As we head into the fourth quarter of the tumultuous 2020, it’s important that we think longer term than just the end of this year. We need to think past 2020 and into the New Year to come.
While I truly believe things are getting better and will continue to, we are all struggling with what happened, with what’s happening now, and with the resultant collateral damage. In these tough times, it’s important that we level our expectations.
One of the greatest challenges we face is internal. It’s the mental fatigue that has set in from us wanting things to get back to how they were. We want to be DONE with the confusion & chaos.
But nature does not care what we want. Things will be how they will be. Earth has been here for over 4 billion years and will be here long after us (as long as we don’t destroy it first).
This reality does not have to be pessimistic. Life may not be ideal, but it is what it is. Rather than focusing on how we want it to be, we can make the best out of the situation by adapting to the playing field.
The only way to overcome fatigue is to train for it.
Coronavirus caught us all off guard, but we have the opportunity to adapt to its reality. When you’re a championship caliber athlete and lose, you don’t keep doing what you’re doing, you look at what happened, learn from it and use that information to train for future matchups.
In fitness, you train for endurance by focusing on the following:
- Fuel (and proper nutrition)
- Training (the actual physical and mindset training)
Our current situation is no different. By upping our individual game and building our own endurance, we will be well equipped to handle whatever comes next.
Think of fuel as a two-pronged approach:
- Actual nutrition to physically energize you and nutrients to keep your immune system strong.
- Mental energy:
- We gain mental energy by creating space for ourselves; by partaking in holistic activities that slow down our mind so we can connect to the present moment. Traditional meditation is great, but meditation can take on many forms such as writing/journaling, reading for pleasure, gardening, going for walks, spending time outside, swimming laps etc,.
- Another way to gain mental energy is to let go of things that do not serve you; from limiting thoughts to energy draining people to negative TV/Radio/Podcast (anything that is opinion focused i.e National Media). Create mental space by asking yourself – Is this benefiting me? Do I feel better or worse from it?
Side note here” It’s okay to view news, but do so from an objective standpoint. Regardless of your political preference, we can’t deny that media producers are companies with their own interests who make crazy amounts of money from your viewership. They are not neutral. The more fear they provoke, the higher their viewership. The higher their viewership, the more money they make.
I also invite you to consider, how is watching the news benefiting my life? Does it make me feel calm, happy and hopeful OR does it make you angry, sad and anxious?
Having a healthy body will significantly decrease your chances of getting sick. Training intensity is relative to you.
In the vast world of running, there are Couch-to-5ks for beginners, 100+ Ultra Marathons in the hardest terrains in the world and everything in between. These options exist for you in all levels of physical training.
Where are you at?
Find a mix of challenging workouts (again relative to you) and low intensity workouts. Movement is one of the best forms of stress release because by virtue of moving your body, you decrease tension and release positive hormones.
But training our physical selves is not enough. We must train our mental selves as well.
If you hold anger, anxiety and fear, it will be repressed and will manifest itself in your life. Pushing down our feelings is pushing a boulder down a hill. It takes no effort for the boulder to roll down the hill but to get it back up takes tremendous effort, focus and patience…pushing a boulder up a hill can only be done inch by inch, oftentimes taking a few steps back to go forward.
It takes nothing for us to hide our feelings and push them deep down but the further they go, the harder they will be to release and heal within.
The good news is that it’s ALWAYS possible – no matter how far gone you think you are but you must start today:
- Journal your feelings daily
- Identify negative – self limiting thoughts, realize they are just thoughts, not truths. Rather than get emotionally bothered, get curious – what is the root of this pain?
- Spend quiet time giving yourself the opportunity to filter out passing thoughts and return back to the present moment. This does not have to be sitting down with your eyes closed meditating (although it is highly recommended). It can also mean turning off all sound when you’re training, practicing while waiting in line or taking a long walk with no noise.
The most underrated aspect of all fitness is recovery. We think if we train hard, we get a better body but that is only part of the equation. If your body does not recover from your training, it does not matter how hard or long you train, your body will not change. In fact, it can get worse if you are not recovering.
My wife is 9 months pregnant. It’s been an incredible journey and we have had hundreds (literally) of loving people share their advice on the experience. Of all the stories & tips, the one thing that all people tend to say in their own way–from nurse to holistic doula to neighbor to Grandma is that as a pregnant woman, you need to give yourself what you feel you need.
I think that is great advice for us all right now. Don’t judge yourself if you need to get a few more hours of sleep each night, or need an afternoon nap, or if you aren’t as motivated on certain days, or if you want to have ABC food or XYZ drink or whatever it is. Give yourself what you feel you need.
Spend some time laughing each day. We need to let ourselves be more silly. What makes you giggle?
When we listen closely, our intuition will tell us exactly what we need. But too often, we let our mind get in the way.
When you focus on your fuel and training, you give yourself what you need to get through. If anything, this acceptance and freedom will keep you going. Sometimes recovery is nothing more than just not doing anything or even not doing any of the things that you need recovery from.
I realize a lot of this may not be what you want to hear but what’s our alternative? Hope things go our way? Or expect a politician to make everything better?
Take Control of Your Own Being.
Since the dawn of civilization, humans have overcome awful events. What this tells me is that we are resilient. Every generation thinks what they are going through is the worst thing ever, but then it’s over, a new generation comes and the cycle repeats.
While the times change and societies become more technologically advanced, what remains the same is the one challenge every single person must face: the challenge to find mental calm, no matter what the inner voice says, amidst the external chaos.
YOU can overcome! WE will overcome!
Joe Carabase is an Entrepreneur, Coach and Author. Check out his latest book here. You can follow @joecarabase on Instagram and Facebook for more inspiring content!
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