Most of the time in this space, the vibe is all about pushing hard and crushing your goals. I want to be the person that motivates you and inspires you to step outside your comfort zone. I want to make you feel confident and supported to go big and aim higher than you ever have before.
But today I wanted to talk about the complete opposite. I want to talk about slowing down.
It’s funny because I wanted to talk to you about my experience with this after my honeymoon because I didn’t realize before how much I needed that time to rest. And now I’m seeing everything going on with Simone Biles and The Olympics – perfect timing, right?
A little recap if you didn’t know – Simone withdrew from team finals after the first event. She also later announced that she would not compete in the all-around finals. It’s normal to hear about this kind of thing happening due to physical injury but she did this for her mental health. She recognized she was struggling and took a step back. She knew what was best for herself AND her team and made her decision while millions of eyes were watching.
A lesson we can all learn from, right? Literal proof from perhaps the greatest gymnast OF ALL TIME, that no one can go 100%, all the time. No one can withstand endless amounts of pressure. Everyone needs a break and everyone needs to protect their mental health.
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This caption gave me chills.
Why this lesson from Simone Biles is so important
I know it’s hard to get “you snooze you lose” out of your head when you have personal dreams, pressure at work, etc. Think about how much pressure that must add when you’re AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE. But here’s the thing. In reality, taking a break is actually good for progress, no matter who you are.
Check out some of these ways that slowing down can actually help you speed up in the long run.
Motivation – Motivation isn’t a constant thing that just comes naturally. It ebbs and flows and sometimes it takes serious energy to find it. When you take a break, it’s easier to restore your motivation and get back on track.
Remembering your “why” – Every time you set a goal, you have a “why.” If you get caught up in the hustle, you might lose it! Slowing down gives you the mental space to find clarity and circle back to your why. Even if it seems like hitting pause only slows you down, it might help you stay on the direct path to success in the long run.
Fielding pressure from others – Every goal is a performance. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a classroom, in an office, at the gym, or on an Olympic stage. Eventually, YOUR goals will be clouded with pressure from others. It’s exhausting and it makes your journey even harder to navigate. If you feel this way, take a step back! You’ll be surprised at how a time-out can help you handle pressure.
Clarity often comes in silence – It’s common but sooooo frustrating to plateau with our goals.
Preventing injury – There’s more than one way this works. Physically, pushing too hard leads to overuse and injuries of the muscles or joints.
In Simone’s case, she knew it was very possible that her mental state could lead to injury. Sports (especially gymnastics) require a very strong mind/body connection, and this is the scary part that her critics are missing. The term for what she’s dealing with is called “the twisties,” which she explained as being unable to comprehend where she is in the air. Kiiiiinda important for being able to fly and twist and land safely, right?
Productivity – Even in normal day jobs, studies have shown that taking small breaks throughout the day increases productivity.
Decision making – Pushing too hard for too long leads to decision fatigue.
GROWTH – This is the big one, and maybe the one we forget the most. Rest leads to growth – period. Physically, rest days give our muscles a chance to rebuild, which makes them stronger. And guess what! The same thing happens mentally. Practicing regular rest and doing whatever you need to do to slow down mentally helps you grow more in tune with yourself. You’ll feel more confident, think more clearly, and come back to your goals refreshed.
And sometimes, it’s not only about you. This was huge for Simone’s decision because even though she was put on a pedestal by the media to “carry the team” to gold, she never once put herself on that pedestal. She knows this is a team sport and refused to let her ego ruin the team’s shot at gold. She was totally confident in the rest of the team and hasn’t missed a beat cheering them on.
Hustle culture is not always the way
… and this is coming from someone who very much thrives on hustle.
“Hustle culture” is in our faces now more than ever, thanks to social media. It APPEARS as though the people we view as successful are giving their all, all the time. And it APPEARS as though they are thriving.
That highlight reel can be deceiving, right?
But going all hustle and no rest wears you down and you can’t ignore it. TRUST ME I’VE TRIED.
And yet, hustle culture makes taking a break look like failure. It makes you compare your journey to others and wonder why they can sustain their momentum when you can’t. You question your mental strength, your ability to do the thing you’ve worked your butt off for, and sometimes you think it’s better to just give up.
What I’m saying is, hustle culture isn’t it.
I’m so happy to see so many people celebrating and supporting Simone’s decision to bow out of the competition. I think it’s a HUUUUUUGE wake up call that we have all needed for a long time. It’s time for “health” to be inclusive of mental health for everyone, whether you work in a restaurant, at a desk, or you’re an Olympic athlete. There is nothing tough about ignoring when your body and mind need to rest. Real strength is the ability to be in tune with yourself and slow down.
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Slowing down is uncomfortable, but worth it.
Let’s all take this lesson from Simone and make a promise to ourselves – protect our health at all costs. Mental health, physical health, emotional health, all of it. NO ONE can do that for you but YOU.
No one is immune to their own form of “the twisties.”
And if you’re stuck in any way, whether you’re struggling to reach your goals, or can’t find clarity for what your goals should even be, slow down! Take some time to rest and recharge. I promise when you hit the ground running again, you’ll be stronger than ever.