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Five Tips To Maintain Your Mental Health In College Softball

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(Photo by Duke Athletics)

The game softball players all hold so near and dear to their hearts can also be detrimental to their mental health if they do not manage their emotions properly.

Let’s face it, college softball coupled with academics, is stressful and demanding. For college softball players, coaches want them to meet expectations, professors expect their best in the classroom, friends want to take part in social engagements with them and parents want the best of everything from them. That can leave student-athletes feeling depleted, both physically and emotionally.

Because of that reality, it's paramount to a softball student-athlete's success that they take care of their mental health to the best of their ability. Below are five mental health tips from Duke pitcher and SA intern Jala Wright to help you maintain your love for the game, while also enjoying being a student-athlete.

Just Breathe

The quickest way to slow yourself down is to take a deep breath. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Repeat, repeat, repeat. This gives you time to ground yourself during whatever task is causing you stress. Your mind, energy and focus will be realigned to help you cope with the situation at hand.

Practice Self-Care

Just as time is valuable and should be used wisely, so is taking ample time to rest, recover and heal. Self-care means you take time to acknowledge and validate yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually. This is the time you step away from athletics to develop or explore other parts of your identity.

During self-care time, you can identify what else makes you happy and feel invigorated and renewed. It is all about balance. Take advantage of the off days, or even the free time you have traveling from place to place during your day to recharge your batteries with things outside of softball that you love.

Use Your Resources

College softball student-athletes are human beings, not robots. We have real emotions that need attention. Our emotions are not meant to be bottled up and ignored. As a result, it is important to use as many resources available to you as possible. Do not be afraid to speak with sports psychologists, coaches, friends or even your family about your struggles. Find a resource to help you. This journey is not meant to be traveled alone.

Manage Your Time Effectively

Procrastination adds unnecessary pressure to an already pressurized circumstance. Make a calendar or list of all the things that are required of you to make your days a little easier. Then do your best to stick to that schedule. This allows you to hold yourself accountable, create free time for yourself and free up space in your brain to process and handle everything on your plate.

Know It's Okay To Ask For Help

A mentally healthy person is the most consistent performer on the field and in life. If you are not okay within yourself, you will not be okay as a student-athlete. It is okay to feel how you feel and talk things out. It is not okay to believe you are alone and without any help. In order to reach your goals and remain passionate about the game, it is key that you know it is okay to ask for the help you need.

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