‘It’s helpful to get out your emotions’

Busy Philipps on self-care, tears and endorphin-boosting workouts. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Busy Philipps on self-care, tears and endorphin-boosting workouts. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from 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 bogged down,” Busy Philipps tells Yahoo Life. “It doesn’t have to be 40, 45 minutes every day. It can be as simple as taking, like, seven minutes to eat a yogurt, where you’re just focusing on one thing and it sort of slows you down and forces you to just be present.”

The Girls5eva star and Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best podcaster has a specific yogurt in mind, as it happens. Ahead of International Self-Care Day on July 24, the actress and mom of two has partnered with Oui by Yoplait and Essie for the launch of their OuiFresh Self-Care Packs stuffed with six bold nail polishes complementing six fruity yogurt flavors; 1,000 kits will be given away in a sweepstakes ending July 22 at 3 p.m. ET. 

Flashing her own multicolored French manicure, Philipps shared the other ways she treats herself, from sweating it out to asking for help.

International Self-Care Day is coming up. What does self-care mean to you as a concept and what are the little rituals that you do for yourself?

I think that a lot of focus on self-care has happened in the last year and a half, and I think that part of it is the realization that things get really overwhelming for everyone, especially women — working women, non-working mothers, not mothers… There’s just a lot to deal with in daily existence and to be able to take [time for yourself], it doesn’t even have to be like a huge thing. It doesn’t have to be like, “I meditate 25 minutes every day.” You know, it can be as simple as eating your OuiFresh yogurt, painting your nails, taking a bath, just anything where you get outside of other people asking you for things and doing things for others and just focusing on yourself and the present moment.

And I do think that for me, during the pandemic, especially in lockdown, that was the thing that I struggled with the most… Being in the present moment is something that was really hard for me to do. I was constantly forward-focused, but now I’m just so aware, having come through on the other side somewhat. I mean, we’re still dealing with a lot of stuff in the world and with the pandemic, but I’m figuring out ways to continue to make that a priority. Sometimes people are like, “self-care and mental health and well-being isn’t about painting your nails or doing a face mask.” And my answer would be well, sometimes it is because sometimes that’s the thing that you need in order to be able to go inside yourself and check in and see how you feel and see what it is that you want or need in that moment.

You’re known on social media for having this authentic, raw vulnerability. You’re not afraid to show yourself crying, whether it’s happy tears or because you’re having a bad day, and it feels rare for people to show that side of themselves. Do you feel like crying can be a form of self-care for you, or therapeutic in some way?

Of course. Yeah. I also do think that that’s sort of culturally shifting, and I think it’s great that more conversations are being had about mental health and well-being. I mean, Marlo Thomas told us in the ’70s that it’s OK to cry. It’s helpful to get out your emotions and it’s actually not helpful to hold things in. I think that the more people talk about and normalize mental health struggles or what they’re going through in a real way — and not like a performative, superficial “I’m doing this because I feel like I should be doing this” way — I think the better off we’re all going to be. 

But one thing I would say about social media and where I think people sometimes have trouble navigating that is that you have to be self-aware of who you’re speaking to in your social media. I think that sometimes people sort of use it in place of close friends or family or reaching out in those ways. I don’t want that to be a thing that takes precedent over actually connecting with people who are in your life.

What’s your self-care go-to?

I love exercise 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 little bit of a trickier time recently and I’m like, oh, it’s because I haven’t been working out every day. There’s something for me that happens — you know, I’m not a doctor or a scientist — whether it’s my endorphins or just getting going, it just makes me feel better, so that’s a huge part of my self-care. And sometimes it is the only thing I can do in a day. And sometimes it annoys my kids, I’m not going to lie. Are my children someday going to be like, “My mother 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’s a thing that I need to do basically daily or very regularly in order to feel sort of in myself. 

And you’re modeling self-care to them in a sense.

I try to model self-care to them. I try to explain to them that all of the things that I do I’m doing for myself, and that by extension is something that’s done for them. 

You have a TV show, a podcast, lots of other projects Do you have any tricks for finding balance when you’ve got so many irons in the fire, on top of your home life?

No, because it’s really fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants [laughs]. Every day is different. I was a person who didn’t like to ask for help when I was younger, and then I realized that you can’t do it all. You can’t do it all on your own, and you have to be willing to delegate and you have to be willing to let some things go. You have to be willing to say no to things. The trick is you sort of have to make a mental list that can be ever-evolving and changing [in terms of the] priorities, so the things that are on the lowest can drop off. And sometimes even making the list feels like just another thing to do, but those kinds of tricks do help you move through very busy, overwhelming moments. 

Do you have a mantra that you try to live by?

I do try to live by and remind myself very consistently that everything works out the way that it’s supposed to. And it’s hard — that is so hard to remember sometimes. But if you really listen to yourself and your intuition, and you’re able to drop into that, you’re not going to make a bad decision. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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