Brooke Neal is an Olympian, Mentor and motivational speaker. When she's not playing for the Black Sticks or competing at the Olympics, she's an advocate for mental health awareness, and founder of the "All About Balance" initiative. We catch up with her to find out her thoughts on self-love, resilience and beauty.
When you’re not training what would we find you doing on the weekend?
My ideal hockey free weekend would include a morning walk, good coffee, a yoga session and catching up with friends. Sometimes my whole weekend is planned around food (I am constantly hungry) - either cooking good meals or eating out with friends. In the winter I would be curled up with a good movie, but in summer you'll find me on a beach, or on the water paddleboarding! Growing up in Northland, the beach is my ultimate happy place. 

You’re a mentor to many young athletes – what was the best advice ever given to you when you were striving to achieve your goals?
I was very fortunate at a young age to learn the importance of goal setting and dreaming big through my mum. I was always asked the question, "what would you do if you knew that you could not fail?” The voice in our heads is often what holds us back. It can be so negative and nasty, so learning to set big goals and push past the limiting voice is a big lesson I would pass on.
Tell us why resilience is so important in our youth today?
I think learning to be resilient is one of the biggest skills to master. At a young age, I was always being put to the test in sport and also in life to overcome disappointments, setbacks, injuries etc. If our youth aren’t exposed to tough situations and learn how to navigate them, then when they encounter obstacles at a later age, they don’t have the skills to deal with them and this often ends up in bad choices. Life is tough, and the sooner 
What does self-care mean to you?
 I think self care is different for everyone. I made my own self care circle, which is a pie graph that shows my go-to self care practices. They aren't glamorous or expensive, some are as simple as drinking enough water or going for a walk in nature. Self care to me means checking in with myself on a daily basis and seeing where I can add something to my life for my wellbeing. If I am stressed or having a bad day, taking time to myself to meditate or do my yoga practise is the best thing! Often it's when we feel we don't have enough time that we need to do something for ourselves the most. 
Photo credit: Planet Hockey
What does beauty mean to you?
 I grew up looking at models and athletes with abs wishing that I could look like that some day, which was unrealistic and did shocking things for my self confidence. Even more these days with social media, I think we are seeing an illusion of people's lives and bodies with photoshop and filters. I think it was only in the last 5 years that I have really began to accept that I have a unique build and body shape that doesn't often fit "the mould". I have scars and grazes from hockey that are a part of me now that I don't bother covering up. I think it is important to show authenticity and realness now more than ever.   
What does your skin care regime look like and what are the products you just can’t be without?
To be honest, apart from a cleanser and night cream, I don’t have a big skin care regime and I think I’d be lucky if I put on make up more than twice a year! 
Since discovering Coola, I now wear the BB cream Rosilliance daily. Being protected by SPF every day is so important to me, as I am always outside training. For extra protection when playing overseas, I use the mineral sport stick on my face and the sport spray on the rest of my body. I have highly sensitive skin and a range of eczema problems, and Coola is the only sunscreen I have found that my skin likes!

You can follow Brooke's journey on instagram  @brookeneal1 
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