Self care is an essential component to survival as an athlete. Some athletes take self care very seriously while others do not prioritize it enough. Athletes should actively self care to counteract the physical and emotional stress they fall under. They can do this by caring for their bodies and caring for their mental faculties.
The physical stress that athletes go through is obvious on some level to everyone. Athlete’s bodies are the instruments of their professions and they are heavily taxed by doing their jobs. Athletes face the possibilities of injuries and physical exhaustion daily and must counteract its effects by reversing the damage done to their bodies. Some methods an athlete may have of undoing physical stress are gentle yoga, physical therapy, hot tubs, whirlpools and massages.
Counteracting the emotional stress of being an athlete looks very different from counteracting the physical stress. Many people do not realize that athletes go through as much psychologically as they do physically. The pressure that falls on athletes to be the best, outperform the competition and set new records can be overwhelming. No two people heal from emotional stress in the same way, and every athelete must learn how to unburden themselves so that they can remain healthy and happy. Some ideas to help athletes unwind are taking up an enjoyable, relaxing hobby, developing and leaning into supportive relationships, receiving counseling, practicing meditation and being in touch with one’s spirituality.
Being a professional athlete is not easy by any measure. The high profile, high expectation career of a professional athlete can physically and mentally strain athletes to the point of breaking. Finding different forms of therapeutic release is essential to their well being. No matter how busy or active an athlete is, they should always prioritize personal self care and have a plan in place for how to maintain their self care when they are training or traveling. Their lives and careers will be healthier and smoother because of it.