February 03, 2021 4 min read

Article written by Annie Skidmore- BSc Sport & Exercise Science Student

With the current lockdown restrictions in place and the increased pressures that youth athletes are now facing, it is more important than ever to look after our mental health and wellbeing. So below is a list of 10 best ways to unwind to help relax teen athletes after a hectic day.

WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING?

The WHO define mental health as an ever-changing internal situation with various factors influencing our emotions. Mental health needs you to recognise, communicate and balance your emotions and those of others; be flexible to cope with life events and connect in social environments and relationships effectively [1]. Mental wellbeing is your own view of your mood, performance, and satisfaction with daily life [2]. Therefore, positive mental health and wellbeing is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Poor mental health can contribute to other health disorders. For example, a lack of compassion towards others can cause violent behaviour and poor social interaction. Also, not being able to change your behaviour or ideas to the environment can cause large amounts of stress and result in mental disorders [3].

So, it is key to maintain good mental health and wellbeing, recognise when it is becoming an issue and be able to find ways to improve your mental state.

10 TOP TIPS TOWARDS A HEALTHY MENTAL WELLBEING

  1. Speak to others:Feeling isolated, down, and lonely? Pick up the phone and ring your friends and family, trust me talking to someone else will make you feel a lot better. This can be a way to talk about your feelings or even just to catch up with your best friend to change your mood for the better. So, don’t bottle up your feelings and hide away make time each day/week to ring someone and have a chat - you will be amazed at what it will do to your mood.
  2. Listen to music:One way to boost your mood is to put your favourite playlist on and have a sing and dance. It will release positive emotions and shake off those negative thoughts.
  3. Exercise:Keeping your body healthy keeps your mind healthy. Choose your favourite workout clothes, put on your favourite music, and get your body moving. The feeling you get afterwards from completing the workout, run or cycle etc will all be worth it!
  4. Get creative:Always fancied being creative? Starting a new hobby or doing something different can be a great way to improve your mental health by feeling a sense of achievement. This can simply be drawing, writing, painting, making music, making something, or even cooking – the more creative the better!
  5. Go outside:Getting outside and going on a walk in the fresh air is always a healthy way to improve your mind set. It will help you to focus on something different and you will feel a lot better for it. Why not combine a phone call to your best friend or listen to your favourite music along the way?
  6. Practice self-care:This can look different depending on what you like to do the most. Whether you want to sit and watch your favourite film, go for a nice hot bath, do a face mask, paint your nails, or even just make your favourite meal. I can guarantee that whatever you do it will make you feel good and more relaxed.
  7. Try out a new recipe:Pick out that recipe you’ve always wanted to try but never made the time to do it. Even if it goes wrong it doesn’t matter, you will have tried, and it will probably make you feel 10x better. If you're looking for some recipe inspiration then check out the YSN Kitchen App available to download FREE on android and IOS. Or, why not head over to the recipe section of our blogs to discover more healthy, tasty and simple dishes to make.
  8. Write down your feelings:Buy yourself a new journal and whenever you are feeling low or even at the start or end of each day write down what you have done, how you have felt and any reasons for these feelings, and what you feel proud to have achieved. This will help release any feelings and identify anything triggering these feelings, whilst reflecting upon the day.
  9. Read a book:Pick a genre that interests you and start reading. By dedicating time each day to read something entirely different it will distract your attention from any worries and will give your mind time to relax.
  10. Have a balanced diet:By having a good-quality, balanced, and healthy diet this increases the chances of having improved mental health. [4] Try including more freshly made meals, fruit and veg and less processed food, sugary snacks, and drinks as these will leave you feeling tired and may contribute to poor mood. Our forum is packed full of great articles with advice on how to improve your nutrition.

 

 

REFERENCES:

[1] Galderisi S, Heinz A, Kastrup M, Beezhold J, Sartorius N. Toward a new definition of mental health. World Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;14(2):231.

[2] Diener E, Suh EM, Lucas RE, Smith HL. Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological bulletin. 1999 Mar;125(2):276.

[3] Klanker M, Feenstra M, Denys D. Dopaminergic control of cognitive flexibility in humans and animals. Frontiers in neuroscience. 2013 Nov 5;7:201.

[4] O’Neil A, Quirk SE, Housden S, Brennan SL, Williams LJ, Pasco JA, Berk M, Jacka FN. Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review. American journal of public health. 2014 Oct;104(10):e31-42.

Emmy Campbell
Emmy Campbell

YSN Lead Nutritionist. Emmy holds a BSc. in Human Nutrition, MSc. in Sports Nutrition and is a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr). Emmy is also on the Association for Nutrition (AfN) and The Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr).


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