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Putting YOU First: Health Over Playing

Let's get straight to the point: if you are not healthy, you are not going to play to the best of your ability. Typically when we think of health, we think of physical health. Common aspects of physical health are pain, illness, and fatigue. When we talk about being healthy, we also have to consider mental health. Things such as mood, relationships with friends and family, relationship with food, and your relationship with your physical appearance, among many more. Each of these play into your overall physical and mental health.

When aspects of our physical and mental health are not functioning as optimally as we want them to, risk for

injury in sports increases. Think of your body as a cup. A cup can hold a lot of liquid, but at some point the cup is going to overflow. Just like a cup your body has a capacity. We can only hold so much in our cup at once. To be able to manage the capacity of our cup we either need to remove things, or we need to build a bigger cup.

So what can you do to keep your cup from overflowing?

  • Always reflect upon what is taking up room in your cup.

    • Remove things that are negative stressors in your life

  • Set boundaries with yourself, your teammates, and your coaches. If you are injured or don't feel good, take time for YOU. Take the time to recover and heal.

    • Getting back into the game before you are ready (both mentally and physically) can increase your risk for further injury

  • Be honest with yourself.

    • If you don't feel good, take a day to sit out practice and give yourself a break. Everyone needs to rest. We all need a mental health day once in a while

  • Prioritize nutrition.

    • If you are playing a high level competitive sports you need to eat. Eating properly allows for system recovery, mental clarity, and muscle growth

  • Talk to someone!

    • If you feel like you are struggling in any of the above categories talk to someone. Pick someone you are comfortable with; coach, parent or therapist, do not struggle in silence there are people out there that want and can help you.

    • Following an injury if you are apprehensive about returning to play, consult a sports psychologist and better understand ways to work through the apprehension.

Always put your health first. You are important and your health matters for both short term play and career longevity. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to share your story with others. Sharing your story can help someone who is in a similar situation and help them take a positive step to improve their health. Together we can change the world of women's soccer.

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