Perform in the storm

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Solitude, Sleep and Structure - Lessons from a Solo Sailor

Solo ocean racer and sleep expert Lucas Schröder knows a thing or two about coping with long stretches of loneliness and lack of sleep. In this talk he shares how loneliness in these COVID-19 times affects him, what lack of sleep can do to the healthiest of minds and the coping mechanisms he learned as a solo ocean racer which helps him deal with the current situation.

Former solo ocean racer Lucas Schröder on the crushing, yet manageable, effects of loneliness

Key insights

  • Even when chosen voluntarily, loneliness can be crushing: As a solo racer Lucas knew he would have to deal with long periods of loneliness in the dark, wild ocean, but nothing prepared him for the painful feelings and odd, unexpected behaviours that can accompany complete isolation.

  • The power of a strong routine: Lucas faced many challenging times in the water and still does these days, when separated from his children and parents and when thinking about the uncertainty the corona crisis entails. A solid routine was, and still is, his go-to coping method when things get lonely and uncertain. A clearly structured daily order (waking up, mealtimes, time slots for working and exercising) is his anti-dote to lethargy or sloppy behaviour when feeling lonely, sad or disheartened.

  • Humour as a coping mechanism: When caught in the downward spiral of loneliness, Lucas found that he had to detach himself temporarily from the situation to regain his mental balance. Monty Python’s humour distracted him just enough to help bounce back from the negative spiral.

  • The crucial importance of sleep: Lucas was shocked to discover first-hand how unstable his mind could become when sleep deficient, and learned to prioritize sleep for mental wellbeing. He discovered that his go-to coping mechanism for loneliness - a solid, structured routine - helps regulate the biological clock and primes the mind for deep, recovering sleep.

  • Being kind to oneself: Lucas admits to having made many foolish sailing mistakes but beating himself up about it got him nowhere. Getting up and starting again did. When he notices that he starts sliding off his good habits, he accepts he can’t be perfect all the time, and then picks himself up again. Those who pick themselves up after falling and keep moving get the furthest!

Dive deeper

Can you do what Martin can?

To help you keep your energy levels high and stay positive throughout your day it is essential to take breaks regularly. To help you get more out of your downtime, Martin Pet, a seasoned sport and performance psychologist and physiologist, will challenge you to perform a wide range of exercises that will do just that.

Martin Pet has a very challenging assignment for you in this micro break
Find out how he does it and why
Martin has challenged you a couple of times now, but with this recovery exercise he seems to exceed all the other ones. I hear you thinking: ‘Is it even possible to balance a shoe on your foot while turning on you front and back again?’ Well in fact it is, and this Wednesday Martin will show you how. But first go for it yourself in the sun in your garden or somewhere in a quiet park. It will take your mental focus away from you work and other to do’s for a while, is fun to do and requires a lot from your coordination, agility and strength. If you want to keep performing in the storm, pay attention to these valuable ingredients of recovery a couple of times a day.

About the crew member

Lucas Schröder • Energy and Performance trainer and speaker
Lucas Schröder

Lucas is a former ocean sailor. He raced more than 30.000 miles at the roughest sees. After 6 years he changed his career and became a trainer in energy & performance and team coaching. Lucas knows everything about the impact of sleep on body and mind and the dangers of fatigue. He uses his knowledge about performing under enormous pressure, in isolation and with minimal sleep during his training sessions.

Your journey until now