June 8, 2023

Writer/Reporter, PEOPLE
Serena Williams is getting candid about her mental health.
In an Instagram clip shared by Selena Gomez on Monday, the pair dove into the topic of “mental fitness” while engaging in a thoughtful conversation for the former Disney star’s mental health platform, Wondermind.
"Mental fitness for me is just really learn[ing] to shut down," Williams, 40, said. "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," she continued. "And so 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's so important to make sure, every day, 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 prioritizing what I need to do," added Williams, before concluding, "And then when I'm turned off, I'm turned off."
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The conversation with Gomez, 30, comes shortly after Williams announced that she’s “evolving away” from tennis in a first-person essay written for the September 2022 cover issue of Vogue.
“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams wrote. “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."
Williams went on to write that she has been "reluctant to admit" to herself or the people around her that "I have to move on from playing tennis."
"There is no happiness in this topic for me," she wrote. "I know it's not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it's not. I'm torn: I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next."
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