This week Michael Phelps published a letter on ESPN opening up about his continued struggle with mental health and depression. The legendary Olympic swimmer first shared his struggles before the Rio games in 2016.
His message to readers: You’re not alone, and it’s ok to feel overwhelmed right now. He gave insight to the worries of living through a global pandemic, the roller coaster of emotions and feelings of worthlessness that are ever present during this strange time to be alive.
Phelps’ letter also highlighted his work with an online mobile therapy company, Talkspace. Just this month, Phelps has donated 500 months of free Talkspace therapy to workers on the frontlines helping fight Coronavirus. He also noted that his foundation has committed more than $100,000 in grants to add social-emotional curriculum within the Boys & Girls Clubs throughout America.
Mental health awareness is finally becoming a bigger conversation in the world of athletics, thanks to elite athletes who have shared their own personal journeys. So many like Phelps are using their platform to inspire younger generations to feel less alone in their mental struggle, helping to normalize anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
Day to day mental health management is hard enough, but if you’re on day 60-something of social distancing and no competition, there are going to be a lot more hurdles to clear to maintain your sense of purpose and motivation. If you’re wondering what you can do to work through your feelings, we’ve got three helpful tips to move toward mental and emotional wellbeing:
- Give yourself permission to feel frustration, loneliness, anger and sadness. These feelings are normal and if you close yourself up and don’t allow time to sit with emotions like grief and anger, they will find a way out through other areas of life, affecting your mood, your relationships and even disrupting your sleep.
- Talk about what you’re feeling. Author and researcher Brené Brown says that “vulnerability is the heart of sport.” If you’re struggling with feelings of overwhelm and fear, you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to a friend, a parent, a coach, or even better find a therapist or support group to help you process.
- Focus on gratitude. Harvard Health says that “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Make a list of three small things to be thankful for each day; it could be as simple as the weather. Practice for this for two weeks and by the end of the 14 days you’ll have noted over 40 things that help you see the good in your own life.
For more information on self-care and your mental health, check out our article on the Top 5 Ways To Boost Mental Wellness.
We’ve also created a new collection of safer-at-home inspired merchandise that is now available on our website, and we will be donating a portion of proceeds to Covenant House, helping to provide housing and other services to homeless youth, who are now facing unsafe and unsanitary conditions due to the spread of coronavirus. Donations help Covenant House give food, shelter, clothing and medical care to young people in need in 31 cities across six countries, and we are proud to support their important work during a time when it is needed more than ever before.
Shop our latest collection now and we’ll make a donation to Covenant House.