buy cheap cialis soft usa best

When Simone Biles walked out of the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics arena, quitting the United States’ team finals on Tuesday, my stomach did somersaults.

Had the world’s greatest gymnast really quit just minutes into the team competition – after she was expected to lead her team to gold on the world’s most prestigious sporting stage – because she was, as she put it later, putting her “mental health first”?

Gymnast Simone Biles and tennis player Naomi Osaka competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.Credit:Getty Images

Could giving up be a good thing? Maybe even a powerful move?

Until I saw Biles – and before her Naomi Osaka, who bowed out of the French Open in June, citing her experience with “long bouts of depression” – the thought had only rarely crossed my mind.

That’s because until a couple of years ago, my default move when I was pushed beyond the point of mental and physical exhaustion (when my brain felt as though it was on fire and being squeezed through a colander) was to just push harder. This got me all sorts of things: great academic results, buy tenormin no prescription canada good jobs, approval.

There was just one problem. During prolonged periods of repeatedly pushing past my breaking point, it sometimes led me to not want to get up the next morning. On occasion, I’d dream about getting hit by a car.

“I don’t want to get hurt, of course,” I remember saying to a woman I’d just met, between stretches, at the starting line of the City To Surf in Sydney. My kids were little and I was struggling to feed and tend to their emotions while also giving my writing my all, with no extended family around. “Just enough to put me into hospital so nobody could ask me for anything for, like, a week.” We both chuckled; she’d struggled with the same competing stresses, too.

Some of my girlfriends had different dreams.

“I read that someone had gone to prison, and I thought, ‘Sounds good’,” a lawyer and mother of three said to me one day with a smile a number of years ago. “No responsibility, your meals are brought to you, and you can get another degree.”

It makes me wonder: might Biles and Osaka inspire a new generation of high achievers and multi-taskers, going forward? Make them realise the benefits of taking a step back before one reaches the point of fantasising about shared quarters with a murderer named Snitch?

Professor Caroline Hunt, president of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association, hopes so.

“It’s inspiring because it shows a certain level of courage [to] be able to say, ‘Hang on, that’s not the be all and end all, there’s actually more important things in life. That might be myself, my wellbeing, and my relationships’,” she says.

And it’s a particularly important message now, given how increasingly common burnout is, and how debilitating it can be, if it’s repeatedly pushed through.

“It can lead to an inability for the person to continue their normal lives,” says Hunt, referring to the anxiety and depression that can result.

But halting the bad habit of continually battling through burnout can be a tough nut to crack. Especially given that our society typically hails those who triumph over adversity, and often punishes those who quit. One only has to remember Australian rower Sally Robbins, who dropped her oar in the final metres of a race in the Athens Olympics in 2004 because she was physically depleted. She was consequently dubbed “Lay-down Sally” in the Australian press and ridiculed for mental weakness, with one paper saying her behaviour was “the greatest crime there is in honest sport: she quit”.

(This culture is, in part, why it took me 20 years of trying to fix the habit with my own ingenious plan – by ignoring that I had it – before therapy finally did the trick.)

So, what can others do, short of stalking Biles’ people for tips about how she managed to walk away on such a world stage with about 18 million or so people watching?

Stop, and take a moment to reflect when you’re reaching emotional exhaustion, and consider it an opportunity to challenge the problematic core beliefs that may be driving your inclination to push past the point of burnout in the first place, says Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Stephanie Tan-Kristanto.

“It might be the need to please others, or rigid thoughts about what equals success or failure, or that your worth is only related to how much approval or recognition you can get,” says Tan-Kristanto. “We as humans are really flexible, so we can adapt those core beliefs into ways that are more helpful for us. But if we don’t reflect … we’re at risk of repeating the same patterns.”

Meanwhile, I will teach my children to do not as I once did, but what 24-year-old Simone Biles had the courage to do:

“So, it’s OK sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself,” she said in a press conference, addressing other young athletes after dropping out on Tuesday. “It shows how strong a person and competitor you really are, rather than just battle through it.”

Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Get it in your inbox every Monday.

Support is available from Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Most Viewed in Lifestyle

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article