Just a week after Serena Williams announced that she's planning to hang up her tennis racket for good after more than 20 years on the court, the tennis star (virtually) sat down with Selena Gomez to open up about what it means to prioritize her mental health.
In a clip posted to Gomez's Instagram in promotion of her mental health initiative, Wondermind, the athlete was promoted to explain what "mental fitness" means to her. "Mental fitness for me is just really learning to shut down," Serena shared. "And you know I did this years ago, before even mental health was a topic among everyone's mind. It was more just like, alright, I'm shutting myself down today. Just subconsciously, it was something I've always done."
The mother-of-one, who revealed in her retirement announcement that she's planning on shifting focus to expanding her family, then touched on how vital boundaries are in maintaining a healthy mind. "And so now that I know that it's so important to just put yourself first, especially mentally, I always have shut down moments," she continued. "I have serious boundaries and I don't let anyone cross those boundaries."
Williams added, "For me, it's so important to make sure, every day, I have a period of—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 prioritizing what I need to do. And then when I'm turned off, I'm turned off."
This isn't the first time Serena has been transparent about bettering her mental health, and in her special Vogue cover story, Williams revealed that the only person she originally felt comfortable talking about her departure from tennis with was her therapist.
"I've been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis," Williams said. "Alexis, my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it's like a taboo topic. I can't even have this conversation with my mom and dad. It's like it's not real until you say it out loud. It comes up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry. The only person I've really gone there with is my therapist!"