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.
We have to spend time and effort on doing the right things. Eating well, getting enough sleep and making time for things we like doing are great ways to maintain our mental fitness. Physical signs your mental fitness might be suffering:
Not being able to complete day-to-day tasks as you normally would
Changes in eating habits
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Participating in unsafe behaviour like excessive drinking, taking drugs or violence
Struggling to train and play to your usual standards
Feeling easily frustrated or angry
Feeling unmotivated and uninterested by the things you normally enjoy
Feeling down, upset or crying for no obvious reason
Feeling very anxious or worried
Feeling very low in energy and fatigued despite adequate sleep
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.
Stress can affect many areas of our lives. Take some time to learn about the things that cause you stress and brainstorm some skills that might help you cope.
Fuelling our bodies with nourishing food and limiting caffeine and sugar improves our energy levels and supports body recovery. Make eating well a priority.
Good sleep is a key part of living well, most people need between 7-9 hours and there are so many ways to help improve your sleep. Click here to learn more.
Being physically active is proven to help us feel better and decrease stress. This isn’t just limited to trainings and gym workouts. Other options include walking, yoga, swimming and social sports teams.
Having people around you who are looking out for you and that you trust is really important. These are the people that can help you out when things might be tough and boost your mood when you need it.
Doing things you enjoy and giving yourself time to relax is a great way to look after your mental fitness. Make time for activities you like doing such as reading, music, spending time with friends or playing another sport.
Helping and giving your time to others is an amazing way of making yourself feel good. This could be as simple as asking someone how they are, helping out within your community or helping a mate with a chore.
Research has shown the huge benefits mindfulness can have on our wellbeing. Slowing things down, taking notice and appreciating the small things are great ways to support your mental fitness.
All of us have times when we feel stressed or down and find it hard to live the way we would like to. Luckily, there are lots of different ways to make things easier to manage. The strategies above are a great place to start and there is plenty of other great information throughout this site too. Have a look at some more strategies here.
Everyone expresses how they feel in different ways and for some people that’s through music. Hoani Matenga (former Blues player and member of Six60) used music and lyrics to express his thoughts on rugby, wellbeing and life balance. Have a listen to his song, featuring Matiu Walters, and watch his music video here.