Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields enjoys a 'spa day': 'I really just have like a face mask on'
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields talks about mental health, motivation and a plant-based diet. (Getty Images / designed by Quinn Lemmers)
The Unwind is Yahoo Life's wellness series where experts, influencers, and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to mantras to keep them afloat.
There is only a little over a week left to the Chicago Bears preseason, which means NFL rookie Justin Fields is only days away from making his official debut as the Chicago Bears quarterback. Fresh from a Big Ten championship and a trip to the finals in his senior year at Ohio State, the first-round draft pick has all eyes on him as the season approaches.
These pressures could cause others to collapse, but the unwavering Fields are difficult to intimidate. Here the 22-year-old talks about face masks, turns losses into learning moments and why he's been doing better than ever since switching to a plant-based diet. (The soccer star was announced this week as an investor and ambassador for PlantX, which offers plant-based pantry staples and a meal delivery service; Fields himself is a fan of their vegan chicken nuggets and burgers.)
How do you protect your mental health?
Just give yourself a mental break; [find time] in the day to put all your stressful things aside and just give your mind a break and give your mind time to relax. This is very important in distracting yourself from things and when you have done that you can come back with a fresh, clear mind.
Do you have self-care rituals or something you do to reward yourself after a game?
I will not lie. I don't really have self-care [practices]. I could have a little self-care day - like a spa day, really - where I really just have a face mask on and just chill with some wine or something. That's pretty much all; I don't necessarily reward myself.
Just a face mask at home?
Yes, face mask at home. Tune in to a movie and just relax.
Especially as a quarterback, you have to be under a lot of pressure. How do you deal with that? Do you have any strategies for hiding all of that stuff out?
I think I used to struggle more with it, but now I'm used to the press and used to always being in the spotlight. I wouldn't necessarily call it pressure for me, because what others call pressure, I call goals. I call it expectations of me. I expect myself to do what everyone thinks possible or to do what everyone thinks I'm under pressure to do so. I'm not really under pressure because I think that's what I should do and what I am able to do. As long as I'm working hard ... on and off the pitch, I think I can achieve these goals.
Like everyone else, you have had setbacks in your life. Even losing a game can feel like a big deal on a public level. How do you deal with these difficult times?
I think it takes these tough times sometimes. I just use these difficult times as motivation and see the situation as a positive thing. For example, last year I probably had my worst game in Ohio State. I threw about three interceptions, but I took that as a positive. I pretty much told the media, "I'm glad this happened to me. It just means I have to go back and work harder." And then next time I played really well.
Sometimes the negative turns into something positive. I think so many negative things have happened in my life that have turned positive that I don't necessarily feel so downhearted when these things happen. Of course, you will be sad or not feeling well, but [I focus on] not stop and keep working and getting better and better. I think the most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and believe in yourself that you can achieve what you want to achieve, everything will take care of itself.
You and your family started a plant-based diet during the pandemic. What made you do it and what effects did you notice, especially as an athlete?
Basically it all started with my father and my stepmother and my sister; You tried this 28 day plant-based detox. At first I didn't intend to do it, but they talked about it a little bit and we watched the movie The Game Changers on Netflix [a documentary about performance-enhancing diets for athletes]. After that, I pretty much said, "You know, I'll just try. Why not?" After those 28 days, I felt a lot better in my body; I felt stronger. I had lost about 2 pounds, but not necessarily muscle. I just felt great, I felt fast, I felt more energetic. I just woke up more energetic every day and I didn't get that tired [with] my workouts. After those 28 days, I said, "I'll stick with the vegetable and see how it works for me." From that point on it was great. I really enjoyed it.
What are you stressing?
Of course, I stress most when I'm not driving as well as I wanted, or when things don't necessarily go the way I wanted them to. Maybe when I have a lot of things on my plate in one day and they don't run smoothly.
And vice versa, what do you enjoy?
I enjoy being with my family, just hanging out with them. And of course have fun and just enjoy life; doing various activities like going out on the lake, taking a boat out to sea and relaxing. Spending time with family and friends is one thing that I definitely enjoy. This is what we can't get back is time so I definitely cherish every moment with the people I love.
Do you have a mantra or piece of advice that you refer to on a regular basis?
I live by the saying "everything happens for a reason". I've had a lot of things that I thought would happen in my life in a certain way, [but [turned out to be a very different way. But at the end of that situation it turned out to be better than I could ever have imagined. ... No matter what happens in your life, no matter what you are going through, just know that you are going through it for a reason. As long as you get through it and believe in yourself, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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