4 Ways to Mentally Recover From the Grind of Swimming

meditation-nature meditate

4 Ways to Mentally Recover From the Grind of Swimming

By Evangelia Vasilakis, Swimming World College Intern. 

All swimmers know how hard the sport can be on them mentally. The draining practices, the long meets, and the stress of working hard out of the pool. This can be a lot on an athlete, it can feel like the world is on their shoulders. It can make a person start to want to give up the sport or it can lead to mental-health struggles. Swimmers need ways to help them mentally relax after training incredibly hard. Here are some ways. 

1. Meditate

Meditation is proven to be effective in helping to relax the mind and body. It has been used for centuries for relaxation and reflection. Meditating after practice or a meet can help release any negative energy created, and can also help focus on all the good energy felt. Meditation can also be used on the pool deck as a way to relax before practice or a race. For example, while meditating, a swimmer can visualize how they want to swim their practice or meet. This can help relax the mind from overthinking, and causing stress. 

2. Hobbies 

A swimmer can greatly benefit from finding a hobby outside the sport. It can be draining to go home and only think about the stresses of the sport. Many athletes will find other things to think about while outside the pool. Many turn to art, music, reading and hanging out with friends. Having a hobby can help separate the athlete from the daily grind and help them keep their minds off the natural stresses caused by sports. 

3. Talk to Someone

With the growing movement of addressing mental health, many resources have been developed for athletes. Many athletes like Olympian Michael Phelps have spoken about the stresses of competition. It can be beneficial for any athlete to talk to someone about these demands. This can help a swimmer develop skills for their mental recovery. Life can be challenging on its own. Having a helping hand in developing methods of recovery can help a swimmer not lose the passion for the sport and keep them swimming for a long time. 

4. Sleep

Arguably the most important thing a swimmer can do is sleep. Sleep is crucial as it provides the mind with rest, along with the body. If a swimmer is running their body down by not sleeping, it can have a huge effect on mental health. Sleep gives you the rest you need to keep a healthy swimming career. Lack of sleep can cause stress, frustration, and affect performance in and out of the pool. 

Overall, swimmers need to find ways to relax the mind after competing or practicing. They need a form of stress relief. Sports are often physically and mentally draining, and we need to care about our mental health the same way you take care of a physical injury. With enough care and focus, anyone can overcome the mental stresses they face.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.