USA Volleyball national-team member Kelsey Robinson is playing professionally this season in Istanbul, Turkey. She has written previously for VolleyballMag.com and has her own blog, Nom and Play, about food and travel.
“New year, new me.”
Isn’t that what everyone promises themselves on January 1?
There are the typical goals: Go to the gym, eat healthier, take control of your career. And then there are loftier goals: Travel more, check off bucket-list items, get your insta game up. I’m no different, however, most of my goals are centered around what I want to accomplish with my volleyball career and what I steps I need to take to achieve that goal.
Different country, different team, different league, every year it’s a different task, but the end result is always for a better more improved me.
While I truly believe goals are important and have pushed me to places I used to dream of, this year my goals won’t be measured in number or career stats. This year I’m going to focus on putting myself first. I want to focus on my body. I’m not going to zone in on the numbers; instead, I’m going to pay attention to how my body feels and what it’s telling me. For example, backing off on extra workouts because I need to recover a little more or get some more sleep instead of going out with friends.
I’m not going to aim to look like the highlight reel in all that I do both on the court and off; instead, I’m going to share a life that I’m proud of – whether it’s perfectly curated or not.
While it may not seem like that abnormal of a resolution, it is empowering to say out loud. Being more authentic in 2018 means coming to terms with battles of anxiety and depression –- both as an athlete and as a person — and sharing those struggles to empower those around me.
With more and more people turning to social media and wishing for someone else’s life, this year is the year that we accept ourselves as the imperfect, unedited and unfiltered humans we are (with the occasional Insta filter –- slow and steady!). While you may wonder what this has to do with sports, it’s important to realize that you can’t reach your fullest potential if you aren’t honoring the things that drive you and that make you, well, you.
Here are my self-care tips for 2018.
CREATE A SKINCARE ROUTINE: I was never one to take the time on my skin. To be honest, I typically only wash it with water, which as you can imagine makes for a lot of outbreaks after practices and games. After struggling with my skin for years, I finally locked down a routine with Cocoskincare, and my skin has never felt cleaner. I feel like I can breathe again. It’s this little act of taking the time to give my skin what it needs that simply gives me confidence in my everyday activities. I like to look for products where “less is more,” five ingredients or less and all readable. Organic and pure, treat yourself!
TAKE TIME TO MEDITATE: Hello, overactive brain. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t sit still. I sprained my ankle this year and while the trainer was trying to tell me what to do, I was too busy watching my team play because ball is life, duh. I can’t write without background noise and I can’t sleep because — Netflix. However, with the help of a nifty app Calm, I’ve become more focused in all areas of my life. Taking time to slow down and just breath deeply has done wonders to ease my anxiety and to be present. Another great app is Headspace. Find what works for you and create a daily reminder on your phone to carve out some time to center yourself.
SET INTENTIONS/SMALL GOALS: This is a slight variation of mediation. Each morning when I get up, I set an intention for the day. By setting my intention for the day, I am able to live fully in my work and in my interactions. It may sound like some yoga gibberish, but it has really helped me in my day-to-day. I tend to think of goals in the long-term; however, by setting a daily intention or goal, I feel a sense of immediate accomplishment, which takes my mind off those lofty, long-term goals that sometimes feel unattainable. I have loved writing those intentions down in my BrightBooks journal. What’s even better about these journals is that with every pair purchased, the organization provides a solar light to a child in need.
GIVE BACK: Whether it’s helping out at the local food kitchen or sending a donation to people in need, the act of giving always provides me with a sense of purpose in life. It is the foundation of my gratitude. Two of the organizations that I am involved with are Akasa and The Kitchen Community. Driven by my passion for healthy food and sustainable living, these organizations teach kids in the inner city to grow and prepare their own food. Interacting and sharing my passion has been an amazing outlet but the students are really the ones doing the teaching (cliché but true!).
PUT YOURSELF FIRST: Running a bubble bath or getting more sleep, 2018 is all about being the best version of yourself so that you can be the best version for your relationships, career/sport, and life. Take time away from others to reset. If you don’t want to go out with friends, say no –- it’s liberating! If you want dessert first at dinner, do it! There’s nothing stopping you from making you happy. And there’s nothing wrong with it either!
TAKE THOSE VITAMINS: From my hair and my skin to my recovery after long workouts or games, vitamins have helped my body look and feel my best. If you’re new to the vitamin scene, head over to takecareof.com and you can take a personal quiz to find out what vitamins will impact your health most. They’ve made it simple for you by sending a one-month supply already sorted for each day. Along with the daily vitamins, I absolutely swear by adding collagen to my diet. My hair and nail game have dramatically increased in the past year thanks to Vital Proteins. I like to add their collagen creamer to my coffee for a Starbucks-esque froth. Get your health and well-being on track in 2018!
YOGA: Last but certainly not least, adding a daily down dog or chottagronga to your routine can put your body and mind into a positive state to take on the day. Or even just take 10 minutes to work on breathing and give your body some love. If you’re not sure where to start, some references include yogabycandance.com for 30-minute sessions. You can also always hop on youtube and just get to searching!
(Pro tip: I started using the Theragun to my stretching routine to help tight muscles recover. I now sleep like a baby and wake up feeling five years younger).
The New Year is here, make sure it’s your best one yet!