As athletes, we have a strict schedule of working out, eating, resting, and school (if you’re a student-athlete). It’s easy to get caught up in your busy schedule and not create some down time for yourself. Down time is important for all individuals, but it is extremely important for us as well as our bodies take a toll mentally and physically throughout the weeks as we complete tough workouts. Whether it is on your off day or sometime in the middle of the week, do something fun even if it’s small. Here some examples of fun things you can do to ease and relax your mind:
-Going to the movies
-Walking around in the park
-Watching a favorite movie or new series on Netflix
-Treating yourself to a meal (try to keep it as healthy as possible)
-Shopping (be mindful not to overspend)
-Taking a bubble bath
-Hanging out with a friend
-Sleep (I know it doesn’t sound like fun at first, but who doesn’t love extra sleep?)
-Calling a loved one
The terms “treating yourself” and “self care” often get mixed up. Self care doesn’t have to involve buying stuff or leaving your house. Self care is about meeting your own needs. For example, if you had a rough day of classes or homework, you could take 10 minutes or so to pause, check-in with yourself and reflect on your day before going into the house. Meditation is another great method as it can relax your anxious mind and body. Self care can also look like declining an invitation somewhere. If you had a rough week of practice and a friend asks you to go to dinner or a party Friday night, it’s okay to say no because you’re exhausted and want some personal time. This list isn’t extensive but lastly, unplugging from social media is another great example of self care. Keeping up with social media drains us mentally more than we realize. I’m not saying to get rid of all of your accounts (Twitter is lit and undefeated) but it’s okay to turn of your notifications and to be present with yourself while not worrying about what everyone else is up to.
**These paraphrased examples came from Dr. Alicia Hodge’s “Self-Care Myths” guide: helpmehodge.com**
Note: The maximum amount of days you should spend training in a week is 6 days (including active recovery days). Working out for all 7 days of the week is unhealthy for any given person. You will reach your goals. Don’t stress about what your competition may or may not be doing. Focus on yourself.