Essential Advice for Tackling Family Tensions in Self-Isolating Households

Essential Advice for Tackling Family Tensions in Self-Isolating Households

Although many families have slowly returned to the routines they followed before the COVID-19 pandemic began, your household may still be self-isolating. Perhaps one of your family members is an essential worker who does not want to risk spreading the virus, or maybe you have a child with a medical condition that makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19. If your family has been in isolation for quite a while, you may be grappling with household tensions. Here are a few strategies to help you address the roots of these issues.

Lack of Physical Activity

Perhaps your family was quite active before the pandemic, but after a few months indoors, you’ve slowly slipped from practicing those wellness habits. A lack of exercise may have you all feeling grouchy, sluggish, and irritable. With a solid workout routine, you’ll be able to release the tension you’ve been feeling – just try to choose exercises your kids can keep up with! If you’ll be going outside, pack masks and go over the guidelines for wearing them with your kids, just in case. And if you’ve been indulging in comfort food and takeout throughout this pandemic, prioritize cooking healthy meals instead.

As a parent, you may be craving an opportunity to get away for a little while and get fit while you’re at it. A horseback riding retreat with the team at BeUnstoppable could be the perfect solution! Benefits abound—you’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors, work out, and embrace a temporary change of pace.

Kick Boredom to the Curb

Despite your best efforts to keep your children entertained, boredom may have set in by now. Boredom can definitely contribute to rising household tensions, so it might be time to pick up a new family hobby that you can all enjoy together!

Consider giving online multiplayer gaming a try. Just make sure that you have a strong Internet connection to handle the demands. You may want to get your household hooked up with a fiber optic connection through a company like Verizon, which will boost your download speeds and ensure that you can enjoy smoother gameplay. Don’t forget to set some sensible screen time limits for your kids!

Addressing Loneliness

After spending so much time at home with little outside social interaction, your kids might be feeling lonely – and you can probably relate. Loneliness can definitely factor into household tensions. Maybe it’s time to add a little pizzazz to your usual video chats with friends and relatives! Try to incorporate fun games and interactive virtual activities into video chat sessions. This can help your kids feel like it’s a digital playdate.

Processing Sadness

Your children might feel sad about plans and opportunities they’ve missed out on because of the pandemic. That sadness can turn into anger. Parent Map states that it is important to validate your child’s feelings, even if they are having a meltdown. Taking a deep breath to soothe your own anxieties is also crucial!

Once you have helped your child calm down, you will often find they are upset about something and need some cheering up. AllProDad recommends giving plenty of hugs and encouragement, and compliment them on everything they’ve handled well since the beginning of the pandemic. Give them something to look forward to as well – talk about all of the fun plans you can make once it’s safe again!

The pandemic has tested families everywhere, and if you’ve been struggling to deal with rising tensions in your household, you are not alone! However, you do not have to resign yourself to living with these sources of stress going forward. With these tips, you’ll be able to make your family’s days feel a little brighter.

This article was submitted by Emma Grace Brown (Guest Author)

If she can do it, I can do it!

If she can do it, I can do it!

This week was the year anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Audrey Griffin who so inspired me. Audrey was 82 when she passed. She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Thinking about the impact Audrey had on my life, reminded me to remind you about something very important in all of our lives.

That’s what this week’s video is all about.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENT LINK: 

Heh, it’s Barb.

You’ve probably heard me say that nothing happens on the outside of us until it happens on the inside of us first.

And just like learning the many different technical skills of riding (horsemanship, communicating with a horse, discipline-specific maneuvers, etc.)… learning mental and emotional skills for riding is exactly the same. There are many pieces and parts of the internal game of riding and high performance.

What we’re really doing when we learn the mental and emotional skills is unlocking our true potential.

One of those internal pieces is to understand the power of inspiration.

Somehow we know that being inspired is important. We all love to be inspired!

However, the work of Daniel Coyle brought to light the true impact of inspiration in our lives for me. As he studied great performers from all over the world in his research, he learned one thing they all had in common.

They each had someone (or maybe a couple of people) who Inspired them in this way. “If he or she can do it, I can do it!”

I’ve known about this power of inspiration for a while now, but I was reminded again about it this week.

It is the year anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Audrey Griffin who so inspired me. Audrey was 82 when she passed. She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Audrey always made you feel like you were her best friend! Everybody felt like they were her best friend! We all felt loved by her.

I also admired her incredible character. (And she was a character, too!) She had a very generous spirit. She was clear about her thoughts. She knew (for her) what was right and what was wrong.

Plus she was quite the rider! As a young girl, she was a Roman Rider, which is how she got into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. And she never stopped riding!

At the age of 82, she still loved to go to the ranches in California and help the cowgirls and cowboys brand and rope.

In fact, she passed away on her own horse, loping across a ranch pasture. She had a heart attack.

When I think of Audrey, I am truly inspired to be a better person… to be a better rider… to live life to the fullest.

Her anniversary reminded me… to remind you… to think about the people who inspire you. Know that if he or she can do it, you can do it!

Keep bolstering a belief in yourself by looking to those people and to those sources of inspiration that resonate with you. Nourishing your spirit with inspiration is a power-packed way to help all of us keep unlocking our potential.

That’s my message for today. I hope you have a great day. I hope you have a great week. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Show Time

Show Time

The shows are really beginning to open up now. Hallelujah! 
 
This quote so inspired me when I reread it this week, that I wanted to share my thoughts with you about showing. It’s one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Jim Loehr:
 
“When you ride, you’re deepening your sense of joy and appreciation for this opportunity with your horse. You’re learning so much about yourself and your horse. The whole thing is such a fabulous gift in your life. If you win great championships and if you win great medals, that’s just icing on the cake.”

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENT LINK: 

 

Hey, it’s Barb.

I know that a lot of the shows are beginning to open up across the country. That’s so exciting! 

If you compete, I also know you’re really happy about this because we’re all ready to get out. And showing is such a great opportunity to see your friends and have fun!

I want to take a few minutes today to just talk about competition a little bit. Here’s the thing. 

We always think so much about competition in terms of how we and our horses compare to other people… and how were judged… and the results.

Black and white results are important, of course. I’m not minimizing that at all.

I do want to share a little research with you that I think is insightful. It might also be a little bit surprising to you. 

When Dr. Loehr did his original performance research, which was all about performer skills and one’s ability to perform under pressure in any competitive arena… as time went on… he found that if certain athletes did do well, they felt they had to do well again… and again… and again. When their whole purpose was to achieve external results alone, they found themselves on a never-ending wheel of proving themselves. They had to continue to be the best, and never slip-up, at least in their minds!

That’s insatiable, really. 

But what further research showed is that when athletes knew their personal values, that is they knew why they competed and they knew what was important to them. They knew they were becoming more as a person. They knew they were enjoying their friends. They knew each competition was an opportunity to put themselves on the line and stretch! Then, they were happier and kept growing personally. 

So if we as riders have great challenges and things don’t work out very well in the show pen… we can still know that riding and showing a horse is an awesome gift in our lives. We can get up again and brush ourselves off and keep going and growing.

It really boils down to knowing and appreciating what a tremendous opportunity it is to show a horse beyond the end of the day results. 

We can celebrate our friends. We can keep reaching for excellence, keep striving and keep learning. 

Whether you win or whether you don’t win… whether you place or you don’t place, you can review your ride and evaluate all by your own scorecard. What did you do well, and what can you do better? What do you need to work on for the next time you show?

Reaching and learning and enjoying continues on forever. It never changes.

Most importantly, because of these fabulous ups and downs, through it all, as a person you are growing… and becoming… and experiencing!

Again, your friends, the horse you’re riding, and all of your adventures… these are what’s remembered and cherished.

That being said, go get ‘em and have a great time! Stay encouraged. Stay focused on your path. Keep reaching and improving. Measure all by your own scorecard. 

Walking Through Difficult Emotions

Walking Through Difficult Emotions

Staying home for the past few weeks has given me, probably like you, some time to reflect.

There are a couple of powerful ideas that are central to personal performance training that not only work with our horses but also in our daily lives. I want to share them here with you. 

But first, I want to take a moment to thank the health care workers, the grocery store clerks and all those who are the true heroes on the front lines of this pandemic. I also think we need to thank their families. It’s worrisome and exhausting for everyone. They are the ones who are putting themselves in harm’s way for us. I can only imagine how hard that must be… so thank you all.

The challenge is that now (because we have no idea how to handle a pandemic), we have unsettling emotions wash over us. We often have no idea what to do with. 

We feel vulnerable. That’s never comfortable. 

The first idea I want to share from my personal performance training is becoming aware of our own emotions… our own energy state… and then choosing how we will respond to how we feel at any moment in time.

If we find ourselves in a state of emotion that does not serve us, we truly have the power to change it.

It’s a practice. We’re all a work in progress.

It’s not to say that not feeling nervous or fearful or vulnerable is the goal. That would be impossible. We all experience all kinds of emotions all across the board many times throughout every day with our horses and of course, during these current times.

But I think these vulnerabilities and unsteady feelings give us opportunities to develop qualities that serve us well in riding and in living.

The first is self-awareness.

When we ride, and now, we make it a priority to tune into our own emotions on a regular basis. For example, we get grounded before we get on. We get present in the moment with our horse. We take a breath and leave the rest of the world behind.

The way it works in our everyday lives is that we notice how we are feeling. We lean into it. We are aware and then we make a choice of how to respond.

The second step is to respond first with calmness. In riding, breathing consistently for the goal of being in a state wherein you can make the best choices possible, sets you up for success. 

Next, talk to yourself to either let mistakes go or coach yourself through what you need to do. These two tools are truly so empowering.

In these times, when feelings I’ve never experienced before wash over me, I notice them. I do my best to lean into them… and breathe. I have some favorite go-to quotes or scripture verses… or I decide if the fear I feel requires action, I’ll do my best to take that action… or will I just let the feelings wash through me?

I don’t just believe, I know, that as we lean into our vulnerabilities, whether it’s with our horses to make a prettier lead change, or lean into challenges in our lives that we never dreamt would happen… we can take a moment, get calm and then decide on our next best steps.

Every time we do this simple process, we set ourselves up to choose thoughts and actions that empower us and then find solutions.

Let me know what you think about this three-step process of becoming self-aware, cultivating calmness and then making choices.

Blessings to you and stay safe, dear friends.

What Separates Riders

What Separates Riders

It was a chilly and wet day in South Texas. So I decided to take a trail ride.

I was thinking about what separates people regarding those who maintain confidence and succeed, and those who don’t.

This article has the tales of two athletes that tell that story.

I heard a story when I first went to a seminar at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida.

It was about a young tennis star who had come there for ‘mental skills’ training. And she went to the right place because HPI is where they train Olympic and Professional athletes how to perform under intense pressure.

When she arrived, she was 50th in the world standings. She studied and was coached… and within a relatively short time, she rose to #1.

Unbelievable.

And then, she thought she had the mental skills thing down pat and stopped training in them. Within an even shorter time, she fell back to 25th in the ranking.

The moral of the story is what separates people from everyone else is studying top brass information, getting coached and then applying it… and getting better and better and better… over and over and over again.

There’s always another layer to learn and to apply to all kinds of situations.

Great riders in the arena are often separated by their desire to keep polishing and polishing their skills… and also envision what’s possible for them. They also keep at it. They don’t think they’ve arrived. They don’t compare themselves to other riders, either.

Here’s another great example. I live in a football world at my house this time of year, but because I’m not a football fanatic, a lot of things wash right over me.

But I did hear an interview with a famous quarterback who has one of the best winning records in all of football. They asked if he was excited about a win that just happened. He said, “Yes, but what I really want to do is get back and review the video to see why I missed that one pass.”

He didn’t say it in a self-defeating way. He truly wanted to figure it out so he could get better. His whole approach was to keep happily studying and polishing. He did own his greatness, and he did love the results of his team, but he was all about putting together all of the pieces of the puzzle… and getting better and better.

You see, the tennis player didn’t have that mindset … the way of thinking and feeling that the quarterback has… at least not at that time of her career years ago.

I’m not being critical of her… I’m just saying that one of the things that separates everyone, including riders, is a desire for excellence, perseverance, and understanding that it’s a forever journey to keep growing.

And if you do this with what you love… like we love horses… it’s a blast.

How you think and feel about yourself, your riding, your horse, and other people are skills that can be and need to be practiced. Those who practice them indefinitely, separate themselves from others.

Can you relate?

Leave a comment for me. Do you think that excellence, perseverance, and loving your journey are good ingredients for a great recipe for fun and success?

And by the way, because part of excellence is learning about your horse and being relaxed… connection with him or her happens all by itself when you study these skills.

Do You Have the Potential for Greatness?

Do You Have the Potential for Greatness?

I’m going to talk about the myth that certain types of people have an ability for higher levels of success. The relationship between personality and performance is often misunderstood.

The truth is your beliefs about yourself determine if you give yourself the gift of unlimited learning and growth.

Your ability to have a vision, feel the right emotions and do your job are what determine if you continue to improve.

Some people believe that if you are shy, you have to change your personality to be successful. To throw that idea out the window, look at the different personalities in any sport. You don’t have to change who you are to be successful. In fact, if you try to change who you really are … that never ever works.

If you tend to be the quiet type, you may need to get more aggressive at some point or let go of things you can’t control, but it’s not about changing your personality.

And what if people tell you that you aren’t aggressive enough and that you don’t have that killer instinct?

Here’s what I know. Being aggressive is a concept. It means different things to different people. If you do need to be more aggressive, first you need to understand when to be aggressive and under what conditions. Ask for concrete examples and clear ideas. Try it. If it works, yah! If it doesn’t work, evaluate whether you should try it again … or not.

And what about the ‘ole killer instinct idea?

Some people think it’s good to want to ‘beat’ other people. I understand that competitive spirit drive. But I would say, that the only thing you have control of is reaching for and exceeding your own personal best … not beating others. When you compete, measure your success against your own scorecard. And know that when you reach the level of excellence of those at the top of the division of your sport, results take care of themselves.

Other people think of killer instinct as an ability to be unaffected by the emotions of those around you. That’s a good thing when it comes to doing your job with your horse. You have your own work to do. It’s ok to feel empathy for other people but don’t let it affect your own mental and emotional state. Work on your own concentration skills. In order to ride at your best, you must be able to do your job with your horse … and your job takes concentration and positive emotions.

The personality traits of highly successful riders are not some special gift from above that they have … and maybe you have them … or maybe you don’t. Excellent riders are not born. All of the skills you need to be successful are made with hard work, excellent instruction, patience, focus, and persistence. They are not inherited.

We all have the potential for greatness. And so do you. True greatness is measured by you … not the outside world.

Are You a “Tough” Thinker?

Are You a “Tough” Thinker?

You can learn to be a tougher competitor in the same way you learn any other skill.

In essence, you are an equestrian athlete. Professional and Olympic athletes train mentally, emotionally, and physically.

As riders, we can do the same. We can utilize the EXACT same skills as the pros. When we do this, we maximize our showing and our riding.  

You can train yourself to be “tough” in your thinking when you show. (That may sound a little harsh to some people! (-:)

But, tough simply means your ability to use words and images to call up calmness and focus on demand. 

Tough thinking can calm your tendency to get angry and lose your cool with yourself, or anyone else when you make a mistake.

How does it work? It’s a discipline before and during your ride.  

The first idea is to always talk to yourself in positive ways. 

For example, you can never rid yourself of a negative emotion by trying to get rid of it. You cannot “not be nervous”. Instead you go for feeling calm and focused … and ready.

You recognize you’re feeling anxious and then you replace the nerves with thoughts that evoke calmness and focus. For example, you could say to yourself, “Stay cool. Breathe. Focus on your job.”

Another part of “tough” thinking is to lean into challenges. You don’t shy away from difficulties. In fact, the whole idea is to learn to love pressure. The more difficult it gets, the more you like it.  

Because stress will always be a part of all of our lives (we can never eliminate it) to be a top competitor, you learn to handle stress. You see difficulties as challenges … not events that will take you down.

And no matter what happens as you ride, you say to yourself … and believe, “No problem!”.  

A Little Secret

A Little Secret

It is widely known that visualization is a key mental skills tool. That’s because we tend to get what we think about. 

I bet you’ve heard this a lot. 

However, sometimes riders tell me they feel frustrated, “I’m so disappointed. My rides don’t turn out the way I see them in my mind. What’s the point? Now, what?” 

Perhaps you don’t know a secret about visualizing. 

Let me explain. 

The role of visualization is not to ensure that everything turns out exactly as you imagine it (although it might!). 

The role of consistently seeing and feeling the good that we so desire in our riding is to provide a consistent exercise for moving toward our dreams. 

No one can control outcomes. And no one can control the exact road they will travel in pursuit of skills and excellence. 

So here’s the secret. The role of visualization is not to control outcomes. It’s to give you a disciplined and consistent routine during which you see and believe in possibilities. 

Consistently seeing awesomeness with your horse in your mind is your job. 

The job of life (or God, or the Universe) is to determine how that unfolds. 

Your job is to keep feeling it and seeing what you love about riding … and know that what you so love will come to pass in some form. 

Your job is also to take action. Go to a trainer, or study, etc. BUT, you don’t have to figure out EXACTLY how it will all unfold. 

Will the results be the exact expression of what you dream about/see inyour mind? 

Maybe … but probably not. 

Who knows? They might be better! 

People and opportunities might come out of the woodwork when you least expect it to take you to great outcomes beyond what you can imagine. 

So, keep visualizing. Trust the process. 

Give gratitude for all you do have now. 

Turn over the need to figure out and control exactly how it will all happen. Those things are not your job. 

Your job is to believe and love your own unique adventure with your horse … frustrations and all … and take the actions that ring true to you. 

Be patient. Great things are coming … and … when you look around, so many are already here.

How to Make Change Less Scary

How to Make Change Less Scary

Can you relate to being at one place in your riding at one point in time … and then … for whatever reason … life and ‘stuff’ happened … and you’re less confident … maybe even confused … now?

Perhaps things snowballed in your mind. “What do others think of me? Can I really do this? My progress is too slow. I feel stuck. I’m not like I used to be. I’ll never get there.” And on.

One way to face change is to understand that your situation will always change. 

No one escapes change. 

Sometimes it sneaks up on you. Sometimes it knocks you in the head.

Some changes are out of your control (like getting older, or forced time away from riding). Other changes are more subtle, like different desires now. It’s all so personal. 

However, all that really matters is this place in time, right now … today. 

What do you truly love and want to do, now? But of course, because of all the things you think about your past and other people etc., it’s natural to feel confused and/or lack confidence. 

What made a huge impact on my life (once again) was the work of my mentor, Dr. Jim Loehr. He talks about who you are becoming because of all you do … and designing and judging everything by your own scorecard. 

Your personal growth and joy with horses is truly at the heart of all you do. 

When you value, above all else, the positives and the challenges of your personal journey with your horse, change can be less scary. 

Start from where you are. Keep growing personally. Continue to learn and advance your technical skills. Practice mental skills. Make choice that make you happy. Embrace the adventure of your journey. 

Thennnnn, your brand of your life with your horse … well … it will all be personally fulfilling and free. 

You don’t have to be any place other than where you are right now. It’s enough. You are enough. 

And from this moment in time you can face change, and choose to do whatever you want to do. You design the “terms” of your success … and fun.

How to Find the Courage

How to Find the Courage

It’s a common thing to love what we do, but settle for less than what we really want to achieve.

By that I mean we allow our past results to dictate how we see our future potential.

If you see yourself in terms of past mistakes and disappointments, most of the time you will continue to do the same. And, by the way, we all tend to do this.

Often this limited view of yourself makes you feel sad, and less than enthusiastic. You might settle into a quiet resignation that things will never change.

You settle for less.

I do understand it can be difficult to see yourself achieving the success you deserve and desire. Many times it’s because your view is blocked by reasons why … try as you might … you believe you just can’t do things differently.

However … the past NEVER equals the future.

There is a fun way to think of future success that can stir a new belief about what can be for you.

This may sound a tiny bit odd, but here goes.

Tell a story about yourself in the third person … as if you’re speaking of someone else.

It might go something like, “Once upon a time, there was a fun loving young girl (or guy) named, ___________ who LOVED horses. In her youth she got to do ________ and ________. And then later on x, and x, and x, and x.”

(Of course this person is you.)

Bring your story up to date.

Now, you’re ready to tell yourself “what happens in the future.” This is where you tell the future story with details that excite you.

” (name) decided one day to break out of feeling stuck. She saw herself doing what she really loved.

She decided to never let adversity dampen her spirit. She used obstacles as opportunities to grow ever wiser and stronger.

She took risks. She designed a riding life she loved, which was ___________. She went on to ________________.

She got feedback and instruction from __________. She practiced new mental tools to stay calm and focused. She always saw herself as an awesome rider.

She was so excited to not listen to those voices in her head that told her she couldn’t do what she loved in the way she loved to do it.

She told herself that she was enough … and that it was all about HER journey … and not how things were judged on the outside.

She became creative. She asked for help. She never gave up. She loved her riding life. She went on to __________.”

As you dare to tell a story to yourself … about yourself … in the third person … that will make you smile. All of a sudden those things seem possible.

Most importantly, you will feel enthusiastic again.

Live, and relive, and relive that story in your mind as if you’ve already achieved it.

This simple story telling tool can light a spark of new belief in unlimited possibilities for you.

Perhaps your story will come true … perhaps it won’t. But to be sure, whatever version comes true, you will have the joy of a moment-to-moment journey. And who you are becoming … and the magnificence of the journey … is what it’s all about.