I just read a great quote about mental health, but obviously it has a universal meaning [and thus can be applied to rugby]:
"Sunshine all the time makes a desert."
What a simple but true statement.
Without the hard times, the slumps, the setbacks, the rejections...nothing grows. YOU don't grow. "Rainy days" may seem like downers [and they literally are when practice gets fucking canceled from them], but they're food for the soul. They develop character, work ethic, motivation, and so much more.
...I have personally had a lot of rainy days over the past few months...more than normal.
A lot of different obstacles have entered my life inside and outside of rugby. I have experienced loss, rejection, deception, illness...and even been in a huge car accident. All of these things and more have had a major impact on my self esteem and my energy level - two big things you need in order to succeed in rugby....or anywhere else!
Directly after the season, my body COMPLETELY collapsed in the form of getting sick. And not just a cold or even the flu....I was in bed for the night by 4:30pm for three weeks. I have NEVER been that sick in my entire life, and being stagnant/practically lifeless for that amount of time made bouncing back to crossfit and rugby training that much harder.
Now, I kinda need to rebuild the blocks and start from the beginning. I have to rebuild my fitness, even rebuild my confidence. Even when it seems like nothing good has come out of your situation, you've gotta find a way to figure out how you've grown from the experience.
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
...and all of this is MUCH easier said than done. It's really hard to pull yourself out of the dumps mentally or physically. You can easily get into a pattern of negative thinking and then never come out of it. You can easily say "I'll start tomorrow....I'll do it tomorrow....I can't do it because of ____, ____, and _____..."
But YOU, and nobody else, needs to be the one who starts saying "I'M GOING TO START TODAY....I'M IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE AND IT'S UP TO ME TO MAKE IT BETTER...I AM GOING TO DO IT BECAUSE [IT'S GOOD FOR ME], [I CAN DO IT], AND [IF NOT NOW, WHEN?]."
The hardest part of creating change is STARTING. Whether it's rugby training, a nutrition plan, a new job, going back to school [I'm guilty of that one], or even just a new mindset, beginning and developing change is not only the hardest part but the part that deters people from changing the most.
If you're never faced with adversity, then in the end you're only hurting yourself. That doesn't mean go out of your way and make something bad happen [haha], but CHALLENGE YOURSELF. Get uncomfortable. Push your limits and boundaries. Don't be afraid of whether you can or cannot do it, even if you come up with a million excuses as to why you can't or shouldn't. Start with little goals and set a date to get them done by. Stick with it and establish discipline. Don't flip your life around to try and accomplish your goals, just start with baby steps.
The mind is a powerful thing. It can be your biggest blockade or it can be your biggest motivator....
.....you decide which it is.