The expectations from a student are at an all-time high when they enrol in college.
Academic pressure, increased responsibilities, and the demand to perform well from parents, teachers, peers and even themselves, all lead to anxiety, depression and poor mental health.
For student-athletes, the stress levels mark the peak of this graph. In addition to the factors affecting college students, the pressure of performing well in the games and balancing sports and academics, all add up causing a steep decline in their mental health.
But on the bright side, help is always available.
Here are some effective methods to keep your mental health in check as a student-athlete.
Keep in touch with your professors
Academics are equally important for a student-athlete. Maintaining a good bond with your professors in college goes a long way in smoothening your college journey.
Let them know your practice schedule and about the upcoming competitions. You can explore options with the faculty and plan assignments and project deadlines.
Make use of online resources
As an athlete, you may miss several lectures due to your game schedules. Sometimes sports injuries may also make attending classes difficult.
You don’t have to fall behind the rest of the class due to such unpredictable circumstances. Keep the stress of academics at bay by availing of online tutoring options.
Submitting academic papers on time also plays a major role in grades. On hectic days, lift some stress off of yourself and let expert writers complete any research papers that are due.
Don’t hesitate to reach out
Your peers in the locker room don’t have to be the only people with whom you share your concerns. You can find a listening ear in coaches, professors, parents, or anyone you’re comfortable with.
If at any point, you feel unheard and your mental health is at stake, never hesitate to reach out to professionals. Know that you have resources. These days, several support groups are working for the upliftment of the mental health of student-athletes.
People are bound to expect a lot from you as an athlete. With the advance of social media, all they see is your well-planned and coordinated lifestyle from the outside.
Do not let the pressure of their expectations from you take a toll on your mental health. Be careful while choosing the circle of friends with whom you wish to share your life updates.
Reducing screen time, avoiding unnecessary comparisons among your peers and staying away from the negativity thrown upon you on the internet go a very long way in protecting your mental peace.
Remember, none of the outside judgment matters; you can grow at your own pace.
Explore your options
Just because your parents, friends, or teachers expect you to be an athlete does not mean you have to be one. Yes, you are an excellent sportsman, but that does not bind you to pursue the career for a lifetime.
Like every other student, you have the right to explore your options and do different things in life. Don’t feel guilty for pursuing what you like just because of the fear of letting people down.
Feeling confused, overwhelmed, or even clueless as a young adult is normal.
Give your mental health the same priority as your body. You are allowed to put your walls down and express your emotions, without any guilt.
Asking for help does not make you weak. Somewhere along the journey, if you feel the need for a bit more support to get you through, pull yourself up and find help.
Simona LeVey did her degree in psychology at Tel Aviv University. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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