Tennis Phenomenon, Naomi Osaka, recently made headlines when she withdrew from the French Open to prioritize her mental health. This comes one day after Osaka was fined $15,000 by tennis officials for saying she would not do media interviews during the tournament. Let me share why she deserves ALL the flowers!

On this last day of May, which is also Mental Health Month, a piece on this historic experience in Sports is very befitting. What we’re witnessing is a 23-year -old Naomi Osaka refusing to be bullied out of her mental health care by an industry that seemingly doesn’t care about the well-being of their athletes. Osaka is showing her fellow athletes and fans alike, that it’s okay not to be okay and taking time to get to a better mental space is just as important, if not more important than what you’re expected to do by others.

We shouldn’t have to compromise our mental health for the sake of others. Unfortunately, some of us do and sometimes, obliviously. I am an advocate for mental health days, which is simply taking a day or two off from EVERYTHING to focus on YOU. Staying empowered comes with our ability to say, “NO”. “I’m not okay with this!” “I’m not doing that!” Sometimes, the word NO is the only explanation we need.

Not many take into consideration that making our mental health a priority is a more effective tool that will actually help us execute plans, projects, work, etc. I think it’s safe to say the old saying, “We can’t pour from an empty cup”. How can we deliver on what’s in need, if we’re not one-hundred percent?

Take time out for your mental health and do it unapologetically. I appreciate this young lady for showing the world how it’s done!