10 Things I Learned This Year As An U.S. Women's National Team Player | soccergrlprobs


10 Things I Learned This Year As An U.S. Women's National Team Player by Sam Mewis

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My journey to physical, mental, and emotional health is just that- a journey. It’s a road we are all traveling on and just when it feels like we’ve made a huge step towards bettering ourselves, something pops up to test us again. The thing I’m realizing is that when one thing in my life is out of whack, it leads to a slump in other areas as well. (For example, when I have terrible period cramps, I eat like shi*t and make myself feel even worse.) I’ve learned some lessons this year that may sound obvious at first, but have become really important staples for my overall well-being. I’ve spoken with SGP'er Carly about my diet and eating habits and I’ve made some adjustments (some of which are included in this post.) I’m finding that listening to my body, my mind, and my heart are the simplest ways for me to feel my best. As a professional soccer player, it’s really important that I feel as good as possible as often as possible.

1. Faking “happy” oftentimes makes me happy

You can tell so quickly when a bad mood is about to turn into a bad day. This is easier said than done, but FAKE IT. Why on earth can we not fake being happy for 5 minutes and see what it does to us? Smile at a stranger or spark a conversation with a friendly clerk and see how it lifts your mood. Believe me, there is no one who claims to have “had a rough day” more than me, but I’m learning that one silly blip or stressful moment is not enough to quantify a “rough day” anymore. The other day I got a flat tire and was all ready to just collapse in shambles when I got home. But instead, I called someone for help. I went a got my eyebrows done. I got lunch with my friends. AND I met the kindest mechanic in the universe who now as a lifelong customer. Honestly, something can only ruin your day if you let it. Try harder to snap out of your bad mood even if you have to pretend.

2. When I’m craving something, my body is asking for it for a reason.

This isn’t as obvious as you might think. I’m not advocating that we all give into our sweet tooth every single time. But I am saying that when my body is asking for spaghetti, maybe I am a little bit short on energy. When it asks for a salad, it needs the nutrients that come from veggies. Even when I’m craving a cinnamon bun, I know that what my body is asking for (specifically) is a morning at home on the couch with an episode of Vampire Diaries and a feeling of true relaxation.

3. Mental health starts with acceptance of myself.

There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. Some days I feel like a pimply pale giantess. Some days I feel like Gisele. What I’ve learned is that there is literally no point looking in the mirror and going, “Damn, my nose looks weird.” My nose is my nose. It’s on my face and it’s probably not going anywhere. Accepting that THIS IS WHAT I LOOK LIKE has been a huge step for me. I don’t berate myself for having a weird nose or a pimple or a bad hair day or being too tall or too muscular or not muscular enough. I have accepted my body as my tool to live and do my job. Now instead of criticizing myself, I care for myself. I do what feels good and I wear things that I like. (There’s nothing worse than trying on an outfit someone else picked out for you and tugging at the sleeves all night because you aren’t comfortable.) Wear what you want, do your hair how you want, and accept that you are a boss ass bitch regardless of those little features that may bother you. Hint: everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to notice anyway. 

4. Always bring a water. Always bring a bar. Always bring a jacket.

Self-explanatory. ALWAYS BRING THEM. ALWAYS. It is literally not worth the thirst, hungry-fight, or bone-chillingness that comes from not bringing these three items wherever you go. As Bob Mewis always says, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. (Which is probably why we brought a portable toaster oven on all of our club soccer trips.) 

5. Sleep on it.

I am the queen of making snap decisions and then literally NEEDING to solidify whatever it is that I’ve decided. But most things are not that desperate to be fixed. Instead of rushing myself into decisions that deserve more time or rushing to solve a problem that I want off my plate, I’ve been trying to back off. Not everything is urgent.

6. Spending time with my friends is a quick solution to almost anything.

I used to think that my social time had to be scheduled. I would write it down on my to-do list like a psychopath. 12pm: Workout 2pm: Coffee with Michelle 4pm: Dinner with Mom and Dad Like relax, Sam. It’s one thing to make definitive plans, but it’s another thing to just relax and enjoy your social time with your friends and family. There’s nothing worse for your bad mood/sadness than laying alone in bed and listening to old Taylor. Call someone! Go get a coffee or a juice or go for a walk with a friend. I feel like social time has become way too structured. We should just enjoy the company of our friends and family whenever and wherever possible! It doesn’t always take a week of planning to sort out a quick rendezvous with the people who make you feel like everything is going to be ok. 

7. Homemade pizza is worth the effort.

Dude. If you aren’t on your homemade pizza game yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. You can control the ingredients, you can control the toppings. Literally you can homemake the best thing in the world exactly how you want it. It’s been a life changing experience for me. Not only is it better for you, but it’s fun and delicious. Get on this one, people. Whole Foods has pre-made dough if you don’t want to get your Gordon Ramsey on.

8. When there’s a task can be done now, do it now.

With #5 said, if you have a small task that has been looming over your head, do it now. Load the dishwasher, get the mail, pay the cable bill, throw away the spoiled milk, etc. These tasks have a way of building up and turning into projects if you leave too many of them for one time. If there’s something that you know you have to do but it’ll only take a minute, just do it. Then when you lay back down on the couch to binge the Kardashian’s again you’ll be even more relaxed!

9. When there’s a question, ask my parents.

I don’t know about you guys, but #adulting is getting harder by the day. Taxes, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone bills, JESUS WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!?! I’m not ready for this! Sometimes I need help deciding if I should pay the $1500 to get my AC fixed or not. Thank God I called my dad and he reminded me that it’s October and to probably wait. Remember- our 

10. Don’t start the fight. Let the socks on the floor/pee on the seat go.

Whether it’s your significant other, your roommate, your friend, your sibling, WHOEVER… every now and then, just let it go. Everyone deserves a break every now and then. For me, it’s my boyfriend/roommate/pigman that irks me. He takes his socks off after work and leaves them on the floor by the couch where they multiply and gather dust and lose their partners. I usually scold him for it, but he does so much for me. Sometimes, why can’t I just pick them up and put them in the hamper without sighing dramatically and getting all hot and bothered. It’s not going to kill me. And then maybe when I leave my knotted hair all over the shower tomorrow he’ll cut me some slack too. Getting worked up about little things is a waste of energy and a waste of valuable time that you will cherish with said roommate/boyfriend/girlfriend/sibling/etc.


Samantha Mewis is not only our DEAR friend, but also a professional soccer player for the North Carolina Courage and US Women's National Team. Sam is 25 years old and from Hanson, Massachusetts. She graduated from UCLA in 2014. We’ve been helping her with some of her health goals over this past year as she strives to become the best all-around athlete and human being that she can. She wrote this blog post for us to highlight some of her recent personal revelations (yes, pizza is mentioned.)


Alanna Locast

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