Nailea Devora Shares Her Favorite Confidence HackThe TikToker shares how she processes her emotions and takes care of her mental health.
If you’re not part of the chronically online crowd, you may have missed the genius that is Nailea Devora, a down-to-earth and chatty creator who has amassed 18 million followers with her unfiltered vlogs and podcast episodes. Mixed in with apartment tours and solo travel diaries are glimpses into Devora’s mental health journey, from learning her lesson about taking anxiety medication with only a few crackers to struggling with her move to Los Angeles. It’s all part of her mission to help destigmatize mental health. “As I keep growing in my career and as I keep doing what I'm doing, I will always make sure to amplify the talk around mental health,” she tells Wondermind.
Here, Devora shares what’s going on in her world lately, how she manages overwhelm, and the benefits of opening up to others.
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WM: How are you doing lately?
Nailea Devora: I'm actually really good. I've been spending a lot of time with my family, and quality family time is always huge.
WM: What's invigorating you right now?
ND: I am really excited for the future. I've always been someone who's very nervous, and when it comes to thinking about the future, I don't want to think about it. I'm going to freak myself out. But lately I feel like I've been having more of a positive outlook, and I'm excited for the other projects and collaborations I'll get to work on in the future. The ones that I've gotten to do this year have been super surreal, and they have been so lovely, so I'm just excited for what's to come.
WM: Do you mind sharing a little bit about your mental health journey?
ND: I feel like mental health has always been a part of my life. It's definitely big in my family and in my dad's side of the family, so I feel like I definitely became aware and started dealing with it once I started hitting puberty and getting a little bit older. I talk about this on my podcast, but I didn't really understand what it was. I would get phases where I would feel really anxious or I'd feel really lonely, or I'd feel a little depressed, and it would go away, and then it would kind of come back. It was very much in waves, and I thought maybe I'm just weird or different or that's just kind of how I am.
But eventually I started finding a community online and talking about it online and realizing that a lot of people related to my story and I wasn't alone. There were a lot of people who actually dealt with the same stuff that I did.
I ended up moving to California, and I think obviously leaving your childhood home, moving to a different state, that's kind of where it escalates. … I was like, Oh, shit, I'm a big girl now. I gotta wear my big girl pants. I got to deal with this by myself, and deal with the world by myself.
[Mental health is] something that I will always have to deal with and will always be a part of me. So I think it's really important to share my story online and be able to talk about it openly so that people relate and are able to find comfort in that. I found comfort in people that would talk about their stories online, so I feel like now that I'm in the position that I'm in, I want to be able to do the same and use my platform for that.
WM: When you’re going through it, are you the type of person who tries to think your way out of a tough situation or do you ride the wave and sit with those emotions?
ND: I definitely am more in tune with my body, and I know when I'm getting overwhelmed. But in the past, I would get really, really overwhelmed really quickly. I think when a lot was happening at once, that would trigger it. If there were a lot of things happening in my life at once, whether it was personal or work stuff or school stuff, like you need to turn this in today or I had an argument with my best friend and we haven't fixed that. Just little things that felt like my world was falling apart because there was just so much piled on.
I actually learned [to deal with it] through my mom. My mom has always been a big advocate for taking things step by step, one thing at a time. Don't focus on like, Oh my God, I have all of this shit that's going on in my life right now. Just focus on one thing, solve it as best as you can, deal with it as best as you can, and then move on to the next thing. That’s really helped me a lot.
Present day, honestly, I wish I was able to just ride the wave and be like … You know what? This is a rough patch right now, but in a couple of days I'll wake up and I'll be fine. … But I am very much the type to be like, Oh my God, I want something to change. Let me act on it. … Ultimately if you have patience, everything will be good. It's all going to be fine. Be optimistic. But I'm a little bit impulsive. I'm like, Let's just change this. I don't like my hair right now? Let's change it. If someone's being mean to me and you've been an asshole for the last couple of months as my friend, maybe you shouldn't be my friend. You know what I'm saying?
WM: What are some other ways you take care of your mental health on a regular basis?
ND: I am a big lover and believer in positive self-talk and affirmations. It sounds a little cheesy and corny, but honestly just speaking kindly to yourself and talking to yourself as if you were your biggest fan. When I'm feeling really anxious or overwhelmed, or maybe I'm feeling like my confidence is at 10%, I honestly just lie to myself until I believe it. Like, I'm the most confident person in the world. I'm the smartest person in the world. Just talking myself up until eventually I feel [good].
WM: Have there been any conversations or episodes of your podcast that have been really healing or helpful for you?
ND: I think the episode where I was talking about my mental health was very freeing, and I felt very heard. I felt safe because a lot of my community and a lot of people who tuned into that episode were like, “Holy shit, I’ve felt that way before, and I related so much to you. I feel so seen, and I feel less lonely.” When someone's telling me they feel so seen, I'm like, Holy shit. Not only do you feel seen, but I feel seen. You're understanding what I'm saying, and that means a lot to me. Obviously those deeper episodes when I talk about things that really matter to me are my favorites, but also posting random videos is equally fun.
WM: Are there any podcasts or musicians or actors that when you listen to their work, it feels like therapy for you?
ND: Ms. Lauryn Hill. I love her so much. Lauryn Hill is the queen. I listen to her music so often. There's a song called “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind.” That's so good if you listen to the lyrics. She's just a poet and an artist, and I love her so much. I listen to her music definitely when I'm seeking comfort.
WM: What mental health advice would you give your younger self if you could?
ND: I would probably say to be more open with the people that I know love me. Being able to open up, start a conversation, and talk about how I feel, rather than suppressing it and being like, Oh, no one will understand, or This is weird. It takes a lot of the pressure off when you share with someone.
And then I would also say: That's life. Life is going to be highs and lows. It's never just going to be [just] high. It's never just going to be [only] low. Just take it day by day. Relax. It's not the end of the world.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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