Have you ever heard that song Ironic by Alanis Morissette? You know:
“It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought, it figures”
Sometimes I don’t just hear this song, I LIVE this song! It can be so frustrating to feel like you’re trying your best and yet you’re still under water. But guess what FAM, you’re not alone. According to an article on female student athlete depression rates, certain statistics regarding mental illness have gotten to be a serious enough issue that it has caused the NCAA to start taking athlete mental health far more seriously (Maddie Crum, Huff Post, 2016). So if even the NCAA can recognize that female athletes are in need of some TLC, maybe it’s time we recognize our own needs as well!
I have been putting a lot of thought into what I need, and I encourage you to do the same! It is important to always be growing in our self awareness. This means asking yourselves questions like: “How am I doing?” “What am I missing?” “Am I feeling lonely?” I know these questions can be so uncomfortable, but doing this work will help you so much in the long run!
Below I have listed my top 3 needs that keep me afloat instead of sinking to rock bottom. Hopefully they will inspire you to figure out what this list would look like for you. (Disclaimer: I am sharing my heart honestly with you all because I know how scary it can be to feel alone, afraid, and totally overwhelmed.)
My Top 3 Needs to Stay Afloat:
1. A Support System
For me, I have been living on my own for several years now, but I call my mom or dad about three times a week to talk about life and confide in them. Sometimes there is a pressing issue on my heart that is best to be discussed with my sister, and other times, I go to my mentors for advice or just some nice intentional time to hang out: whether it’s a coach, a friend, a teacher, or any other person who has gained/earned my trust.
Having a support system is about investing your time and energy into people who will be there for you in difficult times. Sometimes this requires us to be vulnerable, which can be uncomfortable! But it's so huge for us as young women. Support literally means, “to keep something or somebody stable”. Perhaps a nice cup of coffee with a mentor, watching a movie with your mom, or going on a 6 am surf with your friends is exactly what you need.
I can’t tell you how many times prayer has saved my day. God listens to everything we have to say and he knows our every needs. I used to feel awkward praying out loud when I was alone, but then I tried it. It totally changed my life, because what started happening inside me was amazing. I would sit in my car, feeling upset, NOT COMPLETE, and I decided I would start praying. At first my voice started out like a little mouse, like almost embarrassed, and then I started to get into talking about my problems (of which I felt I had many) and all of a sudden I was having a full on conversation with God for 10 minutes about X, Y, and Z and instantly feeling a 15 pound weight lift off my shoulders!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
3. Something to Look Forward to
In order to have motivation to succeed, I MUST have something to look forward to. I think this is true for all of us. Maybe you’re looking forward to prom, or your senior game, or maybe mom is cooking mac and cheese tonight with twice baked potatoes! Whatever it is, I let this fuel me to keep pushing through a hard day. And then I thank God for those little victories throughout the day! It keeps me focused and optimistic, even when I start to get tired, apathetic, or discouraged.
Now, I encourage YOU to make a list like this. What do you need?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
Hello everyone, my name is Erica Wadell and I am just your regular female athlete who loves to inspire, create, and motivate. I was a gymnast as a child and a soccer player for my teen and college years at Vanguard University (and recently a yogi). I find so much joy in athletics and in helping others. I feel so blessed to be continuing to find God’s purpose for my life and I hope to share some wisdom that you all can take advantage of.