Plot twist: Being an Olympic athlete isn't just about being in peak physical shape. It's just as much a Herculean feat of mental strength and toughness, too. Just ask slopestyle snowboarder Jamie Anderson, who will be competing in her third Olympics for Team USA in just a few days (the Beijing 2022 Olympics officially begin Friday, February 4).
In a recent panel, Anderson took to the virtual stage to share her thoughts on mindfulness, spirituality, and her snowboarding journey overall. This year marks the third Olympics for the 31-year-old athlete (she's already won gold twice, NBD). As she explained, long days on the slope and hours in the terrain park can only do so much—getting her mind "in the zone," grounding herself, and practicing gratitude are just as important before a competition.
"Mindfulness has been a really important part of my life because, as we know, life can be unpredictable and crazy. Especially being in this action sports world," she says in the panel.
So how does she keep herself she stay grounded before the big day? A regimented mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises help for starters, as do a handful of wellness essentials she never hits the road without. "I try to keep my bags to under 50 pounds, but a lot are filled with wellness tools," she says. Besides her board and signature collection for Dakine, here's what Anderson is packing in her bag to Beijing—all of which can give you a gold medal-worthy-wellness routine, too.
1. Essential oils
Essential oils have been around for a looong time (like, 4,500 BC long time), thanks to their healing properties on the body and mind. From instilling a sense of calm before a competition, to soothing achy joints, many athletes like Anderson still swear by these potent extracts. "I feel like half my suitcase is my medicine bag," she says in the panel. "I use Doterra for anything from the Deep Blue [cream] for my muscles, to Frankincense which is a holy oil."
2. Room-refreshing incense
Speaking of aromatherapy, the second essential Anderson packs in her bag is a few sticks of incense, which she'll light to create a more comforting space. Anyone who's ever been to a hotel room knows that that signature "hotel fragrance" doesn't exactly smell home-y or welcoming. Whether you're on the road for weeks at a time or just heading on an overnight trip, a little incense can go a long way in clearing the space and making it smell less sterile.
3. Supplements, supplements, and more supplements
Even world class athletes get run down on the road. That's why Anderson never leaves without a large supply of vitamins and supplements, which keep her body in fighting form for competitions, and beyond. "I bring a ton of supplements—all my amino acids, vitamin C, zinc...I take a lot of Chinese herbs. I love this brand called Dragon Herbs and I usually bring their green powder called 'Tonic Alchemy,'" she says. Since it's loaded with good superfoods (70+ different ones, to be exact) it's a great pre-competition drink that's not too harsh on nervous tummies.
4. Her personal journal
In the beginning of the panel, Anderson shared some of her writings from her personal journal, which she says she brings everywhere. From doodles and daily musings, to helpful affirmations, Anderson is a fan of scribbling in her notebook, on and off the road.
One practice she'll do from time to time is write down the things she's grateful for ("My life, my love, my joy... mountains, and parties."), which only takes a couple of seconds but can go along way. "We all live crazy lives... we are all equal, no one is on a pedestal," she says. "I really try to practice what I try to share which is be present, enjoy each moment for what it is, and give thanks..."
5. Her favorite book
Finally, Anderson never leaves without the copy of You Can Heal Your Life ($9) that her mom gave to her after a traumatic injury when she was 17. "It's filled with really great affirmations," she says. "They even have a whole injury section, which is kind of like the emotional body."
Written by cancer survivor Louise Hays, the book explores the importance of putting in the mental work to overcome physical, emotional, and spiritual roadblocks. For $9, it's an affordable motivator to keep on hand whether or not you're an Olympic gold medalist.
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