Holiday Closure: All Easton Schools Closed Dec.14 & morning classes cancelled Dec.15

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May 8, 2021

Back to the Mat: Returning to Normalcy

Alicia Bielak

Back to the Mat: Returning to Normalcy


Before COVID, my family and I were in the building 3-5 days a week training. We have been at Easton for almost eight years now. Most of the coaches have been the same since we started. They have watched my kids grow. I’ve been a watchful parent, spectator, random participant, student, and now coach. Easton has been there with my kids through parenting struggles, milestones, wins, and losses. On the mats, I have faced fears, conquered goals, and met amazing people that drive me to be better.  Easton has been a huge part of our lives. Easton is home.

During COVID

When we first got the stay at home order I was actually excited. I think a lot of people were. “Yay, unplanned vacation!” That quickly faded. It’s not the same without activities and human interactions. Easton was the first in our community to reach out. Multiple coaches checked in with me and my kids. They realized what we were losing and went into action to try to combat it. Easton provided online classes, hangouts, calls, texts, emails, and challenges. We were pretty active with it and did our best to fill the void, but it wasn’t the same. The longer it went on the more we felt it. Stress and emotional reactions started coming out. My kids fought constantly, and one even started melting down daily. We never realized how important our routines were and all the support Easton provided: a space to relieve anxieties, physically and emotionally, a place that will always have a friend, mentor, or just an ear to listen, a safe environment to fail, and that teaches the value in failing, and positive space that develops strength, character, and grit.

Coming Back

My kids couldn’t wait to get back and mostly fell right back in stride. I’ve had a harder time. I have felt disconnected; a stranger to the group. I’ve felt my skill level regressed; a burden to those to have to train with me. Old injuries crept up and became more problematic. But I am back. It is taking less time each day to talk myself into going.  The routine is slowly coming back. I feel I am getting back what was lost. You may have similar feelings of inadequacy and doubt, they are completely normal. If you have any, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Come back anyway.

How to Get Back to the Mat

Show up. It’s the hardest part but just by showing up are you going to feel better and improve.

Connect with your Easton family. Humans need connection. We need friends, connections, and relationships. When you aren’t excited for Muay Thai or Jiu-Jitsu, you will be excited to see these people. They will build you up and hold you accountable. Introduce yourself, hang out after class, exchange phone numbers, go to socials, and reconnect.

Make goals. Set small, measurable, realistic, positive goals to motivate your return. Track your progress. Reward yourself, even if its just a smiley face on your calendar, and put it in a place you can see it.

Carve out the time. Make a routine. Routines reduce stress levels and keep you grounded when everything else gets hectic.  Have a weekly training goal and make it (yourself) a priority. If you have to miss try to still use that time to practice, drill and train. 

We got this. You got this.

See you on the mats.

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