Women’s football captain opens up on how lockdown affected her mental health

Portsmouth Women's football star Jade Bradley opens up on how coronavirus lockdown affected her mental health

Portsmouth Women's captain Jade Bradley
Portsmouth Women's captain Jade Bradley during a game. Credit : Jade Bradley, Portsmouth Women

Portsmouth Women’s captain Jade Bradley has recently opened up about how much the Christmas lockdown affected her anxiety and mental health.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected so many people, not only in the UK but around the world, in so many ways.

According to mentalhealth.org, in June last year, 49% of the population felt anxious or worried because of the pandemic – and this was as high as 62% in mid-March of the same year.

The midfielder said she felt she, too, was affected by the pandemic mentally – and believed being away from a daily routine was the hardest part of being in lockdown.

Bradley said: “I’d say that it did affect my mental health and I know a lot of the other girls were affected mentally too.

“I think the biggest thing as footballers is that you are used to structure. You’re used to having to commit to x amount of evenings per week to train.

“You’re used to having to go to the gym for recovery or an extra session x amount of times and you’re used to having a Sunday when you just prep football and play football. So, that’s already three different aspects gone out of your life during lockdown.”

The Portsmouth Women’s team on the centre circle during a minute’s silence. Credit: Jade Bradley, Portsmouth Women.

The Government announced a third national lockdown in December 2020, which meant many people were unable to spend Christmas with their families.

Naturally, the restrictions had a greater effect on people’s mental health and the 24-year-old feels it was particularly hard going into the third lockdown.

Bradley said: “That third lockdown over Christmas, that motivation to try and keep going after you’ve been knocked back so many times was difficult.

“But there are people outside of football who are different to the person they are at football and they might be more naturally anxious like me.

“I started thinking so negatively as well and I’m only 24, but I was thinking I haven’t got long left in football.

“I would call my mum telling her I was worried about football and that I didn’t have long left.”

There are many resources available for people struggling with anxiety in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, including MentalHealth.org or Rethink.