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Kristi Richards- Finding Balance

Kristi taking a break at St. Angus hotspring

Kristi Richards is a 2006 Olympian, and the current World Champion for women's moguls.

Regeneration and rest periods in life seem to be highly under rated. With all of the stress and pressure to succeed in our society, people forget to stop and take time for themselves to regain balance in their lives. We are trained by society to work hard and always be on the go, but we never learn how to balance that with things that calm us and rejuvenate us.

The question is; how do we intend to keep giving out so much energy into the world and never receive?

It only seems like a matter of time before we are burnt out, unhappy, constantly tired, and feel less joy and purpose in our lives. Output energy needs to be balanced with input energy. Creating balance is a constant project that we have to be aware of at all times, but making the time to rejuvenate can make all the difference. It will make feel you centered and focused, and the energy that you need to output into your day-to-day life will be that much more effective.

Kristi Richards was born in Penticton, B.C. and calls Summerland home now. (CBC)
As an athlete, I focus so much energy on a constant basis towards my goal of winning a medal at the 2010 Games. Every day I try to do my best to move towards that goal. The stress of competing, training and being on the road all of the time takes a huge toll on my mind and my body.

On top of the pressure I put on myself to perform, I feel pressure from all of my friends, family, media, sponsors and coaches to perform well and win medals. We all want to see a Canadian on the podium in 2010, and I have become the hometown hero that people are counting on for that medal. So, every day I carry the people with their expectations and hopes with me as I journey towards my goal. It is a heavy load for one small girl.

Don’t get me wrong; it is not a negative thing to carry if I can balance the pressure with times of serenity and calm. In fact, it can be a positive source for motivation and determination if handled correctly. I love all of the support and encouragement, and I would not be where I am without it.

Some aspects of my life take more energy out of me than others. Dealing with media after a training or competition day is always hard. I need to stay alert and positive when talking to media, even if I am in a bad mood or really fatigued. Doing speeches and presentations take a lot of energy as well. When you are talking to people (especially in a group setting) you are giving a piece of yourself when you are sharing your story.

Travel days are one of the hardest things to recover from. There are so many people and so much stimulation around all of the time in airports. It is also really hard to stay hydrated and find nutrient rich foods. The lack of movement and the air quality stiffens my body and drains me, then the jet lag and lack of sleep kicks in and really throws me for a loop.

For all of these necessary things in my life that are a high-energy drain, I try hard to find some time and activities to compensate. For me, activities like yoga, road biking, hiking, and going to natural hot springs are very calming. I can find my zone by replacing the busy thoughts of the day-to-day grind with simple things like breathing and movement. Focusing on these things brings more awareness to my body and mind, and can bring me back to centre. From this place I can really feel what my body is telling me. I can feel where I am holding the tension, and try to decipher if it is a physical or mental block. Only when I am aware and in the moment do I have to ability to change and repair these issues.

Creating more balance and awareness means that I will be more effective in my daily tasks. I will be able to be more effective while I am skiing, while I am sharing my story with others, and while I am resting. If I can work from a balanced place every day, then I will truly be able to see and live in my potential as an athlete and as a human being.

It seems strange to me that the very things that will make a person more successful and happy are the things that go forgotten or are pushed off to the side because of our busy lives. Ironic, don’t you think?

Check out Kristi's web site here

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