If you have not tuned in to my 3 Part Blog series on the connection between Mental health and Recovery please do so! Why Failing to Prioritize Recovery is Impacting Your Mental Health is a detailed look at how recovery and the mental health of an athlete are intimately linked. This will also help you understand the type of nervous system shift we are looking for and explain what the Parasympathetic (Ventral Vagal) Nervous System State is (Referred to as PNS in this Blog).
If you have not downloaded my Free EBOOK: The Athletes Holistic Guide to Recovery, this can be a great place to start!
I am a full advocate of explaining the “why” behind things before giving an athlete or coach solutions or answers. I find that the “WHY” is often what empowers an athlete to step into taking care of themselves more efficiently.
The recovery process will be unique and individual for every single athlete. When working with an athlete or a team I...
If you haven't tuned in to Part One and Part Two of this Series I recommend starting there.
Part One: The role of the Nervous System in both Mental Health and recovery
Part Two: The link between Recovery and Mental Health
But the impact of failing to prioritize recovery will also be a foundational piece of how an athlete performs.
Impact on Performance
For those of you who have gotten this far, THANK YOU. But alas, we have one more element to also consider.
Although I believe that there is NOTHING more important than the overall well being of an athlete, I also know that sport is competitive. Although we are moving in the right direction with mental health in sport there are still MANY athletes and coaches who prioritize performance and winning over overall health.
Performance is a critical piece to sport. But mental health is the foundation for performance.
Many athletes come to sport with goals and...
If you are just tuning in make sure to go back and read Part One. This will give you look at how the Nervous System is going to be central to both Recovery and Mental health. Now let's look at the link why we cannot talk about Athlete Mental Health without thinking about Recovery.
Recovery and Mental Health
Now lets see WHY an athlete needs to be prioritizing and making MORE of an effort to make this intentional down SHIFT in their nervous system after recovery. This is where we begin to link Recovery and Mental Health.
Have you ever looked at a typical college athlete’s life?
If not, let me paint a picture for you:
As a Mental Health therapist and Mindfulness and Performance coach I have worked with countless elite high school, college and professional athletes. More often than not the athletes and coaches I work with are driven, competitive and meticulous about their training both on and off the field. Yet, these same athletes and coaches fail to be as meticulous and prioritize recovery in the same way.
Athlete recovery is directly linked to mental heath and well being. We are moving in a time where mental health across many environments, including sport is gaining the attention it deserves yet athlete recovery is an absolutely CRITICAL piece to the athlete mental heath equation. This 3 part blog series aims to clarify the connection between the two.
Elite performance requires elite recovery. Hopefully through this series you will see why.
The Nervous System and Mental Health
The Nervous System is the foundation of our health and well being....
When we experience rejection and failure it is NATURAL to think about it. We are going to want to process it and as you have seen from my other principles I am a big fan of this. We need to process and we need to think. But what many of us experience post rejection and failure is actually rumination and THIS can be tough.
What is rumination? Rumination is when our thinking becomes a bit more obsessive, persistent and repetitive. Generally rumination has a negative tone and it creates anxiety for us. For me, it evokes physiological symptoms like an increase in my heart rate and feeling on edge. Rumination can be exhausting. But what differentiates rumination from processing is that it’s not really processing. You’re getting stuck. I love this description from Elizabeth Scott PhD (2020) “What distinguishes rumination from productive emotional processing or searching for solutions is that rumination doesn’t generate new ways of thinking, new...
As I finished yet another year of school this year and look towards my graduation in November of 2022, I thought it would be a good idea to write a piece about Clinical Social Work.
Several questions and comments I get when I tell people that I am getting a Masters in Clinical Social Work are:
“What is that?”
“How does Social Work have anything to do with sport and athletes?”
“So you’re going to take kids away?”
“Why didn’t you just do Sport Psychology?”
These are fair statements and mostly come from a place of simply not knowing. Clinical Social Work is a relatively new field compared to Psychology or even Counseling. There is a large misconception that Social Work is about taking children away from their families and helping the poor while making absolutely no money.
This is far from the full truth. I believe that society and more specifically the news play a large role in why...
This isn’t a new subject by any means. We’re seeing more and more professional athletes speak up and go public with their various struggles. College Athletic Departments are putting more structure and programming in place to address mental health for their student athletes. I believe were making progress, but we as an elite athlete community have a long way to go.
In the field of Clinical Social Work, one of our jobs is to research and address social problems. A social problem is an alleged situation or widespread issue that affects a significant number of people. Over the last few months my work has been dedicated to researching and addressing the social problem of mental health within the elite athlete community.
Remove competitive sport from the scenario and mental health in general continues to be a widespread issue within the United States. We’re living in a time where stress and anxiety are at an all time high. A...
We’re coming up on 7 months of this new normal. Since the cancellation of collegiate spring sports and various "Bubble" scenarios for pro leagues the Athletic Community is very much still navigating this new normal.
We have already seen collegiate sports cut, budgets deflated and resources going towards a LOT of testing. Athletic staff's have restructured weight rooms and worked tirelessly to make sure that facilities are set up to maintain standards and protocols that put student athlete safety first. As if there were not already a plethora of demands placed on college athletes, having to maneuver through a season and the normal day to day among the COVID crisis is definitely an added task.
There’s a lot to navigate here.
Take COVID away and regular student athlete life is challenging enough. Time to simply get everything done academically, athletically, and socially is strained. There’s the added piece of...