Whether you struggle with depression, like I do, or any other mental health issue, I understand that it can be tough to reach out to anyone. You would rather just crawl in your bed and just lay there alone and unbothered. But I’m here to encourage you not to do that to yourself.

Research has shown that working out can help the mood of people that struggle with depression. I’m not saying that you’ll feel 100% better after your workout, but it can still help you to be productive and see the light of the day. I understand that it can be hard to motivate yourself at times. Accountability, whether in the form of a coach or of another person that you trust, can be a big game changer.

Athletes that have coaches: If the thought of sitting down with your coach to talk about your personal issues scares you at first, try working on building a closer relationship with that coach. Try to spark up a conversation after practice or just try to meet with him/her one on one when time allows to begin getting comfortable with them. It is a great thing if you have a coach that cares for your wellbeing and seeks to understand what you are going through. In the case that your coach is the complete opposite of that, try to find a teammate, training partner or someone that understands your role as a person first and then an athlete to open up to. The bottom line is that it is important to have someone in your corner that is within your practice facilities that can encourage you but also know when you’re having a really tough day mentally. That way they can modify your workout, if needed.

Athletes that don’t have coaches and/or training partners: Currently, in my sophomore year of college, I’m in the same boat as you. I know that it can be tough dealing with mental health and on top of that, feeling that you have no one in your corner while trying to improve your craft. If you have a friend that is also a fellow athlete, try reaching out to them. Regardless if they are in the same sport as you are not, they should know the dedication it takes to being an athlete and can encourage you to keep going, even when you feel like quitting. Training on your own can be a daunting task, but first, give yourself credit that you’re still doing it. In spite of everything that you’re going through, give yourself a break and try not to be hard on yourself. There are “good days” and there are “bad days”: when you’re having a bad day mentally, modify your workout the best way possible. This doesn’t mean just taking an off day all together, but even if it means just going to the gym to jog and lift some weights, that’s better than doing nothing.

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