September is physical activity and mental health month so we thought of touching base with some of our returning athletes from the recent Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea to get their thoughts on physical activity and mental health.
First up, meet Adrian Smith who represented Fiji and won Gold as part of the men’s hockey team.
What’s the first image that comes to mind when you see ‘physical activity’ and ‘mental health’?
I imagine playing hockey and seeing a person smiling
Okay, what about the first word?
Hockey and wellbeing for mental health
You’re a gold medallist from the Pacific Games so clearly physical activity is very important to you. What about growing up as a kid, before playing at international levels and even now, outside competition?
Physical activity was very important to me growing up -it improved my attitude to life. I laughed a lot and I was happier as a result, which helped to maintain my mental health.
So what do you notice most about yourself when you’re not physically active or you’re feeling ‘down’?
I tend to get agitated quickly and also feel quote lazy.
What about bouncing back to reach your goals?
I try to keep a positive mindset as much as possible. If I feel down, I try to find my own space to get things right again and then be around people to keep the vibe going.
Finally, what message would you give Fijians about physical activity and mental health?
Be physically active on a regular basis, find what works for you and something you enjoy.
Don’t stigmatise people facing mental health challenges. Be aware, educate yourself and have a mindset to help people.