4 Tips on Balancing School and Sports
Being a student-athlete tends to come with a lot of pressure and juggling school and sports commitments can be stressful. This is because student-athletes have a huge number of commitments, but not a lot of time to get everything done. There has been substantial research indicating that student-athletes are at a greater risk of mental health problems because of how busy they are. These tips will help you balance your school and sport and will hopefully alleviate some stress!
1. Be organized. Organization is key to having a successful sports-school balance. It is important to be able to manage your time well and make sure that you have everything ready for upcoming weeks. It can be stressful having a very busy schedule, so keeping a calendar/agenda can be extremely beneficial when managing your time.
Utilizing your time properly and ensuring you are organized can help relieve any stress you may be feeling. Being more prepared can prevent you from feeling too overwhelmed which could hinder your ability to manage both school and sports properly.
2. Prioritize. There will be times where you won’t be able to attend parties or hang out with friends as often as you would like because there has to be some prioritizing. It is difficult to balance school and sports and there are times when you will need to pick what matters most to you. That is not to say that you cannot have fun and continue spending time with friends, but this factors into management of time and organization. The more organized you are, the more free time you will have on your hands to enjoy whatever you want!
Given that mental health is such an important part of being a student-athlete, prioritization and organization are very important so as not to create any unnecessary stress for yourself. Also, prioritizing school work over parties/ hanging out with friends sometimes can also help any anxiety because you then have more time to be productive and decrease the number of responsibilities you have.
3. Motivate yourself. Remaining motivated is an important part of managing school life and sports. You need to be able to remain committed to successfully balancing both and there are a few ways of doing this. One example of this is setting goals for yourself, creating short-term and/or long-term goals in order to continuously motivate yourself. Another idea could be creating a list of what specifically motivates you and to come back to this anytime you feel demoralized. Finally, it has been suggested that music can also be motivating, so having a playlist or some songs which energize you can help keep you motivated in both your educational and physical life.
There will always be days when you feel completely drained and you do not want to go to practice or spend time doing homework, but these are the responsibilities you have as a student-athlete. It is vital to understand that this part of the deal and finding ways to motivate yourself to keep going are extremely beneficial. There has been significant research into motivation within sports and one of the key findings is the influence of self-determination. “Intrinsic motivation comes from within, is fully self-determined and characterized by an interest in, and enjoyment derived from, sports participation.” Remembering what you want from both school and sports can help push you to continue both. It is not always easy but finding some things to stoke that determination within you will definitely help you to continue working hard and balancing both successfully.
4. Take time for yourself. When we are doing so many things constantly, it's hard to have time for ourselves and to relax a little. Everyone is prone to exhaustion and procrastination and finding time to do what you want will be beneficial in limiting this draining feeling which often accompanies being a student-athlete. It is important for you to find time to do what you enjoy; if you continue working even though you are exhausted, you will not be efficient and this will just make everything worse. If you relax for a little bit, you will feel better prepared to tackle anything you need to and will therefore do a better job of balancing school and sports.
These are all important regarding the mental side of balancing school and sports and how to ensure you are on top of things and do not become overwhelmed unnecessarily.
Vickers, E Mental Health in the Student Athlete BelievePerform
Motivation in Sports Psychology Peak Performance