A few weeks ago I reconnected with a friend and study colleague of mine from Austria who now is a mental coach and psychologist. She had written an article about the ’emotional rollercoaster’ of dealing with a crisis like the coronavirus outbreak and with her permission I translated it and shared it with our cycling community. After being quite shell shocked myself, angry and upset about this new challenge for our business and private lives her explanations and suggestions resonated with me and helped us getting back on a more positive path.
As a mum I knew I had to stay positive for our son. As a wife I teamed up with my best friend in life and together my husband and I have been going through thick and thin for almost 20 years now. As a business woman I have been in survival mode, really, but I am confident that we will get through this – we must, for our staff, for our crew, for our riders, for our cycling family.
But, you know, of an evening, sometimes doubt enters my head. That heavy feeling on the chest returns, anxiety is knocking on the door, so many question marks… and yet, it all has been a very grounding experience. It has probably fueled my journey of reconnecting with my inner self and rediscovering who I want to be for the rest of my life. I’ve started doing yoga, am learning how to meditate and have finished reading the first book since my son was born.
I’ve also kept checking in with Michaela, my friend from Austria and here are few more thoughts from her blog, which have been resonating with me and which keep me on my path when I fear slipping into anxiety:
How to keep your balance and state of happiness in times of uncertainty
My friend writes that we suddenly realise the importance of three very important basic needs in these times of uncertainty: relationships, competency and autonomy.
Especially in these times of ‘social distancing’ we very consciously experience the basic need for relationships and being connected. And that’s a beautiful thing. – Michaela Brugger
We all have this urge of being part of a community – we want to be connected and enjoy the trustful interactions with like-minded people, she says. – I reckon, this is why I was so upset when we got back from overseas. I was so looking forward to hosting races again, to seeing our crew and riders, which all have become part of our ‘Australian family”, really.
Over the last few years I’ve observed many times how people lost track of actively seeking and satisfying this need for being connected. The sense of community was neglected in this ‘individualistic me-society’. – Michaela Brugger
I realised for myself that this is the exact reason why our Rocky Trail Community and Family has become such an important part of our lives and why we get so many beautiful messages and feedback from our riders – we are all creating such beautiful memories together at every event and with every race. We experience so many positive and precious moments and this is the most important sources of happiness and mental health. Therefore, WE MUST STAY CONNECTED!
Tough challenges: How can we combine home-office, social-distancing, family, loneliness?
My friends states that being aware of the other two important basic needs can help: autonomy and competency.
Autonomy stands for the need to be ‘master of one’s destiny’. It’s all about being able to choose from possibilities. The opposite is heteronomy or being dependent on outside factors. – Michaela Brugger
We feel this very intensively because of lock-down rules for instance plus being forced to work from home and look after kids at the same time, possibly homeschooling them. And then there are our own thoughts about not being able to control the situation.
Competency means that we trust in our own skills and to experience our own doing as influential. – Michaela Brugger
Just reading this I realised how these three needs have become neglected or influenced these last few months and weeks, especially. Based on Michaela’s recommendations here are some thoughts from me on how we can tackle meeting our needs and what I’ve been doing:
- Trying to have a timetable each day of the things I have to and WANT to do
- Clearly dividing work and leisure time
- Take a break from work
- 30 min walk or a ride in nature
- Stay connected with family and friends on the ‘outside’
- Have a ‘date with yourself’ – I try to do yoga or exercise by myself each day
- At the end of a day, write down what you achieved
- Have a goal each week with daily to-do lists
- Make a list of your strengths
- Start a new hobby (eg. I started yoga, am doing online business courses)
- Talk about your feelings with your partner and/or close friends
- Communicate via video calls – facial expressions and gestures help feeling connected
- Think about who you could help (eg. we delivered Easter sweets to our neighbours)
- A smile and “Thanks” at the check-out is very special right now
- Listen to concerts, performances online together (eg. Rocky Trail Radio)
No racing, no events – how to stay positive and connected
An early morning in an empty event centre, as nature slowly awakens around me, birds start to chirp, DJ Nigel starts playing those soothing morning tunes… first riders arrive, the event centre fills up with so many friendly faces, crew, new racers among them too… it’s such a joy for me, exhilerating, exciting, exhausting and at the same time one of my happy places in life. So whilst being angry, sad and disappointed to miss out on all that right now and who knows for how much longer, but know this: Martin and I together with our team and crew will work really hard to put together a new schedule of events and be ready with bells on when we can be out at a start line again.
I will also try to stay connected with my Rocky Trail family and friends – and you can too:
- Chat to them via our Facebook Group “Rocky Trail Family“
- See what they are posting on Instagram – please use our hashtags #rockytrailracer and/or #rockytrailentertainment and we can follow your stories!
- Like us, listen to Rocky Trail Radio and the awesome playlists by Mista DJ Nige bring up all these beautiful memories – music is so powerful!
- Browse on the Rocky Trail albums on OuterImage.com.au – why not have your favourite photos actually printed out and up on the wall at home? – I love mine from the Diamonds in the Dirt last year! There are many online printing businesses out there (e.g. Officeworks)
- I watch the YouTube Highlight Videos from past Rocky Trail events
- Send us an email or give us a buzz for a chat
Stay in touch, embrace and enjoy our unique Rocky Trail community and take care.
Resources with thanks to Michaela Brugger (c) michaela-brugger.com/blog/