Just like anyone else, films and music help me to unwind. It’s been sometime, but we used to have a band at the Falcons. Myself, Sparks, Carl Hayman and Toby Flood would throw some chords together – entirely for our own amusement.
Any film with Schwarzenegger, Seagal, or Jean Claude Van-Damme is essential viewing, particularly if it’s badly made. It’s great to sit and pick out the mistakes. Another favourite is Garth Marenghi's Darkplace – something that not a lot of people seem to get. The Falcons boys were split on this, but there would always be a faction of us who’d sneak it on and sit in hysterics – great viewing.
Finding time to relax is vitally important, especially when the rest of life is surrounded by intense focus. Rest is necessary to release any pressures that surrounds life professionally.
However, despite trying to get away from Rugby, it’s always at the forefront of your mind. It’s actually only once I’ve fully committed to training that I feel I’ve ticked all the boxes, and I’m then comfortable that a rest has been well-deserved. I suppose at the back of my mind I’m then satisfied I’ve done all that I can to lay the foundations for a good performance and repay those who have invested time and effort in me.
Rest isn’t always about physically re-charging the body – the mind needs to rest too. I find remaining active allows me to take my mind off the pressures and stress of rugby, and re-set myself mentally to do it all again. However I spend my time consciously aware of using it positively. Rest when bored is counter-productive, as you’ll invariably expend unnecessary nervous energy on negative thoughts and frustration.
I’m a great believer in using time positively. Simply sitting, reflecting and escaping can be enough to provide a calming influence, but sometimes you may need a bit more. Enjoyment has hugely positive effects, and it’s important to surround yourself with like minded people.