Elite sports men and women come under some of the hardest pressure and scrutiny. However, former England rugby league captain Jamie Peacock MBE firmly believes that a positive mindset, healthy lifestyle and looking after your well-being is the crucial ingredient to success.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense levels of stress, anxiety and pressure on everyone across the world. The impact on lives has directly influenced behaviours whilst mental health struggles have increased dramatically over the past year.
Public Health England’s mental health & wellbeing surveillance report found that self-reported mental health and wellbeing worsened during the first national lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological distress, anxiety and depressive symptoms peaked in 2020.
We’ve all experienced our own personal battles; I know that throughout my playing career I have reached some great highs but experienced some real lows. From winning grand finals to relegation, I’ve been through it all.
This past year has been excruciating for many with record job losses, three lockdowns and battles to keep food on the table and roofs above heads. It will wear you down and impact well-being.
Your well-being is the most important thing to you. A world full of negativity, uncertainty and pressure can impact our brain, cause a negative mindset full of worry, stress anxiety and ultimately bad habits. These can lead to a poor diet, bad sleeping patterns and neglect to our physical health.
But simple daily actions create strong well-being habits.
There are four key areas that will help individuals make small daily behavioural changes in their life to help re-wire the brain and create new habits:
• Positive Mindset
• Eating Healthily
• Sleeping Well
• Being Physically Active
I have sworn by these my whole career to support my mindset and they have enabled me to cope with retiring from sport and the impact of the pandemic.
Focusing on having good habits and routines in these four areas supports a happier, more fulfilling and wholesome life, whilst offering the tools to help deal with the stresses of and ever-changing, more demanding world.
Throughout my entire career I have faced adversity and encountered many challenges which have impacted my confidence and ability to perform at the highest level. I have had to constantly bounce back, build myself back up and come back stronger to achieve all the successes I have in my career.
No matter what I knew I was able to accomplish on the field, it was only ever achievable through working on my overall well-being and looking after myself physically and mentally.
Jamie Peacock has launched his 30-day well-being programme, Be A Champion.
£2 from every sale of the programme, designed for everyone, will be split across two charities that are close to his heart; MND and Greenhouse Sports. Peacock raised over £50,000 for MND by running an Ultra Marathon in October in support of his former teammate and close friend Rob Burrow who has been diagnosed with MND.