A few weeks ago the roller derby season was JUST about to take off, spring was JUST around the corner in the northern hemisphere and everyone was getting ready to hit the outdoor bike and skate parks. But then the pandemic hit and we have all been forced to retreat and slow down since. However, slowing down does not have to mean stagnation. It can also be a chance to refocus. And what this looks like, is entirely up to you.
While we all know that staying active and keeping training levels up will ensure the endorphin production we are accustomed to, actually staying active can be a challenge. We also might know that having a structure and setting smart goals will give us something to focus on and ensure we don’t get lost in a mist of Twendsturdays and Munsdays. But we might not know how to set these goals. So we checked in with our STEAKS® CRW members to see how they have been working through this pandemic. The STEAKS® CRW consists of a mix of wildly different people from all over the world. Even though most of them are currently stuck at home, this means something different for each and every one of them. Some crew members have access to an outdoor area, others don’t. Some are employed and get to work from home, some are freelancers and have lost some projects, others are using their quarantine time to write their PhD. Our STEAKS Rookie Snappa just moved to another city in the midst of all of this and is currently getting settled in a completely new environment. Each and every one of them has different challenges.
All of them can agree that friends, family and teammates are currently being hella missed! They also all agree that now is the time to…
…be kind to yourself
One activity many crew members are currently trying to avoid is reading too much news. It’s tiresome, bleak and can cause you to focus on the negative. Delta Strike (London Roller Derby) is currently actively working on shifting her focus: “I have moments of anxiety and sadness but I’m really focusing on just being thankful for everything I do have, as many others are suffering far more than me. I am very lucky.”
If it’s not the news, maybe your social media feed is guilt-tripping you and getting you down. Watching people get shredded during lock-down while personally feeling no need to move but rather eat that tasty chocolate can do that for you! But you know what! It’s all about the endorphins and exercise is only one way to boost them. Helly Monster (The Shred Sisters, CIB France) is turning to off-skate workouts for her endorphin kicks: “I’m back to an off-skates workout to compensate for not going to the skatepark so I do not lose muscles or maybe even improve them. But I’m doing this mainly to help my head by creating the endorphin I need.”
Other ways to get endorphin levels up are spicy foods, dark chocolate, giving, laughing or yoga and meditation. GG Hardy (Manneken Beasts) is living in the now and has discovered a lot of joy in that: “I have had to embrace learning to live more in the moment and not thinking about my schedule and everything I had planned for the next months. It has helped me enjoy my home and the small things (especially our plants).“
If all that isn’t working for you, another way to show yourself kindness is simply to let yourself hide beneath the covers for the day because it is ok to not be ok every once in a while.
Do whatever works for you – finding patterns and having goals
You have decided you want to get moving and use the lock-down time to achieve a few things. The next questions are, how to approach this sustainably and what to focus on. The STEAKS® CRW members we spoke to all have found individual solutions and emphasis.
D.A.R.Y.L. (Gotham Roller Derby) is keeping her list small, tidy and most importantly – very achievable! We love this as it has the potential to make you feel accomplished and proud, which we believe are some of the best reasons for setting goals: “I have two goals: 1. Keep moving every day and be kind to my body. 2.Improving my sewing skills & sewing 3 new garments.”
Huevo’s (Sailor City Roller Derby) off-skate goals have not changed. On-skate she is focussing on fine-tuning the abilities she already had. We love this approach and think it is perfect if you are fortunate enough to have the space to achieve this! How often do we get stuck during roller derby season wishing we had the time to put some extra love into those not quite right moves?: “I understand this are extraordinary times, so I decided to cut myself some slack. Instead of searching for perfection or trying new things on skates, I will keep working on my current skills adding some changes and focusing on specific movements. I am heading back to basics! Off-skates I still work on the same prehab exercises as before. I am working on keeping my body strong, functional, and stretched.”
Delta Strike has a similar approach. Her main goal dates back to pre-COVID-19 times and isn’t even focused on athletic achievements but is one of the most important goals we as humans can have. Her athletic goal is on mending and polishing up what is already there: “Well my new year resolution was actually just to be kinder to myself and right now that goal seems more important than ever. These are extraordinary times and we all need to be kinder to ourselves as well as each other. Saying that this is also a great time to let some niggly injuries heal and work on strengthening some weaknesses and improving mobility.”
STEAKS® Rookie Snappa (Victorian Roller Derby) is also focussing on self-love as well as “movement maintenance”: “I do have goals for this time! I really want to work on correct postering when I do my push-ups and squats. I also want to generally increase the number of workouts I am doing, in the mornings I have started doing yoga and plan to do it more often. Also, another goal of mine is to really make time to take care of myself like eating well and drinking more water.“
Liñan (Wheels of Mayhem) is upping the ante with a similar approach. Part of his goal list is to STAY THE FUCK HOME! We love this goal because it is an important one, that we all need to keep reminding ourselves of so we can all get back to the lives we are used to and currently missing. Their entire list is: “Be in quarantine, remain calm, take time for me and make the most of it.”
Helly Monster has dug through her storage and is using this time to revisit her dancing days while keeping an eye on future possibilities: “I remembered that I had 2 hula hoops, so I started to learn some skills with youtube tutorials, and maybe after all this is over I will be able to do hula hoop on skates. It’s a good moment to work on new skills.” ☺️
GG Hardy (Manneken Beasts) is focussing on overall mental and physical health – also by helping others: “Helping those I can, supporting those businesses we normally support even while they are closed. On a personal level, keeping healthy (mentally and physically) – During this time, more than ever, our body is our temple and deserves so much attention. This is not easy for any of us when anxiety, sadness and stress creep in. My goal is to eat healthy (the latest was looking for recipes to make my own granola bars) and keep my body healthy by doing a 30 min home workout every day as well as yoga meditation and stretching a couple times a week.”
Sharpe (Bristol Ramp Roller Skaters) is working with patterns rather than goals and is experimenting with different types of off-skate but also on-skate sessions. We also like the important detail of planning a rest day: “I haven’t set strict goals yet, but I do have the beginning of a pattern in my quest to stay fit and mentally happy.
🏃♀️ I am exercising 6 days a week – I am doing a mix of running and HIIT workouts and I have just found some TRX bands so looking forward to incorporating those.
🧘♀️ I am doing a bit of yoga every day because I am bad at stretching so it just helps that little bit extra. The DownDog app has extended it’s free offer until 1st May, it’s well worth a look.
🌀 I have limited space for skating thanks to our love of carpets in the UK…so I’m doing small space footwork drills and JAM SKATING. If I can’t do a cracking heel-toe spin after this there really is no hope for me.
🍷 I am having a rest day each week. This is the day where I get to chill, I try to not look at the news, I keep my phone in a different room so I can’t check it as easily and I chill. Wine and chocolate also feature on this important day.
@linadirectorCreating your quarantine character😷😂 ##fyp ##viral ##fun♬ оригинальный звук - alextattoo
We feel you @linadirector
How to stay motivated
If you have your goals or patterns in place but are still having trouble staying motivated it might be because your current style of self-motivation is not working for you. Because how we stay motivated can also look very different for each and every one of us.
Sharpe is focusing on the future and finds motivation there: “At the moment the thought of outdoor skateparks in the summer months, rebooking all those little skating trips (like mine and GG Hardy’s Ramp Camp for CiB Switzerland 🖤) to keep me going. I want to be able to do everything I already could and have a body that is even better equipped to handle the pressures ramp skating and roller derby put on it. I want to be ready to roll with my friends as soon as we’re allowed.”
GG Hardy is focusing on the now and on kindness for others to keep her spirits high:” I take one day at a time. Some days I will just spend under the blankets and that is ok. I don’t think about how yesterday went or what will happen tomorrow. I just know that I need to do my exercise, eat things that will nurture my body and let everything else go. Focusing on checking in on others and being positive that this will be over soon if we all do our part. Just writing the answers to these questions has helped me think of and accept my feelings.”
Helly Monster is using a similar tactic but is adding a sprinkle of sun rays and humorous self-side eye 😉 “I turn the GoPro on during workouts, so I can’t be too lazy or there will be proof. (laughs). But I don’t force myself. If I’m really not in the mood, I just do it the next day. And for my hula hoop sessions – I have a big ray of sun beaming on my terrace in the middle of the day, so I try to practice during that time. And in general, I try to cook more and play video games together with my boyfriend, and I am also enjoying my time with my cat and dog. Also, I try to take care of my roller skate Padawan because she is living alone in an apartment in the area most affected in France.”
STEAKS® Rookie Snappa is also focusing on the now and has a pretty nifty process of day to day goal setting to keep herself motivated: “To work on these goals I find the most important thing each day is to make sure I get dressed as I would if I was every day. I find staying in my pyjamas very tempting but if I wear them the entire day, nothing productive ever gets done. Also, creating a set of good habits is essential. For instance, I have an alarm set to wake me up at 9a.m. this is so I don’t sleep and ruin my sleep pattern. Before I go to bed each night, I write down the list of things I need to complete the following day. This pushes me to want to complete the tasks I have set because of my own crazy want to ‘tick things off’ as done.”
Huevo is staying motivated with a training buddy: “I train with a teammate! For me, it is very difficult to be disciplined by myself so I have asked a friend to help me train. Before all of this, we were gym training partners and we encourage each other and like to do fun stuff. I would recommend 100% to find a training buddy for this time.“
D.A.R.Y.L. and her team have established a similar process: “I have such wonderful teammates. The Gotham All-Stars and my home team (Brooklyn Bombshells) still meet virtually during some of our normal practice slots to workout, which ends up being about 4 times per week. My awesome teammate Yeti and I also meet virtually in the mornings to do our normal workouts. Having other people to work out with holds me accountable and reminds me that I want to be ready once we’re able to skate again. I’m also realizing the wonderful benefits of doing yoga; my back has been feeling great, so I now have a great habit to take from all of this.“
D.A.R.Y.L. is motivated not only by athletic goals but also of personal goals that were in place before COVID-19 stopped us all in our tracks. Within this process she has even found a way to help support a fellow league-mate in their job: “I recently got engaged so I already had a goal of sewing my own wedding dress. I wanted to start sewing other garments to strengthen my sewing skills before I actually tackle the big project, so this is a great opportunity to do that. I’m trying some new patterns, so I mainly just break down the different parts of the process and try to do one each day and say “I’ll just spend 15 minutes on it” (then it usually ends up being longer). I also spent some days making masks for a league-mate who is a healthcare worker, so knowing those are being put to good use made it much easier to motivate. I like being able to keep my hands busy, so this is a great way for me to keep my stress and anxiety under control.”
Liñan has a partner they can lean on:” My partner motivates me a lot to stay focused.”
Delta Strike is staying motivated by focussing on friends, family and positivity: “Staying connected with my friends and family, not spending too much time reading the news and filling my social feeds with stuff that lifts me up instead of getting stressed by negativity or feeling like I’m in a competition on who can make quarantine look the most fun!”
The way we choose to spend our time, our goals, patterns and tactics for staying motivated and focused are as individual as all of us. We might all be in this together but how we perceive and experience these exceptional circumstances differ – so how we deal with it should also differ. Don’t get caught up comparing yourself to others on social media.