Post-Competition Depression and 7 Ways to Deal with It

athletes competition mindset sports psychology Apr 03, 2023
bodybuilding physique Marzarella

Back in November 2022, I competed in the NPC for the very last time. I have competed in bodybuilding since 1999. I loved my competition years. However, after the 24-28 weeks prep was over and after the event, I fell into a rut. I became depressed to see the body weight climb up slowly, but I knew being that low in physique competition levels is not healthy. After a few months (yeah, it took months!) to get back into a groove; I got out of the rut and eventually looked forward to every workout.

Taking part in sports events is a thrilling and exhilarating experience for athletes. The moment they cross the finish line, score the winning goal, or reach the summit of a mountain, athletes feel a sense of accomplishment like no other. However, the post-competition period can be a challenging and difficult time for many athletes. Post-competition depression can affect athletes at all levels, from amateurs to professionals. In this blog post, we will delve into what post-competition depression is and provide seven ways to deal with it to help athletes get back on their feet, both mentally and physically.

What is post-competition depression?

Post-competition depression is a common phenomenon that affects numerous athletes after a competition. It is a feeling of loss, fatigue, and mood swings can occur days, weeks, or even months after a major sporting event. The sudden drop in adrenaline levels and the end of the competition can cause athletes to feel emptiness, sadness, and a lack of motivation. Post-competition depression can affect not only an athlete's physical health but also their mental health, leading to anxiety, mood disorders and even substance abuse.

7 ways to deal with post-competition depression.

  1. Rest and recovery

After a competition, it is essential to rest and recover both mentally and physically. Athletes should prioritize sleep, healthy eating, and hydration to help their body rebuild and recover. Engaging in gentle physical activity such as yoga or swimming, can also help ease muscle soreness and reduce stress levels.

  1. Practice self-care

Self-care is essential for athletes to recover mentally from competition. Doing things that make them happy, such as reading a book or spending time with friends and family, can be tremendously helpful. To help manage stress and anxiety, athletes should practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or visualization.

  1. Set new goals

Having new goals to work towards can help athletes move forward and overcome post-competition depression. Setting achievable and realistic goals can give athletes renewed motivation and a sense of purpose. It is essential to celebrate the small successes on the way to achieving the goal.

  1. Stay connected with teammates and coaches

Maintaining strong connections with teammates and coaches can help athletes feel supported and less alone during the post-competition period. They can also provide a sounding board for athletes to discuss their feelings and emotions without fear of judgment.

  1. Seek professional help

Seeking professional help is an important step to take if post-competition depression symptoms persist or worsen. It is essential to reach out to a qualified mental health professional or sports psychologist who can provide valuable support and counseling.

  1. Volunteer or give back to the community

Engaging in volunteer work or giving back to the community can give athletes a sense of purpose and help them find meaning after the competition. Taking part in charitable causes or initiatives can help athletes see the bigger picture and find broader purpose in their lives.

  1. Take a break from competitive sports

Athletes experiencing post-competition depression may benefit from taking a break from competitive sports altogether. This break can help renew their sense of love and passion for the sport, develop new skills, and recharge their batteries physically and mentally.

Post-competition depression is a common phenomenon that affects many athletes after a competition. It is essential to recognize and address the symptoms of post-competition depression to help athletes recover their physical and mental health. The tips and strategies shared in this blog post provide valuable resources and methods for dealing with post-competition depression. By taking care of themselves through rest, self-care, connection with others, seeking professional help and focusing on community work and setting new realistic goals, athletes can overcome post-competition depression and come back stronger than ever.