Mental health tips for student athletes

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 Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2/Fox 24) – Anxiety can hit us all during this pandemic, but there are certain challenges that student athletes can face.  For Centers Solutions: COVID Edition, Melanie Saiz and Kristi Edwards explain how changes from Coronvirus can impact students.

“Whenever you’re an athlete, you’re used to being able to make your body respond in whatever way you want it to. And at this time we’re kind of out of control with some of our eating, drinking, exercise, things like that. And I mean it can turn into things like identity issues. We talked a little bit about kids identifying through their athletic ability, like if you’re a gymnast, you’re known as ‘So and so the gymnast’ or you know, the quarterback, or the great athlete-the basketball player. Things like that,” said Centers Executive Director Kristi Edwards.

It’s possible for students to feel depressed or lonely if their season is cancelled or delayed. There is also a chance that keeping athletic practices or games on the schedule could cause anxiety for players. 

“There are new precautions that everyone has to adhere to, and there’s a fear of getting sick, loss of training time due to quarantine. We’ve heard some stories form local colleges in the surrounding areas where kids have been forced to quarantine. And when you’re away from family having to do that at school, and you’re completely isolated, that can create a real challenge for these kids emotionally,” said Centers Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.

There are some ways to try and combat the emotional challenges for these students. Be prepared. Get familiar with the school’s safety protocols. Make a plan to try and stay safe.  And don’t forget to practice some self-care. 

 “Make rest a priority. You know, you can’t really tackle anything if you’re not getting enough sleep or if you’re overtired. Get some exercise during the day. Get that walk, put your feet up, meditate, breathe. Have some down time. I’m not talking about isolating yourself. I’m talking about doing something for yourself that you enjoy. That you can actually,  at the end of it, you can go- okay so my body’s tired my brain’s tired, I’m ready for some rest,” said Edwards.  

Edwards and Saiz recommend that parents talk to their children about stress—their relationship with their coaches and teammates–and ask how they feel about safety procedure at the school. And take the time to listen to what they have to say.  For more about this topic, you can listen to the Centers podcast.

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