- Peloton instructor Kendall Toole is open to her mental health struggles with depression and OCD.
- She said hiding her feelings has hurt things, and being vulnerable to them feels powerful.
- Toole stressed the importance of taking breaks, even from social media, for self-care.
- Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.
Kendall Toole is one of Peloton’s star masters.
A former boxer, she has amassed a following of more than half a million people since she joined the team of very popular fitness companies in September 2019, becoming renowned for her mental health advocacy.
Behind the scenes of his public face image, he struggled with it obsessive compulsive disorder and depression for years, he told Insider.
One of the most important things she has learned is that being open about these challenges, and logging off social media when she needs a break, is crucial to her health and influences her ability to motivate fans, Toole he said.
As a result, it now promotes transparent and vulnerable conversations about mental health, and restful days on social media.
“Knowing that I have this platform, I felt like a responsibility to demystify it,” he said. “I want to normalize I don’t have to show up all the time. It’s okay to say no.”
Previously, Toole felt pressured to downplay his struggles
at the age of 11, Toole said she spent years trying to hide her anxiety from other people.
“I was so embarrassed by my diagnosis and because I needed to take medication, I lived with this perfect mascara forever,” she said.
Toole was reluctant to tell anyone or ask for help because he didn’t want to be seen as a burden. This led people to believe that she was happy and successful, she said, even when she was struggling with suicidal thoughts.
“I perpetuated the idea that everything would go for me. In many ways I did it, but beneath the surface of it there was always a storm,” he said.
Being honest and backward can be empowering, Toole said
After joining Peloton, and especially since the pandemic began, Toole said she has learned the power of being vulnerable and open-minded about her limitations.
It was not only useful for her, but also part of why her message resonated with fans. In his series “Chats on the Green” on IGTV, Toole talks directly to fans about how he feels, and invites them to do the same. His videos on mental health have been viewed more than 100,000 times in the app.
“Sharing my story publicly helps people review things or have a new perspective,” he said.
She shares not only her successes, but also when she is going through a difficult time, and she feels doubt about herself, anxiety or burnout.
“I’ve really learned to do it with less guilt because I know there’s an example that I’m asked to set and makes me responsible,” Toole said. “It’s really more powerful when sharing. I don’t have perfect days all the time.”
Social media can feed anxiety and isolation
Being a social media star and providing motivation and inspiration is part of Toole’s work. But he said his self-care involves getting online when the internet starts to feel overwhelming.
“So much of our lives we just want to know that we’re not alone. And the world we live in with social media, as much as it can be a connector, can be very isolating for lack of context and lack of human empathy and vulnerability, ”he said.
Instead, Toole takes a break to do other activities he enjoys, such as listening to podcasts or watching documentaries. As a result, he is able to be more present and set a good example for fans.
“If I can’t present myself one day, I won’t put pressure on myself to be on social media. I’ll take that quiet moment when I need to,” he said.