Although most of my days are upbeat and energy filled, life has a way of balancing bright days with dark ones.  I tend to experience life this way but during triathlon climbingtraining periods am motivated to move more quickly through the dark days so as not to impact training progress.   After a high volume week, full of training and family stresses I found myself cycled down and not knowing how to manage it before I was too far down the path.  First thing first is to let my support team know why I’m walking around like a Zombie from “Dawn of the Dead”.

Note to  Wife and Coach Sue:  You have probably figured out when I’m in a dark mood, I stop communicating.  My learned reaction to this state is to shut down, get quiet, want to sleep and resist what I should be doing. The results are generally a prolonged and accelerated decline into that dark period.  Saturday and Sunday were dark days.  Today I am working to build a strategy to dig myself out and get back on a brighter more positive path.

Reviewing where I am right now here is what I am thinking through:

  • Do I believe I have the capability to alter my mood or is it something I just have to let pass? 
    • I think the answer to this is yes on both..  I know that talking to both you and my wife at times has changed my perspective which helped elevate my mood.
    • So, rather than shut down…. I will recognize the mood changes, start talking about it sooner in hopes that it will pass more quickly.
      A side effect of this is I feel badly when I complain or dwell on the negative.
      So I tendgoodbad2 to hold back which aggravates the mood… I know that as soon as I express frustration it generally dissipates.
    • Exercise used to be one of my outlets during these moody periods but since exercise is part of the issue exercise avoidance is the reaction.
  • Do I believe I can really cut myself some slack?  This is a tough one because I find it hard to do and am puzzled by those that do so easily.   I also find my supportive comments such as “I know you can do it” unfounded.  I often feel I don’t deserve a break.
    • Not sure how to tackle this one .. but one thing that helps is when you give me permission to let a session go it does feel so bad…  Strange
    • I think that I struggle with knowing the difference between my giving it the best on any given day and giving it the best it my potential best.
      Like in the Marine Corps Marathon.. I wasn’t happy with my effort because I felt it wasn’t my potential best..  and I spoiled a good effort for myself by not being happy to finish and be with friends.
  • Mind Game
    • I know I am influenced by what I feed my mind.
      • brainworksMy mind is like an endless loop machine.  If I hear that stupid 1-877-Cars – Kids song it plays in my mind for days.
        • When I start to go dark I generally escape through a series on HBO or Netflicks.  Most often they are not the kind of uplifting subject matter someone looking to alter their moods in the positive direction would choose…  More of an escape pathway kind of thing but with a binge attached… ultimately not a good resource
      • Reading the weekly game plane and getting equipment, cloths, route, time etc.. ready helps set a good workout mindset.
      • Pre-exercise stretch helps and having the time for the workout is also a stress reducer.
      • Feeling good about the session helps the mood…this can be a tough one…  sometimes it is a motivator and other times it is not.  Repetitive sessions over the same route are boring.. Attaining new goals during a workout make it interesting.

Strategy

  1. Accept that I cycle through dark periods, and it doesn’t mean I am weak minded, undisciplined and unfocused:
    Action – try to catch them early and talk about how I am feeling.
  2. Try to reconcile that cutting yourself some slack.
    Action – Tell yourself that cutting yourself some slack does not automatically make you a slacker.  Take credit for the work you have put in … be cool with it.
    Stop trying to measure yourself against others efforts…  recognize you are an irregular and what fits others is not your size.
  3. Lastly, Prepare the Mind to Manage the body…
    goodbadAction: Get ahead of your emotions by paving a positive pathway in advance.  Attend to the little things that end up ..like family time, chores etc.. building up over time to become mood changers.
    Sometimes a little effort is good enough.
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