What should I do about my stress before track meets?

I am on the track and softball team. My school is small, so I play all four sports it offers. I feel obligated to do track because I'm not a horrible runner, and my dad wants me to. The catch is is that the days before a track meet and the morning of, I get sick and cry.

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Seems like you have some confidence in your track abilities, but feel pressured by your dad to continue something you don't really enjoy.  Are you maybe worried about disappointing your dad, or is it something about track itself that upsets you or overwhelms your body?

When we try to push through stuff that's too much for our bodies (whether that's physical or emotional), that stress will show up no matter how hard we try to bury it.   Sometimes that shows up as crying or irritation, other times that shows up as physical symptoms.   For you, it could be both.  Based on the symptoms showing up days before a meet, it could be more emotional since it comes so long beforehand.  

I'm assuming you are very active already, so extra exercise probably isn't too helpful and may only put more stress on your body.  Do you feel like you ever get a chance to truly relax?  Always running on overdrive with little gas is exhausting.  Try giving yourself permission during the period before the track meets to just do something that slows you down.  Doesn't have to be super long--even 10-15 minutes a day could give your brain and body a very needed break from that go-go-go lifestyle.

Pay attention to your sleep as well.  I don't know anything about your nightly routine, but if you are struggling to sleep that could enhance the symptoms of anxiety before your meets.  Some calm activities before bed could help here.

Of course, you could try talking with your dad about whats happening if you think he'd be able to support your needs.  That's not always possible, and if not, no worries.  There's a lot you can do to get through what's happening.  If you have another caregiver in the picture that feels approachable, you could talk to him/her about how you are feeling.  Also, take a look at strategies for performance anxiety online.  Even if you don't have that particular type of anxiety, the strategies are really great and can at least help a little if you are still engaging in track.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Does anyone notice that you get sick and cry on track meet days?

Have you told anyone?

From what you write, as much as you would like to please your school and dad, something within you doesn't quite want to fully follow through.

Step one in life always is to know what you want and what your limits are.   It already is difficult to avoid listening to your body.

Try understanding what is difficult in telling your father that you'd like doing as he wishes, only are not able to do so because you are emotionally and physically distraught on the days you have track.

After finishing the season for this year with your school's track team, then expect to concentrate on taking care of your own need to not do track.

Hopefully your father will understand and care about your problem.   If he does not and track is more important than your well being, then you have a different problem entirely.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Amy Nolan
Amy Nolan
Your journey to wellness starts here!

It sounds like you are no longer committed to track emotionally.  It can be hard to talk to your dad about this, but he may think you love track and may not know you are getting so upset the days of meets.  An idea would be to first write a letter to your dad to see what feelings come out and then preparing to speak with him.  I think he will appreciate your honesty and maybe this conversation will bring you relief and also time to find something you really will enjoy.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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