Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood
Everyone knows recovery is important, and in fact we are beginning to really embrace the role of recovery for performance. But one area we often neglect within the recovery process is that of emotional recovery or well-being. If we are going to invest fully in something and give it our full selves, we are going to be emotionally drained or tired at times.
We can begin this process by understanding how this full investment impacts us emotionally. We are all different, and we need to learn to be honest with ourselves in terms of how emotionally exhausted we are and what our signs are that mean that we are emotionally unwell. We also need to begin to value regular processes that keep us well along the way, so we can continue to invest fully in our dreams.
Some practices that can be helpful include regular mindfulness practice (research suggests that mindfulness training even three times per week can keep us be emotionally well at the beginning and end of a stressful period of time). Regular debriefing practices can also help.
Imagine if we had a consistent routine where we allowed ourselves to learn from each event and then let it go and begin to emotionally recover in between. There is a natural ebb and flow to performance, an emotional wave that takes place. We need to honour that reality and work to keep ourselves well, while also paying attention to the more challenging moments that may require additional emotional recovery.
There is a great TED Talk by Guy Winch on the idea of the importance of consistently practicing emotional first aid. This can be helpful as we consider this idea of staying emotionally well and handling the highs and lows of sport and life.