Felix sees how this survey can start critical conversations around how health is affected by social and environmental drivers, especially amid the climate crisis. It illuminates the correlation between global warming and racial injustice, including pregnancy risks that disproportionately impact Black women. “When you’re born into these situations, they’re very difficult to come out of,” says Felix, “but I think [it’s essential] to identify them and have an understanding so that we can all work together to be able to tackle this problem.”
For both elite athletes and activists fighting for equality, recharging mentally and physically is essential to performing at your best—and most importantly, your healthiest. Here, Felix talks through her strategies for training, post-workout recovery, and practicing self-care, from the visualization techniques she uses before a big race to how she’s nourishing her mind and body at home.
Visualize Your Goals
My typical training schedule is about six days a week, five hours a day. I approach it very seriously and also do some visualization, where I am really putting in mind [the results] I want to see. I ask myself, ‘What is the perfect race? How did things come together?’ Every four years I have this opportunity—for only about 21 seconds—to get it right. It can be a really big moment, so it’s just really about quieting my mind, closing my eyes, and really going through the motions of what the perfect race looks like. I find it’s helpful for me to run through what that looks like before I go into a very stressful situation. Just to almost be a part of the process as well.
Recover Like a Champion
Recovery is huge. We’re always saying go harder, no days off. But for me, my approach is that recovery is just as important as the work I’m putting in. I dedicate a day to active recovery, definitely wearing my Saysh sneakers to make sure my feet are able to do their best. It usually looks like a 20 minute, getting in my Normatech boots, and using my foam roller; doing all the little things and then seeing my massage therapist and chiropractor. It’s about making sure that my body can withstand the amount of work that I’m putting it through.
Power Your Day With Gratitude and Mindfulness
I start my day by putting myself in the right mindset with my gratitude journal and a bit of meditation. I want to set the tone for the work that I’m going to put in and make sure I’m coming from a really positive place. Later, if I’m feeling overwhelmed or like I need to take step back, I always think about what I can do in those moments to help, whether it’s lean into my support system or make time to meditate or have some self-care. It’s important to stay grounded and really know my purpose. I’ve definitely been blessed with this gift and I try to stay reminded of that. I think it can be so easy to get caught up in the world and all of the outside things, but constantly coming back to and reconnecting with my purpose, and staying centered is something that is really important to me.
Nourish Your Body and Mind
I’m in the sun every day, I’m training…so I’m very basic with my skin-care routine. I typically use Honest Beauty products. I’m always making sure that I’m cleansing, using a moisturizer with some SPF, like Cetaphil’s combination formula, and doing self-care rituals. Anytime that I can take some time just for myself, I love a bubble bath and just soaking. I love to read in the tub and spend time trying to rejuvenate myself. I actually just got two new books: Will Smith’s new one, which I literally just cracked open last night, and then Ian Manuel’s book My Time Will Come. It’s this amazing memoir about being incarcerated for a very long time and then let out. It’s his journey through that whole ordeal and his lawyer was actually from Just Mercy, the movie starring Michael B. Jordan, so it offers another story from that as well.
Prioritize Yourself, No Matter What
Before becoming a mother, I was always putting myself last on the list of people who need to be taken care of. I was always taking care of everyone else first and I’ll be fine, I thought. But becoming a mother, and having to be in a position to really take care of and have someone depend on me, showed me how I do need to prioritize myself and my own mental health so that I can be the best for my daughter. You have to be intentional about it, setting aside time and understanding when you need to take space for yourself and lean into your support system.