In our childhood, we used to hear this proverb all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. After covid, this started making more sense says Paul Haarman. When we all got stuck in our homes for such a long time due to a worldwide pandemic, we had to turn to other activities than work to divert our minds. Some picked up art, some picked up new hobbies, and some picked up sports, and it helped them.
A sport is always known to help to reduce stress and contribute to mental wellness. Sports don’t only keep your body healthy and physique sharp; it sharpens your mind as well. It helps in character growth, concentration, confidence, social skills, critical thinking and builds a sense of team and togetherness. During the trying times of the global pandemic, these mental traits were what needed to keep one sane.
The science behind sports according to Paul Haarman
Any kind of sports and physical activity causes your body to release a hormone named Endorphin, which is proven to reduce pain and stress. It also helps in reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in your body. So you feel calm after a sports activity. You don’t need to be a professional player, you only need to stay in the habit, and it will do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Your body will release happy hormones like Dopamine, Oxytocin, etc.
What about Indoor sports
It was not always possible for everyone during the quarantine to get out to a field to play sports. It was also not always possible to get other people to take part in a sport with you. So people resorted to online chess and puzzles and solo games. According to Paul Haarman, that did wonder as well. Indoor games help to improve brain function, increase the brain’s creativity and keep you energetic. You can start connecting with yourself belter even with a solo game of Sudoku or crossword.
How did the sports persons cope?
Taking up a new sport made life better for some of us, but it is silly to think that people in sports won’t be affected. Professional sports activities came to a halt in 2020, and it was tough on the people who are the professionals doing this on a daily basis. They do it as their job. Disruption from a daily routine of practice and the competitiveness, fear of losing form, and postponement of important events (like Olympics, world championships) affected their mental health.
Staying isolated and alone for a long time triggered depression in many people. As Paul Haarman says, the COVID-19 eras changed the dynamic of the discussion on mental health forever. We understood it is important to know how to survive in extreme situations alone. The chance of getting affected by the virus and its morbidity rate caused fear in us. However, those who got affected went through tremendous mental and physical trauma. Those who lost a loved one or lost a job faced another kind of trauma. All in all, no one was secure. And these all took a toll on our mental health. So we turned to something refreshing and something relaxing, which took our mind off the severity. Sporting activities rebuilt our focus on our goals irrespective of the situations and helped us move on.