Mental Training Homework: Reduce Stress & Recharge

Mental Training School

Mental Training Homework: Reduce Stress & Recharge

Mental Training SchoolIn early April my friends and I started to throw out some dates for our annual girls summer camping trip. We figured if we started throwing out possible dates early this time, we would have no problem finding a weekend that worked for all of us. As it turns out, we will be camping at the end of September. That was the earliest date we could make work because we are all so booked up.

How many times have you gotten to the end of September and thought to yourself “Where the hell did my summer go!? I didn’t do any of the things was looking forward to!”. This can be especially true for you endurance athletes out there – cycling, running, and swimming your way through the warm months – sometimes you end up feeling like racing is consuming your whole summer.

I have come to rescue you from this madness with your May Mental Training homework! One way you end up feeling like your life is out of balance is when you feel overbooked, just running from one thing to the next with no downtime. You need to provide yourself some space, some breathing room, AND you need to let go of some of the things you think you should be doing. Here are two key ways to reduce stress and recharge so you can enjoy your summer (or anytime of the year!):

 

Make a To-Don’t list:

We are a culture of action. We write goals, make resolutions, and create action plans. For some folks (myself included) there is nothing more satisfying than crossing something off a to-do list. SO this will satisfy your list-making fetish while getting you to let-that-shit-go at the same time. Pick 5 things that you will commit to not doing for the next three months. What “should” should you get rid of? What are 5 things you can give yourself permission to let go of? Or 5 things you will not worry about doing over the next three months?

 

Unbook yourself:

If your calendar is cluttered with commitments, it’s time to do some unbooking. Unbooking guarantees you some free time. Schedule “unbooked” time into your iCal or Google calendar and hold that time as sacred.  

Your brain needs downtime to recharge. If you’re driven and get excited about producing and to-do lists and getting shit done it can be hard to give yourself time off. It almost feels uncomfortable and anxiety-producing to just do nothing. The Caribbean has perfected this beautiful and important cultural pastime. They call it liming. Liming basically means, hanging out. It’s a social endeavor, with NO agenda, and usually with some sort of rum-cocktail in your hand. You need to have time when you are doing absolutely nothing. No agenda; just hanging out and being in the moment. You need dedicated downtime giving you a break from work and sport.

It's time to lime.

That’s why I like camping. It’s the perfect lime-inducing environment. Pick out at least one day to lime each month over the next three months. DO it.

Whether it comes from work, family, or watching the news; stress is stress and when you internalize it and take it on as a stressor, it will affect your health and your performance. This Mental Training homework can help you balance that out. They are not luxuries, they are necessities. They are necessary to feel balanced and get to the end of summer feeling grateful for the amazing people in your life and the incredible abundance you have. They are necessary to keeping the energy and motivation you need to get in your training and enjoy your races. They are necessary for taking care of yourself and your relationships. And if you find that you are having a hard time doing this for yourself – do it because I assigned it as homework :)

Comments ( 2 )

  • Liz

    Can you give an example or two of a thing not to do??

  • Yes! Great question. There are a few different ways people approach this idea. One is to think about what you don’t want to miss out on over the summer as things get busy:

    “I will not let the entire summer go by without having a backyard BBQ party with my friends.”
    “I won’t allow myself to put the family camping trip on the back burner.”

    So then you flip that into a to-do list time by taking it and turning it into a goal – pick the date and send out the invite!

    The other approach is to think about what you can give yourself permission to let go of:

    “I will not beat myself up if I miss a workout during my vacation.”
    “I will not judge my self-worth based on my race results.”
    “I will not feel badly if I show up to book club with a store bought item even if everyone else made something from scratch.” (Ahem … a bit of a personal one there!)

    Or if there is some project or something you keep meaning to do and it’s been on your to-do list for 6 months or something you’ve been on the fence about – just let it go:

    “I am not going to start my vegetable garden this summer.”
    “I am not going to do such-and-such race.”

    And you really commit to letting go and letting yourself off the hook. These are all ways to free up mental and emotional energy that is connected to things we are hiding onto that aren’t really serving us.

    I’ll be putting a call out on my Facebook page for others to share their ideas too!
    https://www.facebook.com/MentalSkillsTrainingforAthletes/

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