Life can be a series of ups and downs, but with a bit of effort in the right places we can help keep the median a bit higher. It has only taken me thirty-three years to realise that a bit of attention to how my body is feeling, heeding what my mind is asking of me, and accepting when my spirit needs time to rest, are all immeasurably helpful to my quality of life.
I have played ultimate (frisbee) for over fifteen years now, representing New Zealand at international competition, the highest possible level at present. You would think in amongst all my time training with disc in hand, and running around after the circular pieces of plastic, I would have fitted in gym strength sessions and at least some proper recovery work for muscles put repeatedly through the works over the years.
You’d be half right.
I have been to a gym a handful of times over that time, and I have maintained a reasonably consistent regime of stretching and strength exercises, particularly after various physio visits. What I haven’t done, is the up-front work to get my body ready for the intense physical exercise of an ultimate season or a worlds campaign before embarking on the journey. This has led to my hamstrings and glutes not engaging when they need to, which has led to increased strain for my knees and ankles. This is something I want to change.
Next week I have my first consultation with a personal trainer. I hope to identify exactly where I am lacking mobility due to muscle weakness and less than perfect body movement. Having not done anything like this before, it’s a bit scary. I’ve made this choice because I want to be able to capably play ultimate for at least the next twenty years – maybe thirty. For this to happen, I need to start looking after my body better than I have in the past.
Sleep. This is a big one. As I type this I look at my alarm clock and see it tick from 11:59pm to 12:00am. Writing this blog is my last activity for the night, and then I am going to bed. For someone that naturally wants to go to bed between 1 and 2 in the morning, it is difficult to alter this mindset. Since I have found a wonderful reason to get up each morning, to have a conversation with someone I care about, it is becoming easier. Thankfully, they are understanding that this is a challenge for me, which makes it low stakes enough that if I miss one or two morning conversations due to a delayed bedtime, I won’t berate myself for doing so and push myself back a step or two.
When I get up in the morning and do some light exercise, journal for a bit, write some of a current story I’m working on, maybe even play some music, I feel energised as I go about the rest of my day. Though I find the darkness of midnight a great muse for creativity, deep down my body knows when it would prefer to sleep.
Something else I’ve talked about here on my blog is switching off. We don’t need to always be “doing something” as the modern world often dictates. Choosing to spend time in silence has been beneficial for my life. For me, sometimes this is having a conversation with God in prayer, sometimes it is meditating, and sometimes it is simply melting into a chair and letting thoughts drift out of my mind.
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What is something you love doing, but perhaps don’t do as often as you would like?
Can you flip some time around in your schedule to fit in more of this good thing?
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You’re worth the time to do more of what helps you feel more like you.
Keep on keeping on being awesome.