Aly Raisman Shares How She's Practicing Self-Care While Quarantining Alone

From gardening to meditation, here's everything that's helping Aly Raisman stay balanced during COVID-19.

Aly Raisman attends as Aerie celebrates an Evening Of Change with with the #AerieREAL Role Models at The Blond on January 23, 2020 in New York City
Photo: Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images for Aerie

Aly Raisman knows a thing or two about keeping your mental and physical health in check. Now that she's quarantining alone in her Boston home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-time Olympic gold medalist says self-care has become even more of a priority. "It's a crazy time," she tells Shape. "I'm just trying to appreciate my health and be thankful that the people close to me are doing okay."

At first, the thought of quarantining alone made Raisman nervous, she shares. "I was totally freaked out," she admits. "I thought it was going to be so much harder for me than it is, but I've come to appreciate the little things, and that's really kept me going." (

These days, Raisman has three self-care practices that help her keep stress in check. Here's how she stays balanced during this time.


"[Gardening] brings me so much joy," shares Raisman. "It's really been my savior through all this."

She was initially inspired to start gardening after a trip to Australia a few years ago, she explains. "I just remember how different the food tasted," she says. "It was so fresh and felt less processed, which is what got me interested in growing my own food." (

Since she's short on outdoor space (#relatable), Raisman says she's been doing most of her gardening indoors. "I counted the other day, and I literally have 85 containers of herbs and vegetables growing inside," she says with a laugh. "My dream one day would be to grow so many vegetables on my own that I won't have to go to the grocery store." (Here are some first-time gardening tips to help you find your green thumb like Raisman.)

Gardening has also led Raisman to eat more plant-based, she adds. In fact, she grows most of her crops based on what she loves to eat, she says. From easy-to-grow plants such as green beans, garlic, zucchini, snap peas, carrots, and cucumbers, to more challenging vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, onion, celery, and bok choy, Raisman's garden is packed with fresh, nutritious veggies.

"Growing your own food teaches you so much patience, which is even more important with everything that's going on right now," explains Raisman. "It's also so relaxing and helps keep me grounded. There's something about digging in the dirt and growing living plants that's just so rewarding." (It's true: Gardening is one of many science-backed ways that getting in touch with nature can boost your health.)

Even with her Olympic career behind her, Raisman says fueling her body with these plant-based foods is of the utmost importance to her. "I try to be super aware of my energy levels because I feel like my body still hasn't fully recovered from the last Olympics and my whole gymnastics career in general," she shares. "Plus everything that's gone on with my life both publically and privately has made me feel really depleted energy-wise." (

While Raisman says eating plant-based has helped her energy in some ways, she's struggled with her protein intake at times, she adds. "I try to be cognizant of protein in my diet because I hardly eat meat," she explains. (BTW, here's what eating the *right* amount of protein every day actually looks like.)

One of her go-to protein sources: Silk Soymilk. "I put it in everything from my morning coffee and smoothies to my home-made vegetable broth and salad dressings," she says. Raisman also recently partnered with Silk to help provide a donation of 1.5 million meals to Feeding America for families in need amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Ensuring people have access to nutritious food is so important during this difficult time," Raisman wrote of the partnership on Instagram.


Staying active has also played an important role in Raisman's self-care routine lately, she says. However, she's scaled way back since her competition days, she notes. "The last few years, I just haven't been working out as much as I was when I was training," she explains. "I've been training so hard for so long that my body was just like, 'please stop.'"

So, she's taking things slow. Her biggest focus right now: learning to exercise for her health versus becoming the best athlete she can possibly be, she says. "I've had to learn to not be so hard on myself," she explains. (

In quarantine, she says she's been doing some strength training and core work, but she mostly looks forward to her daily walks. "I walk for about an hour a day in a park near my house, while social distancing, of course," she shares. "I've come to really enjoy it and look forward to it every day. It gives me time to reflect on what's going on in the world, and the fresh air really helps with the stress." (

Yoga and Meditation

For her mental health, Raisman says she's been turning to yoga. "Before bed, I do a 10- to 15-minute YouTube video by yogi Sarah Beth, and it totally relaxes me," she says.

Meditation has also been crucial to her mental well-being, she adds. "I try to be super aware of how I feel," she explains. "I don't do the same meditations every day, but I'm very into body scan meditation right now, where I scan my body from head to toe and try to relax every muscle." (Here's how Raisman uses meditation to boost her body confidence.)

Despite doing her best to practice self-care and manage stress, Raisman admits it can be tough to stay balanced during this time. "I recognize that everyone is going through their own struggles right now," she says. "It's such a scary thing to try and navigate."

For Raisman, positive self-talk has been a game-changer in helping her cope with ups and downs. "Remember to be kind to yourself and speak to yourself as though you're speaking to someone you love and care about," she says. "During these difficult times, as hard as it is, that's even more important to do. It might feel a little bit weird. But just being there for yourself and practicing self-compassion really goes a long way."

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