Naomi Osaka is prioritizing her mental health, and finding the right therapist is an important part of that process.
The tennis star got candid about her decision to go to therapy in a new interview with Self and admitted that she was initially skeptical about whether it would help.
“I have seen therapists in the past but not consistently until now,” she told the magazine. “I’m super happy that I found the right person who really understands me and has been incredibly helpful.”
The 24-year-old has been open about her mental health journey over the past year, writing an essay for Time in July and explaining that she decided to drop out of the 2021 French Open to focus on her mental health. “It’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to talk about it,” Osaka wrote at the time.
Osaka also made headlines in March this year after a heckler shouted at her during the Indian Wells Masters tournament, “Naomi, you suck!” Following the match, a tearful Osaka admitted that the comment really affected her.
Afterward, the tennis pro decided to work with a therapist. Still, she recognizes that a lot of people aren't sure that therapy is right for them.
“It’s kind of a scary first step to take … but I think it can be helpful to everyone in some shape or form and especially so to a large section of people,” she told Self. “It doesn’t mean you are broken.”
As part of her focus on mental health, Osaka enjoys meditation and journaling.
“I found it really helpful to reflect on the day or … write down what I want to achieve in the day,” she said.
Gaming is another outlet that the tennis star turns to when she needs to leave the world behind for a bit. Currently, her favorite video games include Fortnite, Overwatch, Apex Legends and the Elder Scrolls.
Like many athletes who've opened up about their mental health struggles, Osaka has received plenty of support from her peers.
“After I opened up about struggles … I spoke to a lot of athletes that told me they too had quietly been suffering,” she said. “I just didn’t feel like I had to do things for others. I wanted to start listening to myself and doing things that I needed to do to protect my mindset.”