The Power of the Team for Nurturing Mental Wellbeing

Meet our

Toby Chesters, Senior Director of Commercial Operations at Teva UK, and head coach of the Sheffield Giants American Football Club talks about the importance of team camaraderie and physical activity for mental wellbeing.

Wellbeing, for me, is about having the confidence that you’re giving 100% of yourself to whatever it is that’s important to you. This isn’t always easy, though, because life is full of many different challenges, and realistically we can’t be at our best all the time. The world has taken notice of this fact. Some very brave and very public athletes have been more and more vocal recently, helping stress management and mental health get the attention they deserve.

This is something that is greatly needed, especially with mental wellbeing being something that has traditionally remained unspoken. Though, it mustn’t be that way. We as a society need to be more open and accepting, letting people know that they don’t have to face their hurdles alone. As the head coach of the Sheffield Giants American Football Team, I have seen firsthand the damage that can result from keeping your challenges bottled up. Tragically, we have even lost players on our team who could no longer bear these burdens on their own. So, I feel very strongly about how important it is not to sweep mental health under the rug.

As far as stress relief, physical activity is my go-to. The endorphins that get released during exercise do wonders for my sense of balance and self-esteem. I also make sure to pay attention to my inner voice and to be authentic and kind with myself. For example, if I know that I’m tired and that I need a break, I take note and absolutely take that break.

As an accredited Mental Health First Aider at Teva, I know how important it is to never be dismissive of stress signals. Getting run down never helps anyone. Before I let myself get to that point, I make a change, do something different, however small it may be. What works especially well for me is putting away the laptop and watching TV with my 8- and 6-year-old daughters.

American football is another powerful outlet for me. I started getting involved in team sports at the age of four. Now at 47, it’s been over 40 years, 30 of which have been focused on US football – which isn’t necessarily the most popular sport here in the UK, as you can imagine. But I love it.

Being part of a sports team has made such a positive impact on my life – not only for my physical wellbeing but also just as much, if not more, for my mental wellbeing. The deep camaraderie I experience on the field is inspiring and motivating. The commitment we all have to work together on achieving a common goal is profoundly rewarding.

Football and the team have always been important to me, and it’s even an integral part of who I am and my self-worth. As for the athletic context, being part of this team also does wonders for releasing stress. There’s nothing like the benefits of engaging in physical, sporty activity. Moreover, there is also an emotional aspect. On the field, I get perspective and can ease whatever may be weighing on my mind.

The benefits are many, and they are not contained to the playing field alone. They also cascade into my professional life. At work, too, collaborating on a common cause, making sure I’m supporting everyone around me to be the best they can be, and knowing that the team will perform so much better when there’s a feeling of mutual support, all this together makes for a working culture that is so much more human, personal, and significant.

Find out more

Share this article:

You might also be interested