As referees most of us, alongside our colleagues the world over, are largely redundant and inactive at the present time. The love and enjoyment for refereeing that we have is a hard thirst to quench, unfortunately this can lead to the positive headspace most referees usually enjoy, becoming diminished.
When you begin to feel low, you have two options: Continue to do what you’re doing, or Try new things in an effort to pick yourself back up. Sometimes, the latter is easier said than done, so take a look at 7 things you can do when you begin to feel a dip in your mood that will get you back into a positive headspace.
1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
As officials, we apply a lot of pressure upon ourselves when we’re out in the middle. Whilst it is advantageous to strive for the highest standards when we are refereeing on a weekly basis, there comes a time when relaxing, reflecting, and recognising all the positives in our lives holds a much higher value. When you begin to feel a dip in your mood, try this: Consider the things within your life for which you’re grateful. Evaluate what you have, as opposed to what you don’t. Give yourself a break. Feel good about who you are right now at this moment. Remember, happiness is a choice.
2. Stay Active
One of the best ways to lift your mood when the day is tough or you feel overwhelmed is to get out and do some exercise. You could go for a run or a ride on your bike to stay matchfit but if you don’t feel like such a high-intensity form of exercise, simply going for a stroll is still beneficial. Don’t allow yourself to just mope around your home or stay in bed feeling self-pity. Make it a goal to get up and get moving regularly so you can remain at your physical level.
3. Connect With People You Love
Family and friends can be the just what you need when you’re feeling low. Despite being unable to be physically with the people you love, you can still feel closely connected to them by picking up the phone and calling, or even better, having a video call to see their face. Sometimes your situation is as simple as needing a friend to be a confident and share your problems to look at them from a different perspective.
4. Make Time To Laugh
Life can be taken too seriously sometimes. However, look at things in perspective: how you feel at an one point in time, such as when you have made an error when refereeing a game, is only one small moment out of the many thousands you will experience throughout your lifetime. Bear in mind that feelings of sadness, pain and disappointment are temporary. You may want to lift your mood by watching your favourite comedy, film, or video online.
5. Eat Nutritiously
It will surely come as no surprise that when people are in a negative headspace, such as a referee at the end of a highly challenging fixture, they are more likely to make unhealthy food choices. Your body will be grateful to you if you choose not to consume junk food. You have healthy alternatives such as: vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Eating healthier snacks can lift your mood and fill your body with the nutrients it really needs.
6. Read And Challenge Your Mind
The power of words cannot be underestimated, they can lift your spirits when your mood is low. As referees, we can go online and search for activities to do with officiating as well as taking a look at the Laws Of The Game and refreshing our knowledge of those. You may choose to watch a video or listen to a podcast featuring a famous and inspiring leader in officiating whom you admire. Conversely, you may decide to take your mind away from the whistle and read a thoughtful or inspiring book.
7. Work Productively
A simple way to take your mind off negative thoughts when you’re having a bad day is to dedicate time to working. Be it your job, doing work around the home, or working on a project you’re passionate about, such as learning a particular point of law you were weaker on last season. Getting work done will help you feel productive, give you a real sense of achievement and free up your mind.
At The Third Team I work individually and in collaboration with different professionals where I have developed workshops associated with Resilience and Mental Toughness Development to help referees. The workshops are interactive, where referees are encouraged to open up and share their experiences to help each other.
Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about my workshops and how I could help you or your officials.
Referee Educator & Managing Director of The Third Team
Nathan Sherratt, Referee Educator, Resilience Trainer and Managing Director of The Third Team. A Mental Toughness Practitioner based in County Durham, North East England.