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Catch up on What You Missed: Return to Play - Part 4

October 28, 2020

jennifer kovats

Catch up on what you missed from our 4th webinar in our Return to Play series. Part 4 was hosted by Traci Fairchild, Director of Counseling & Wellness for Rocky Hill Country Day School in East Greenwich, RI, and Gary Goldberg, co-founder, and CEO of SquadLocker. This section dives into the issues facing both athletes and their parents during the pandemic and beyond as we work our way back towards Return to Play.

 

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Read the Full Transcript:

Jeanne Hopkins

Welcome everyone on the call today. It's not quite at the top of the hour, but we want to give you a chance to find your seat. We've got a fantastic guest here today, Traci Fairchild, who is at Rocky Hill Country Day School has a lot of wonderful insights for us regarding the health and welfare for athletes and their parents. With us is also Gary Goldberg, co-founder and CEO of SquadLocker. We're just going to take a second and wait for everybody to show up, so please be patient.

Gary Goldberg:

We can be patient.

Jeanne Hopkins

That's who you are, Gary.

Gary Goldberg:

Funny.

Jeanne Hopkins

You sound pretty good. Your sound is good.

Gary Goldberg:

Well, thank you. I feel pretty good, Jeanne.

Jeanne Hopkins

No, your sound. Some of the sound lately has been a little, we need to get some panels for your podcasts.

Gary Goldberg:

I know. We need to do some sound suppression here.

Jeanne Hopkins

Yeah.

Gary Goldberg:

I'm feeling overtly optimistic today.

Traci Fairchild:

[crosstalk 00:01:11] Why overtly? Why can't you just be optimistic?

Gary Goldberg:

Yeah, I don't know. I just slept well. I haven't been eating any sugar for the last two or three weeks and it's really starting to have a positive impact on my joints and my hips and my knees, and so I think it's also helping me sleep well. And I don't know. I'm in a good groove.

Traci Fairchild:

Someone recently told me that if you eat crap, sugar, right after you work out, it's like pouring gasoline on your joints and your muscles, and I think about that when I leave Manic, which Tip and I love Manic and go to Manic and sometimes I'm tempted to treat myself and stop at Felicia's and get a coffee and a muffin. But then I'm like, my body doesn't need this right now and if I really believe that food is fuel, then what am I going to fuel in my body with, especially post-workout? And it can't be sugar.

Gary Goldberg:

Cannot be.

Traci Fairchild:

No. It's a good visual, pouring the gasoline on. I was tempted this morning. I didn't do it.

Jeanne Hopkins

Good for you. Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us today for the Return To Play Part Four. This is our final part of the series. It was a four-part series we promised you. Gary Goldberg, our co-founder and CEO of SquadLocker, has been on all four of these. He's had other guests, and today we have a special guest, Traci Fairchild, who is the director of counseling and wellness for Rocky Hill Country Day School, in addition to being their field hockey coach. She's got a lot of great stories to tell us today. It's going to be a wonderful presentation.

Jeanne Hopkins

The next thing I want you guys to be aware of is housekeeping. Yay! We are recording the webinar. You will get the slides, I promise. You'll get them tomorrow. Please ask questions in the Q and A panel that GoToWebinar has so kindly provided for us. This is completing the four part series on the Return to Play theme. And just a reminder, although I like to play a lawyer on TV, this webinar is not designed to represent legal and, or medical advice relied related to COVID-19. One of the things we started talking about, and you just heard Traci mentioning with Gary, talking about coping, coping with stress in a healthy way. What are some of the coping mechanisms that you're working with right now? Why don't we start with Traci and then Gary, why don't you talk about it a little bit?

Gary Goldberg:

Okay. Go Tray.

Traci Fairchild:

I think it depends on your audience, but it doesn't. I know we're going to talk about meeting your basic self-care needs first, but coping is really figuring out what the stress is in the moment. You might not know. Many of us go zero to 60, fight or flight. I myself don't know I'm in fight or flight until I'm in it. Screaming at the kids in the parking lot when they're not listening and they've gone around the backside of the car, I'm in fight or flight. In that moment, once I can get them safely buckled into their car seat, the first thing I do is take a couple of deep breaths. And a lot of times they call me on it and they'll say, "Mommy's taking deep breaths." I was like, "Yes, because I just went zero to 60 and I got really scared or nervous or frightened," and help them with those feelings words, and then figure out what to do next. Remind myself, feet on the floor, everybody's safe. Okay. Get in the car. We're not going to go until I come back down because I want to be safe while I'm driving.

Traci Fairchild:

Coping is figuring out what the feeling is in the moment, and then being okay with that feeling for however long it takes. We're actively teaching our kids this these days here at Rocky Hill Country Day. We do a lot of mindfulness, a lot, a lot through the divisions. And in lower school, I think it's the age and development, it fits so nicely, just the pace of the day. It's like that beautiful preschool day in mind where you have circle time in the morning and then a snack break and then rest time after lunch. We would all love to be on the preschool schedule. They have two recesses a day. It is the quintessential mind, body, spirit. This is how the day should feel, and we should always be sweating the small stuff, so to speak, and moving through it at a developmentally appropriate pace.

Traci Fairchild:

And somewhere along the way, we just hit the full fast mode and the days get away from us and the time gets away from us and we speed up incredibly through fifth grade, sixth, seventh, eighth grade, and then in upper school, and then of course as adults. But what we know is that multitasking is not effective. It's not efficient. It's not how our brains are wired to operate, so we need to manage those feelings. We need to cope with them. But if we're stuffing all our feelings, we're going 100 miles an hour, we're not coping. We're just moving from one task to the next or multitasking as we go. I think there are so many ways to cope. I do love the preschool schedule. That's not a reality for many of us, but finding those moments throughout the day and recognizing, I need to pause right now, or I do need to take a few deep breaths, or how much does it change my day when I get my steps in or when I take a nature walk or when I really embrace being outside and slowing down.

Traci Fairchild:

I myself, I love to go 100 miles an hour. I used to walk, walk, walk, or run, run, run, and stretch after maybe. And stretching kind of gets you in that mindset of slowing down, but really stopping and just feeling. Maybe you're feeling the muscles twitch. Maybe you're feeling your heartbeat. That's something I do now, but I've learned to do it. And so many of us as adults, we were not taught mindfulness growing up. We were not taught self-regulation skills. We were not taught to manage all emotions. Many of us were taught that the good emotions are good. You can be happy. You can be excited. You can be content. But you can't be sad. You can't cry. You can't complain or whine. You can't fear. It's really all emotions are welcome, and then how to manage those emotions. That's a huge part of coping.

Gary Goldberg:

That was lovely.

Jeanne Hopkins

How do you cope, Gary? Yeah, it was good.

Gary Goldberg:

Coping for me is two parts that I think I've done some self-reflection on. It's a physical process and it's a mental process. The physical process, which I was talking with you and Traci about before the show kicked off, is I've tried to take better care and as my wife says, "You don't have to overdo it, Gary." You don't have to go from zero to 1000 and go enter a triathlon. You just have to do these basic things routinely to de-stress or decompress some of the stresses.

Gary Goldberg:

For me, it's proper sleep allocation and I've been a huge component of sleep, but if I don't get seven hours, for me seven hours is the magic number, and when I don't get seven hours, it's like adding a brick to a backpack that I carry throughout the day. And for every hour I go below seven, I throw another brick into that backpack, and the only way for me to get those bricks out is to get to an eight hour day, get to a nine hour day on the weekend and take some of that sleep debt away. Sleep debt's a huge thing. I have to manage my sleep debt.

Gary Goldberg:

The other thing is diet. I've tried to be really conscientious about what I'm eating and I've tried to take out pretty much anything that is sugar-based, man-made, synthetic. If it doesn't come on or off of earth the way it ends up on my dinner plate, I'm probably going to try and not to eat it. I'm eating sprouted breads, which are not bleached or processed flours. I'm eating fruits, vegetables, and proteins. It's super simple, but it's made me feel a lot better and I've lost weight just by eating regularly.

Gary Goldberg:

And then the third thing is exercise, but not exercise I think the way a lot of people think about it. It's more about reading about this article about sitting is the new cigarettes, and so I'm trying the best I can to hit 10,000 steps a day. I bought my little Fitbit and I connected to my phone and I have a beautiful dog and I live in a city, and so at some point during the day, I am going to go for a 45 minute walk. And then during the day, I'm going to go for brief five to 10 minute walks. And when you add that whole thing up at the end of the day, I'm at 10,000 steps. And then when I look at my little Fitbit thing compared to men my age across the United States, I'm in the top 92%, 95% of steps taken in the United States.

Gary Goldberg:

Now, if you'd know me, Jeanne, and you look at me, you're like, how could Goldberg being the top 90% of male athletes in the United States? But the fact of the matter is we are so sedentary in our lifestyle here. I'm thinking about sleep. I'm thinking about food and I'm thinking about using my body and keeping my body in motion. That's the physical part. The mental space, the one thing I've really benefited from is trying to not punish myself for not doing as much as I expected to do in a given timeframe. I'll come in today and I'll be like, okay, I want to fill out this information. I want to do this thing. I want to meet these people. I want to accomplish these things. And then I'll realize, Oh shit, I'm feeling nervous because I'm behind on the other thing and it's starting to creep up my chest and creep up my stomach and get into my throat. And I'm like, what do I do?

Gary Goldberg:

And now I'm just like, you know what? I've earned the fact that I'm efficient and productive and intelligent. I need to push that one forward, or I just need to say, "I'm not going to do that one." Whereas a year ago or five years ago or 10 years ago, I'd crank and crank and crank until the point where I became sick in some way, whether it's a sore throat or the anxiety attack or I'm feeling depressed or anxious because I tried to do three and I only did two, but I wanted to do five. And now I'm like, Whoa, what am I doing? No, I'm going to X that one, I'm going to X that thing. And so, the combination of the physical space or the physical productivity around my body and my sleep and my nutrition and understanding my schedule and giving myself time to not be so hyper-efficient, doing everything at once, put all that thing together, Jeanne, and we have a happier, healthier Gary.

Jeanne Hopkins

And we all want that. Speaking of stress-related issues, some of the things that Traci and I were talking about are some of the things that are coming up. They're bubbling up for people. And as we are completing month eight of the pandemic and of our self-quarantining and distancing, et cetera, some of the things, Traci, you mentioned some of the things that some of your students in your school are coming up against. And I know myself when I think about fear and worry about my own health, yeah, I'm worried, but I'm more worried as it relates to my parents and impacting them if I infect them. Gary, your parents are more senior as well and your worry, you haven't been able to see your parents really.

Gary Goldberg:

Yep, and they've been isolated too, and I think it's affected them negatively. They miss their grandkids. They miss their kids. It's hard.

Jeanne Hopkins

Yeah, it is. It is hard. Traci, what are some of the things that you're noticing at Rocky Hill?

Traci Fairchild:

That's a great question. I think this is where I get really full of gratitude just for being here, particularly this year. This is I think my 15th full here, and so I taught phys ed and health for a long time, always been a teacher and a coach, and then moved into the counseling space about five years ago. And we have a waterfront campus, we have a nature trail, we have Goddard Park right across the road. Already today when Gary was talking about his steps, I just looked because I've walked a ton today. I've already taken two groups over to Goddard and I had to cover for a preschool science class, so I took them on the nature trail right here. I've walked 17,000 steps already today [crosstalk 00:13:54]. No wonder I feel so good right now. There's no stopping those endorphins. There's no stopping that feeling of being able bodied and lacing up my sneakers and walking with these kids.

Traci Fairchild:

The two groups of juniors that I took this morning, we circle up. We're big on circles here at Rocky Hill, always have been. We circle up for a reason. Everybody's a part of that circle. Nobody's left behind. We greet. We share. We're doing air high fives this year, no fist bumps, but it might be an air fist bump, an air high five. Eye contact, names, everybody greets, everybody shares. Sometimes it's just one word. How are you doing this morning? It helps me. This is a seminar class, so helps me get a feel of where people are. And then on this walk, these miraculous things have happened since we've been here in September, the socialization of kids really are looking forward and behind making sure that we are all together, making sure no one's left behind. The chatter and the conversation is amazing. And then when they get back, so we go over to Goddard, we'll sit along the wall, I'll lead them through five minutes of a guided meditation or we'll do a layers of sound thing and just listen to the waves and the birds and the whole thing.

Traci Fairchild:

And then we get back, we circle up again and their share out, it's incredible because sometimes I'm thinking like, Oh I don't know. Juniors in high school, do they really want to be doing this? They're like, this is the best part of our day. We don't have any time to talk to each other. You make us put our phones away. I do. I'm like, this is tech free. No earbuds, no phones. And they're not told right now to ever put their phones away, so they feel liberated after an hour walk over to Goddard and back with no phone use and talking about how it feels so good to move their body. It feels so good just to chit chat. It feels so good to reflect on yesterday's game or practice or for the kids to get excited that there is a home game today. And how lucky are we to be able to play a home game?

Traci Fairchild:

There's a lot of reflection, there's a lot of gratitude, and there's a lot of walking right now, and we've been so lucky because this fall has been beautiful. We've had three rainy mornings all fall, so we've had six, seven weeks of incredible weather. I know it is supposed to get cold, but it will eventually, and we're going to bundle up and we're going to stay outside as long as we possibly can because, again, we're all in a pandemic. Everybody's experiencing it differently and there's a lot of fears and a lot of worries, but what I see is the amount of time that we can predict and the school day parameters and the predictability and being here and being in person, it has an unbelievable ripple effect, not just on them, but on the whole community and on their day or days when you loop them together because they really, of course, want to be here.

Traci Fairchild:

Developmentally, they have such a need. We all have a need to be together. But these are teenagers. This is their brain. This is the brain science is all about connection for them. And to be honest, they're not thinking into the future. That's not how they're wired right now. They're thinking about today, maybe tomorrow, and about my friends. Everything's about their friends right now, and the time that we can have them in-person, moving, possibly meditating and talking about stress relief and coping, that's what this whole seminar platform is built on, social, emotional learning. I'm using the Choose Love curriculum, which is an amazing free curriculum and mindfulness through the Center for Resilience and the staff that we have here. There's a DEI component, so diversity, equity, and inclusion component. And you lump that altogether, it's about really meeting these kids in all of their basic needs.

Traci Fairchild:

And so we're doing that by modeling for them. They have PE every day. They have seminar every day because we know that's the only way we're going to get the most out of them while they're here in person. And then again, not having them on phones, the dreaded device that for them I dislike so much right now because it's not helping them be healthier. Mostly. I'm all for tech, but for right now when they really are living through a pandemic and it is for many of them a crisis on top of a crisis, we all have our stuff, and so do these kids, but now we're trying to provide a safe environment when the world doesn't feel safe right now.

Traci Fairchild:

What can we do? We can focus on the things that we can control. And as Gary said a little bit earlier about those basic needs and really being thoughtful about how am I treating my body and how am I treating my mind? We're teaching it, we're coaching it, we're modeling it every day. And it's taken not only a front seat, but it's everything. Our faculty, I feel like, feels liberated that they've been told curriculum does come second right now. Everything is about connection and well-being and taking care of these kids.

Gary Goldberg:

Hey Traci, what's going on with the faculty and staff at the school? Everybody's so hyper-focused, as they should be, on the youth and the students and those participants, but I'm just curious, did you get a good return to campus of your faculty and staff? And how are they dealing with teaching with a mask on, social distancing, de-densification of classrooms, that whole space? What's going on with the other side of the house?

Traci Fairchild:

Again, very, very, very fortunate here. We had 100% return because we laid out, I think, a very privileged plan. I'm going to be frank with you. We popped up 20 tents across campus. We took everything outside. I haven't taught inside one time all fall. There was a Zoom that I did with the Taylor Hooton Foundation for our first years about performance enhancing drugs, and I hit play on the Zoom and then I went and I stood in the doorway because it's the one class that I was supposed to be indoors with the ninth graders. And so, knowing our plan. And in upper school, the faculty, there are alt days. Our ninth and 10th graders are on campus Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and our juniors and seniors are here Tuesdays and Thursdays. That's because of, like you said, just our sheer size in upper school, having that many people in the building, eventually it wasn't going to work out with our stable groups.

Traci Fairchild:

And so I feel like we had a really good plan and from every faculty meeting, from March to June distance learning that we did, we had weekly town halls, weekly check-ins with barely any agenda and it was all about faculty and staff wellness. We carried that through the summer, having input on the plan, commitment to the plan. Of course, it was planned ABCD. And then when we returned to campus, again, just like the kids, we were just so happy to be here, to be able to be here together, that it really felt like, okay, there's always going to be challenges, but we're going to figure this out. It's a challenge teaching outside. I have a seminar class. It's a much different ball game than teaching algebra outside or geometry outside, or thinking about the lab sciences, which are still having lab sciences upstairs in our Flynn academic building, but they're also having them at the waterfront. They're burying chickens for forensics. It's pretty amazing.

Traci Fairchild:

The swing for faculty, it's always faculty first. Top-down. Our admin is starting meetings with check-ins, with breakout rooms with four or five folks where you can really just... Because some of our staff, our arts and our language teachers, because they would teach so many stable groups, those are virtual in upper school. There are a few faculty that are disconnected by design of the way we're executing our plan this year. It's been a challenge to have them feel connected and right now it's over Zoom. So what do we do? We set the breakout rooms. We thought a five minute check-in would be enough. We learned it's 20 minutes. It takes 20 minutes to check in thoughtfully with faculty. And then we take that model that we use for our faculty and staff, and then we use it with the kids. If it takes at least 20 minutes for adults to check in, how much time in our two hour blocks are we giving for check-in?

Traci Fairchild:

Each teacher is then you're circled up under your tent outside, again, seminar, the whole thing is almost like a check-in, but if it's a geometry class, they're empowered to take 15, 20 minutes to circle up, check in with the students and then start their lesson and then go for a fresh air walk and then take another 10 minute break. I really feel like it's tons of fresh air walks, checking in with folks, staying connected because of obviously we need to put on our oxygen mask first before we can be great teachers and great coaches. And then when it doesn't work and it falls apart, empowering faculty and admin... Hold on one sec. Sorry. They're radioing me. Let me just turn that down just in case. I think if the students see, they see a negative emotion or they see a really stressful day in the eyes of the faculty, the teachers, admin, things happening, really being honest with them. Our teachers, I think, have put themselves out there a little bit more this year and I've told them, please do.

Traci Fairchild:

If you have a moment and you need to say to your class, "I'm really struggling right now. We just sent home a whole pod of juniors because a positive case and I'm teaching virtually and I'm teaching you guys right now. I'm not comfortable with the owl, which is our awesome set up for tech, and I need five minutes." And then when they regroup and they come back, the teacher says, "Thank you so much. There was a lot going on there. I needed to take five. Thank you so much for being with me. This is really hard right now." And I think that speaks volumes to our kids and then our faculty. I saw maybe it was a meme or something the other day about assessing teacher's performance right now should just be candies and chocolates and wine, great performance, [inaudible 00:24:29] unbelievable. Keep up the solid work because it's not going to be what it was right now. And I think there's, Gary said, I think acceptance. There is a big piece of acceptance in saying no to things and then saying yes to things.

Jeanne Hopkins

That's fantastic. One of the things early on both Gary and you talked about taking care of your body and you talked quite a bit, Traci, about mindfulness and this need to be able to meditate and for self-care. What are some of the other things besides these? You mentioned stretching, Traci, you mentioned a number of other things. What I don't have on this list is our body needs, let's call it affection if you will. And how are we able to deal with that level of affection when you're missing a hug from your dad or something? What are some of the ways that we can deal with the stress, take care of our body, and still be able to make those loving connections that we need to make with friends and family?

Gary Goldberg:

I'll give that one to you, Traci.

Traci Fairchild:

All right.

Gary Goldberg:

It's a hot potato.

Traci Fairchild:

No, it's great. I'm thinking about a bunch of different things for this one. I will say, the lower school students love to even give the self hug and that's one of the best loving kindness meditations. I'm not kidding. When you say, "Self hug," they'll just sit there and they'll rock back and forth and they'll hug themselves. But then if you say, "Send some love to a classmate," and we do this popcorn style, so stand up if you want to say something. And I stand up and I say, "Gary, I really appreciate you being a kind friend. And when I tripped over the route on the nature trail, you were the first one to help me up." And so, to just popcorn around the circle and show someone some appreciation or some kindness or some gratitude, or a comment on their positive personality trait. "Judy, I like you so much because you're so smart and you're so good at math."

Traci Fairchild:

And just these things, especially when they're in person, even with a mask, even socially distanced, they mean a lot. They really fill the cup, so to speak. And I know I mentioned top-down and modeling here at Rocky Hill, but our head of upper school, Brady Wheatley, just sent around, I think I pinned it back here. I've got my first thank you note of the year and it came from Brady and it's just, "Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, your flexibility," a nice handwritten note. And then the taped part on the top is we all wrote a little something to faculty and staff and upper school and then she cut them out and put them in, so there's another little love note from one of my other faculty members in upper school. And now it's on my board behind me and there it'll be for the year. It's just really nice to show it and say it, especially if you can, even over Zoom, even socially distanced with a mask, because it means a lot in terms of connection.

Gary Goldberg:

The short answer is words?

Traci Fairchild:

Yeah. I think words, eye contact, all the interpersonal communication skills, they still happen over Zoom and they can definitely happen distanced. Seeing loved ones outside at a park with a mask, letting loved ones watch children play from a distance. It might not work for everybody. It depends on the kid and the family and the whole thing, but it does mean a lot. And so, you can go quite some time without physically hugging a person. You can show your love in many other ways, I think.

Jeanne Hopkins

I love the idea of the hug. I think that sometimes we do need to hug ourselves. And Gary, you mentioned it earlier about giving yourself a break, just saying you can't be all things to all people and do everything that you're supposed to do. That was pretty interesting. We're just coming up to the bottom of the hour. I've asked each of you two, for our listeners and our readers in the future, what is one thing you'd like people to take away from this? How do we take care of ourselves and each other at this time? Traci, can you think about how would you recommend? What would you recommend?

Traci Fairchild:

Sure. I think that biggest thing is modeling. And as adults, we want to be the calm in the storm. We want to be that sense of calm for our kids, but we certainly can't do it if we're not being self-loving. If we are not taking care of ourselves and meeting our basic needs and really focusing on hydrating, resting, eating well, moving our bodies, doing more of what we love and less of what we don't love. It's a crisis, it's a pandemic, and we're in it for the long haul. If we can do more of what we love and then share it out, we're going to be the better for it.

Traci Fairchild:

I'm on the nature trail every single day that I'm at school and I've never been happier, in terms of personally happier while I'm on the nature trail and then the ripple effect. I'm a better mom when I get my kids at the end of the day. I'm a better coworker. I'm encouraging my other coworkers. "I know you have a period off, come with us." And this morning, two people took me up on it. They're like, "Okay. Yeah, you're walking to Goddard? Let's go." I think modeling. It's not always going to be perfect and it's going to pour, I think, Thursday, Friday. I'm already thinking, what am I going to do? It's going to pour. I'm not going to have those walks. So, to make a plan and to schedule the things that feel good because we all need that right now.

Jeanne Hopkins

That's very insightful. What do you think, Gary?

Gary Goldberg:

I had a fascinating interchange with my youngest child, my daughter who went to Philadelphia to live on her own in an apartment during a pandemic to try and attend remotely the college she was supposed to be in, and she's frazzled. Aside from the normal freshmen frazzle, which is what it is, she's living in an apartment with people she doesn't know, but she really wanted to take this leap of faith. And she is really leaning on my wife and I to fill in the gaps of the things she doesn't know how to do on our own that would normally be supported in the cafeteria or the dorm life or whatever. And so, she's really doing a great job, but it's a shit show. In an old fashion loving way, it is this emergence of child to adult and every negative energy is being targeted at mom and dad to support and to figure out and to fix, as opposed to take responsibility, emerge with the right attitude.

Gary Goldberg:

And by the way, we love her. We love all of our kids equally. Here's the point. Gary, why are you bothering me with this? What's the point? The point is my advice to her was own it and just ask for help, but ask for help without the... She was so like, "I need this or I got to do that," and it became a very barbed interchange where it didn't need to be. It was simply, "Hey mom, dad, I'm up against it and can you send me this in the mail? Can you help me do this?" And of course, we're like, "Yeah, no problem. We love you. We'll do anything for you." To de-barb these things and to just simply have the confidence and awareness to understand we are all interrelated. The world is managed and controlled by human beings. The better your outcome is directly tied to your ability to engage and kind-fully ask for help and give help when needed.

Gary Goldberg:

And it's so simple, Jeanne, but there is so much interference that we put between ourselves and on ourselves about simply communicating some basic truths about what we need and when we need them. And so, one of the things that I said to her, and as I said, "Sweetheart, one of the most important and valuable things I can give you in this life is the ability to speak the truth and to understand how to ask for help." Just do it. Just say, "Mom, I'm in a jam. I love you. I need help." Don't make it emotional. Don't be angry. Just say it. And so, I don't really remember the point of your question other than the fact that I felt like I had to relate that.

Traci Fairchild:

When we get anxious, we, meaning humans, and I can think about this maybe if I were a younger adult, my brain isn't fully developed, it's getting very close, but there's so much judgment. There's the little bird chirping on the shoulder, "They're not going to understand. They're not going to get it. They're going to think I'm X, Y, Z." There's so much judgment and self-doubt and feelings, like you said. Sometimes the feelings are clouding the facts and it's very hard to sift through and get to the fact and sometimes the fact is you do need help and you're trying to ask for it, but it's very muddied. And if you're an 11 out of 10, if you're like, gosh, I'm really up against it, I'm maxed out, I'm not even sure what I need, that can also be a way to ask for help. I'm really stressed or I'm not really sure.

Gary Goldberg:

And by the way, Traci, and I said this to my daughter and I'll say it to other people, people look at me and they think, Oh boy, he's pretty successful. He started a bunch of companies. He's got hundreds of employees. He does all this stuff. I am the biggest help asker, help getter, admitted defeatist. I made a mistake, Jeanne. I messed this up, Jeanne. I really screwed up. Jeanne, I need help. Jeanne, what can we do with this? This is a disaster, Jeanne. Why not? How do you think you get the 50 out there, people? You don't do it until you realize what you're capable of, and quite frankly, what you're not capable of.

Gary Goldberg:

And the sooner you get ahold of that and realize how to build a support network around you of trusted people that you can really admire and lean on and say, "Oh, I know you'll be there for me when I need you," and it can be even small things, but just understanding that we relate to each other, we depend on each other, we're intertwined. We have a social contract about respect and how to treat each other well. The more you engage in that process during the day, the more stress you can lay off into your network of loved ones, the more they'll do the same with you. And it just helps. It's just so darn helpful. And trust me when I tell people this, your outcomes will be magnificent.

Traci Fairchild:

When you think about it, we're trying to teach our kids all through middle school, high school, to be independent, to be self-advocates, to be owners of whatever they're doing and to do it really well. In a way, we're undermining asking for help. We are trying to teach them and model and show them being an agent of your own everything and be a self-advocate and really model that as well. But it's a process and I feel like there is a little bell curve there where-

Gary Goldberg:

I'm just figuring it out.

Traci Fairchild:

Right.

Gary Goldberg:

Took me half a century.

Traci Fairchild:

Yeah.

Jeanne Hopkins

But this is an unusual time. I think that the largest issue and it's difficult for people that feel like they're taking these natural steps, whether it's graduating from high school, graduating from middle school, graduating from grammar school, graduating from college and moving on, starting jobs, not being able to start jobs because there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. And I think that, to me, is what's causing a lot of anxiety and I hope that some of these thoughts in this particular conversation, you brought up a lot of great things, Traci and Gary. I learned a lot from this and I thank you very much for being our guest on Return To Play, Traci. Gary, you have to have Traci on your podcast to talk about field hockey. I think she would be an awesome guest.

Gary Goldberg:

I feel like I'm stealing by having her on this. I don't want to over indulge us, but yes, Traci, would you join our podcast and talk about field hockey?

Traci Fairchild:

I'd love to. I'll make sure I shut off the radio before I log on. No.

Jeanne Hopkins

That's okay. It makes it a real thing. Thank you everybody for joining us today. Really appreciate it. Great conversation and look forward to having-

Gary Goldberg:

Thanks, Jeanne. Thanks for being a great moderator, Jeanne.

Jeanne Hopkins

Thank you. Appreciate it. It's all for you guys. It's all the guests. Thanks everybody.

Gary Goldberg:

Thanks. See you, guys. Bye, Traci.

Traci Fairchild:

Thank you. Bye, Gary.


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