A Moment With - Amal

How do you take care of your mental health?

It looks different depending on where my spirit feels unbalanced. If I need rest then I block time out for myself. If I'm feeling anxious/stressed/overwhelmed then I seek quality time with family, journal or pray. If I'm craving movement, I put my headphones on and dance like nobody's watching. Whatever I end up doing, I sit with myself first and listen to what I need.  

Why do you think it's important we talk about mental health?

This is a question I never thought was relevant to me for many reasons. We never spoke about it growing up and the way the kōrero was presented in mainstream spaces made me feel like it was a Pākehā/western conversation. I've been re-learning that mental health is for everyone. We all have a spirit that we have to nourish and nurture, just like our physical bodies. Being a Somali, it's also about my communities' spirit as well. There are the wider systemic things that affect my mental health like racism to the more individual things like my anxieties and traumas. They are all valid and some things that are inescapable as part of the human experience. When I'm brave and courageous enough to meet myself at the edge of my spirit, I come out the other side at peace and the strength to live an authentic life that will benefit me and my community. Don't get me wrong - this is hard. This is a life long commitment that asks for vulnerability, honesty, responsibility, connection and community time and time again. 

Favourite self care activity?

Living less digitally. 

Favourite quote, song lyric or mantra

Burrowing words from the amazing poet Warsan Shire. "Don't assume, ask. Be kind. Tell the truth. Don't say anything you can't stand behind fully. Have integrity. Tell people how you feel.”

A message to someone struggling? 

You are never a burden and there are people who care and love for you. If asking for help is daunting, ask for a catch up, ask to go to the movies, ask to go for a walk. One step at a time is a ok  

If you could have 'a moment with' your younger self what would you say to them?

I would give Amal a big hug and tell her that spirit is what she says, not what other people say and to stand by that. 


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