22 May STAYING POSITIVE WHEN IT’S NOT ALL RAINBOWS AND SUNSHINE
By Lockie Ong, MetaSport Coach
“Our world just changed totally overnight”. That is something most people would not expect to say but within the last few months, the entire world had just flipped upside down. Many who led comfortable lives are now left to worry if they can even pay the bills. Just as the whole world is creeping down a dark & depressive downward spiral, it is indeed hard to not get sucked in as well. I thought I had things going good for me initially “Pfftt, I’ll be fine”, until I found myself in the very hole which I thought getting into was not even a possibility. Thankfully I am now back on the path of finding a new normal that works, and would like to share some of the things I have learnt in this ongoing journey.
“It is okay to not be okay“. Especially as athletes, we pride ourselves in staying consistent in our training, constantly pushing ourselves to be the best versions of who we are. Many are still able to substitute and improvise their workout routines. That is great but unfortunately not everyone has been successful in keeping up with a consistent regime. These are unprecedented times and having to adapt to such changes is not easy. As a first step to avoid going deeper down the spiral of self- loathing and guilt, it is important to accept who we are and where we are now. Not everyone is going to have everything going great. It is okay to not be emanating rainbows and sunshine, in fact it really is okay to not be okay. That said and understood, every step should more-or-less be a step in the right direction even if we do stumble and fall, which we definitely will.
Willpower is a limited resource, we tend to be over-reliant on it to get things done or be productive. It is also common to think that if we don’t have enough willpower that we are just lazy. The belief in the abundance of willpower is a mismanagement of expectations at best, and possibly even self- destructive at worst. Instead, it is much more effective to rely on habits to get things going. “You won’t need willpower to brush your teeth because it’s already a habit”. Same logic. Back when things were normal there are many habits and systems that we may not have noticed which had kept us on track. A lot of these habits might have just become absent thanks to complacency. For example, treating my bed as a sacred space only for sleeping used to be a habit, I got complacent and found myself struggling through sleepless nights which totally wrecked my sleep cycle. It really is not about the big things that we do, but the small things that we keep consistent that leads to actions for greater things.
Have rituals. It may sound silly but it goes a long way, and turning these rituals into habit will easily get us to do things that previously required willpower. For example, getting ready for work, donning my work outfit, styling up my hair and even putting on cologne. These small actions do set one up to be in the right mindset to engage in work properly. It is also important to have a wind down ritual so you can separate work from rest and play. Have a dedicated space for play that is different from your work station, it will be a lot easier to maintain focus when working. Different rituals work for different people, I am sure with some trial and error you can find what works for you and keep that going. A good tip would be to prepare your workout gear the night before, having your cycling kit ready will leave you with one less thing to think of in the morning.
At this point the journey is still long and arduous, there is much we cannot control, but our habits and mindset are still well within our power. Keep up with the steps even if they may well be small to keep our mental wellbeing in check. We will get through this!”