Mental health seems to be swept under the carpet at every turn and this is especially true when dealing with athletes. Well-known athletes whether in high school, college, or in the professional ranks are put under a microscope far more than athletes in the past. Social media has given a look into the lives of athletes at all levels and it is not trendy to post about depression or how you need someone to talk to. Most followers would rather see a luxury vacation or an impressive workout rather than deal with a post about mental health. Athletes do not just beat themselves up physically but they do it mentally as well. A poor performance after thousands of hours of hard work in a big game or tournament can rock an athlete to the core regardless if they are a high school player or hall of fame caliber player. Athletes need to take a proactive approach when it comes to caring for their mental health. The following are tips to do just that as being mentally healthy is just as important in athletic performances as physical health is.
Compartmentalize After A Bad Performance
Do not let a poor performance linger in your mind for an extended period. It is fine to be upset the day of a bad performance but after that you need to bounce back. Harping on a loss can be motivation but in some circumstances it can impact confidence in a negative way. Go out and do something that you enjoy after not playing up to your expectations as this way of relieving stress is extremely important for mental health.
Quality Sleep Is Key
Nothing is worse than having multiple practices in a day with barely any sleep the night before. Planning out adequate sleep is not only important for physical recovery but also mental recovery. Those that wake up feeling refreshed are more likely to have a good training session than someone that can barely get out of bed. Taking the time to turn off tech items and truly get into a relaxed state is a part of falling asleep in a timely manner. There are also sleep supplements that are natural like that of teas that help with getting a full night’s rest.
Turn Off Social Media…Or At Least Do Not Read Comments
The world of social media can be brutal so after a tough loss avoid at comments about the game posted on social media. Plenty of people have opinions on what should have been done in a game whether it is criticizing a player or actions of the coach. These people have a right to their opinion but it is not time to second guess yourself or your coach. Do not try to win an argument with a person on social media as others will see this as immature or you will become a target for trolls in the future. Kevin Durant is the perfect example of this as he often times lashes out on critics on social media and even was caught using a fake account to win comment battles. Avoiding getting into these battles can eliminate the chances for a rogue suspension because you said something out of line.
Go Out And Interact With Fans, It Can Be a Huge Help To Feel Loved
Going out to interact with fans if you are a big time college or professional athlete can be a great way to lift your mood. Seeing soccer jerseys with your name on it can help you get perspective that you really are living your dream. Fans love athletes that interact with the local community and it helps build rapport with fans which can lead to increased salary when it comes time to sign a contract extension. This does not mean to go do a meet and greet while you are feeling down but rather show up to a sports bar to watch a game with the locals.
See A Professional To Help With Ongoing Issues
There are so many ways to cope and take care of you mentally but sometimes it might seem like it is too much to handle alone. Going to see a professional can allow you to understand why you are feeling the way you do. If you are having trouble with depression do not be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like nothing is good enough and even when you have success you feel empty then it is time to reach out to someone. There are professionals that work primarily with athletes as well so this should comfort you a bit.
Mental health needs to be discussed more and people need to take an active role in caring for themselves. Athletes are very mentally strong but this does not mean that even those with the strongest minds need help from time to time.