If you are able to, finding a sport that’s right for you can be a great way to get fresh air, keep fit or meet new people.
Playing sport can also help you sleep better, take your mind off any stress or anxiety, and release endorphins to improve your mood. You might find the idea a bit scary, and that’s perfectly okay – it’s normal not to be very ‘good’ at first! The important thing is not to put too much pressure on yourself.
Some people prefer playing with others, like on a football or basketball team, whilst others might find that playing an individual sport helps them the most, like tennis or swimming. Remember that, no matter what level of ability you’re at, you always deserve to participate in something you enjoy; good sports teams or facilities make things fully accessible for everyone.
‘I was really nervous to start playing softball, but everyone made me feel comfortable to join in. Sometimes you play well, sometimes you play badly – that’s just life! It’s the sense of achievement I get from it and the improved confidence that really matters.’
Prince Harry discusses mental health with some famous sports stars in the following Heads Together video:
What young people have told us:
'Sport, I feel, is really really important for your physical well being. it has definitely helped me a lot.'
'Sport, rather than just exercise, often involve playing in a team and this allows you to make really strong friendships because you work together for the same goals. Also Endorphins are really really important to help make me feel energised and happy.'
There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.
If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.