Megan Oldham On Why It’s Important to Take Breaks

Megan Oldham, Canadian freestyle skier, is doing a ski jump over a "Beijing 2022" Olympic Banner.  To her right, "Interview with Megan Oldham" is written.

In this BITS post, we interview Megan Oldham (@megan.oldhamm on Instagram), a Canadian Olympic freestyle skier.  Megan is a professional athlete, sharing her advice on the importance of taking breaks, how they give her a small bit of happiness, help her perform to the best of her ability, and her favorite downtime activities.  As teens, our life is always on the go; we have school, school drama (sometimes), activities, homework, and finally, sleep. The next morning, we wake up and repeat.  This constant cycle can make it hard to be happy, especially with yourself, but Megan Oldham’s advice on taking downtime is inspiring, helpful, and easy to incorporate into daily life.  With her advice, we can become more productive, and happier. 

In this BIT: Professional athlete Megan Oldham shares her advice on the best things to do to relax, downtime activities, and why it is important to take breaks – all to help you feel happier with yourself.

Megan Oldham doing a ski jump

SBOH: Sometimes we as teens think that in order to accomplish something, we need to work on it non-stop, whether it be training for a sport all the time, constantly studying a subject, or practicing an instrument.  How do you take downtime and how does that help you perform better and feel happier? 

Megan Oldham:  I have certainly found as a professional athlete that down time is crucial to success. Just like athletes need to take physical breaks from sport to allow their body to heal and recover, the mental game is the same. Allowing time for your mind to focus on something besides sport gives you a chance to recharge and come back even more motivated than ever. For me, I have found that the best downtime is doing the exact opposite of the thing I am working hard to accomplish. For instance, I typically spend everyday training on the mountains in the cold snowy weather. This includes intense exercise and early mornings. That being said, whenever I need a good recharge I try to go somewhere with warm weather, sleep in, and get light exercise. For example, this year I had 2 months of heavy training, so in-between 2 training camps I went to Portugal and enjoyed the sun, had a slower pace, went on walks, etc. Just being away from snow and experiencing something completely opposite to what I am used to was rejuvenating. When I came back to training I was skiing much better because I had this reset.

Megan Oldham standing on a bridge, wearing a black jacket and orange tuque.

SBOH: What are your top 3 tips for teens to relax, and take downtime?

Megan: My top three tips for teens to relax and take downtime are:

1. Get exposure to sunlight

2. Listen to podcasts/music

3. Get light exercise

I really enjoy yoga and have found that even a 10 minute practice brings my body and mind back to a restful place. I also find that sunlight, especially right in the morning, gives me an instant recharge and puts a smile on my face. Try going for a quick walk or drinking coffee outside on the deck when you wake up. 

SBOH: What gives you a small bit of happiness everyday? 

Megan:  What gives me a small bit of happiness everyday is an app I have on my phone called “Life Quotes”. I have set it up as a widget on my home screen so every time I open my phone the first thing I see is an inspirational quote. A cool thing about it is that the quotes change every time I open my phone so throughout my day I will read different ones. It seems like a simple thing but waking up and seeing an inspiring message just puts me on the right path for the day. Likewise, often when I am training I will look at my phone briefly to change the music or something and I will see a quote and it instantly gives me reassurance that I can do whatever it is that I am working on. To find free, inspiring quotes, click here.

Megan Oldham doing a ski jump at the Stubai cup.

SBOH: What are some words you live by or an inspirational quote?

Megan: One of my favourite quotes is, “The World is a playground. Don’t sit on the bench.” I love this quote because it reminds me not to take life so seriously and to always seize opportunities. There is no point sitting on the bench watching everyone else enjoy life and go on adventures. You have to get up, make changes and follow what makes you happy.

SBOH: What food gives you a small bit of happiness?

Megan: A food that gives me a small bit of happiness is watermelon. I love everything about it. The colour, texture, the way it explodes juicy flavour with a single bite. It also just reminds me of hot summer days, and that is always a nice feeling.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

We hope that these tips, best things to do to relax, and downtime activities help you realize that downtime is important and productive, inspire you to take a break today, and give you a small bit of happiness. 


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