During Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (18th-22nd May), we will be speaking to a number of our athletes to find out how they have been coping during these unprecedented times and the methods they have used to help stay mentally fit during lockdown.
Here's GB Boxing's Cyrus Pattinson...
How important has it been to communicate during these difficult times?
Communication has been so crucial. I spend a lot of time by myself anyway at camps or tournaments, so I’ve been able to isolate myself quite easily and not be around the lads. I think in the past one of my problems has been that I’ve shut myself in a room and been too introvert, but I’ve become a lot more social over the past couple of years and it’s helped me so much. I’ve been isolated with my girlfriend and it’s helped me so much just having someone in the house and someone to talk to.
How important is it to actively work on your mental health?
It’s so important to be proactive instead of reactive with mental health. Don’t let it become a bigger issue than it has to be by not speaking to people or by not taking steps to help yourself. It’s so important at the moment to keep your routines and find healthy habits like mindfulness or making a phone call to stay on top of things at the moment.
Is mindfulness a method you use to help with your sport?
Mindfulness is something I’ve been aware of for a while. Being an athlete is a stressful life at times as your happiness ultimately comes down to how you perform. If you’re not performing or you’re injured it can be really detrimental to your mental health. It’s something that we get taught about and we’re encouraged to try to control the controllable. It definitely does help.
How important is positive mental health in a sport like boxing?
Mental health has been a stigma in sport for so long, and I think everyone is trying really hard to get rid of that stigma. It’s become a lot more of an open subject now, especially when you get sports people and influencers who’ve come out and talked about their problems. It’s so important that we’re open about any issues we have, not just to help ourselves, but also to help others.
How do GB Boxing help you to be the best all round version of yourself?
We get taught the importance of mental health as soon as we enter the GB Boxing set-up. We all put so much pressure on ourselves and train so hard and tell ourselves we’re going to get that Olympic gold medal, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. That’s why we’re encouraged to control what we can control and do your best. Just being able to look yourself in the mirror and say you have done your best and not hold onto things you can’t control is a really hard thing to do. We put so much time and effort in it’s hard not to be disappointed, but we’re encouraged to see the bigger picture to try and help us not get too down.
To find out more about the services UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport provide to help promote positive mental health across the world class system, please click here.