The Relax is Yahoo Life’s wellness series where experts, influencers and celebrities share their approach to wellness and mental healthfrom self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.
When it comes to thinking about self-care, “people get very stuck,” Busy Philipps tells Yahoo Life. “It doesn’t have to be 40, 45 minutes every day. It could be as simple as taking seven minutes to eat yogurt, focusing on one thing and it slows you down and forces you to just be there.”
The girls5eva star and Busy Philipps doing her best podcaster has a specific yogurt in mind. Ahead of International Self-Care Day on July 24, the actress and mother of two has teamed up with Oui by Yoplait and Essie to launch their OuiFresh Self-Care Packs filled with six bold nail polishes that complement six fruity yogurt flavors; 1,000 kits are given away in a sweepstakes ending July 22 at 3 p.m. ET.
Philipps showed off her own multicolored French manicure and shared the other ways she treats herself, from sweating to asking for help.
International Self-Care Day is coming. What does self-care mean to you as a concept and what are the small rituals you do for yourself?
I think there’s been a lot of focus on self-care in the last year and a half, and I think part of that is the realization that it’s getting really overwhelming for everyone, especially women — working women, non-working moms, not moms… There is just a lot to deal with in everyday life and to be able to take [time for yourself], it doesn’t even have to be something big. It doesn’t have to be like, “I meditate for 25 minutes every day.” You know, it could be as simple as eating your OuiFresh yogurt, painting your nails, taking a bath, just anything where you get out of other people asking you for things and doing things for others and you just focus on yourself and the present moment.
And I think for me, during the pandemic, especially in lockdown, that was what I struggled the most with… Being in the present moment is something that was very hard for me to do. I was constantly looking to the future, but now I’m so aware of it, because I’ve kind of come through on the other side. I mean, we’re still dealing with a lot of things in the world and the pandemic, but I’m working on ways to keep making that a priority. Sometimes people say, “self-care and mental health and wellness isn’t about painting your nails or doing a face mask.” And my answer would be good, sometimes it’s because sometimes that’s what you need to be able to go in and check in and see how you feel and see what it is that you want or need in that moment .
You are known on social media for this authentic, raw vulnerability. You’re not afraid to show that you’re crying, whether it’s tears of joy or because you’re having a bad day, and it’s rare for people to show that side of themselves. Do you feel that crying can be a form of self-care for you, or therapeutic in some way?
Of course. Yes. I also think that’s kind of a cultural shift, and I love that there’s more conversations about mental health and wellness. I mean, Marlo Thomas told us in the 70s that it’s okay to cry. It’s helpful to get your emotions out and it’s actually not helpful to keep things inside. I think the more people talk about mental health issues or what they’re going through in a real way and normalize it, and not as a performative, superficial “I’m doing this because I feel like I should be doing this this way – I think the better off we’ll all be.
But one thing I’d say about social media and where I think people sometimes have a hard time navigating is that you need to be self-aware of who you’re talking to on your social media. I think people sometimes use it instead of close friends or family or contact that way. I don’t want that to be anything more important than actually connecting with people who are in your life.
What’s your go-to for self-care?
I like sports as a form of self-care for myself. Sweating every day has really made a difference in my mental health and well-being. And I’ve noticed a difference: I’ve been having a bit of a rough time lately and I’m like, oh, it’s because I didn’t exercise every day. Something’s happening for me — you know, I’m not a doctor or a scientist — whether it’s my endorphins or just kicking in, I just feel better, so that’s a big part of my self-care. And sometimes that’s all I can do in a day. And sometimes it annoys my kids, I’m not going to lie. Will my kids one day say, “My mom was always working out”? [laughs] But I’m not always working out; it’s one workout and it’s 45 minutes so they can calm down. I find that that is something that I actually have to do daily or very regularly to feel a little inside myself.
And you are modeling self care in a sense for them.
I try to model self-care for them. I try to explain to them that all the things I do, I do for myself, and by extension is something that is done for them.
You have a TV show, a podcast, lots of other projects… Do you have any tricks for finding balance when you have so many irons in the fire, on top of your private life?
No, because it really is flying-through-the-seat-of-your-pants [laughs]. Every day is different. I was someone who didn’t like asking for help when I was younger, and then I realized you can’t do everything. You can’t do it all alone, and you have to be willing to delegate and you have to be willing to let go of some things. You have to be willing to say no to things. The trick is that you have to create some sort of mental list that can evolve and change all the time [in terms of the] priorities so that the things that are lowest can fall off. And sometimes even making the list just feels like something else to do, but those tricks do get you through really busy, overwhelming moments.
Do you have a mantra you are trying to live by?
I try to live by it and very consistently remind myself that everything works as it should. And it’s hard – that’s so hard to remember sometimes. But if you really listen to yourself and your intuition and can surrender to it, you won’t make a bad decision.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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