If you are a horse rider you will know exactly what I mean by the winter funk. You've finished a busy season, you and your horse have a few weeks or month off then you are into winter training. Its cold, its wet, you are stepping up a level and it's hard, the days are short, you're tired and all the other million excuses you come up with to not get out there and ride.
Normally what happens is you push through, you get out there and you are glad you did. That feeling can last for a couple of days or weeks but you know it won't last for any length of time and it will go away.
For me this winter, that feeling hasn't gone away. Normally for me by this time of the year, my first competition in August has been and gone, I am so excited for the season to start, I enter as soon as entries are open, I go to the show, have a blast, come away with things to work on and am looking forward to the next one.
This year I have spent all winter forcing myself to ride. When I ride I feel yes that went well, my horse tried super hard like he always does but there is no pleasure it. I don't hate it, I'm not really feeling anything. I am left wondering why am I bothering? The love has gone. That is really scary. I ride, that is what I do, it is who I am. I am left feeling quite upset and despondent after each ride, the feeling is not coming back.
I forced myself to enter my August competition and made myself go. I went, I rode, I didn't enjoy it but I also knew I would have felt worse if I didn't go.
I've spent a lot of time thinking, agonizing and worrying. What if it never goes away? Should I give up? Do I just need a break?
I started talking to people about it. I first of all talked to my partner. He said he had noticed a difference in me. He'd noticed I was really hyper about things for some time then I just crashed. I was dull for want of a better word. That got me thinking. Maybe it wasn't about riding but it was feeling like it was about riding because that is mainly what I do? I work, I ride, I sleep, I repeat. I had come off medication about 6 months before that I had been on for years that evened out my moods. He pointed out I needed to learn how to do that myself again because I didn't have the medication that was doing it for me. I needed to not let myself get hyper and over the top for weeks knowing there would be the inevitable crash.
I had a lesson before my August competition just after this conversation with my partner and I told my coach what was going on. She told me red flags were appearing and I needed to take notice of those, do something about them, not just hope they would go away or I would end up sick.
I talked to my friend, she explained about meditation. I always thought meditation was about getting your mind quiet. As soon as I try and make my mind quiet, it get's busier and louder! She explained that was fine. It was about recognising what was happening at the time. To quote 'Sometimes your mind is a quiet country road in the middle of the night. Sometimes is it a busy motorway. Just go with it'. She challenge me to meditate and mentioned that Spotify is a good resource.
That night I did some investigating and found some mediation play lists. I tried one and fell asleep straight away. Over the next few nights I explored where searching for meditation on Spotify took me. I found Tibetan bowls, they were interesting. I also found Binaural beats. They are pretty cool! They are my go to sleep listen of choice now.
I was doing more self reflection. I house sat for my friend for 8 days where I had access to an arena. I rode, worked on what I needed to work on but my fire was still not burning.
More talking to be had with my friend when she returned from her holiday. She's a good one that one! She is a personal trainer so is very knowledgeable in the arena of motivation, chasing goals, personal growth, all those super important things. She had also been thinking about my situation and suggested audio books and explained about stacking. Stacking is using time that you are using anyway but using it more productively. For example when you are driving in your car. Normally I'd be listening to the radio. Instead as an example, use that time to listen to an audio book about goal setting therefore using that time much more productively. You're have to sit in the car and drive regardless so learn something while you're doing it. Put head phones on a listen to a book while mowing the lawns. You are a product of your environment and people and ideas you surround yourself with affect your way of looking at things therefore surround yourself with motivation, goal driven, successful people by listening to books that are written by them, talk about them, discuss the techniques they use to succeed, all of those kind of things.
I loved the idea and it wasn't something I had thought of before. I enjoy learning but never make time to read. I spend a lot of time being 'entertained'. While I work I have TV shows playing. I could use all that time, 8 hours a day, listening, learning, being inspired. I spend a fair bit of time driving to my lessons, to visit my partner, taking my horse somewhere to ride. I could use all that time listening, learning, being inspired. I watch YouTube videos of an evening. I could use all that time listening, learning, being inspired.
Where to start?!! I had downloaded a book a long time ago that I never made time to read. It was called The Barefoot Investor so I started with that. It was great! I found the Good Reads site and plugged that book in. From there I was lead to other titles that sounded interesting so I have added them to my 'to read' list. Of course me being me, had to spend a bit of time working out then best way to listen to my books, sync'd across my devices, and having the best sound quality ;)
I am on to my 3rd book now in less than week after the idea was planted in my brain. I have learnt about money management, how important content is when running a business and am now learning about how not to procrastinate. I have tried a few other books but soon know whether it is going to be something that is going to be useful to me or not.
I had another lesson with my other coach and talked to him about how I was feeling as well. He explained the importance of setting goals to drive and motivate you. I need to have firmer goals set by my next lesson rather then the 'kind of' ones I have set at the moment.
How has all of this helped my winter funk? I feel like I have more purpose again. I can feel the embers of my burn starting to come to life. Creating content for my business means I need to actually do things to base that content on. Listening to successful people talk about the things that drove them, inspired them, helped them is fabulous learning and motivating. After all they were ordinary people once just like me. I am learning about how to generate online business, I am learning good habits, I have a list of books I want to listen to learn about more stuff!!!
I am I excited about riding again? Not yet. Will I be again? Yes I'm sure I will :)