Each year on October 10, we celebrate World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and share resources to offer support to all who struggle. The isolation and loss of 2020 has impacted all of us in different ways and prioritizing mental health has never been more important than it is now.
Team USA Senior Sport Psychologist, Sean McCann, who has worked
with elite-level athletes for 29 years, shares three tips to help
swimmers stay on top of their mental health.
Swimmers often push the envelope, “saving time” by
cutting corners on sleep and good nutrition. In times of
stress, like the world we are living in right now, you can’t
afford to under-sleep or under-fuel. Fuel your brain and body
with lots of sleep (8+ hours) and excellent nutrition.
When your friends are struggling, you remind them how awesome they
are, how much they are getting done despite real challenges, and
how it really is tough these days. Too many swimmers are way
meaner to themselves than others. It’s not that you
should stop trying to be your best, but that you need to remember
that to be your best right now is challenging, and right now you
may need more self-support than self-criticism.
When athletes get down, sometimes they cut themselves off from all
the things that help keep them upbeat and happy. A little
alone time is often fine and necessary, but don’t cut
yourself off from friends and family that help you laugh, listen to
you and remind you that you are an important part of their
lives. Like plants need water and sun to thrive, people need
connection. Especially these days when connection is hard,
making the effort to connect pays off in mental health.
For more mental health tips, check out USA Swimming’s mental
training and wellness page. You can also find additional resources
Mental Health Tips
October 16, 2020