In her second episode of BBC Sport at the Australian Open, Wimbledon semi-finalist and WTA star Elina Svitolina explains how watching neurologist Andrew Huberman’s YouTube videos helped inspire her recovery.
Psychology is a subject I’m interested in – I read a lot of books about it and watch a lot of YouTube videos.
I really enjoy watching videos from a guy named Andrew Huberman, who is an American neuroscientist at Stanford University and also hosts a podcast.
It’s interesting how they explain from science how the mind works and what we go through as humans.
In addition to learning about his research, I also enjoy watching other motivational videos and TED talks.
Attitude is a big, big part in tennis. From time to time I work with a psychologist to help me deal with certain situations that I cannot find a solution to.
But just because someone tells you to try something doesn’t mean it will work 100% – you have to find the best way that works for you.
I always listen to the people around me and then I make my own decision.
This is what works for me.
Everyone is different but it’s good to learn about different techniques so I can tailor them to work for me. I try to find what works for me at any given time.
The brain is a muscle you train and I’m always trying to find new ways to improve it.
Studying psychology is probably something I will choose to do after playing.
I’m also interested in nutrition, too, and studied this in a two-year online diploma through the Alternative Medicine College of Canada.
It is important to know the basics – how it works and learn about carbs, sugar, vitamins and what our body needs.
Many people do not know the basics and struggle because of this. In the game, it makes a big difference.
Being a runner isn’t just about kicking back and forth. I study nutrition, psychology and teaching.
Performance and stress have made the Slams run
At the beginning of my comeback last year, I thought it would take some time to reach a good level and perform as well as I have done in the Grand Slams.
I am very proud that I have completed the third part of all four courses since I returned in March with my daughter Skai.
When you start playing again you have high goals for yourself, of course, and you want to win every time you step on the field.
If you don’t have faith there is no need to go to court.
But the hardest thing to come back after giving birth, I’ve found, is how your body reacts to stress.
In the game of tennis there are many times when you find yourself under a lot of pressure. The type of competition, how many people are watching, the pressure you put on yourself, plus what you expect from the people around you and the people at home.
Dealing with anxiety was not easy in my first races back, especially the big ones in Madrid and Rome. This was too much and I found that I wasn’t as involved as I used to be.
Preparing for the challenges in the game was difficult at first but after overcoming this challenge I was able to get back on track and deal with these moments very well.
A Top-10 return is my goal for 2024
I am happy where I am. I’m playing better and hitting the ball bigger and my movement is back after the ankle injury that affected me at the US Open.
Back in my first Grand Slam I reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and the highlight of last season was reaching the finals at Wimbledon, where I played very well against the big players.
To beat Iga Swiatek – world number one – like I did in the quarter-finals there, you have to be sharp.
After Wimbledon I took a few days to reflect on the things I did well on the court and how I dealt with adversity.
Sometimes life moves so fast – it can feel like 200mph – so it’s important to stop and look back.
I didn’t move as much as I wanted to at the US Open because of my knee but now I’m back and I’m happy with my progress in Melbourne.
Tennis-wise, I feel like I’m getting better, and the body is getting better.
My goal this year is to get back into the top 10 in the world and, with the way I feel now, I believe I can do it.
Elina Svitolina speaks to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko at Melbourne Park.
Location: Melbourne Park Dates: January 14-28
Access: Daily commentary from 07:00 GMT on Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, with a selection of the latest commentary and match reports on the BBC Sport website and programme.