Mental Health for College Athletes – Ways to Focus on Mental Wellness

College life can be both exciting and challenging. Expectations are high, with that comes increased levels of stress.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health 30% of college students experience down periods where they find it difficult to function. For this reason taking proactive steps to address your mental wellness is important.

Support Network

Can you identify someone that you trust implicitly to listen in a nonjudgmental way? Someone who will provide you with support in times of need?

That person might be within your network of family and friends, but they may not. Find someone you can go to, where you can be vulnerable and share things that are important, but may be hard to express to others.


Sleep is something we all know is important, but many do not take sleep seriously. It can help increase your focus, concentration, creativity and energy levels.

It is also one of the keys to mental wellness. Getting a good night’s sleep can potentially improve your capacity to make good decisions, increase your impulse control and reduce anxiety.

Mindful Practices

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment in a nonjudgmental way. It is a way to develop both self-compassion and emotional resilience.

Make it short and simple. Practicing things like yoga, tai chi or meditation for even 10 minutes can have a profound effect. There are many types of mindful activities find one that resonates with you and immerse yourself in the moment.


Journaling does not have to be sitting down and writing a mini story each day. The five-minute journal is a perfect example of this.

It includes writing down three things you are grateful for, three things that would make today great, a daily affirmation and the amazing things that happened throughout your day.

Enjoyable Activities

Do simple healthy activities that put a smile on your face and energize you. It could be watching your favorite TV show, playing with a pet or talking to a friend. Include an enjoyable healthy activity in your schedule on a regular basis.

Stay Fit

If you are swimming at school this one is taken care of. If you are not it is important to continue with a movement practice. Experiment, try new things and find something you love to do. That could be swimming, but it could also be things like running, climbing, yoga, crossfit, etc. No matter what it is find a way to move everyday.

Time Away from Technology

A technology fast can be incredibly powerful. Technology is wonderful, but it can also be overwhelming, over stimulating and create an inability to live in the moment.

Technology fasts can be long or short. Start with one hour and move on from there.

Reduce Clutter

This is something we often do not realize affects our mental wellness. Clutter can create stress. Organizing your living space can provide you with a sense of calm when the demands in your life have you feeling frazzled.

You may look at this and think, “When am I going to find time to do these things?”

It is about prioritizing. If you jeopardize your mental health your productivity will decrease and your overall health will be compromised.

These actions don’t need to take a lot of time. Put your phone down for an hour and spend that time investing in your mental wellness.

For more resources on mental wellness check out:

Athletes Connected

Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative

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About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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