The 2016 season officially began on Monday and this whole “first week of training thing” always hits in unexpected ways! It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, there is no predicting exactly when and where you will feel the effects. However, this being my second year here at Altis and my twenty second year of doing sports, I had a pretty decent grasp on what to expect going into Week One. Therefore, like the wise soul that I am (wink), I spent three weeks doing general preparations to lessen the shock. Go me! And while there is no way around the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that Week One ensues, I’ve learned there are practical ways of preparation. And these can reach beyond sport into any sort of job you have, business you own, or season of life you encounter. So if you have entered, or are entering, or will be entering something new in your lifetime here’s a few pointers I’ve learned along the way.
1. Gradual Increase.
Most of us want our time away to truly be time away, and I think it should be! But know yourself and know what you are coming back to. Recognize how long your break has been and what new routines have settled into place. In sport you can sometimes have weeks or months of off-season where your body goes into a state of rest and rejuvenation (i.e. walking to your upstairs bedroom counts as your daily workout). So going from that into 4-5 hours a day of strenuous exercise will ensure the inability to function after day 2! The same goes for schedule. Going from a somewhat simplified schedule, or perhaps no schedule at all, into a season where you have to fit in pre-workout, workout, recovery, therapy, nutrition, side jobs, volunteering, and whatever else you’re crazy enough to take on, will absolutely cause quick burnout. Depending on how long your time away has been, spend a few days or weeks gradually introducing things back into your life. This will allow your body and mind to get used to what will be required of it once season starts back up.
2. Room to Recover
Know that the increase in what is required of you will also have an affect on how much time you need to recover. With the added activity and responsibility you will probably find yourself needing more sleep than usual. Whether or not you have the luxury of quantity, allow yourself the greatest quality possible. Turn your phone off an hour before bed and don’t turn it on again until you’ve had your cup of coffee in the morning. Let your body fall in and out of sleep without the feeling of impending tasks. Guard the hours you do have with diligence. Side Note: I totally failed at this last night! But thank you Jesus for fresh starts each new day!
Also, the shock of increase in the first few weeks will always take a bigger toll mentally than you anticipate. Allow yourself the freedom to feel overwhelmed and share that feeling with a friend or family member. This past Tuesday (yes folks, that’s would be day 2) I was so tired I just started crying as I talked with my mom on the phone… Crying about what you ask? I don’t know probably something really important like creating world-peace. All I know is that in the five minutes of melt-down I was able to release, reset, and head into the next day with strength. Another trick of the trade is to take a few minutes here and there throughout each day to step away from the task at hand and think of something silly. Go look at the clouds or see who can come up with the corniest pick-up lines. Whatever it is, make yourself smile. Recover the mind. Recover the soul!
3. Remember the opportunity.
This is where any sort of doubt, fatigue, or fear vanishes. It is a privilege to have responsibilities in life and an opportunity to be doing what you are doing! Truly. So in the overwhelming moments take a step back and remember, with gratitude, the fact you have breath in your lungs and have been deemed worthy of responsibility! That truth can hide itself when you are physically and emotionally exhausted. Do whatever it takes to remember this fact. Write notes on your mirror. Set a mid-day alarm on your phone. Ask a friend or family member to text you. You have breath in your lungs and are worthy of having responsibility. It’s a beautiful thing! And looking at responsibility with an attitude of opportunity will refresh lost enthusiasm and give confidence in moments of doubt.
Oh how I love the start of new seasons! So fresh and so exciting! My hope is that we can begin to enter them with a little more intentionality and a little less shock! SOAR Intentionally my friend!
In case you need reminding (and I know how much you
stare glance at your phone throughout the day!) here’s a background you can use! Just click the picture to get a full size image you can save!