Health benefits

Aly Raisman talks about the mental health benefits of having a routine

Whether she’s spending the night at home or in a three-time-zone hotel, American artistic gymnast and two-time Olympian Aly Raisman does her best to snuggle up in bed around 10 p.m. every night and start early most mornings. .

It’s hard to maintain given her ever-changing schedule and frequent travel plans, but as she says Form, having some type of routine is essential.

“Consistency, I think, with anything is really crucial,” says Raisman. “I think it’s really good for your sanity to do the same things every day… It just gives me a good sense of calm.”

Each morning, Raisman kicks off the day by spending a few moments reflecting on how she feels and saying the three things for which she is grateful. From there, the double Olympic gymnast comes out for a 15 to 20 minute walk with her puppy, Mylo. “Before I have calls or check my emails, I just try to make sure I have time to unplug,” she adds.

“I’ve tried to break a bad habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning or checking my phone late at night, so I try to make an effort to unplug when I can.”

Recently, the 27-year-old has also started to integrate SmileDirectClub aligners in her routine, which straighten teeth that have changed in the years since having her braces removed as a teenager, she says. Most importantly, they help Raisman, who is currently a partner in the company, create a smile that allows him to “be a better version of. [herself]. “

“I recently learned that when you have straighter teeth, it’s actually healthier for your mouth,” says Raisman, referring to the fact that straight teeth are easier brushing and flossing, which reduces plaque build-up. “[Smiling also] Personally helped me on my mental health and healing journey. I think even when I’m sitting here imagining myself smiling or literally smiling, physically, I feel so much better.

Aly raisman
Image: Courtesy of alyraisman / Instagram

A consistent evening routine is also essential. A typical night for Raisman is taking her dog for a walk, preparing a nutritious meal, and relaxing with a book or a bath before heading to the hay, she explains. However, it’s not always easy to close your eyes the second she hits the sheets.
In recent years, Raisman has had to deal with many high-stress situations (for example, the US Senate hearing last month in which she testified about the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar case), and sometimes struggled to calm her mind. the night. Her solution: Make sure the foods she eats are contributing to her mental health and not contributing to her stress.

“I’ve actually found that when I eat really clean and eat less sugar, it’s easier for me to control my ruminant thoughts, so I really try to cut as much sugar out of my diet as possible.” , she says.

When she finds herself in a funk, Raisman puts on her detective hat and considers the potential culprits. “At the end of the day, if I feel more stressed or irritated, sometimes I try to ask myself if I ate something different that day and understand [the cause],” she says.

(Image credit: Aly Raisman / Instagram)

“I try to be really thoughtful and aware of how I can feel more relaxed. Sometimes I don’t know where it came from, but other times it’s a little easier to understand.

But Raisman wasn’t always so in tune with her emotions – she also didn’t have the tools to adequately take care of her mental health during competition, she explains. “I think I’ve always been interested in how to recover better and feel better from the training aspect, but when I was training I didn’t really understand the priority given to the health aspect. mental as well as injury, ”says Raisman., who retired from gymnastics in 2020.

“I think when I was competing, we didn’t really talk about it. It was just the mentality of going until you couldn’t do anything more, and you just push yourself to the limit, so I wish I had more tools than I have now.

Thinking back to her competitive days, Raisman admits that if she had known how to take care of her mental health back then, it would have been a lot more difficult to train. “I think I would know I was pushing myself a bit too much – I think I kind of ignored how I was feeling,” she says. Having said that, “I definitely don’t ignore how I’m feeling now, and I wouldn’t recommend ignoring how other people are feeling,” she adds.

Although she is now on the verge of becoming introspective – both physically and mentally – Raisman knows she still has work to do if she is to feel the best of her ability. “Finding more times when I’m still and calm is always hard for me,” she says.

“And getting more rest and being really present when I’m resting is definitely, I think, a hard thing to do, but it’s definitely one of my goals and something I’m working on.

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(Main and featured image credit: Aly Raisman / Instagram)

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