‘I have serious boundaries’: Serena Williams talks mental ‘fitness’ with Selena Gomez

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Selena Gomez has, for a while now, used her celebrity status to bring awareness about mental health issues, having dealt with it herself. The singer and actor has said that neither does she use Instagram nor does she take social media trolls seriously.

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In the past, Gomez has also talked about her bouts of anxiety and depression, and the fact that she suffers from bipolar disorder.

The former Disney star got into a candid conversation with ace tennis player Serena Williams, who recently announced her retirement after a glorious career comprising 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

During the chat — which happened on Gomez’s mental health platform ‘Wondermind’ — the two accomplished women talked about something called “mental fitness”.

When Gomez asked Williams what ‘mental fitness’ looks like for her, she replied, “Mental fitness, for me, is just really learning to shut down. And you know, I did this years ago, before even mental health was a topic among everyone’s mind.”

The 40-year-old continued, “It was more just like, ‘All right, I’m shutting myself down today.’ Just subconsciously, it was something I’ve always done. And now that I know that it’s so important to just put yourself first, especially mentally, I always have shut-down moments. I have serious boundaries and I don’t let anyone cross those boundaries.”

“For me, it is so important to make sure, every day, [that] I have a period of, like… It’s so bad, because I really don’t do anything for me, I’m terrible at that! And I’ve said it time and time again — I’m working on it. But more or less, at least prioritising what I need to do,” Williams said, before adding, “And then when I’m turned off, I’m turned off.”

The conversation follows the news of Williams’ retirement, which she broke by writing a first-person essay for the September 2022 cover issue of Vogue magazine. “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she wrote.

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