The demands on moms in 2020 were unlike anything we’ve seen before. As so many of us were juggling child-care gaps, remote learning, running the household, career responsibilities, and much more, we experienced a 28 percent increase in burnout compared to dads — and that number is even higher for Latinx and Black women.
In a year when we needed self-care more than ever, it proved elusive, unrealistic, downright impossible. But it’s a new year, and it’s time to focus on you. We’re hopeful that 2021 will bring exhausted moms everywhere a break, and we’re here to help you make it happen.
In this, The Self-Care Issue, we bring you an exclusive interview with WWE stars Brie and Nikki Bella that we hope will inspire you to say ‘no’ a little more often. We take you on an empowering health journey with Keke Palmer, bring you Jessamyn Stanley’s self-accepting brand of yoga, and show you a 20-minute workout you can do with absolutely no equipment at all, thanks to Brooke Burke.
It’s time we take a moment — even if it’s really just that — to replenish ourselves. Because to paraphrase Palmer, we can only share our light when it's beaming.
Eugenia Miranda Richman
By Katherine Speller
Photos By Nicole Marino Photography
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As the WWE moms welcomed new babies in 2020, they embraced a shift in priorities and discovered the strength to say no.
By Katherine Speller
Photos By Aurora Rose
How Keke Palmer Became Her
Own Health Advocate
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I can only share my light
when it's beaming.
The more we can take time for ourselves and the better we can connect with who we are, the more we'll be able to be better parents for our children.
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By Sabrina Rojas Weiss
Photos By Art Garcia via AP Images
Karamo Brown Says Self-Care for Parents Begins With a Locked Door
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By Danielle Sinay
Illustration By Ashley Britton
5 Tips to Get Your Relationship
Out of a Pandemic Rut
Jessamyn Stanley is a staple of any well-curated Instagram feed. The author, podcaster, advocate, and yoga teacher has established herself as a powerful voice in the modern wellness space — one that’s inclusive, kind, and full-throatedly committed to practicing sincere self-love.
At the tail end of 2020, SheKnows caught up with Stanley for a candid conversation about perfectly imperfect self-care in a pandemic year, her new book (Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance, drops on June 22), exploring her real and lived-in yoga philosophy, and how she’s been training her whole life — through yoga, mindfulness, and every-day acts of self-kindness — to make it through a year like 2020.
By Katherine Speller
Photo By Bobby Quillard
A Place in the Middle
A 20-Minute Barre Class You Can Do With Just Your Kitchen Counter
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“As my pace has slowed during Covid quarantine, my awareness and relearning about physical wellness has deepened. Home workouts have shifted into creative and fun ways to break a sweat. I have choreographed kitchen towel burns, kitchen-counter barre classes, total-body sofa burns, and community sweat sessions in my backyard. I have been able to connect with women around the globe through my Brooke Burke Body fitness app, and it’s been so important for our mental wellness. I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time with my
family and children this year because of Covid confinement. Those are the blessings
that this year has taught me.”
“I think I'm a lot more graceful with myself, a lot more patient, a lot more kind, a lot more understanding, you know? I've just really taken myself into my arms and held me. Maybe it’s just the course of time or experiences that I've had that led up to this point, but my self-love for myself when it comes to taking people out of my life that don't deserve to be there, making time for me to kind of sit alone and just enjoy things — I think they brought me to the place that I am now.”
“What I realized is that living more simple is definitely self-care. I’m such a hustler and I
live that hustling lifestyle and I love it — but I realized that all this stress I was carrying was just making me unhealthy in so many different ways."
“My self-care has always been the same. ... It's always been like, 'Hey, take time for me.' Set alarms on your phone all day long to remind you to take time for yourself.”
“2020 really made me listen to me. It's the first time that I've just had a lot of stillness in
my life. I'm a people-pleaser, so I'm stressing
out about making all my business partners happy, stressing about doing everything perfect for the reality show, stressing about being a hands-on mom... Like, all these things you could imagine constantly running through my head. ... It just
kind of taught me that going hard all the time
The actress and singer takes us on her journey of self-discovery and acceptance, as she learned about a hormonal condition that was affecting her “from the inside out.”
Even as he juggles being a reality-TV star, writer, skincare-line creator, podcaster, and a father, he makes sure to
stop everything and get some me time.
When the sensation of “missing” your partner is a relic of times bygone, it starts to feel like romance is, too. Here’s how to get it back.
Yoga has always been for everybody and has never had anything to
do with what you look like.
Let’s start by talking about 2020 and self-care. What does it look like and feel like to you right now?
Oh, man, you know, honestly, I feel like every moment of self-care prior to this year was practice for how life is now — like every yoga class, every meditation practice, every time that I was like, 'bitch, I did not practice yoga in a few days and now I just don't know if I can get back into it.' It’s like, ‘I practiced then, just come back to it. It's okay. You can do this.’
I did all of this practice for now. Literally every day I'm like, 'OK, what are your rituals? What are your practices? What do you know is true?’ You know you need to go outside, you know you need to drink water, you need to spend time with yourself and not with other people. You know the devices and information that's constantly flowing at you, you know that those are toxic. Pay attention to that. It's really running down this list of things every single day.
And more than anything, being cool with myself when I don't run through that list and when I do get into a place of feeling like, 'actually I feel like shit, I'm not happy right now. There’s a lot of doom and gloom within myself. I see it reflected out in the world and I just want to sit with that.’ On those days, weeks, months, whatever, just being like, ‘that's OK, too.’ I don't need to change that. I don't need to shame myself for that. I can feel exactly how I feel at that moment. And that's OK. That is what self-care looks like to me.
I think there's a million moments for processing literally every single day, and the most important part of that practice, to me, is understanding that what happened in the previous moment is irrelevant. Just because I was able to have it all together a moment before does not mean that I'm not going to trip and fall in the next moment. I need to be equally OK with both of those options. On top of just committing to the path of loving yourself first is loving yourself as a catalyst for loving other people. If I won't take care of myself, there's no way that I can take care of anyone else — and there's no way that I can really show up and be present and offer anything to anyone else.
So, like, whether it’s literally practicing yoga postures, I do think to establish in your practice it’s those postures and breath words and meditation and just rolling with that practice and showing up for it every day. And then again, much more importantly, not showing up for something and being OK with that, too — and experiencing what that feels like in my body to not practice — to be short with people, to exist in the chaos, to sit with the chaos. I think that having a tangible opportunity in my day through the practice of yoga, to work on that and to see that, that's really crucial for me.
That kind of muscle memory of cultivating grace for yourself, and that forgiveness and warmth for yourself — that takes a lot of training. How do you get your brain used to that?
Is today too recent? I've been really easy on myself with how my physical practices look and how I show up for them. And today, I had a very — I don't even know what the best word to use is — I had a very spiritually informative yoga practice. There's this posture that is kind of not very tastefully called "wounded warrior" — you're laying on your belly and you have one leg kicked out to the side, kind of like how you are when you're sleeping on your belly. I had my leg kicked out and I was stretching up in this posture and I realized that the passivity that I was allowing for in my spiritual body translated to my physical body. I found that I was able to just start moving into full poses from that. Basically, I was able to move from this very restorative type of hip opener into a deep, full split — which is something that [at] another time in my life, like when I first started practicing yoga, I would have been really hungry to be able to do.
Whether it's practicing yoga or doing some of those loving-up-on-yourself rituals, is there a time recently where you thought, ‘this feels like I’m doing right by myself’?
Exactly. But then it's so interesting because at the same time, along with that kind of spiritual passivity comes all kinds of emotional and spiritual awareness that is not that pleasant to deal with. So I think it evens out in the end. It's like 'oh my god this is so great' and then it's like 'oh, here's all this emotional baggage that I've been hiding.'
That's such a beautiful moment of being able to achieve something that past you full-body wanted — like a gooey soul place to be along with just feeling strong.
You know, I am so blessed to have my team — the Underbelly, my yoga studio and wellness brand — that really holds that community. So much of my ability to be intimate with other people is through my team. This is probably a good time to mention I have a book coming out next year — Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance — where I talk about this.
At first it was really complicated and hard and difficult, and I ran away from a lot of the hardness of it. And I honestly experienced a lot of shame around it. But now that I am at the stage where I'm at now, I feel like I'm able to recognize the blessing that the universe has offered me by being able to engage in such a delicate and beautiful way with so many people. We live in a world where we can be so detached from each other, especially because of the Internet and social media. It's so easy to, like, not have an emotional connection. And I think that we're breaking down this wall and really having so much important, vulnerable healing that I just feel blessed to be a part of it. But that is not to say that it is not hard.
Sharing any wellness practice — particularly something like yoga on social media — is so personal. How vulnerable is it to share that with such a huge audience?
I suppose, to me, it feels like yoga as it always was and always will be. White supremacy tried to get a hold on it and it's boring, it's being purged out. I don't know how else to say this, but I’m often surprised by how people are like, ‘no, wait, yoga is really for everybody?’ I'm like, ‘Oh my God. Yoga has always been for everybody and has never had anything to do with what you look like.’ It just has nothing to do with that. And so I think we're really just tapping back into what yoga is — and what it is, is a space in which it's just you and the truth. It's the light and the dark of all of us. It's the good and the bad of all of us. But it's that place in the middle where the trembles are happening. And those trembles happen at every intersection. They happen for everybody, regardless of what you look like or where you're from or how you show up in this world at all.
The more that we focus on that and focus on the fact that there should be no obstacle for any human being to live this practice, that's how we can really experience the healing that the universe is asking about.
I can imagine. This brings me to your messaging that helps people see, ‘oh, yoga can be for me too!’ and that yoga can be (and always has been) for people in fat bodies, people in Black and brown bodies, etc. Why is it so crucial to reclaim that space from the bland, white, thin, uninteresting image of yoga that’s been sold to us?
Honestly, I spend a lot of time alone. I try not to look at shit that I don't want to look at. I try not to be around people who get on my nerves. I try not to work and do business with people that feel unpleasant. I just let myself do things that are fun to feel good, especially honoring that inner child. Reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron had a huge impact on me.
It sucks that it's possible to derive a sense of joy from the unhappiness of other people, because there are some people for whom that will always be their first joy. They will always look to make you feel like shit. And it happens that the higher you get, the more that you are doing your thing and being successful, the worse it gets. And I think that just constantly showing up for that little kid inside myself, that feels really crucial to being able to experience and manifest joy and then reflect joy into the world.
I love the radical softness and the gentleness that's there. So I'm wondering, how do you give yourself that kind of joy in a world that always seems like it wants to beat that out of you — out of all of us?
Jessamyn's Self-Care Essentials
How has your self-care routine evolved over the last year?
Mindy Kaling, Keke Palmer, and more stars sound off.
“I think I've focused a little bit more on self-care than I have in the past. …having maternity leave during the pandemic has weirdly been helpful because I feel like everybody is on maternity leave. And so I don't have that kind of mom-guilt about being home and taking a lighter workload so I can spend time with my son.”
The At-Home Self-Care Practice
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Meditation can improve children’s behavior, school performance, and help them process their emotions.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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SheKnows Parenting Editor Sabrina Rojas Weiss demonstrates it with her 7-year-old son Nathaniel.
Check out more Brooke Burke Body workouts on her app.