In 2016, gymnast Aly Raisman and her teammates became overnight sensations for their streak of success in the Olympics. But five years later, the athlete reveals she's still recovering both mentally and physically from that draining period in her life.
"It's definitely a work in progress and healing is not one-size-fits-all," she noted on CBS This Morning. "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."
Aside from the stress of the sport, Raisman was one of the several women who came forward to reveal that she had been sexually assaulted by the team's doctor Larry Nassar.
To combat her mental health struggles, the gymnast started "being kind" to herself — and that's made all the difference.
"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," she explained. "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."
The athlete noted that after "reflecting over the last couples of years," she realized she was being way too hard on herself.
"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?'" she said.
"And the answer is absolutely not, so why am I not giving myself the same love and kindness I would give to someone else?" she stated. "So I've realized that's been extremely crucial for me in my healing journey."
The gymnast also credited a self-care "routine" for helping her power through each day.
"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 revealed. "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."