Tennis icon and activist Serena Williams recently opened up about her mental health practices in a candid conversation with popstar and actor Selena Gomez, as part of the latter’s newly launched initiative, Wondermind. The one-of-a-kind platform promotes healthy practices and is on its way to destigmatizing and democratizing mental health globally.
Williams has consistently been atop her game for years on end but along with her success came the challenges as the American player talks about setting some “serious boundaries” in her life. Discussing her coping mechanisms with Gomez, she said, “mental fitness for me is just really learning to shut down.”
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Williams is no stranger to after-match pressures and anxieties, and the player has previously elaborated on her experiences with news conference scrutiny. “You know I did this years ago before mental health was even a topic among everyone’s mind,” she continued in her chat with Gomez. “It was more just like, all right, I’m shutting myself down today. Just subconsciously, it was something I’ve always done. So now that I know that it’s this important to put yourself first, especially mentally, I always have shut down moments. I have serious boundaries and I don’t let anyone cross those boundaries.” However, it’s all easier said than done, as noted by Williams herself—the strong-willed player struggled many a time to stick to her notions.
While co-dependency or dysfunctional patterns and the guilt of being selfish are the ulterior reasons why many find it hard to stick to their mental health plans, Williams, like most, struggles with the same. “I really don’t do anything for myself, I’m terrible at that,” she shared. “And I’ve said it repeatedly—I’m working on it. But more or less, at least prioritizing what I need to do.”
As of August 2022, Williams has announced her retirement via an open letter for Vogue US.