Learning from Simone Biles: A G.O.A.T Athlete that Put Her Mental Health in 1st Place

Jun 21, 2023 | Stories That Make Heroes

Imagine being on the world stage, with the hopes of an entire nation resting on your shoulders as the most successful US gymnast of all time and winner of four Olympic gold medals.

Now, imagine deciding to step back from the limelight to take care of yourself, just as you were on the verge of becoming the most decorated gymnast in history with four more podium finishes.

That’s exactly what Simone Biles, one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, did during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This article will explore the importance of mental health, Simone Biles’ courageous decision, and the valuable lessons we can learn from her inspiring story.

The Importance of Mental Health in Daily Life

Mental health plays a significant role in our overall well-being and performance. Just like physical health, it influences our ability to cope with stress, engage in healthy relationships, and make decisions.

Unfortunately, mental health has long been stigmatized, leading to individuals feeling ashamed or guilty about their struggles. It’s essential that we recognize the importance of mental health and work towards breaking down the stigma surrounding it.

Simone Biles’ Story and Impact

Simone Biles is no stranger to success. With 19 World Championship titles and four Olympic gold medals under her belt, she has earned her place as the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) in the world of gymnastics. 

However, her decision to withdraw from multiple events at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, including the women’s team final, the all-around final, and several individual finals, due to mental health concerns became a groundbreaking moment in sports history.

Biles revealed that she was suffering from “the twisties,” a condition that affects gymnasts’ sense of orientation in mid-air. Her decision to prioritize her mental health showed immense courage and sent a powerful message to athletes and individuals around the world. 

Despite her struggles, Biles returned to compete in the balance beam final, winning a bronze medal and tying the record for the most Olympic medals won by a U.S. gymnast with a total of seven. 

Her actions encouraged conversations about mental health and inspired many to also prioritize their emotional well-being. She received widespread support and praise from fellow athletes, celebrities, and fans for her honesty and bravery in speaking about her mental health struggles, ultimately raising awareness about the importance of mental health in sports and beyond.

Lessons Learned from Simone Biles

Simone Biles’ actions provide valuable insights that can guide us in prioritizing mental health in our daily lives. Here are some strategies and tips to help you navigate mental health challenges and seek assistance when necessary:

Listen To Your Body And Mind

Be attentive to the signals your body and mind convey, as this will help you communicate your needs and preferences more clearly and assertively to others while also respecting their needs and preferences in return. 

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, taking a step back and listening to your body and mind can help you establish healthier boundaries in both your personal and professional life.

Prioritize Self-Care

All too often, we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, neglecting one of the most crucial aspects: our inner well-being. Whether it’s due to a hectic, demanding lifestyle or pursuing our dreams with relentless determination, it’s essential to pause, unwind, and prioritize self-care.

Here are some examples of different types of activities you can do to take care of yourself:

  • Physical self-care: eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, avoiding drugs and alcohol, practicing good hygiene, getting regular medical check-ups.
  • Mental self-care: learning new skills, reading books, solving puzzles, engaging in hobbies, challenging negative thoughts, setting goals.
  • Emotional self-care: expressing your feelings, seeking support, practicing gratitude, forgiving yourself and others, cultivating compassion, managing your emotions.
  • Social self-care: spending time with loved ones, making new friends, joining a community, volunteering, asking for help, setting boundaries.
  • Spiritual self-care: meditating, praying, practicing yoga, connecting with nature, finding your purpose, exploring your beliefs.

These practices should be integrated into your routine so that they become habits that you do regularly. You can start by choosing one or two self-care practices that appeal to you and fit into your schedule. It’s always a good idea to keep track your progress and reward yourself for your achievements, no matter how small they are!

Learn How to Say “No”

Learning to say “no” when necessary allows you to prioritize your well-being over pleasing others, helping you avoid burnout and resentment. This involves expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs directly and honestly without infringing on others’ rights. 

Furthermore, saying no and setting boundaries can enhance your relationships by clearly and assertively communicating your expectations and preferences, while also respecting others’ boundaries and their right to say no.

By establishing boundaries, you can make well-informed decisions that align with your values and goals, and trust your intuition when faced with requests or demands that aren’t in your best interest. While seeking feedback or guidance from others can be beneficial, ultimately, relying on your own wisdom and experience is vital for setting healthy boundaries.

There’s No Shame In Asking for Help!

If you find yourself grappling with mental health challenges, remember that it’s perfectly okay to seek solace and guidance from a trusted friend, family member, or professional. Embrace the journey towards healing with courage and self-compassion, knowing that reaching out for help is a testament to your strength and wisdom.

Putting Your Mental Health First is the Real Key to Success!

Simone Biles’ brave choice to prioritize her mental health during the Olympics has resonated with people globally. Her story underlines the significance of mental well-being and reminds us that genuine success stems from putting our wellness first.

By embracing the lessons gleaned from Simone Biles, we can contribute to dismantling the stigma around mental health, fostering a kinder and more empathetic world.

It’s time to incorporate these invaluable lessons into your life and make your mental health a top priority. Keep in mind that you’re not alone on this journey, and reaching out for help signifies strength, not weakness. 

If you feel like you need guidance to learn how to prioritize yourself and your emotions, I’m always here to help!

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