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Friday, April 19, 2024

A winter wind down with some of our Aggie Athletes

Tips for athletes to find balance in stressful times


By MI’ZAUNI REESE — sports@theaggie.org


Aggie athletes are some of the most dedicated and hardworking, yet often forgotten, members of our community. Maintaining highly demanding schedules with both academic and athletic commitments is no easy task for athletes. School breaks are one of the few chances Aggie athletes get to take a break from their normal schedules and focus on themselves. 

As winter break has just come to an end, many athletes, like second-year medical and molecular biology major and cheerleader Eden Martin, took the opportunity to reconnect with themselves and be mindful about the relaxation they need. Martin spent her winter break deepening her faith, reading Christian non-fiction and practicing mindful breathing which are key to her active performances during the school year. 

These activities of self-development and productivity not only help her relax, but also make her feel purposeful with her time. Alternatively, Martin also enjoys taking pilates classes which provide her with a form of exercise that is non-goal-oriented and still allows her to maintain her health. 

The overwhelming feeling of stress that comes from sports can be constant for many Davis athletes and hard to manage. Martin, having already been a Davis athlete for a year, gave advice to those feeling this type of stress. 

“Sit outside in the sun and reconnect with yourself,” Martin said. “Take a breather, slowing your breathing and being mindful of your body, [it] will really help center you and allow your mind to slow down.” 

Martin also recommends investing in a planner to stay organized during the school year — a tip all UC Davis students can use.

Similarly to Martin, second-year football player Nick Tyler, a science and technology major, also likes to take advantage of free time during breaks from school by catching up on his R&R. Tyler regularly goes to the gym to stay healthy, but he also makes sure to make up for lost sleep and spends lots of time with his younger brother. 

During the school year, Tyler has a meticulously planned schedule that he adheres to, ensuring he gets everything done in a timely manner. He sets alarms throughout the day with reminders of tasks and obligations, which he would say is his “holy grail.”

 In reminiscing about his time as an Aggie so far, Tyler said that “the beauty is in the process and hard work, not the destination.”

In contrast, some athletes turn to additional competition and pressure as a method of distraction from sports. Fifth-year political science major and football player Jeremiah Chukwudobe finds relaxation in high-intensity basketball games with his friends and other intensive activities. Over break, he took time to travel to Nigeria and spend time with long-distance family and friends. This brought him immense joy and renewed his excitement for his upcoming graduation. 

“Time management is essential,” Chukwudobe said. “Stress derives from a lack of a plan, if you have structure, there is no need to worry. Your life will be better balanced and more enjoyable if you carve out time for things rather than scrambling through your day.”

Additionally, some athletes turn to cleaning and refreshing their space for that relaxation and renewal feeling, including third-year gymnast Ava Scafani.

“Cleaning my living space before break gives me a sense of calm, knowing that I will be able to come home to a clean apartment after break,” Scafani said.

During break, she mostly spent her time doing things she otherwise would not be able to during the school year due to her busy schedule. Scafani enjoyed watching movies, reading and cooking in her downtime at home.

 During the school year when Scafani feels overwhelmed or stressed, she takes time to chat with friends and family. 

“Catching up with people she is close to gives my mind a break,” Scafani said, “as well as taking many walks outdoors and journaling.” 

Scafani insists on one other piece of advice for Aggies who are feeling the pressure that comes with being an athlete.

“Develop a routine that includes both necessities and time to unwind, establishing time for yourself is crucial to success,” Scafani said.

All of these athletes are stars on the field, representing our community and uniting students and staff as fans and supporters, while managing their own struggles. Breathing, exercising and cleaning are ways anybody can manage their stress and take the time to prioritize themselves while still maintaining a face-paced life. Everyone, no matter if they’re a  student, athlete or teacher, should take the time to relax and find a way to balance themselves to stay motivated and ready to take on the new year. 


Written by: Mi’Zauni Reese — sports@theaggie.org



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