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 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:
Feeling sad, down or not enjoying things you usually would
Feeling very anxious or worried constantly
Participating in unsafe behaviour like excessive drinking, taking drugs or violence
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:
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.
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.
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.
Fuel your body with the best nutrition and find time to exercise outside of training such as surfing, golf or going for a walk.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.