Contributed by Jennifer Davies, Special to MSBL
Simple Ways to Manage Stress as a Baseball Player
With 44% of Americans reporting that their stress levels have increased within the last five years, it’s clear that stress is an issue on a national level – and athletes are no exception. While the main causes of stress and anxiety are due to financial issues, relationships, and work, baseball players also bear the pressure of performing well at practices and games – making the stress even more tough to deal with. Luckily, there are several ways to minimize your stress while still keeping your head in the game.
Stress and your body
While stress is known for making you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to keep in mind that it can also affect your body physically. For example, stress can affect the regular rate of your heart and spike your blood pressure. Not only that, but stress can also cause poor eating and sleeping habits, and even a lack of concentration and focus, all of which can heavily affect your performance during practice or on game days. One of the best things you can do to combat the physical signs of stress is to take care of your body. Eating and sleeping properly can be achieved by sticking to a schedule – and ensuring you stay hydrated throughout those long practices can also help keep you focused.
Designate time for relaxation
As a baseball player, one of the best things you can do to combat stress is to set aside time for relaxation. While that may seem near impossible between practice, tournaments, and games, setting aside an hour is better than nothing at all. Many people turn to meditation to relieve their stress, as it’s proven to be an outlet for those during stressful times, and according to several studies, even a single mindfulness meditation session can help. Not to mention it can easily be done anywhere before or after your time out on the field, making it a perfect stress-management exercise for athletes with busy schedules.
Spending time off the field
While baseball may be a large part of your life and who you are, it’s very important to maintain a balanced lifestyle for the sake of your health, especially if you spend nearly every day on the baseball field. This means that you should focus your time and energy on hobbies and personal relationships in addition to baseball. So, spending quality time with friends and family can be a healthy break away from the field and other obligations – in fact, studies show that spending time with your best friends have been proven to decrease stress levels. One way to ensure that you have a proper baseball-life balance is to set aside a couple of weekends out of the month and plan something with your family or closest friends.
Stress can affect everyone from time to time, but when it comes to experiencing stress as an athlete, managing it can prove to be difficult – especially on a tight schedule. However, by taking care of your body, spending time with loved ones, and taking time to relax, you’re sure to minimize and reduce the stress you may be experiencing.