Shakti perspectives: Shilpa – founder of Glowreel
We need to normalise the fact that it’s ok to not be ok, and that it’s ok to talk about it, and seek professional support. In our culture, everything is so hush-hush. Growing up, we were encouraged to share the good things, but not the struggles, challenges, and setbacks we faced.
The more we open up dialogues about mental health and what we do to look after ourselves, the more people will feel comfortable sharing their experiences and hopefully seeking support if they need it. I think part of the conversation here is also around mental health being a spectrum. So, while one support might help one person, it but may not be the right support for another. Open conversations around the different mental health supports available will hopefully make them more accessible to people too. I think things are starting to change - millennials and Gen Z are (generally speaking) more comfortable being open about the different aspects of their lives. That, combined with organisations like Shakti will help lead to a greater level of comfort in seeking mental health support.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with my mental health has been realising that it’s ok to talk openly about how I’m feeling, and that my feelings are valid. It’s taken a lot of learning and unlearning to get to a place where I feel comfortable talking openly about uncomfortable topics. I feel very lucky to have been surrounded by some supportive family and friends throughout my life who I can openly talk to and share my thoughts and experiences with.
That is why I feel self-care is so important, and something we all need and deserve! Generally, I practice self-care by stepping away from screens and getting fresh air and movement. A walk outside works wonders for me when I’m feeling stressed or anxious. A regular exercise routine is also important for my mental health.
I also love skincare. So, sometimes my self-care routine involves being really slow and intentional with my skincare routine. Face masks, jade rollers, a scented candle for ambience - I do it all! While skincare may not be for everyone, I think the general point of slowing down and being intentional and in the moment doing something you love is a good way to practice self-care.
The lockdowns highlighted just how important community and connection is for me. It’s partially what inspired me to create Glowreel - which is a community and weekly newsletter that celebrates and amplifies the stories and achievements of BIPOC women! Connecting with so many incredible women kept me feeling galvanised through the lockdowns!
The lockdowns also made me realise how important exercise and movement is for my mental health. I kind of gave up on exercising by the time the fifth lockdown rolled around. Like everyone, I was over everything! It quickly affected my mental health - I felt stressed, anxious and my brain often felt foggy. As soon as I got back into exercising, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I’d read a lot about the positive links between exercise and mental health - but this was the first time I’d truly experienced it.
Mental health matters. You matter. On the days where you’re finding it tough, remember that you are so loved. And if you ever need a friend to chat to, my DMs are always open.