Recently, Simone Biles made headlines for making a monumental decision during the Tokyo Olympics. The American gymnast decided to withdraw from the women’s all-around final. She cited mental health as the reason for pulling out.

There is a lot that we can learn from Simone Biles. Although many of us aren’t Olympians, we definitely know what it’s like to feel completely overwhelmed at work – especially when a lot of people are counting on us.

The rest of this article will unpack how poor mental health can affect our work, and what lessons we can take away from Simone Biles.

Poor mental health, and how it can affect your work

We’ve all had rough days every now and then that we’ve had to push through. However, mental health issues are more tricky to get rid of. They can affect every aspect of our lives – such as work or relationships.

This can be whether you’re suffering from common mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, or even work stress and burnout. 

Despite suffering from poor mental wellbeing, many employees still go to work – what we call presenteeism. We’ve all been guilty of doing it at some point, like when we have a cold! But when you don’t take time off, this can negatively impact your work and worsen your mental wellbeing.

With Simone, she was already experiencing incredible strain being “the head star of the Olympics.” On top of that, she had been dealing with grief when her aunt had unexpectedly died during the Games. Unfortunately, this ended up becoming a safety issue during one of her vault routines. 

Simone experienced the “twisties” where she lost control of her bearings while up in the air. Because of this dangerous risk to her physical health, she withdrew from the gymnastics final.

Unfortunately, Simone is just one example of how poor mental wellbeing can affect your work.

What we can learn from Simone Biles

Sometimes, it can be difficult to acknowledge our limits and say no – especially when people count on us. While Simone felt pressured to win for her country, employees can also feel pressured to succeed by their managers. 

Simone is especially known for carrying out some of the world’s hardest skills. While this poses physical risks, many were depending on her to win. Regardless, she decided to put her mental and physical well-being first – even if it meant walking away from a monumental point in her career. 

What we can learn from her is that workers can take a step back and look after themselves. Even if it takes a bit longer to accomplish career goals or letting down some people.

Gymnastics is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. Gymnasts are at risk of hurting themselves when they’re not feeling mentally confident or well. Similarly, going into work can end up worsening your mental health if you don’t look after yourself properly.

If Simone can teach us one thing, it’s that nothing is more important than your overall health. When your body is trying to tell you something, it might be worth listening to it. Even if it doesn’t seem right at the time!

Simone Biles showed that she’s more than just a gymnast. More importantly, she’s a person that can get affected by pressure. 

There is nothing wrong with taking a step back when it means looking after yourself. Employees can and should do the same. Get the help you need with our ESP solution.


SupportRoom is here to revolutionise the way we access mental support. Nobody should suffer in silence, and we think that therapy support should be immediate and accessible. Register your interest and connect with a therapist right now. 

Our platform offers patients confidential, professional mental health support for individuals and businesses. We connect you with licensed professionals, who can provide round-the-clock support via multiple formats – such as unlimited messaging or video calls.

We also have an Employee Support Platform that provides Employees with on-demand support and detailed analytics to help organisations improve mental health within their workplace, and understand why their employees may suffer from mental health issues. 


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