Aly Raisman Details How She Has Improved Her Mental Health: 'Healing Is Not One-Size-Fits-All'
"I've learned the importance of being kind to myself," Aly Raisman said
While appearing virtually on CBS This Morning Friday, the 26-year-old Olympic athlete opened up about how she keeps her mental health in top shape after retiring from gymnastics.
When asked by co-host Anthony Mason how she has reconnected with herself since her retirement, Raisman began by noting that it is a "work in progress and healing is not one-size-fits-all."
"I feel differently each day, but it's been really interesting because I went from being in the best shape of my life, working out six to seven hours some days, to honestly, some days, not even being able to go for a 10-minute walk outside," she continued. "I'm still kind of trying to navigate how to fully recover, but I've learned the importance of being kind to myself."
Raisman added, "Because I've realized that when I'm really stressed out, when I'm having a lot of anxiety, I'm often really hard on myself and it is exhausting. I'm sure anyone who's watching who can relate to experiencing some type of trauma or anxiety, can recognize just how exhausting it can be. So I've learned the importance of taking time for myself each day and prioritizing my mental health."
Continuing her candid conversation, Raisman also spoke about some important aspects of her own healing process.
"Honestly, I've done a lot of reflecting over the last couples of years and I realized I was being so hard on myself," she said. "What we say to ourselves really matters and I would think about it and I would say, 'Okay, would I ever say this stuff that I'm saying to my little sisters or my mom or a good friend or my future daughter?' And the answer is absolutely not, so why am I not giving myself the same love and kindness I would give to someone else?"
"So I've realized that's been extremely crucial for me in my healing journey," she added.
Raisman also shared that "having some sort of a routine" is important as well.
"Taking time for myself, even on the days where I'm really busy, those are sometimes the times where it's harder to fit time in, but those are actually the times that I need it most," she said. "So even just taking 30 seconds and doing a quick body scan, taking time for myself, even doing, like, a four-minute pilates workout if that's all I have the energy for or the time for, it really makes a difference, even a couple of minutes."
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Raisman was then commended by co-host Gayle King, who told the young athlete that "as women, nobody can beat us up more than we beat up ourselves," before she asked Raisman when she knew she needed help and how she received it.
Citing her involvement in gymnastics from such a young age as the culprit behind her mental health struggles, Raisman said, "My results, or my worth in the sport, is based off of what other people think of me."
"... One of the things that I've struggled with is worrying so much about what other people think about me and people-pleasing, cause that's really a lot of the sport. Even if I feel I did my absolute best routine — but the judges think it's my worst routine — that's the result that I have," she continued. "And so it's really hard to kind of dig in and really look inside myself and be happy with who I am without other people worrying about me."
Raisman added, "So I think the people-pleasing just got a little bit too much for me and I became a little bit obsessive about what other people thought. So I would say I really started to realize it years ago, but then felt more comfortable asking for help a few years ago."
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.