Being a professional athlete is a demanding job. You’re regularly traveling for work, pushing your limits during games and training almost non-stop. It’s not just your body that gets exhausted. People often don’t discuss the mental strain, so it may be hard to know how to address it. Here are some simple things you can do.
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Talk It Out
If you’re feeling depressed and anxious, don’t just “suck it up.” Trying to tough it out alone can sometimes make problems worse. If you are having difficulty coping with your work and personal life, find a qualified professional to help you process your stress and guide you towards healthy solutions.
Have Strong Boundaries
When you’re a professional athlete you have the attention of hundreds, if not thousands of strangers. People don’t just want to see you play, they want access to you and your personal life. Not all of them are happy fans wishing you the best. You may want to avoid social media unless you have a friend or assistant to help manage your profiles. If you’re critical of yourself and your performance, you may want to avoid coverage of your games entirely.
Be discerning when it comes to your social circle. Stick with the people who stick with you, even when you have nothing to offer them.
Plan For the Future
If your career is going well, you might not be worried about bills. However, what comes up must come down. Due to physical strain and injuries associated with sports, you can’t always rely on your job to carry you through to old age. You should be seeking out specialists with experience in wealth management for professional athletes as they know the ins and outs of your unique situation. They can help you decide if and when to invest, how much to set aside for savings as well as manage spending habits.
Treat your career like a regular nine to five. Maintain a healthy 8-10 hour sleep schedule, eat a nutrient-rich diet and party only in moderation. Even if your sport is your claim to fame, you are still more than your job, so make sure that you have outlets outside of work to help you unwind. Your hobbies aren’t just a sanity booster, they could turn into jobs after you retire from playing. Terry Crews famously has a talent for illustration, which kept him afloat when he couldn’t find work, and he eventually followed his passion for film to an acting career.
Treat your body like a temple and make sure your physical needs are met. However, don’t forget to take care of the rest of you.