7 Daily Habits This Olympian Relies On To Stay Strong And Sane

Off the field, soccer star Christen Press counts on some unconventional strategies to keep her healthy and grounded.

May 10, 2016
Chrsten Press
Todd Rosenberg Photography

At 27, soccer forward Christen Press (@christenpress) travels the country training with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Last year they took home the World Cup over Japan, and this year they’re headed to the Rio Olympics. Press also plays full-time on the Chicago Red Stars, ranked fourth in the National Women’s Soccer League. That means a whole lot of hours on the field, in the gym, and on the road. “Every other weekend we’re on a trip,” says Press. “There’s so much travel and a lot of last-minute accommodations. It’s hectic! But it’s incredibly rewarding, too.” To keep her mind and body in great shape, Press relies on a few daily practices to maintain health, balance, and sanity.

1. Daily Meditation
“My little sister was turned on to meditation after struggling with depression,” says Press, “and she taught our whole family a simple, 20-minute practice done twice a day. When she first taught us, I was severely stressed out trying to make the national team. Thanks to the practice, I was able to maintain my cool. Instead of feeling stressed, I got excited! I’ve kept up with a twice-daily practice ever since.”

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Related: 20 Reasons To Start Meditating Today

2. Sun Salutations
“Yoga is easier for me than meditation—I’m used to physical exertion. Moving my body is calming. I can listen to music while I move through the poses or do it in silence. I can go really hard one day and take it easy the next—whatever my body needs. It’s been an awesome tool for injury prevention. I’ve been really healthy in my career thus far, but it’s not just luck. It’s preparation and stretching my body every day.”

Christen Press

3. Ayurveda
“I tend to be an anxious person. According to Aryuvedic medicine, I should keep my body warm and also practice grounding, which is the practice of walking barefoot. You take off your shoes and walk in nature, whether that’s on a dirt path or even your front yard. Earth is nourishing, and when we are in direct contact with the ground, we absorb some of that power. I love to practice on the beach, because it feels like home.”

Related: The Ancient + Powerful Herb That Can Counter Stress

4. Juice
“I feel fantastic after I’ve had a green juice, and that’s my indication that something is working for me. I like small, super-concentrated juices with ingredients like ginger and cayenne. I turn to them when I’m sick and need to boost the immune system or when I’m feeling down. I think it’s fun. Plus I’ve managed to stay really healthy, so it can’t hurt.”

 

5. Beans
“I’m incorporating more plant-based protein into my diet. I never have breakfast meats anymore, like bacon or sausage, and I usually skip meat at lunch. For dinner, I try to eat less red meat and more fish and chicken. It’s not just good for my body; it’s better for the Earth, too. It helps that I love beans—black bean salsa, Quinoa Black Bean Burgers, chili, you name it.”

Related: The 20 Highest Protein Vegetarian Foods

6. Dogs
“My family rescued two mutts from a Los Angeles shelter. When I’m home, we always go for a morning run, take trips to the dog park or the beach, and make time for an evening walk. I feel like the cool aunt who comes to visit. I spoil them and give them so much love.”

7. Nature
“If I have a day off from practice and work, I like to spend it away from anything man-made. My teammates might go to the mall or the spa, but I hit the beach or a park. I’ll make myself a little picnic and go by myself or with some friends. Growing up in stunning California, with its craggy cliffs and ungroomed beaches, I can’t help but find solace in the natural world.”