5 Tips for a Balanced Life – Part II
Hello everyone! I’m Briley Casanova with Complete Performance Coaching, and today, I want to discuss five additional tips for a balanced life at any age. While writing the first part of this post, I found myself reflecting and remembering even more things that helped me as a student-athlete that I had to share with you.
If you haven’t checked out part one, you can click here to read my first five tips that will give you some additional ideas to try out. Hopefully, we can all learn to embrace a more balanced life with where we place our identity and where we focus our time and energy. My hope is for athletes to learn to prioritize their mental state no matter what chapter of life they are in.
So, let’s talk about some tips to work on improving that balance. Here are five more tips to a more balanced athletic career and life in no particular order:
1. Prioritize sleep
Do as much as you can during daytime hours. If you make a priority list of tasks to accomplish or goals to achieve before the day starts (maybe the night before), then you will be more mentally and physically prepared to tackle the next day’s goals. Rest and recovery are so incredibly important not just as an athlete, but also as a human being. If we don’t get enough sleep, roughly seven to nine hours a night, then we cannot perform as optimally as we need to.
Prioritizing sleep and seeing it as a part of a healthy training routine can potentially make prioritizing sleep more enjoyable. This can be tough for younger athletes in training when there are more “fun” or more desirable things such as hanging out with friends, going to parties or staying up late to watch Netflix. Those are more enticing options opposed to getting a good night’s sleep.
2. Use weekends wisely
When it comes to using your weekends wisely, that could mean relaxing and staying home. It might mean putting in extra hours in training or accomplishing other productive tasks that you weren’t able to get to during the week. Ultimately, the choice is up to you regarding what using your weekends “wisely” means. If you prioritize what you do during the week, that can free up your weekends for more fun things or more resting and recovery. Regardless, make the most of your weekends depending on what your mind and body need the most in order to perform well the rest of the week.
3. Plan out fun events sporadically
If you plan out events and fun things ahead of time, sporadically, that allows for there to be room to break up more intense training periods. That way, you have something outside of training to look forward to. As a practitioner that emphasizes the power of gratitude and maintaining joy in sports, I believe both fun and high-level training can coexist. While I experienced years of high-intensity training for long periods of time, I was also able to make time for fun trips with family, sleepovers with friends, going to see movies, and other fun things that kept me satiated through tougher training periods. Even champions have to make time for time off and opportunities to enjoy life outside of their sport. Sometimes we all need to miss training in order to appreciate it more and allow ourselves to give our best effort while we are in training mode.
4. Be fully present and allow yourself to enjoy things
Approach everything one thing at a time. I like reciting the mantra “OTAT” to remind myself to do this. Allow yourself to fully enjoy the present moment; you won’t have felt like you lost any time accomplishing important tasks. Plus, when you take things as they come, your mind is likely to remain more clear, not give in to distractions as you would when overwhelmed. This will also help you accomplish goals with more intention and efficiency.
It is so much easier to pour your entire effort into singular moments in time rather than remaining occupied with thoughts of the past or the future. The more mindful and present you are in moments of training, fun times with family and friends or self-care/recovery time, the more you will get out of those moments. What you put in is what you will get out when fully focusing on what’s happening right now. This means less stress, less worry, less distraction, and more control for you when it comes to living your life and training at your fullest capacity.
5. Take breaks
Listen to your body, mind, and spirit. and give them what they need. Be mindful of what you say yes and no to. It is so important to be in tune with yourself, not only as an athlete but also as a thriving human being. We cannot operate at our highest without proper rest, recovery, and rejuvenation time. Dedicate yourself fully when both in training mode and taking a break mode. See what happens when you put your phone away for a moment; take a 5-minute walk between homework assignments or take a sip of water and see how you perform after that.
Remember to reset and refresh yourself frequently in order to prevent burnout, and save your energy to perform optimally in high-stress situations. Of course, there will be times when we need to work through stressful moments or perform under circumstances out of our control. However, when it comes to achieving a balanced life with sports as a priority, there is the ability to schedule breaks and reset your mind and body throughout specific periods; it’s all about how you plan ahead and make the most of break times. This can be done efficiently when breaks are preplanned, last short amounts of time, and are fully committed to.
Make Breaks Purposeful & Intentional
In other words, don’t use your break time to worry about the task you were doing or what you “should” or “could” be doing. Allow yourself to enjoy the break. Then, get back to whatever you need to do.
I hope these tips serve as reminders for ways to balance your life, identity, mindset, and how they relate to your sport. While it is common that we as athletes place most of our identity, energy, time, and investment into our sport, it is key to remember that we are more than what we offer our sport. While we may be super talented, gifted, or work really hard to be where we are as athletes, no matter what your journey looks like in sport, you have your entire life journey going for you as well.
You can still prioritize performing at a high level and continue to live a healthy, fulfilling and balanced life inside and outside of your sport.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any feedback or questions about this post. You can email me at [email protected]. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy training!