Take A Breather (Mental Health Activity Guide for Young Athletes)

You may be thinking, a guide for more activities doesn’t feel like a break. However, if you are a young athlete reading this, a coach, or parent, the purpose of this article is to share some things to do during your off-day or break from youth sports. Taking a breather doesn’t mean quitting a sport, in fact, it is supposed to promote quite the opposite. Taking a moment for yourself, whether that’s a conscious water break or day off to do something different may help with a young athlete’s mental health. If you are looking for some activities to improve mental health or at least feel productive on off days, TeamSnap has put together a list.

Improve your self-talk

How do you speak to yourself? Do you find yourself talking about yourself in a negative light? Perhaps you find yourself on practice days jumping to a place of making a bad pass or missing shot. If this sounds like you, practice talking about yourself as if you were a friend. Would your friend focus on your mistakes? Would your friend talk to you as if you aren’t capable? Hopefully not. Write down how you think about yourself and try and re-phrase it in a positive way. Practice reading it out-loud.

Do something else

If you have a day-off from practice, use the day to do something you enjoy that is entirely different than the sport. Maybe you love to cook! If that’s the case, head to a cooking class or make a recipe you’ve been dying to try. Spend your time diving into a hobby you rarely have the time to do.

Give back

One of the best ways to boost how you feel is to give back to others. Try and get involved in your community by volunteering or participating in a local fundraiser. You’ll be amazed how good it feels to give to others and will see yourself in a different light.

Make a list

Scribble down a list of all of the things you’re a grateful for. This is called a gratitude list! If you are ever feeling down, look for your list and read through it. This will be a nice reminder about all of the people, places, and things you feel so lucky to have in your life.

Be where your feet are

Your mind naturally may race on a day that isn’t jam packed with practices, games, and workouts. In order to not scan into the future or feel worked up by your past, try and focus on the present. One way to do this is to do a body scan. Try to write down what you see in front of you, specific to this moment. You are going to write what you see, feel (finger tips, feet), what you hear, and what you taste. This will bring you to the present.

We hope that some of these suggestions will help you on any day you are looking for something to improve your mental health and take a break.

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