meet rishi magia
The Brooklyn-based creative lead at Instagram shopping, who believes your mental health is directly correlated to your physical health.
How do you make your health a priority?
In some ways, I don’t have a choice. I’m constantly reminded every minute of every day that my mental health is directly correlated to my physical health. One of the interesting things about being diabetic is that your stress levels impact your sugar levels. So in this weird silver lining kind of way, it’s made me take stock of my mental health more than ever, especially in the last 15 or 16 months.
I’ve been talking to my therapist a lot about the notion of being a first-generation Indian American. We don’t talk a lot about mental health. A lot of it is putting your head down, being grateful for everything you have. Appreciate the grind, so there is a stigma around mental health and talking about it or addressing it. I’m learning a lot about my upbringing and my culture and how that plays a role in my mental health and how to appreciate it and nurture it. I feel very proud that even at 35, I’m finally figuring it out.
How has the past year impacted your mental health?
I was recently diagnosed with type one diabetes almost a year and a half ago. I was 34, which is pretty rare. Diabetes maintenance is a part of my life now. I have to give myself insulin, I have to monitor my blood sugar. So it took a huge toll on my mental health. There are good days and bad days. But the silver lining with everything that happened and going to the hospital was that I started going to therapy for the first time because of almost dying.
“That really traumatic experience led me to realize I need to process my emotions and understand the role now that mental health plays in my physical health.”
I’m also very privileged. I have a job and we have amazing insurance. I’m very lucky in that regard. People die every day from having to ration out their insulin, especially in communities of color where there are tons of socioeconomic discrepancies. I don’t want to downplay everything that I have to go through mentally and physically, but I also have to combat that a little bit with gratitude and humbleness because of the privileged position that I am in.
What puts your mind at ease and helps with stress and anxiety?
I’ve been playing the oboe for 25 years now. It provides me with peace and calm, and tranquility. It plays a huge part in my mental and physical being. There’s something about playing music and doing something that brings you joy that centers and grounds me in a way that I’ve come to appreciate the older I’ve gotten. I was a chubby, nerdy band geek in high school and college and now it’s something that I’m very proud of and something that brings me a ton of peace when I need it the most.
I’ve also taken up cooking. My husband and I started doing these meal kits at home. It’s been the best way for both of us to signify the end of the day. We’ll play jazz piano music and have a glass of wine. It feels really relaxing. It’s become a nice new constant in our life. Even as the city begins to open up, we’re still doing them.
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