The pressure and stress of sports can be overwhelming on athletes. The constant scrutiny, the competitions, and the pressure to perform can take a mental toll on young athletes. But there are ways to cope with the pressures of sports and still be successful.
Here are nine proven mental health tips for athletes that should be observed and practiced by all athletes.
9 Mental Health Tips For Athletes
Of course, everyone needs to prioritize their mental health. However, there are certain things that athletes, in particular, need to do to improve their mental health.
1. Set goals
Smaller goals can help you focus on what’s important and help you reach your larger ones. For example, if you’re training for a track meet, focus on getting better at one aspect of your performance each day — like how many sit-ups you can do or how fast you can run 100 meters — instead of worrying about winning the whole meet.
Also, be realistic about your goals. If you’re feeling pressure from others — such as coaches or teammates — who expect too much from you, learn to take a break.
2. Stay positive
Don’t let negative thoughts get in the way of success. If you’re having trouble staying positive, try asking yourself questions like these: Do I believe I’m capable? Does this person mean well? What is my best option right now? And so on.
There are many other amazing health benefits of being positive, hence, always maintain a positive outlook as an athlete.
3. Take care of yourself
Eat well and get enough sleep (at least eight hours per night) because both are important for clear thinking and avoiding burnout. Also, make sure you’re exercising regularly — even 5 minutes of jumping rope every day could make a big difference in managing
4. Talk to someone you trust
It’s not easy talking about your feelings or personal problems. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by school or your sport, finding someone who can listen without judgment and give advice without pressuring you into anything is essential. This could be anyone from friends to professional counselors or family.
5. Get adequate sleep
Sleep is key to maintaining good mental health. It helps us deal with stress and fatigue more effectively, so being tired always will make everything harder!
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, try going to bed earlier to have enough rest before training starts.
6. Don’t compare yourself to others
It’s easy to compare yourself to others, especially when you see someone else doing something better than you.
However, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, affecting your performance on the field or court. You have unique talents, so don’t worry about what others are doing — focus on what you can do!
7. Stay organized with a planner or calendar app
Athletes have busy schedules full of practices, games, and other commitments that can easily get overwhelming.
It can affect their mental health, if they aren’t appropriately scheduled or organized well in advance with an agenda or planner/calendar apps like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook (or any number of other options).
Hence, try to make sure you are organized with a planner or calendar app so you can burnout.
8. Be aware of stressors
Athletes often experience greater levels of stress than other people due to their physical demands and responsibilities, such as schoolwork, training schedules, and competitions.
These stressors can be good motivators but can sometimes be overwhelming or even lead to mental health issues like depression or anxiety if they aren’t appropriately managed.
9. Maintain a social life outside of training sessions and games
It is for athletes to get choked up with training, gym sessions and tournaments that they neglect their social health.
Your social health is an important aspect of your mental health and overall wellbeing. Hence, try to maintain a great social life outside your athletic activities.
Spend time with friends, loved ones, and meet new people. Doing so would benefit your mental health tremendously.
As an athlete, your mental health is essential; as such, it should be treated as a priority. You can never succeed as an athlete without sound mental health. Ensure you stick to the above mental health tips. For severe mental health issues, you can consult a certified therapist.