If Kayla Nicole could give herself any advice last summer, it’d be to “buckle the f**k up sweetie.”
Therapy, she told PEOPLE, has brought healing into her life and influenced her public and private reactions in the last year.
“I’m so thankful for therapy because had I not done that, I don’t know how I would be reacting in the moment right now. No clue,” the Tribe Therepe founder said.
Still, Kayla wasn’t prepared for online trolls negatively targeting her over Travis Kelce‘s dating life. She and Kelce reportedly began dating in 2017 before breaking things off in May 2022.
As of September 2023, the Kansas City Chiefs player has confirmed a romantic connection with singer Taylor Swift. Her multi-appearances at his NFL games have sparked public interest, a slew of media headlines, and unwavering trolling against Kayla Nicole.
Speaking to PEOPLE, Kayla also expressed what advice she’d give last year’s version of herself.
“You thought the worst had already come, but buckle up and take all of the tools right now and put them in your bag because you’re going to need them,” Kayla Nicole offered in self-advice.
Kayla Nicole Admits She Was “Physically” But Not “Mentally Fit” Post-Breakup
She explained that therapy helped her through that “major breakup and major life change.” By the time she and Kelce split, it had been five years of an on-and-off relationship.
Though she appeared “physically fit” in social media posts at that time, she says, mentally, that wasn’t the case.
“It was like I was working out, I was in really great shape, but I felt like sh*t and I was sad, and I was having a hard time getting out of bed. It got to the point where I was like ‘Okay, what else can I possibly do? So, I started to go to therapy,” Kayla Nicole said.
She admitted to losing “a substantial amount of weight within a very short amount of time.” In addition to the weight loss, Kayla said she “wasn’t sleeping…wasn’t eating” and was “abusing melatonin to sleep at night.”
Yet online, her 700,000+ Instagram followers were calling her body goals and requesting tips. So, she made the lifestyle change to therapy, which helped her realize the benefits of being both mentally and physically fit.
“You could be in the best shape of your life, but mentally, if you are not a healthy person, it’s not going to feel good.”
Now, the fitness lover is using her brand, Tribe Therepe, to highlight the connection between physical activity and mental health.
Earlier this month, amid the Travis and Taylor media frenzy, Kayla Nicole released a message for Black women.
“They’ll say you deserve the backlash and embarrassment because of your Blackness, you should have known better,” Kayla said. “They’ll even try to tie your value to your net worth. But Black girl, please remember, your value lies elsewhere.”