It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
The world was dazzled by the athletic performances during the long-awaited 2021 Summer Olympics. The summer games ultimately provided a platform to display the most incredible athleticism on a world stage. While some athletes became the best in their physical arena, others decided to focus on overall health and not necessarily by choice. These powerhouse athletes-some of whom were the most decorated of all time in their particular sport- took a moment to shine a light on mental well-being. As one article famously pointed out, “Sometimes it takes an athlete to change things.” (Naderi 2021)
What is mental well-being? (I’m so glad you asked, said the therapist ‘bout to ‘splain). It is a lot like physical well-being. Physical well-being is going to a physical and demonstrating healthy blood pressure, a normal A1C, normal BMI and feeling generally and physically ‘good.’ When you have a sore throat, you go to the doctor, right? Mental well-being is the same. Healthy mental well-being includes little anxiety or worries about life, general feelings of happiness and gratitude, and healthy relationships in life. There are a lot of things that can add to your own mental well-being including exercise, adequate sleep, healthy eating habits and socializing. Additionally, there are things that can take away from it-changes, life stressors, anxiety and depression. So, when you experience a loss, a transition or even a high level of stress and anxiety or depression, you go to a therapist.
Anyone who has ever played sports knows that an athlete’s mental well-being must be in tip top shape. Ask Simone Biles. Her case of the ‘twisties’ shines light on the fact that sometimes, when we are not okay-it is difficult, if not impossible, to bring peak performance and productivity to work. Naomi Osaka brought attention to mental health and well-being during the games as well. As the last carrier and lighter of the official Olympic torch, she literally fired up the globe to her cause. It hasn’t been an easy eighteen months for a lot of people, and she told us-it is okay to NOT be okay. Michael Phelps, not competing this year, did some commentating instead. Phelps, one of the most decorated Olympians of all time, has suffered with depression. The winner of a record 23 gold medals, he discussed his lifelong struggle with depression, even sharing his own contemplation of suicide after the 2012 Olympics.
At some point in life, most may experience ‘not being okay’. Maybe a loved one unexpectedly or tragically passes. Maybe your spouse walks out on you. Maybe your child is assaulted at school. Perhaps there is more conflict and chaos in everyday situations than you can ever remember, and you are not okay. Sometimes it takes an athlete to say it like it is, “It’s okay to not be okay.” It is normal to occasionally feel this way. It is also completely normal to treat it. #itsokaytonotbeokay
Naderi, Nima (May, 2021). 4 famous athletes who have struggled with their mental illness.Tags: It's okay to not be okay, Mental well-being, Normal to occasionally feel not okay, what is mental well being
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
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