When It Gets Hard, Stick to the Basics

Run tests are over for most, school is back in session, and all the work hits us. Things start to feel more like a grind to get through, stress starts increasing, sleep starts to go out the window, we overcaffeinate to make up for it and just keep going through the cycle of losing sleep and stress until our bodies shut down inevitably leading us to get sick. It’s no surprise that there’s a slew of high schoolers getting sick right now. What I want you to know is there’s a way to make it easier and it involves habits. Developing them isn’t easy, but it will make your life feel like it later on. The habits I’ve developed are essential to everything I do and I think some of them could help you too.

High schoolers and college players, I feel you. High schoolers are expected to do ALL THE THINGS to get into college. You have kids that are doing fall sports, working jobs, in clubs, studying, SAT prep, and of course lacrosse time. For college players, the choices you make to balance your time between social, academic, and athletics are real and hard.

It’s natural with so much going on to feel overwhelmed. Creating good habits will keep you on track with the goals you want to accomplish, by using the thing we constantly wish we had more of efficiently - time. When you feel overwhelm, tackle one thing at a time. Nothing puts my anxiety or stress away faster than checking one thing off my list. Get one assignment done at a time and you’ll feel more accomplished after each one. School and lacrosse are one in the same, the more work you put into it the more confident you will feel heading into the test or game.

  1. Sleep. I can’t say this enough. Sleep is critical for productivity, attitude, and performance. Especially for goalies, sleep plays a huge role in reaction time. Everyone is different in how much they need, but 8-9 hours is ideal.

  2. Move. Movement and exercise are so great for keeping your body feeling good physically, but there are so many more benefits mentally. Movement actually lowers your levels of stress, which will make you more productive and help you sleep better at night. This can be movement of any kind, even stretching!

  3. Fuel. Nutrition and hydration also greatly affect how you think and how you perform. I’m not going to sit here and tell you what you already know about what’s better or worse for fuel. What is a good idea is to try to see how you can make the processed foods you want better (like I do with my protein pumpkin pancakes), or try to consume less of them.

  4. Utilize airplane mode. Whether we think so or not, our phones affect us subconsciously and distract us. The task you’re trying to do will seem much harder and take much longer when you are looking at your phone every couple of minutes. Hands down I will admit this is why it took me so long to accomplish my work in high school and college. The same applies when you’re getting wall ball in. Airplane mode with a downloaded playlist, this will allow you to focus on what you’re doing and get more out of it in a short amount of time.

If things start falling off the rails and you start getting into a bad cycle, remember you always have the option to make it stop. You always have the power to choose to make each day different, as long as we don’t let the past determine our future.

I wanted to share this with you all because I just experienced this firsthand. I’ve been so excited, and of course slightly nervous for all the things that have been going on. This put me in the cycle. Yesterday I woke up and decided to give my body a break from the workouts from the lack of sleep and take Remy (new pup) for a walk when I came across this awesome wall. The little things can make a big difference. On my walk I also caught up with some family, came home, meditated and got the most work done I had in awhile. Sometimes the week doesn’t start off how we want it, but that doesn’t mean the next day can’t be that much better. There’s always something to smile about, and when we smile, things seem much easier. Keep smiling, keep working, good things are coming.