Kim Saira Sarte (@kimsaira) is a breath of fresh air. I found her on IG in 2020 and was instantly drawn to her infectious energy, her unfuckwithable-ness and her ability to articulate her emotions so beautifully to the world. Kim is a queer Asian joy coach, writer, mental health advocate and creative. She creates infographics about issues such as mental health advocacy through her Asian lens, and her mission is to contribute more awareness around the possibilities of Asian joy, wellness, abundance. We had the opportunity to chat with Kim about why she’s passionate about mental health and what feeling good and doing good truly mean to her.
Who is Kim? We wanna know all about you and your work!
I am a queer Asian joy coach, writer, and creative who advocates about the importance of mental health, tapping into radical joy and what healing can look like, all through my Asian-American lens. I immigrated to Flushing, NY from the Philippines when I was younger and have lived in Queens all my life until I moved out to LA in 2019.
What is your sign?
I am a Pisces sun, moon & Gemini rising ☻
Why is mental health awareness important to you?
Growing up, there was no concept of mental health. Even though I struggled with so much anxiety and even depression in my adolescent ages, I didn't know I was going through common mental health symptoms- I thought something was wrong with me, and growing up in a religious upbringing, I thought that I had to "pray" it all away (it didn't work). It wasn't until during the pandemic that I truly realized the importance of mental health, so I got sober and went to therapy.
All that's to say, I think that there is a significant amount of cultural stigma around mental health, and I think that advocating for equitable mental health resources (whether that's through western or eastern healing modalities) should be everyone's right.
What does wellness look like to you?
To me, wellness means a "total embodiment of self." It looks like decolonization through getting back in touch with my body - like through breathing practices, meditation, eating nourishing foods, unapologetic rest, and play. I used to feel so guilty for resting and saying no, and I've since learned that my guilt was coming from my conditioning through systemic barriers like capitalism.
What does feeling good mean to you?
Feeling good looks like unapologetic play, pleasure, and rest. This can look like going outside in nature (which always feels so refreshing energetically), doing something vulnerable and brave (like attending a new class and meeting new people), or saying no to working late so that I can have time alone, reading my book, or watching TV with my partner. For me, core parts to feeling good involve exercising my boundaries and being unapologetic when addressing my own wants and needs.
What does doing good mean to you?
In my opinion, on a deeper, soulful level, doing good can look like tapping back into myself (often through meditation or mindfulness), and doing what my soul is meant to do during my time here on earth (like following my dharma). On a more "human," earthly level, doing good can mean knowing that everything is so interconnected - so this can look like getting in touch with nature, reducing my carbon footprint as much as possible, and advocating for topics I am passionate about.
How would you like to see mental health improve in your community?
Overall, I would love to see less stigma towards mental health in general, and would love to see more of what mental health care & healing means for people of different cultures too. I would love to see more advocation of other healing modalities (eastern-centric healing modalities have helped me significantly) and for people to know that there aren't "black and white" ways to healing- it's not linear, and even tiny steps to take care of our mental health every day is still so significant.
Learn more about Kim's coaching cohort, Authentically You, and support her work HERE.