Coaching with Chronic Pain – pushing myself to the limit

This weekend I will be maximizing all of my energy for coaching in a soccer tournament.  I am fortunate that I can generally push myself to the limit for a short period of time, as long as I allow several days before and after for my body to recover.  Both my daughters are on developmental soccer teams where I am the assistant coach.  This weekend I will be running around for 6-10 soccer games to assist in their games with player positions.  I love coaching soccer where I get to spend time with my family (my husband coaches too), get some exercise, build relationships, and have fun.

Pacing myself is key when operating at a high level.  The more time spent on utilizing my natural strengths and tendencies, the more energy I am able to preserve.  I also make sure I have everything planned out beforehand, to limit unnecessary stress, this includes insuring my daughters are ready as well.  I need several hours in the morning to wake up physically and mentally and work best with some coffee and tea.  During the afternoon I keep myself fueled with liquid, and healthy food.  We generally make a Starbucks stop for a bit of relaxation between games and for a caffeine pick me up.  Whenever possible I try to sit down or keep moving.  The less time standing in one place, the better off I am.  This puts the most pressure on my body.

Flexibility, setting priorities and self compassion are key in working with chronic pain.  My thoughts can trigger my emotions which will effect my pain and energy level.  It is important I stay away from comparison of others, worrying too much about what other people think, and focus on what is most important.  Learning to pick my battles not only makes me more effective, it also provides a healthier lifestyle.

Most people don’t know I have fibromyalgia/chronic pain, and those who do rarely understand its impact.  I find it is helpful to have a few people I can talk with if I am struggling.  Usually my husband is the one to offer support. In general I like having a place that is more about me serving and focusing on the players than on my personal difficulties.  However, if my pain became too unbearable than sharing with others would be important.

I am grateful to be having a good day today.  Look forward to playing on the field.  Though chronic pain/fibromyalgia may slow me down, the extra relaxation time can provide the fuel and introspection for making some meaningful memories.

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