Perrin Wellness and Performance. The Journey

 

Hello! Welcome to my work.

My name is Emily Perrin and I am a Mental Health Therapist and Mindfulness and Performance Coach. I am so thankful you are here and I’m excited to share my journey with you in detail. Although my path to this work has not been linear much of it has been shaped by my own lived experience. 

The truth is I grew up in and around sport. My Dad was a college basketball coach at the University of Virginia for the first 10 years of my life where he also received his Ph.D. in Sport Psychology. Some of my earliest childhood memories are running around University Hall (which sadly no longer exists) at UVA and going to team practices. Even after leaving college basketball he has continued to work with some of the best athletes in the United States. His career has taken him across multiple professional leagues including the NBA, MLS, NWSL and to two World Cups with the US Men’s National Team. From a very young age this was my life. I...

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A Trauma Aware Approach to Breath Work

 

As mainstream society continues to jump on the breath work bandwagon it is very important we continue to prioritize safety and accessibility with regards to this practice. As a mental health therapist and mindfulness coach that works extensively with athletes, its important that I continue to break down the nuances of such an individualized and powerful practice. As someone who has experienced significant trauma, chronic anxiety and panic disorder in my life I know firsthand how challenging breath work can be.

I always want to acknowledge that in any setting I may be teaching breath work in, someone has probably experienced some level of trauma. More likely than, someone in the room really struggles with breath work and doesn’t feel safe feeling or accessing their breath let alone manipulating it. This blog is a complete break down of WHY this might be the case and HOW to get started with breath work in a safe and accessible way.

As Deb Dana says "The breath can be both...

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A Mindful and Holistic Approach to Athlete Recovery

 

If you have not tuned in to my 3 Part Blog series on the connection between Mental health and Recovery please do so! Why Failing to Prioritize Recovery is Impacting Your Mental Health is a detailed look at how recovery and the mental health of an athlete are intimately linked. This will also help you understand the type of nervous system shift we are looking for and explain what the Parasympathetic (Ventral Vagal) Nervous System State is (Referred to as PNS in this Blog). 

If you have not downloaded my Free EBOOK: The Athletes Holistic Guide to Recovery, this can be a great place to start! 

I am a full advocate of explaining the “why” behind things before giving an athlete or coach solutions or answers. I find that the “WHY” is often what empowers an athlete to step into taking care of themselves more efficiently. 

The recovery process will be unique and individual for every single athlete. When working with an athlete or a team I...

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Why Failing to Prioritize Recovery is Impacting Your Mental Health: Part Three

If you haven't tuned in to Part One and Part Two of this Series I recommend starting there. 

Part One: The role of the Nervous System in both Mental Health and recovery 

Part Two: The link between Recovery and Mental Health 

But the impact of failing to prioritize recovery will also be a foundational piece of how an athlete performs. 

 

Impact on Performance 

For those of you who have gotten this far, THANK YOU.  But alas, we have one more element to also consider. 

Performance. 

Although I believe that there is NOTHING more important than the overall well being of an athlete, I also know that sport is competitive. Although we are moving in the right direction with mental health in sport there are still MANY athletes and coaches who prioritize performance and winning over overall health.  

Performance is a critical piece to sport. But mental health is the foundation for performance.

Many athletes come to sport with goals and...

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Process Your Emotions and Feelings

“If we don’t express our emotions, they pile up like a debt that will eventually come due.” 

-Marc Brackett, PHD

 

Feel all the Feels. 

 

We get clear on WHAT we’re feeling and we accept what we’re feeling but we have to actually do the feeling. 

Unfortunately this is where more often than not we have to sit with our emotions and discomfort and allow time to heal. So. Freaking. Hard. But I promise this is THE only way. 

 Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson is an incredible podcast that I highly recommend. In a recent episode on navigating failure they described how the sooner we attend to our feelings when we face failure and rejection the better. Why? Because this is what both the mind and the body need. In order to move through and “regulate” our emotions in an efficient way we have to honor them and give ourselves permission to feel however we are feeling. Easier said than done. 

One...

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Redefining Resilient

By definition, resilient means: 

  1. A person / animal able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions (adj)
    1. Similar: strong, tough, hardy 
  2. Substance/Object able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed 
    1. Flexible, pliable, supple, elastic 

 

In sport specifically we take this to mean being tough, having grit and being persistent. All good things in order to play competitive sport. These are almost precursors for being able to make it at the elite level. However what I think has happened is that athletes often try to embody this same toughness, grit and strength off the field when navigating all that life throws at them. These qualities along with constantly finding a positive attitude or finding the good in every situation (even when tragedy strikes) is what makes us resilient. This is what gets us through tough stuff, right? 

Wrong. 

Being resilient is less about being tough and more about...

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Perfection. Fuel for the Inner Critic.

Perfect. The dictionary defines Perfect as being without fault or defect. Flawless. 

We live in a world where perfect is the expectation.

I spend most of my time working with collegiate and professional athletes. I also spend a lot of time having conversations with coaches about their teams and athletes. I spend a lot of time watching practice, lift, training, and games. I observe, I listen and I analyze. 

 The language we use in and around our sport is crucial. So is the language we do not use. Language is not just important for how we communicate with other people but it is incredibly important for how we speak to ourselves.  It is a constant dance of both internal and external messaging.

Is the word PERFECT always used or blatantly stated in and around our sport setting?  No. To be honest I don’t hear many players or coaches express needing things to be perfect. Most of the time its the opposite. “We can’t be perfect, I know I...

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Mental Health in the Elite Athlete Community

This isn’t a new subject by any means. We’re seeing more and more professional athletes speak up and go public with their various struggles.  College Athletic Departments are putting more structure and programming in place to address mental health for their student athletes.  I believe were making progress, but we as an elite athlete community have a long way to go.  

In the field of Clinical Social Work, one of our jobs is to research and address social problems. A social problem is an alleged situation or widespread issue that affects a significant number of people.  Over the last few months my work has been dedicated to researching and addressing the social problem of mental health within the elite athlete community. 

Remove competitive sport from the scenario and mental health in general continues to be a widespread issue within the United States.  We’re living in a time where stress and anxiety are at an all time high. A...

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In a Time With So Much Uncertainty, Why Can’t Coaches and Athletes Afford to Skip Out On Taking Care of Their Minds?

 

We’re coming up on 7 months of this new normal. Since the cancellation of collegiate spring sports and various "Bubble" scenarios for pro leagues the Athletic Community is very much still navigating this new normal. 

 

We have already seen collegiate sports cut, budgets deflated and resources going towards a LOT of testing. Athletic staff's have restructured weight rooms and worked tirelessly to make sure that facilities are set up to maintain standards and protocols that put student athlete safety first. As if there were not already a plethora of demands placed on college athletes, having to maneuver through a season and the normal day to day among the COVID crisis is definitely an added task. 

 

There’s a lot to navigate here. 

 

Take COVID away and regular student athlete life is challenging enough. Time to simply get everything done academically, athletically, and socially is strained. There’s the added piece of...

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