both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, Irene is no stranger to the stress that comes at the elite levels of sport. But no one was prepared for the pandemic and its impact on the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Originally set to be held in 2020, these games were particularly stressful given the changing timeline and numerous restrictions and safety protocols implemented.
As Irene was involved in a number of key matches including the men’s bronze medal game and the quarter finals, stress reduction was essential.
Irene’s Interactive Meditation Approach
Despite the strict COVID-19 protocols, which enhanced Irene’s levels of stress, she was able to regulate using Interactive Meditation, resulting in a much more relaxed state than she had experienced at her previous Olympics.
Working through the inability to interact with other umpires due to safety concerns and spending her days either alone at her hotel or at the stadium, Irene had a remarkably solitary experience in Tokyo. Using Interactive Meditation helped her to mitigate these stressors and challenges by developing a unique strategy.
First, she used Interactive Mediation to adjust to the 11 hour time difference between Argentina and Tokyo, meditating daily before sleep. The Interactive Meditation journeys aided in adjusting to the time difference, and helped Irene get some much-needed rest before her work at the Olympics.
Then, Irene used Interactive Meditation as part of her umpiring routine. She would complete a longer meditation while at her hotel to set the tone for her day, then once at the stadium, complete a shorter meditation just before each match. Irene found Body Scan and Relaxing Rhythms 2 Interactive Meditation journeys most effective, varying the levels of each journey based on timing.
Irene attributed the Interactive Meditation’s benefits to her success.
Interactive Meditation Benefits on Irene’s Success
- Stress reduction
- Better adjustment to the time zone
- Improvement on focus and concentration
- Control of emotions
- Improved relaxation and sleep routines
- Improvement of pre match umpiring routine
- Greater self-confidence
- Stronger body language: “As an umpire it is always convenient to look calm and relax in every decision.”
- Higher performance
- Better ability to deal with the heat and high temperatures
- The power of adapting to challenging situations
- Increased ability for patience
- A greater sense of personal control with the ability to remain calm and think smarter rather than simply reacting
- Especially considering she was stranded in Tokyo after the Olympics with a lot of uncertainty regarding returning home
Next Steps for Irene and the Interactive Meditation
Irene plans to use Interactive Meditation for continued improvement in her professional and personal development. She intends on using the device with the high-level athletes she works with including field hockey goalies, golfers, tennis players, and football players to help them perform better while experiencing increased levels of relaxation.
Merani Mensingh – Program Consultant – Unyte-iLs