It’s not unusual for athletes to set targets to satisfy bodily efficiency calls for or obtain sure efficiency outcomes. Nevertheless, how usually do athletes set targets associated to self-care? If athletes use targets to boost their efficiency bodily and mentally, they need to additionally use targets to advertise self-care practices which might be helpful to their efficiency and general well-being.
What Is Self-Care and Why Do We Want It?
Self-care is the flexibility to take care of oneself and to carry out actions essential to optimize one’s functioning and well-being (Richard & Shea, 2011). Extra importantly, “self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s a vital part of prevention of misery, burnout, and impairment. It shouldn’t be thought of as one thing ‘additional’ or ‘good to do in case you have the time’” (Barnett et al., 2006, p. 263). Athletes expertise bodily and emotional misery from intense coaching and competitions in a “regular” world, and much more so in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic when it has turn out to be tough to take care of their routines and competitiveness. Self-care practices, together with bodily (e.g., satisfactory sleep) psychological (e.g., mindfulness and gratitude) methods, are essential for athletes to carry out at their greatest and be glad with their lives (Chen & Chang, 2017).
Mindfulness and Gratitude Self-Care Practices
Though self-care promotes well-being and efficiency (Frentz et al., 2020), one frequent excuse for not working towards self-care is “not having sufficient time.” You will need to bear in mind that self-care methods like mindfulness and gratitude may be carried out pretty shortly and be included into athletes’ established routines to alleviate emotional misery. Beneath are a number of evidence-based methods (see Shankland & Rosset, 2017 for a assessment) that athletes can use as a part of a self-care routine:
- Conscious respiratory: Athletes who’re newbies can set a timer for 3–5 minutes to observe mindfulness (i.e., non-judgmental, present-moment consciousness of 1’s ideas and feelings) by being attentive to the breath and observing how their thoughts wanders. After seeing development with much less mind-wandering, athletes can proceed to longer mindfulness periods and add different elements (e.g., physique scan, strolling).
- Conscious self-compassion train: Athletes who usually are self-critical can add optimistic self-talk and self-compassion—a mix of mindfulness, frequent humanity (i.e., a realization that everyone struggles), and self-kindness (i.e., empathetic acts towards ourselves)—to scale back stress and anxiousness from not assembly efficiency targets or expectations (Frentz et al., 2020). Athletes could merely embody three self-compassion statements together with mindfulness practices (see Center for Mindful Self-Compassion for extra workout routines):
- “I’m feeling actually careworn/anxious/upset proper now” (mindfulness)
- “Everybody feels this fashion generally” (frequent humanity)
- “Might I give myself the compassion that I want” (self-kindness)
- Gratitude journaling: Athletes can schedule gratitude journaling day by day or weekly to foster place feelings. Entries must be particular (i.e., issues/occasions/individuals one is grateful for) and related to at least one’s ideas and emotions (e.g., “I’m grateful for my teammate who reached out and listened to me after I couldn’t attend practices”). Writing down a grateful thought and related emotions, reasonably than simply enthusiastic about these of their minds, helps athletes extra deliberately savor small good issues which have occurred of their sport and life (Chen & Chang, 2017).
- Gratitude sharing: If athletes wish to take their gratitude one step additional, they’ll specific gratitude towards and with their teammates or vital others to multiplies the diploma of gratitude and social connection. Throughout particular events akin to senior nights, athletes can write letters to specific their gratitude towards one another and coaches.
Purpose Setting and Monitoring
As beforehand famous, athletes and different performers alike could not set targets for self-care practices. To reinforce accountability and consistency, athletes can implement SMART objective setting rules to set particular, measurable, achievable, related, and time-bound self-care targets. For instance, an athlete would possibly set the objective of “I’ll specific my gratitude each Sunday by writing down 5 issues I’m grateful for in my sport and life.” Understanding that it’s onerous to pursue a brand new objective or begin a behavior, monitoring self-care targets is important. Athletes can adopt a habit tracker (by way of the web or cellular apps) that visually reveals targets that they’ve achieved or is working towards. A behavior tracker additionally helps assess course of targets, help with changes if deemed applicable, and finally facilitate a way of life of constant self-care practices.
The mindfulness and gratitude practices mentioned above are only a pattern of many self-care choices obtainable to athletes. Athletes can discover different methods (e.g., yoga, social media “food regimen”) that promote self-care to see what most closely fits their wants and established routines. Much like some other bodily and psychological expertise, self-care takes time to construct and grasp to facilitate holistic athlete improvement and optimum efficiency. Better of luck together with your self-care—a vital part within the journey towards efficiency excellence!
Barnett, J. E., Johnston, L. C., & Hillard, D. (2006). Psychotherapist wellness as an moral crucial. In L. VandeCreek & J. B. Allen (Eds.), Improvements in scientific observe: Give attention to well being and wellness (pp. 257–271). Skilled Assets Press.
Chen, L. H., Wu, C. H., & Chang, J. H. (2017). Gratitude and athletes’ life satisfaction: The moderating position of mindfulness. Journal of Happiness Research, 18(4), 1147–1159. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9764-7
Frentz, D. M., McHugh, T. F. L., & Mosewich, A. D. (2020). Athletes’ experiences of shifting from self-critical to self-compassionate approaches inside high-performance sport. Journal of Utilized Sport Psychology, 32(6), 565–584. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2019.1608332
Richard, A. A., & Shea, Okay. (2011). Delineation of self‐care and related ideas. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 43(3), 255–264. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1547-5069.2011.01404.x