It has been a long time since I have been able to leave town for longer than a few days. Vacation is a word we all know, but mostly think about how nice it is to do nothing. With a crazy work life, I have been looking forward to my trip in order to get some rest. Now, at the tail end of my trip I find I am more relaxed and I am thinking faster and my attitude has improved greatly. This got me thinking about the role of the “Vacation” in sport. I am reminded of the time in college when a teammate was so motivated that he worked through a bout of sickness so that he could be at his peak for the NCAA championships. As it turned out he had an ear infection. His “mind over matter attitude” didnâ€™t pay off and his performance suffered. Sometimes we need a break. Listen closely to your body and it will tell you the â€œState of the Union.” Without rest and good sleep your body will not heal, Humpty Dumpty will not get all the pieces put back together again. This affects both your physical and psychological potential.Â If you are the type that has to go like gangbusters and reach all of your goals, consider this…like with driving… sometimes taking the longer route gets you there faster. You may need to extend the length of a training cycle, but the time spent resting may allow you to maximize your training time. Had my teammate went to the doctor and took a few days off he would most likely come home with a championship title, just as my vacation has helped me to get back in top form for the “sport” of psychology. Do not be afraid to take time off. It will often do more for you than gutting it out.
Dr. Eric Bergreen
About the Author: in psychology and specialization in sport/performance psychology