Ice skating is one of the most festive activities you can partake in during the winter. I personally figure skated competitively for many years, and I always loved skating with my friends during this time of year.
Over time, I found that ice skating is so much more than just a sport. In fact, I actually learned several life lessons while being on the ice. Here are four life lessons that you can learn from ice skating, whether it’s your first or thousandth time on the ice:
1. When you fall, you get back up.
In ice skating, falling helps you learn how to be a better skater. It can even be part of the fun because it creates some laughs amongst friends! In the rink, no one judges you if you fall. In fact, most skaters simply brush it off and keep going without a second thought.
But, if we fail at something in life off the ice, it can feel as if the world is ending, and even send us into emotional turmoil. Instead of wallowing in despair, we should get back up, learn from our mistakes, and try again — just like we would while ice skating. Falling is only a bad thing when you let it hold you back forever.
2. Perseverance is everything.
Ice skating is all about setting goals and not giving up until you achieve them. If you are a new skater, maybe your goal is simply to make a full lap around the arena. If you are an advanced skater, you may be working toward perfecting a new spin or jump. I know I’ve felt immensely proud of myself when months of hard work culminated in a beautiful new jump.
It may seem hard (or even impossible sometimes), but if you persevere, you will eventually meet your goals. If we can hold onto this attitude of perseverance that we learn on the ice, it can help us reach our goals in our daily lives. In the long run, a little bit of patience and practice will be worth the self accomplishment you feel when your hard work pays off.
3. Take a mental break from your own mind.
As someone who has dealt with anxiety for a long time, I have a difficult time clearing my mind and turning off my racing thoughts. I get lost in mental rabbit holes. Sometimes I even think of multiple unrelated scenarios at once to the point I overwhelm myself for no rational reason. One of the only places I have been able to clear my mind and find peace is on the ice. I can focus on the feeling of the ice under my skates, the sounds of the arena, and the cool wind on my face as I glide. When I’m done skating, I find that I continue to be happy, calmer, and anxiety-free for several days. Skating has taught me the importance of having an outlet that provides a mental release.
4. Always practice good sportsmanship.
Like any sport, ice skating teaches the importance of good sportsmanship. In the arenas I’ve skated at, I’ve even become friends with the same girls I competed against. We congratulated each other no matter the outcome, gave each other advice on perfecting new moves, and offered a hand to help each other up when we fell.
This is an important attitude to maintain off the ice as well. For example, if a co-worker gets a promotion that you were hoping for, you should still congratulate them on their success. Conversely, if you receive the promotion instead of someone else, you can be grateful while also being mindful of how your co-worker may be feeling. Setting yourself up for a life of support and kindness will ultimately be much happier than a life of cutthroat competition.
While ice skating is a fun winter activity to do with your loved ones, you should take a second on the ice to think about the deep insights you can gain from that seemingly simple event. If you keep the mentality of perseverance that you have on the ice, you will surely see that your goals are within reach in your daily life, too. Just like you wouldn’t let a fall on the ice end your fun, don’t let minor setbacks stand in the way of your dreams and your ability to be your best self.