7 Steps To Training Your Mental Fitness During The Off-Season
We know that the off-season can be an anxious time for some players, with no rugby for the foreseeable, & less opportunities to see teammates.
Whether this is you, or not, there’s still plenty you can be doing during the off-season to build your mental as well as your physical fitness. The following 7 tips are meant to be simple things you can do regularly (much like hitting the gym or eating right) to make sure you are ready for the new season.
Where possible, try to stay as in touch with friends & family as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean seeing them everyday, but a text, phone call or chat & game on the Xbox or PlayStation can act as a great way to remain connected.
Improve your physical & mental fitness in one go. Whether it’s getting to the gym, going for a walk, or doing some rugby training, physical activity is good for our mental health. If possible, do some training or head to the gym with friends & teammates to connect at the same time.
Remaining present & in the moment can help us to better understand & process thoughts & feelings. It may not be for everyone, but yoga, meditation or even keeping a gratitude journal are great ways to help us remain present in the moment.
Mental stimulation has been shown to protect our mental health. Learning new skills can help to improve our mental health; this might be through starting a new hobby, learning a new language, cooking or even listening to a podcast.
Simple acts of kindness can help to improve our mental wellbeing. From offering up a compliment to someone through to volunteering down at your local rugby club, the smallest acts of kindness can improve the wellbeing of yourself & others.
It’s all about balance when it comes to your nutrition. A healthy balanced diet rich in fibre, fruit, leafy greens, protein & omega 3 fish oils has been shown to support mental health. Evidence also suggests vitamin D can be protective.
The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night. Focus on your sleep routine to ensure you get lots of good quality rest to help improve both your mental and physical performance.
These are just a number of the ways in which you can look after your mental fitness during the off-season. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. Try to implement as many of these strategies as possible on a regular basis and you should begin to see the benefit at home, out on the rugby pitch and at work or school, and try not to worry too much if you have an off-day, it happens to all of us.