Mind over Medal

The last couple of months has seen two athletes, who at the peak of their careers, are redefining the narrative of mental health and showing us that it’s okay not to be okay. It started with Naomi Osaka chosing to skip her press conference at the French Open to take time to focus on her self-care and look after her mental health. Many saw this as an act of defiance breaking with a longstanding tradition. The other is Simone Biles who withdrew from several gymnastic events during the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games to tend to her mental health challenges as well as grieve due to a recent family tragedy. 

Simone Biles (left) withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics final on Tuesday, citing mental health concerns; Naomi Osaka said her mental health break contributed to her Olympics loss. Source: Guardian/Reuters/Getty Images

Highly trained athletes who can do amazing feats in their respective sports deal with the same vulnerability and fragility as the rest of us. They are just as human as us. We often tend to deify athletes and we hold them to a higher standard. When they rise to the occasion under difficult conditions, we say they are mentally tough — and we applaud them. But if they should fail to deliver an expected performance, we assume they have choked. None of us watching the Olympics or any other sport for that matter can ever truly know what other additional or personal problems an athlete may be facing. And that goes for everyone we encounter in our daily lives as well!

Back in the days, it was easy for us to shut out the world and go into our shells. In today’s world with social media, it is very challenging. And hence it is so important to take whatever steps we need to keep our peace of mind.

Let it go, Change the channel, Turn it off,
Unsubscribe, Unfriend, Unfollow,
Mute, Block, Walk away,
Breathe!

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