~2 minute read
Between school, practice, and homework, athletes have a lot on their plates. If you find yourself needing an afternoon pick-me-up or feeling completely wiped by the end of the day, you might be in need of a bit more R&R. Try the following suggestions to regain some energy during busy days and long weeks.
1. Fuel yourself
Your body needs a lot of nutrients to keep up with all of the energy you’re using at practice and at school, so make sure you’re eating and hydrating properly throughout the day. Plan ahead by packing simple snacks that you can eat during school or before practice to help you keep your energy levels up. If you’re curious about how best to fuel your body, browse our directory and speak with your parent(s) about meeting with a sports nutritionist.
2. Prioritize sleep
Sleep allows your body to rest and recover properly. Try to set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time to signal to your body when it’s supposed to relax versus when it’s supposed to be alert. It’s recommended that athletes get 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. The more consistent you are with your sleep patterns, the better your body will be able to recharge during the night and feel refreshed when you wake up.
*Check out our blog on healthy sleep to learn more about how to improve your quality of sleep.
3. “You” time
Feeling like you’re always on the go can be empowering and fun, but sometimes it can get overwhelming. Try taking a few moments each day to do something that helps you slow down. Spending even 15-30 minutes each day on a hobby that brings you joy and isn’t related to school and sports can be a great way to get a breather and help you feel more refreshed when you do get back to your daily routine. Examples include drawing, playing music, reading, playing with your pet, meditating, doing yoga, journaling, cooking, taking a warm bath, listening to music, and talking with friends or family.
4. Spend time outside
Getting 10-15 minutes of fresh air and sunlight can help boost your mood and energy levels. A short walk first thing in the morning, during lunch, or between class and practice can be a great way to clear your head and wake up your body, especially during times when you typically feel a bit sluggish. Bonus: going outside helps your body regulate its internal clock, so a few minutes of sunshine and fresh air can also increase your quality of sleep.
5. Breathing exercises
Feeling stressed and tense can make you feel even more exhausted. To reduce your heart rate and increase your energy levels, try to take a few deep breaths throughout the day. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this sequence 3-7 times, or until you feel your body and mind relax.
While it’s completely normal to feel tired after a tough workout or a long week, regularly feeling exhausted can interfere with your athletic performance and overall well-being. If you’re still feeling pretty drained after giving the recommendations above a try for a couple of weeks, you might be experiencing a mental health challenge like depression. Check out our resource on the connection between decreased energy and depression to learn more about why you might be feeling low.