Mental Fitness

Being mentally fit can mean different things to different people, but for most it’s about being able to live your life with freedom and enjoyment. Coping with life’s ups and downs, recognising your potential, adapting to change and achieving your goals, are all key factors to being mentally fit.

Mental fitness is very similar to physical fitness. We train hard so that we can perform to the best of our ability. The same goes for our mental fitness. Making sure we have the skills and support we need to tackle challenges allows us to enjoy life more. Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, as well as different amounts of stress they can cope with. The good news is that mental fitness is something everyone can grow and develop. Scroll below to see how you can build your mental fitness. 

Looking after your mental fitness

Looking after your mental fitness requires the same energy and effort as looking after your body. Getting good sleep, managing stress and making time for things we enjoy are great ways to maintain our mental fitness. Signs your mental fitness may be suffering are:

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling sad, down or not enjoying things you usually would

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Feeling very anxious or worried constantly

  • Mood swings

  • Participating in unsafe behaviour like excessive drinking, taking drugs or violence

Things that can impact your mental fitness:

When it comes to mental fitness being impacted we often talk about stress. Different things can cause stress for each of us but common causes are:

  • Time management 
  • Relationships (arguments, break-ups, bullying)
  • Money worries
  • Expectations of others
  • Big life changes (leaving home, loss of a loved one)

Other common experiences that can cause stress within rugby are injury, not being selected and the pressure to perform well. Developing strategies to cope with stress is a great way to look after your mental fitness, check some tips out below.

Strategies & Tips

Maintaining our mental fitness, even when things are going well is one of the key aspects of healthy wellbeing. Below are strategies that have been researched and used all around the world that can help you manage your mental fitness and maintain a good balance between rugby and the other parts of your life. 

Have a go at using some of the strategies below. The Mental Health Foundation also has a great guide to wellbeing which you can read here. 

Connect With People

Supportive, strong relationships with friends and whanau can be a great source of strength. Arrange to catch-up with friends or family or help out in your local community.

Look After Your Body

Fuel your body with the best nutrition and find time to exercise outside of training such as surfing, golf or going for a walk.

Give Your Time To Others

Doing something nice for someone else releases those ‘feel good’ chemicals in our brains and is great for our mental fitness. Investigate where you could volunteer your time.

Talk To Someone You Trust

Sharing what’s going on in your life, good and bad, with people you trust is a great way to celebrate success and get things of your chest when you need.

Practice Gratitude

Taking time each day to list the things you’re grateful for improves our ability to look for the positives. Try using a gratitude journal to record your thoughts.

Be In The Moment

Mindfulness is a great way to create space in a busy day and refocus. Just 5 minutes a day can improve your ability to cope with stress.

Prioritise Sleep

Sleep is one of the biggest influences of mental fitness, most people need between 7-9 hours and there are so many ways to help improve your sleep.

Take Time Out

Finding time to relax can be a challenge. Block out time in advance that is protected ‘you’ time. This could be a holiday or simply a day off to rest.