Sports

Self-Care After Hibernation: A closer look on how to get back to taking care of your mind and body after a long winter break.

      Self-care. What is it? To each and every person, self-care can mean a different thing. When people think of the word self-care, many of them automatically think of the famous quote “Treat yo self” from the show Parks and Recreation.

      Although self-indulgence can be a form of self-care, there are many other forms it can take. While there is a lot of information about relaxation techniques and their relation to self-care, numerous people forget that there are other ways and activities that can be used on a regulate basis to help reduce stress and maintain long-term health and well-being.

      One area that is often overlooked when contemplating self-care is the sports and athletic world.

     What many people fail to notice is that the body requires a significant amount of rest and strength in order to perform to its peak abilities. Having a set time and/or space set aside for self-care will improve many aspects of life such as the ability to focus, be flexible, and look at things from a new perspective.

      Talking to a few athletes around campus, I discovered the top 4 most common ways to relax in and out of season from an athletic viewpoint:

      1. Sleep

      Resting is an essential part to assisting in de-stressing and chilling out. Resting and relaxing can be anything from taking a nap, coloring, or watching Netflix; pretty much doing whatever it takes to get the mind off of the current situation. Even if there isn’t any direct pressure, it never hurts to take some time off. One of the students I even talked to enjoys playing with play dough. Childhood habits do have a place in self-care and do seem to be enjoyable.

      2. Eat

      A constant thought that is going through an athlete’s mind is their diet. Being at college, there aren’t always the best food options, so many athletes must get creative in the dining hall. To be more specific, it is scientifically proven that it is much healthier to eat whole foods that have real nutrients rather than fried or processes foods which are low in protein and therefore results in low energy.

      Another form of energy that athletes tend to obtain is power bars or protein drinks. These supplements are helpful at times, but cannot be expected to completely replace actual meals. You cannot live off of vitamins alone.

     3. Routine

     A routine is something that every single person goes through whether they know it or not. Some are more intentional and structured than others. Within each of these routines, there lies habits. Habits are tendencies that are developed over a significant amount of time, usually around 40 days. Once these habits become regular, they are an integral part of the routine. Coming back to school may change up the routine that people have acquired while at home over the winter break.

      Making slight alterations to the routine in the school environment is essential to self-care maintenance because there are new responsibilities that arise when one comes back to the school setting. Classes and other academic obligations change as the year progresses and must be incorporated into one’s routine.

      4. Fun

      With all this talk of regimented schedules, it can be easy to forget to sit back, relax, and have fun. The ways to have fun are as endless as the imagination. In reality, there is not a simple way to take your mind off of anything that may seem daunting, such as sports, school work, or life drama.

      The best advice is to find people or activities that create a sense of happiness and relief from the stresses of everyday life. Finding something outside of the obligations is essential to maintaining mental health. In other words, do what you love, so you don’t go insane.

      Overall, self-care isn’t about all the things mentioned above. Those are all certainly important, but their larger purpose is to help you better yourself. It is always a good idea to find ways to help de-stress and relax yourself, which in turn improves your self-care techniques, but the most important thing to remember is that self-care is really about the individual.

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