“Don’t give up, no matter how hard it may be or how impossible it may seem.”
Chris Lloyd has been on a remarkable journey since being left paralysed from the neck down following a rally car accident in 2011. Lying in the hospital bed, he was told he would never be able to ski again. Determined to prove the medical consultant wrong, he set himself the goal of one day representing his country at the Paralympic games.
As part of a difficult recovery period, Chris began to reinvent himself, through meditation, self hypnosis and positive visualisation techniques.
12 months after the accident he skied for the first time following the crash, and a few months later entered his first competitive ski race. Despite only having 40% power in his right leg and 50 % power in his left, Chris fought his way back to compete at the World Championships in February 2015. In January 2018, he was selected by ParalympicsGB to represent Great Britain at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea….
Hello Chris, let’s start with some leisure – what are you listening to and reading at the moment
I’m currently reading a book called “Unlimited: 7 Habits to Unleash Your Full Potential & Get the Life You Want” by Becca Teers. It’s packed with great tips, insights and motivational quotes. Music wise, I’m enjoying London Grammar and Rag and Bone Man.
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
In 2011, I was involved in a rally car accident and was left paralysed from the neck down. Following the crash, I was told I would never ski again. I was determined I would prove my consultant wrong and shortly after the accident I saw a poster for the Paralympic Games in London. I made the Paralympics my goal.
I reinvented myself, taught myself meditation, self-hypnosis and positive visualisation. I was relentless in pushing my body to recover itself and gradually the feeling in my hands recovered, and I began to independently walk a short distance. Even today I still cannot feel hot and cold, having limited feeling, but I got my hands working to initially 40% of their original use.
Although my body has been able to recover itself, I only have 40% power in my right leg and 50 % power in my left, so it takes 3 or 4 times more energy and concentration to be able to ski a course. Once fatigue sets in, I become tired and my legs give up and I struggle to stand up. Recovery may take 2-3 days depending on conditions. This has made training and racing harder, but has not deterred me.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Spending time with my partner Jessica and our two children.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My family. They’ve been so supportive of me in everything I do.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
A clear focused mind
What do you eat to stay healthy?
I try to stick to natural foods, so I eat a lot of eggs, chicken and fish.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
In the morning I get up early and do some pilates, stretching and activation. Then it’s breakfast before heading to the gym where I work on movement patterning or strength. In the afternoon when I’m at home I like to get out on the mountain bike – otherwise when I’m in resort I’m race training on the slopes.
Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
I have clear memories of climbing trees and making tree swings with friends when I was growing up in Wales.
What three songs lift your spirits?
Eye of the Tiger from the Rocky Soundtrack
Lost Away by Sigma
Jess Glynne – Take Me Home
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
One life, live it
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
Think positive and focus on the good things that make you happy
Were there any specific techniques you utilised for meditation during your rehabilitation?
Psychosomatic Wellness by Candace Pert is a technique I used a lot.
You have an incredible amount of drive and motivation, if there was some advice you could give to our readers regarding keeping motivated, what would it be?
I think if you set yourself a goal and focus on that, it can help keep you motivated. Having a good support network is important too.
Do you believe that knowing the extent of the damage was important for your healing process?
Yes, knowing the extent of the damage ultimately helped me in my rehabilitation. Part of the positive visualisation process I adopted was to see the part of the body that needed to heal in my mind’s eye and will it to recovery.
You talk about adrenaline and “the bug” in your introductory video online, do you find the thrill of what you do to be a good motivator?
There have been some tough days in my road to recovery but keeping focus on being out in the mountains, in the fresh air and being on my skis is a feeling I love and wasn’t something I was prepared to give up. I think adrenaline has helped, I didn’t want to lose that buzz I get from skiing and it certainly helps when it comes to competition and in training.
You also talk about setting goals in your about section, any advice on setting goals for our readers?
Don’t give up, no matter how hard it may be or how impossible it may seem. Keep working hard and whatever your goal is you can achieve it if you put your mind to it and don’t give up.
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