How Nabela Noor Leveraged TikTok For A Mental Health Movement
While not a new platform, it seems over the past two years TikTok has become the space du jour to showcase all manner of hacks and talents: cloud bread-making skills, excessive liquid foundation application, and tan-touring (to name just a few). However, there are also those influencers who are choosing a more mindful route. Lifestyle guru Nabela Noor, for example, chose to leverage her TikTok account — which boasts a cool 7 million followers — for a mental health initiative. In fact, in the year and a half or so since its inception, her #pocketsofpeace movement has spread like wildfire, encouraging thousands upon thousands to find their happy place amidst moments of chaos and uncertainty.
On a Zoom call with TZR, 30-year-old Noor explains that the hashtag started out as a means to simply center her worried mind. “We were all in quarantine, so I thought, let me just record my day to day — because I was super anxious,” she explains. “I thought, What can I do that focuses on the good in this really scary time? I wanted to document things that went right every day and the little moments of goodness.”
At the time, Noor dubbed said moments #quarantineroutine on TikTok and Instagram. But, after some months passed and social distancing restrictions allowed for more outdoor activity, the punny hashtag took on new life. “People were so invested in these daily documents and it was something we could all [do] to focus on the good that happened in the day,” says Noor. “But once social distancing took over, I figured I couldn’t call it ‘quarantine routine’ anymore, but I still wanted to do it because it was so cathartic for me and something everyone could bond over online.”
Thus, #pocketsofpeace was born. Whether it was through capturing her morning cup of coffee, watching her favorite show, or latest painting project, Noor says she wanted to encourage others to find the little moments of peace and tranquility in their day and find something special in the mundane. “I’m not telling you that this is all of my life,” explains Noor. “These are the best parts of my day. So I think it allows for some transparency in that it’s a highlight reel. There’s still a lot of nastiness and sadness going on but these are the things that went right.”
Noor is also honest in that this simple hashtag was created to help her cope with her own mental health concerns in a time of uncertainty. The influencer (who is expecting her first child in early 2022) has been very candid on social media about her 6-year journey with infertility, as well as her struggles with self-image and acceptance. “I just felt like #pocketsofpeace helped me ground myself,” she says. “So it all started with my mental health in mind, and then it ended up being something that we as a community could bond over. And I realized that there were other people who were also feeling anxious and feeling like the internet was really heavy.” Bonding practice, indeed. To date, #pocketsofpeace has about 1.1 billion views on TikTok. Noor explains that the daily posts have become a “real lifestyle” and mindful practice that she prioritizes along with gratitude journaling and therapy.
Speaking of journaling, Noor’s take on this seemingly basic habit is also fairly unique in that she also does this digitally, and has done so for the past three years. “I think the best way to have a gratitude journal is on your phone,” says Noor with a laugh. “If you’re someone who really loves to write, then I encourage that. But I found, for me, the way I journal effectively is having it on my Google Docs. I just pull them up no matter where I am and it’s easy to jot down the things I want to celebrate each day.”
It seems the influencer’s viral hashtag and passion for mindfulness has even extended into her beauty routine. Noor’s latest collaboration with beauty brand PÜR is centered on “embracing and celebrating one’s individuality,” with multi-tasking makeup and skin care and cheery product names like the “Embrace Your Face” eye and cheek palette and “Celebrate You” lip chubby. “It’s very authentic to me and my growth over the last year and a half,” says Noor. “This collection really embodies that in so many ways. I turned 30, I’m entering motherhood, and I’m looking at my makeup routine differently. I wanted it to celebrate all those things, but also my South Asian culture. I’m a very proud Bangladeshi woman, and I’m very vocal about that online.”
In addition to infusing South Asian ingredients like turmeric and pomegranate, Bengali words like asha (hope) and shanti (peace) are also utilized for the shade names. “To see it be a true celebration of all of me is such an honor,” says Noor. Sounds like this collection could be yet another thing to file away under #pocketsofpeace. Just saying.