Mental Wellness for Athletes in times of Covid-19

Updated: Nov 30, 2020



Mental Wellness is often a poorly addressed topic in India

Mental wellness is a very important yet, not much talked about topic in the world of sports. Covid-19 led to sports coming to a halt globally and it impacted the physical & mental wellbeing of the ​thousands of ​athletes across all sports.​ ​Many athletes came out and spoke about their vulnerability, self-doubts and overall feeling of being down & out. With sports coming back to life within bio-secure bubbles, the need to focus on mental wellbeing is even starker. Recently Steve Smith, captain of Rajasthan Royals cricket team, pulled out of the Big Bash League because he was not sure if we would be able to sustain in a bio-bubble any longer. ​Many athletes ​have been pulling out of various tournaments due to Covid-19 linked vulnerabilities. S​ome of the symptoms which have been widely reported by the athletes:

  • ​Feeling worried about their sporting future

  • Feeling ​socially isolated and lonely​​

  • Feeling ​lost or confused as to their life direction and worried about their next step

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for ​many days at a stretch​

  • Experiencing ​sudden overwhelming fear for no reason 

  • Not eating​; ​Significant weight loss or weight gain

  • Increased use of Alcohol

  • Experiencing ​drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits.

  • Finding it difficult​ to concentrate​ ​or staying​ focused​

  • Feeling worried about financial stability


It is not out of the ordinary to experience these symptoms in these unprecedented times. There are many ways in which athletes can deal with this anxiety in the current situation. Here are some recommendations:


  • Regular meditation using digital apps like: Cure.fit, Headspace & Calm

  • Spending time with family & friends

  • Maintaining an active lifestyle 

  • Eating balanced nutritious meals 

  • Focusing on your next milestone and think about your peak performances in the past

  • Getting your daily dose of sunlight

  • Finding ways to express your creativity- reading, writing, singing etc

  • Ensuring minimum 7 hours of sleep everyday

  • Resuming practice keeping in mind all social distancing norms 


T​hese are small yet effective ways of improving overall mental wellbeing and can help athletes restart their sporting journeys. To provide further support to athletes, Simply Sport Foundation will be ​soon organizing a Mental Well Being Camp. To participate in our mental wellness camp register at https://www.simplysport.in/upcoming-events. The exact details of the program will be uploaded soon in the Simply Sport website


​If you have been facing stress & anxiety due to Covid-19 induced financial crisis, please write to us for our Athlete support program. You can share your details on: www.simplysport.in/contact


About Simply Sport

Simply Sport is a sports policy research & development organization based out of India. Simply Sport’s vision is to promote sports as an effective tool for the development of the nation. It focuses on policy research, grassroot development and use of technology in sports. To subscribe to Simply Sport Newsletters, Research & Articles, please write to subscribe@simplysport.in


References:

https://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://headtohealth.gov.au/mental-health-difficulties/covid-19-ongoing-impact/covid-19-support

https://www.mygameplan.ca/about/our-team


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