I don’t talk about sport much on my blog as I realise I probably don’t have the audience for it. However, I do talk about well-being, self care and mental health a fair bit. And by a fair bit, I mean all the time. I love to delve into different areas of these topics and approach them from different angles. So today I want to talk about the connection between sport and mental health and well-being.
I’ve always been around sport and enjoyed sport. My Dad’s been a lifelong football fan (and was also an EXTREMELY good player in his youth) and as a kid I was always getting involved in sport at school, attending football games with my Dad (I won’t tell you what team!) and keeping up to date with the championship fixtures. Away from football, I even nabbed myself some cricket certificates at primary school!
Moving into secondary school, I threw myself into sports even more. I did various after school clubs, including badminton, tennis, dance and trampolining. And when it came time to choose our GCSE’s, I took additional Physical Education. So between the ages of 14 and 16, sport was basically my entire life. If I wasn’t playing it, I was learning about it.
I had a pretty hefty sports hiatus from 2011 for around 7 years, when my anxiety disorder got so bad that I could barely leave my bedroom, let alone go and play a sport. But then I met my Formula 1 and Motorsport mad boyfriend. Carl got me into Motor Racing, in particular Formula 1, World Endurance, DTM and GT racing.
Watching Formula 1 and Motorsport has had a hugely positive impact on my mental health and well-being. After this last year and a long Winter, the 2021 season couldn’t have come quick enough! If you need catching up, here’s a guide to the 2021 Formula 1 season.
I’ve also come to love Snooker – and Carl, my Dad and I are members of our local Snooker club!
I think sport can affect your mental health and well-being differently to exercise and working out. Of course those two things are incredibly important for your physical and mental well-being and since I started exercising properly again and prioritizing moving my body more, I’ve felt 10x better.
But the world of sport – whether you watch or play – can have so many additional benefits. If you’re a sport fan – whether that’s Formula 1, football, tennis, snooker or something else entirely – I’d love to hear whether you experience any of the same benefits as me!
Feeling part of a community
Sporting communities can be huge and incredibly passionate. Knowing that you all have this one likeminded love for the sport you’re watching can be incredibly powerful and boost your sense of belonging. I feel like this when I go to race tracks. It’s amazing being around so many racing fans!
Stronger connections to loved ones
Motorsport has brought my boyfriend and I closer than I ever thought we could be. In fact, if I didn’t love it as much as I did, our relationship would be very different because it makes up a huge part of who we are as a couple now.
And since I’ve learned how to play Snooker and fallen in love with that too, I’ve also got closer to my Dad and spend much more time with him when we go down the Snooker club together. So for that reason, sport has brought me closer to loved ones.
Allows me to learn something new
The same thing happened when I started to get interested in Formula 1 and Snooker. I suddenly wanted to learn everything about it! I watched endless racing documentaries, asked Carl a million questions about every element of the sport.
Sport is much more than just the game itself. There’s history behind it, rules to be learned and lessons to be established from it. And that’s what I love learning about so much.
Helps me focus
This is particularly true when I’m playing Snooker. It really helps me focus because Snooker is such a tactful and precise game, you can’t afford to be looking elsewhere or thinking of what you’re having for dinner that night whilst playing!
I also love that it gets me out of my own head and allows me to be fully present in the moment on what I’m doing. A skill that I can transfer to other areas of my life.
And finally… sport is just inspiring as heck. The triumphs, the comebacks, the achievements. How can you not want to strive to be your best self when you’re watching sport? I know for me, as cheesy as this sounds, I’ve been incredibly inspired by the likes of Lewis Hamilton, from his outrageous achievements in F1 to his uplifting messages on social media.