How To: Turn Off Your Insta-Brain

Insta-Brain

In the world of technology, Facebook, and Instagram, it can be tough to turn off, log out, and decompress. We all (me included) get caught up in what people “like”, who people are “following”,  and what angle would be best for a selfie.  Being active is definitely one of the best ways to break away from our blinding computer screens, but I would take it even farther than that.

Recently, I went on an amazing camping trip to one of the most beautiful and breath-taking places on the planet, Yosemite National Park. It was a four day, no cell phone trip and I made sure of it.

Here are a few tips on how I broke away from my phone and made sure it stayed away.

1. Bring an actual CAMERA

Wow, who would have thought of that. haha. If you have a regular point-and-shoot, or a nice DSLR, bring it along! That way, you can still document the adventures you go on without feeling the need to post them right away.

2. Lock your phone in your glove box of your car

Thats right, lock it up! When you physically put away your phone and turn the key, it is a lot more effort to get it out.  So if you do try, you’ll be more aware of what you doing, rather than mindless self-indulgence.

3. Take a deep breath and look around

This may seem silly but in today’s world we often forget to do the most simple of things. It took me about a day and a half to finally relax and stop thinking for once. I sat atop the most beautiful waterfall I had ever seen and appreciated every last minute of it.

Take in the beauty of the world around you, because the only person that matters in that moment is you. 

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Let’s Play Again

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You may have all heard about the quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of what you do about it.”

Every single time I hear that quote it makes me re- evaluate everything about my day and how I was reacting to the things that I happened. How many times did I complain about the weather? How many times did I roll my eyes because someone cut me off on the freeway or whine about how I really wanted that brownie?

Life is a series of moments that end up being just that, moments. Moments in time that we either live to the fullest, take for granted, or completely ruin.

Tennis, or sports in general, give us the opportunity to live those moments to the fullest. You can’t help but focus on the ball flying at your face, or the perfect motion of your arm to hit that winner into the back corner of the tennis court. After playing for so many years, it amazes me at how easy it is to live in the moment while playing. It’s seemingly effortless.

Unfortunately, with the progression of technology there has become a severe decrease in kids actually getting outside and playing. It is so much easier to sit inside all day and stare at an illuminated screen than it is to get outside and play. Looking out towards the future is scary. Can our unsocialized society really get worse?

I think it’s time that we start taking back or lives, and our kids lives, and bring them back to the moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Yes, they might get hurt, they might lose, they might scream and yell, and never want to play again. But at least something will be happening to them and they can spend the other 90% of the time figuring out what they want to do about it.

Life is a series of moments. Moments that we can let happen to us, or moments that we can make happen. You decide which way you want to live.

Let’s begin to play again.

<3,

Sierra

Shake It Off

Sierra hitting an overhead at San Diego State.
Breaking past limitations is what athletes are raised to do. One more lunge, one more burpee, or one more breathless sprint through the 100 yard line. As tennis players, you spend thousands of grueling hours chasing one simple thing…The Ball.

In Life and fitness, your mind can be your biggest asset or your worst enemy. I know I am not alone when I say that once your head is gone, your game is over. We see this a lot in matches where a player will win the first set 6-2 only to lose the second 0-6. It all starts from one point… No, one shot. That quintessential ball that you miss in the bottom of the net, and the momentum shifts.

I have always been known in my family as the come-back queen. This may sound like a term of endearment, but let me tell you, it isn’t. I would always allow my mind to wonder and get down 2-5 only to turn on the after burners and fight like a lion to win. Needless to say, this strategy leaves little room for error.

Over the past years, I learned methods to bring my mind back on track and keep that laser focus for as long as my mind would allow me.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect at this. But if my strategy could help another growing player, then I’m happy to help)

First off, the faster you recognize that you’ve lost your edge, the easier it is to get it back. Try and keep tabs of your play. Are you making stupid decisions? Did you just hit 3 errant shots in a row?

Secondly, Are your feet actually touching the ground? Of coarse they are literally, but what about mentally? In tennis, we are lucky enough to have time in between points to refocus ourselves. When you feel angry, panicked, or off, use that time to stop thinking and feel each foot on the ground. Heel to toe, feel every step and then breathe.

Lastly, Focus on something other than your emotions or thoughts. As all great coaches say, Stare at your strings! Fix them and then get that blood pumping before the point.

One match, I was down 1-5 and my assistant college coach said, “just jump around out there and shake it off before every single point. Show this girl that you don’t give a crap about the score and you will fight and scratch for every single point.”  Amazingly, it worked! I won the match 7-5, 6-0.

Don’t let your mind limit your success. Whether it be your backhand, your big presentation, or that 3rd mile on the treadmill. You can do it!

So shake it off and start again.