Mirrors Wellness: A Revealing Conversation with Heno.

Mirrors Wellness: A Revealing Conversation with Heno.  

(Written by Yoh Phillips)

“Thinking about burnout in Web3 today: How do we tackle this in a community where success comes from being always on?” – @Ellebeecher

Four months after Ella's question, TheUberhuman.eth wrote about Web3 Burnout on Medium. Another article, written by Randy Ginsburg, was published in April about the mental health crisis in the NFT community. Each story reiterates a similar need to prioritize wellness within and outside the metaverse. 

Wellness, as we enter the second pandemic summer, will only continue to be a hot button topic across every industry, on and offline. Music especially has an overdue need to recognize the reality of burnout during this sensitive time. With an influx of recording artist taking their talents into Web3, naturally, thought leaders will be tasked with being transparent about mental, physical, and financial wellness. 

Heno., born Yihenew Belay, is the first artist I personally know to speak of Web3 with enthusiasm. Not because of financial gains, but how communities interact and grow within the space. A recent conversation with Heno about wellness was inspired by him accepting a role as Head of Community at Mirrors Wellness Club, his first position collaborating as a partner at a company that sees the importance of putting wellness first. To coincide with Heno’s announcement is a brief interview of him discussing the Head of Community position, his relationship with wellness, artistic burnout, Wellness Wednesdays, and why Mirrors Wellness Club is moving in the direction of IRL events alongside digital activations. **

Slightly edited for clarity. 

Yoh: People everywhere are experiencing the weight of chasing their dreams. Even when succeeding or making progress and hitting checkmarks, there is also the wear and tear that happens to the mind and body while pursuing careers that require consistency on and offline. It can culminate into pressure, which becomes stress. How does one keep their mind on wellness while achieving their life goals?

Heno: I think it’s all a balance, ultimately. I feel like emphasizing the need and importance of wellness in the space I’m in now is almost revitalizing because a lot is going on every day. I feel wellness for me is a key to keep going because I went a long period without it. 

In the past, I dealt with loss by working on music. My grieving process was to work rigorously. That’s not healthy or sustainable. I wasn’t making space for myself to process things because I was thinking and operating in a space of just keep working. 

Part of being well is self-awareness and understanding. It's okay to focus on your wellness. I don't think artists generally think about that sometimes. Because not all artists are privileged to be, you know, in a space where they can. Some artists are working two to three jobs while trying to chase that dream. 

Sometimes they don’t have the space and the time to even think about how they feel. I realize I've had to work for a while to get to a point where I can even think about how I feel. 

Yoh: Tell me about Mirrors Wellness Club? 

Heno: Mirrors Wellness Club is a wellness company using Web3 tools to share and give insight to people getting in the space. It’s also a space where people can find balance in Web3, and also, balance life as a person. It's hard to even think about wellness when you aren't well. 

There was a period of time when I wasn't as well as I desired to be due to things I was personally going through. Now being in a place where I’m not thinking with a scarcity mindset, and not thinking constrained, I’m able to be the best version of myself and can show up and be of service to others. 

Yoh: You’ve mentioned Wellness Wednesday before. What will that be? 

Heno: Wellness Wednesdays are going to be the day that we plan to have all of our programming & activations; whether it’s Twitter Spaces, virtual meet ups, or IRL (in real life) activities like coordinated hikes, yoga, kickboxing, meditations, cycling classes, or mixers.  

They’ll also serve as a mid-week check-in with our community. Usually, the beginning and the end of a week can be very noisy, especially in Web3. We intentionally want to make space on Wednesdays to come together and partake in activities or discussions that reinforce physical, mental, or financial wellness.

Yoh**: Before Mirrors Wellness, what were the conversations happening in Web3 about wellness? 

Heno: I see a lot of platforms that want to do wellness. There is always an interest to do wellness, but it's rarely the main focus. For many platforms, it's cool to do stuff here and there, but I'm not seeing a lot of platforms emphasizing the core principles like Mirrors Wellness Club. 

But a lot of people in Web3 believe in wellness because there's this whole, you know, ideology shift happening. People in Web3 are being empowered as creators, here's new technology afoot allowing people to do things that we haven't been able to do. 

People who are already in Web3 kind of already think about wellness from an independent standpoint, from a financial standpoint, and from a creative standpoint, but a lot of it is online. We want to have a balance of IRL and online. 

There is a need for wellness that I want to be a part of. Wellness that cultivates community, and everybody that I've met through Mirrors Wellness Club has been A1.  The best way for me to show up as a community leader in this space is to be able to do my creative work and to have the freedom and the flexibility to do as I do.  

Mirrors Wellness Club has allowed me to be a partner and be a part of something bigger than myself and be of service for many people in the space. There’s a lot of Black, women, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities that we want to connect with. It all just kind of made sense. So that's what ultimately made me want to do it. 

Yoh: I find that many creators feel that creating is therapeutic; creating is part of wellness.

Heno: I think that takes a lot of like, self-awareness and a lot of introspection, and it takes a lot of surrendering to come to those conclusions. But I think that they're rooted in long term sustainability. 

**I think that takes a lot of like, self-awareness and a lot of introspection, and it takes a lot of surrendering to come to those conclusions. But I think that they're rooted in long term sustainability. 

That's what we ultimately all want: To be able to do what we love to do for as long as we can. Instead of doing what we love to do, until we can’t anymore. I don't want that. I want to decide when that is -- I don't want that decided for me.

Yoh**: With Web3 being so online what's the importance of focusing on bringing people into this community, in real spaces in real-time?

Heno: To be clear, Mirrors Wellness Club will be doing virtual activations and virtual meetups.  We have a bunch of stuff planned out on that side, just for people who aren't in L.A. New York or any of the other places we're going to have IRL stuff. 

We do feel like wellness needs to happen in real life. About 75 to 80% of the stuff that we plan is going to be in real life. Because it's important to detach from being online every day. I remember when I first got into Web3, I spent like ten hours a day just on Twitter sitting in spaces, DM’ing people, and having conversations every day, five-to-six days a week, for months. 

Not everyone is going to overwhelm themselves with all that information. But at the same time, people who are really into Web3 right now find themselves online all the time. And, you know, it's important to detach a little bit, get offline, get some fresh air, get some sun, and be around other people.

That's really the essence of what we're trying to do. It's easy to connect online, but those connections are way more meaningful in person. I think that that's how it's always been, right? Regardless if you're in Web2, or Web3, IRL events are always the most empowering way to take in whatever that experience may be. We want to do is create more of these experiences for people.

Yoh**: Sounds like making wellness more accessible. 

Heno: We're throwing a lot of free activations for people in L.A. We had kickboxing last week. We're planning out a cycling class in L.A. in Inglewood next week. That's going to be really dope. We're going to continue to have some of these experiences just so that we can make it accessible. I think wellness is for all and it can exist in both IRL and in Web3. 

We want to utilize and be Web3 leaning, but not Web3 exclusively to become a place for people who are trying to grapple with recent imbalance. Some people are more focused on their physical wellness and the bag, but not so much their mental. Then you have some people who are focused on their mental wellness and their financial wellness, but aren’t necessarily doing things physically. We hope to grow and build with all people so they can come out with a better way of being well. 

Yoh: Have you ever felt like you burnt out?

Heno: I did hit a burnout period a few years ago before getting into Web3. I remember having to almost start all over again, I felt like I had to take it back to the basics. And, you know, discipline is very important and the key to knowing and recognizing that I didn’t feel good. I could only find joy in music. Anything else outside of it made me feel miserable. 

I had to really look within and do some reflecting to realize it’s the same way as watering plants. I was watering my creative plants, but I wasn't taking care of my mental plants at all. It took going into therapy; it took going to the gym, working on my finances, and working on myself because that is just as important as making great music. 

What's the point of putting all this time and energy into your creativity if you’re not pouring into yourself? That was when I really knew I needed to make some necessary changes and prioritize a better balance. 

Yoh**: Was that because you didn’t feel as well? 

Heno: I didn’t. I didn’t feel well at all. I was like, nigga, you need to stop driving so fast because you will crash. You need to reassess where you are driving. You need to reassess why you are in the car. You need to make sure you have gas in the car. You need to check your tires. I had to do a whole maintenance check. It was then when I started to think that maybe I need to get back to just being well. 

I want to feel well and I want to create because I love music. I don't want to have this relationship where I'm stressed and I run to music to fix my problems. My problems are going to be there when I close my computer. 



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