Being a student of any age is mentally draining in itself, and being a student-athlete on top of that can be incredibly tough. But athletics had led to me meeting some of the greatest and most inspiring people I know. For that reason, I wanted to write about one of my teammates who inspires me almost every day.
Last year she went through some really tough things. Exactly what happened is not important because your past does not define you and sometimes needs to be put aside so your future can be focused on. This is one thing this teammate taught me.
Since what happened she has become an advocate for mental health, volunteering in the community and sharing her story with friends like me. When I asked her if I could write this article about her, she was so open to talking and to me that is amazing.
I have heard recently about a lot of people finding that being productive can help reduce stress. I asked my teammate what she thinks and she responded that as a person who is very anxious and needs to be busy all the time she finds if she does things that aren’t productive she gets more stressed out. I think we can all relate to taking a break to watch Netflix and just being stressed the whole time in a way not giving our minds a break. As a solution to this, she said when she does productive tasks that don’t require any brain power like doing dishes or laundry she is able to be with her thoughts and relax and reflect. After she says she is able to take a step back and feel proud of herself for being productive and getting something done. As a student being productive does not always have to directly mean studying, be proud of yourself for the other productive tasks you achieve daily.
All the self-care ideas I learned from her have been super helpful, however, I think the most important thing I have learned from her is how easy it is for people to hide their struggle and that most people are going through a lot more than you think. When we first met I don’t think either of us realized we were both going through personal issues. One of the best moves I made for myself was opening up to her and starting to talk about mental health with my peers.
I know self-care is about looking after yourself but that does not necessarily mean you have to do it alone. Thank you to all my teammates and friends who have always been there for me and I am so excited knowing I have a lot to learn from you in the future.