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Managing your mental health as a high school athlete.

Taking care of your mental health as an athlete is crucial for both your performance on the field and your overall well-being. School can be tough enough on its own... throw the demands of your sport on top of that and it can be a recipe for stress, anxiety, and burnout. Many sports teams across the country are adding mental health professionals to their staff to help athletes manage their well-being. Some things to consider as the year starts and sports and school ramp up:

Continue to Prioritize Self-Care: Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and stay hydrated.

Practice Stress-Relief Techniques: Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to manage stress and anxiety. Regularly practicing these techniques can help you stay calm during high-pressure situations.

Take Breaks: It's important to give yourself regular breaks to rest and recharge. Overworking yourself can lead to burnout and negatively impact your performance.

Practice Positive Self-Talk: Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations. Cultivating a positive mindset can boost your confidence and resilience.

Stay Connected: Maintain a strong support network of friends, family, coaches, and teammates. Don't hesitate to reach out to them when you need to talk or seek advice. Enjoy your life outside of sports - it offers balance and perspective.

Communicate with Coaches: Open and honest communication with your coaches is important. If you're struggling with your mental health, let them know. They may be able to provide additional support or adjust expectations accordingly.

Lastly, seek help: If you're experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, or stress, consider talking to a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and strategies tailored to your individual needs. I know I'm biased, because it's what I do, but the stigma around seeking help is decreasing as more and more athletes open up about their internal battles. It takes courage, courage that you've got.

Remember, everyone's journey is unique, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. Taking care of your mental health is an ongoing process. Whether it's about something on the field or off the field, feel free to reach out to me if you're interested in counseling. I also offer Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement groups for athletes in Loudoun.

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