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Kin Korner: The importance of mental and physical balance in life for a student athlete

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By Sierra Rai

Kin Korner is a health and wellness column by the students of Joanna Sheppard’s Kinesiology 360 class. Check back every week for a wide variety of tips and tricks on how to stay sane as a student in an insane world.

Every day we make choices and actions that subconsciously affect our physical bodies and mental processes. The ability for student athletes to make positive choices while maintaining their overall well-being can be a difficult task.

The demands of sports teams, university, and personal life can pile up rapidly making it difficult to have balance in one’s physical and mental health. It can be difficult for one to not be overloaded and stressed by all demands required of them, but it’s of the utmost importance to remember that balance is key to personal well-being.

The importance of having self-efficacy, and to believe in yourself and your abilities is vital in order to achieve positive outcomes. If one attains self-efficacy, and gains the ability to believe that they can achieve all their goals, even with all the demands placed on them, then this step will lead to positive physical and mental well-being.

It is important that student athletes understand the stress placed on themselves by performing not only with teams in a sport, but also in the classroom as a student. Student athletes are commonly described as perfectionists. Perfectionism is defined as striving for flawlessness, and setting exceedingly high standards for performance, accompanied by tendencies for overly critical evaluations. With perfectionism comes the detrimental aspect of burnout, which is harmful to our mental well-being. Student athletes must adequately prepare, set goals, and prioritize their demands in order to be mentally fit.

Research from the academic journal Personality and Individual Differences found that healthy perfectionists showed higher levels of self-confidence and lower levels of anxiety, revealing that there is a positive aspect of striving for perfection, but we must understand our limits in order to not be affected by burnout.

Overall, student athletes must understand and listen to their bodies in order to be physically and mentally healthy. The key to becoming the best version of ourselves is to understand how we can function at an optimal level, which will in turn serve to make us mentally and physically positive in overall well-being.

It is essential that student athletes listen to their body’s warning signs to understand when they’re pushing their limits. We must all create a healthy balance of all of life’s demands in order to create overall positive well-being. What’s the point in working hard towards a long and healthy lifestyle if you can’t enjoy it?

Image: Simer Haer/The Cascade

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