10 October 2023
Hockeyroos goalkeeper Aleisha Power needed to hit rock bottom to make her mental health a priority.
Aleisha Power is still riding the high of a successful 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Cup campaign with the Hockeyroos, but it wasn’t long ago the West Australian was at her lowest point.
The 26-year-old said mental health had always been a struggle, but in 2019 it came to a head after she missed out on Australian selection, went through a break-up, and felt lost at university.
“I felt like I was going nowhere. I didn’t know who I was and didn’t like who I had become,” Power said.
“I finally hit rock bottom and I knew I couldn’t continue on the path I was headed on, otherwise I wouldn't make it.”
The Perth-based goalkeeper decided to seek help from a psychologist at the Western Australian Institute of Sport - a decision that ‘changed her trajectory forever.’
“We had tough conversations, and I began to learn a lot about myself and the things that were holding me back.
“I began to do things I had always wanted to - simple little things like getting my skipper's ticket.”
Having made it through the darkness, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist is now an advocate for mental health and shares her story with high school students through the Australian Institute of Sport Mental Fitness Program.
Power now incorporates mindfulness practices into her day-to-day life and pre-game ritual, a practice that she continues to this day.
“I like to try and schedule as much self-care as I can. I really listen to what my mind and my body are asking for,” Power said.
Her go-to self-care routine is to put on a good face mask and have what she likes to call ‘horizontal downtime’, when she lies down in a dark room for 20 minutes to relax her nervous system.
Power acknowledged that although she now better understands and prioritises her mental health, it is an ever-evolving journey that requires constant work.
“I am not perfect and will never claim to be. I still have my bad days, weeks, months even.
“But through self-discovery, self-compassion, curiosity for deeper understanding, high-performance mindfulness and therapy, I am slowly becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be and always have been.”