Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Special Olympics athlete Abby Resnick could no longer participate in her regular activities. Aquatics competitions and practices were canceled, and the people she coached in floor hockey and drum and tone could no longer meet in person. Resnick started to look for new activities to do at home and found Special Olympics Strong Minds programming. She acted.
After participating in 10 mindfulness sessions hosted by Special Olympics, Abby learned new meditation techniques designed to help her improve her emotional wellness. Strong Minds guides, like the one Abby benefitted from, were created by mental health professionals such as social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists to help Special Olympics athletes practice active coping strategies. It’s especially important now more than ever for Special Olympics to promote these tools as data from Strong Minds events has revealed that a large percentage of Special Olympics athletes in the United States face significant stress on a daily basis, but have access to only a few adaptive coping strategies.
On May 20, we are proud to join forces with MTV and hundreds of global brands, cultural leaders and other nonprofit organizations for the first ever Mental Health Action Day. Our goal is to help athletes make emotional well-being a priority.
“People with intellectual disabilities are among the most marginalized and excluded people worldwide. Over the last year, Special Olympics athletes have experienced acute loneliness, anxiety and stress due to their competitions being canceled and the social isolation due to COVID-19. We are thrilled to partner with MTV in their first Mental Health Action Day, where they are putting a spotlight on the need for providing critical resources and information to promote emotional well-being and mental health.”
There are many tools available to assist you or your loved ones in promoting well-being, reducing stress and improving coping skills and resilience, including our Strong Minds resources. Emotional well-being is just as important as physical health. Check out these tips to help manage stress:
- Use a stress ball five minutes a day and practice positive messaging and deep breathing.
- Participate in regular stretching/yoga through Fit 5 programming.
- Learn about and practice healthy sleep.
- Encourage your family to practice self-care and implement an activity plan or calendar.
Access these and other free Strong Minds resources developed by Special Olympics to support athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic and to promote the health, safety, and well-being of the Special Olympics community.