Sandie's back with her confidence blog. This month, she shares her tips on how to beat the January blues.
Let me start off this feature with my best wishes to you for this coming year, and congratulate you for surviving the festive period - hopefully unscathed!
I only picked up three of the five horrid bugs doing the rounds so I'm feeling rather smug.
Getting bogged down
In January when it's SO dark, windy, muddy and cold, it's easy to let ourselves get bogged down both mentally and physically. Even the best Le Chameaus can’t help us out in this case!
We can often place unrealistic demands on ourselves and write cheques we can’t cash, so to speak.
The demands of returning to work, kids going back to school, having dogs to wash and Christmas trees to dismantle, all while trying to re-establish some sort of routine can place huge pressure on us (and that's before we even think about our equine companions!).
Owning horses comes with its own pressures. Perhaps you're guilt-ridden that you haven’t managed to keep up with your usual exercise routine and your horse is losing fitness.
When you do have a precious window of opportunity to ride, other things may get in the way. For example, frozen surfaces putting the brakes on things can be frustrating. It can seem like you never have the opportunity to put your to-do list to the back of your mind (just for a moment!).
We can get off after a ride feeling like an utter failure, undeserving of our beloved equines and wondering why the heck we put ourselves through it.
This is especially true when your fresh, newly-clipped companion has turned into a piaffing, snorting maniac – having an absolute blast to himself and oblivious to your despair!
At this time of year, I have to exercise a degree of tough love with my clients to help them organise their thoughts and quite often to 'get real'.
The reality is that we only have a certain amount of time in a day, week, month or year so it's far more useful to have positive, constructive and helpful thoughts.
Selecting aims and goals that we can realistically achieve is much more constructive than spending our time cultivating anxiety and bashing our self-esteem.
It's easy to feel under pressure and compete with other liveries or feel like there's things you should be doing, regardless of whether it's what you really want to do.
The feeling of satisfaction and pride comes from feeling that you've done well and achieved something.
That doesn’t have to be a rosette. Remember to notice the day-to-day things that you do that at one point probably seemed very hard.
So, with that in mind, here are my top five tips to help beat the January blues and create a smooth road ahead.
- Prioritise what's important to you.
These are usually the things that annoy you the most when they haven’t been done.
- Take time to tidy up.
If your starting point is in a fuddle, it doesn’t create space for a well-balanced riding mind.
Getting on top of yard duties and catching up on tack cleaning, rug repairs etc. will leave you feeling prepared to start the next chapter.
- Have the confidence to say no (as politely as possible).
Most of us get in a pickle when we go against our gut instinct and try and please others. It's okay if you don’t feel ready.
- Work out a plan to get ready in three stages.
Start at the end point and work backwards to the beginning. Take time to realise what you have to invest in terms of effort and time for your dreams to become a reality.
- Write down your five highlights from last year.
Look at photos or rosettes and indulge yourself as often as you can looking at these.
Remember that what your eyes see your mind believes, so it’s really important to feed it with positivity.
Until next time!
Sandie Robertson is an equestrian confidence and performance coach who works with riders of all disciplines through all stages, from grassroots to international professionals.
She helps riders across the globe improve their confidence, nerves and performance.
Sign up to receive Sandie's acclaimed free audio series on how to beat nerves. This series has helped thousands of riders achieve fantastic results.