Let's face it; The transition from being a student-athlete to working in the real world can be tough. There are soccer girl problems when you ARE playing, but then there's a whole new world of #Retired soccer girl problems when you STOP playing. Here is a list of the most common problems that washed up players face and SGP's personal tips on how to cope with those problems the real world!
Where shall we begin? Ahhhh yes, the infamous.....
Who AM I without soccer?... I used to be the "soccer girl" and now I am just a "girl" who....wait.....what am I EVEN GOOD AT!?
TIP#1: BUY A JOURNAL
Journaling in the morning or at night can really help create life break-throughs. Grab a journal and start writing. Ask yourself:
What is important to me? Who do I want to be? How do I want to be perceived by others? What am I talented at? What is my unique gift, something that comes easily to me that is hard for others? What are my successes? Is there a common theme?
YOU CAN'T STOP SAYING, "REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS"
TIP#2: REFRAME YOUR MINDSET
You are allowed to reminisce about the past but don't get stuck "there". Be in the "here and now", the present. There is nothing like the present because before you know it, life flies by and you are looking back with regrets that you didn't appreciate the old days when you should have. This is a new and exciting chapter in your life! Get pumped and LIVE IN THE MOMENT.
YOU'RE SUFFERING FROM A CERTAIN DEGREE OF DEPRESSION
Your entire life was uplifted overnight. You're no longer a student, you're no longer an athlete, you're no longer the person you used to know. Worst of all, you can't find something to look forward to because nothing compares to your incredible life being a student-athlete at school.
TIP#3: FEELIN' LOW? TALK IT OUT
If you are finding that you are still sad about your transition into the real world, speak to your family and friends about it. In fact, you can speak with your older teammates and ask about their experience to get some tips. There are tons of others who have gone through the same transition and can help! PS. Do not resort to drinking excessive alcohol, binge or overeating and watching too much tv when you're coping. It won't make you feel better in the big picture.
YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE THROWN INTO THE REAL WORLD, BLINDSIDED
You start to ask yourself: I'm sorry, what do you mean I have to sit at an office desk from 9-5 every day for the rest of my life? What do you mean there is no cafeteria that provides my lunch and dinner for me every day? What do you mean I have to pay for electric, water, food, credit cards and still manage to pay my rent every month? How can I afford this?
TIP#4: LEARN HOW TO MANAGE YOUR MONEY
Are you devastated that your parents cut you off from their money? They even passed off your phone bills and health insurance to you now on top of the credit cards, grocery bills and rent. The first step is to calm down, we promise the right tools you can handle your finances responsibly. We highly suggest reading the book, On My Own Two Feet; A Modern Girl's Guide to Personal Finance by Manisha Thakor [You'll learn the principles of money management in simplistic and relatable terms. She'll teach you how to budget and pay off your debts!]
NO MORE PROVIDED FITNESS SESSIONS & TEAM LIFTING SCHEDULES
You go from a mandatory and methodical schedule of workouts, fitness, practices and games to merely have the OPTION to workout. Anddd chances are, you're so exhausted from work every day that you don't because you:
TIP#5: SWEAT ONCE A DAY
MAKE MOVEMENT A PRIORITY: With the transition into the real working world, you will need to make working out a priority. Fitness provides a release of endorphins and a feeling of accomplishment that your body has become very used to during your playing days, so it would be best to keep the healthy habit going. Ask yourself, are you a morning person or a night person? What time is best for you to workout? Make it happen during the time period where you will feel the best.
*YOU DON'T HAVE TO TRAIN AT THE SAME INTENSITY! A common misconception is that you have to workout 2-4 hours a day to be "fit" like you were in college. Listen, being soccer fit is extremely different than being fit in the real world. You don't have to endure tons of strenuous workouts, grueling treadmill sessions and running countless miles to be healthy!
We suggest trying to get a SWEAT in at least once a day. Try long walks, running, HIIT 2-3x a week, lifting 2x a week, yoga, pilates, barre, bootcamp classes and more! Mix it up, move in a way that serves you and your busy schedule. Do it because you LOVE IT not because you feel like it's "habit". You don't need to be in soccer shape anymore [unless you want to]
TIP#6: GET COMPETITIVE & TRAIN FOR SOMETHING!
Not an athlete anymore? Who says! You will ALWAYS be an athlete for as long as you live. You could join an intramural league or sign up for a tough mudder or marathon. Even ask your former teammates if they would like to form a team! We promise you that this will help you scratch that competitive itch that you've been experiencing.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HECK YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
When someone asks you what you love to do, you are totally unaware of any passions you have other than the sport that you dedicated your childhood and collegiate life to. Terrified, your answer usually is "I haven't figured that out yet.."
TIP#7: SET GOALS & VALUES
Is it a goal or dream of yours to play professionally? Try out for the NWSL or play overseas. OR Are you done with soccer and now feel that you have ZERO goals and lack of passion? Are you unsure of your individual purpose in life?
BRAINSTORM! What are you interested in? Is there a specific thing in life that you value? What do you hate? What are your strengths and weaknesses? That will help you learn more about where you are now, what you want to pursue and where you want to go.
TIP#8: GET A CAREER IN SPORTS OR ON THE SOCCER FIELD
There are so many jobs in the sports world that will help you feel like you haven't left! Ex. Sports commentator, Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, Assistant coach, Head coach, strength and conditioning coach, sports videographer, photographer, to name more than a few.
YOU CAN'T GET AWAY WITH EATING "CRAP" ANYMORE
Unfortunately, you can't clean out Olive Garden bread baskets, hammer down GAME DAY diner waffles and eat pasta [the only thing that you knew how to cook in college] and "GET AWAY WITH IT" anymore. You come to terms that you need to rehaul your entire diet and lifestyle but how????.....
TIP#9: FOCUS ON YOUR DIET & LIFESTYLE
Let's be realistic, we both know that we can't get away with eating what we used to while playing college soccer. We were able to "run it off later" at practice. Now, there's no running it off later while you are sitting at your desk all day!
- Eat Real Foods
- YouTube "How-to-cook" Videos
- Meal-Prep & Bring Lunch to Work
- Minimize Takeout [save $$$]
- Drink water & Refill Bottle Often
- Avoid Overdoing Caffeine [Stressed? Switch to decaf or tea]
- Stand up every 10 minutes
YOU ASK YOURSELF,"WHERE DID MY BESTIES GO!?"
Your teammates were the first faces you saw in the morning and the last ones you saw at night. You created forever friendships and then all of a sudden you each move home, real jobs and become distant because life moves on...
TIP#10: MAKE FRIENDS & SOCIALIZE
Yes, you may not be surrounded by your 22 teammates and best friends every day anymore. That's OKAY! You can visit one another :) Also, you most likely have so many other friends in the area that you can spend time with! If not? It's time for you to open up your circle of trust and let your coworkers or new roomie in!
And lastly, don't forget, YOU'RE GOING TO BE OKAY. Give yourself time to discover your new passions and be gentle with yourself.