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.
"Prioritizing mental health was something that I was raised to believe is hugely important," actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher tells Yahoo Life. "Therapy can come in so many ways — through talk, meditation, healing... "
It's just part of the Sweet Magnolias star's commitment to health and wellness, a "passion" she says she shares with her husband, former baseball star Nick Swisher, with whom she shares two young daughters. It's part of the reason why the couple — who also have "uncomfortable environmental allergy symptoms" in common — are joining forces as spokespeople for ALK's #AllergyHomeFree campaign, which offers tools for others who suffer from allergies year-round.
"I not only suffer from seasonal allergies, but I also have to manage my indoor allergies to house dust mites," she explains. "In-home practices to minimize dust and keep our air purified are just as important as knowing what the air quality looks like outside each day. While staying indoors more, people should keep in mind that allergy triggers can be found all over our homes. With spring just around the corner, this can mean more allergy symptoms from allergens like pollen, and the Klarify app has been really helpful for me in managing my seasonal allergies — I can track my symptoms, see daily allergy severity in my area and locate an allergist to discuss my treatment options."
Here, she shares the other ways her family put wellness first.
Do you have any small self-care rituals that help you manage stress or brighten your day?
I start my day using an app that tunes into your vibration and energy and offers a really peaceful tone that sends me on my day feeling super-grounded. But self-care comes in so many shapes and forms. Focusing on gratitude, carving out time to do things that you find FUN and even giving yourself permission to take a break and relax for a minute are just a few of the ways you can recharge your batteries and feel whole again.
Do you and Nick have any wellness practices that you share as a couple?
I think carving out time for just the two of us is the best gift we give to one another. Even if we are just watching a movie together, that time spent is so crucial to keeping us strong and connected.
When you're on a set, how do you make your personal space or trailer more relaxing? Any must-have items you need to have around you?
I’m notorious for redecorating my trailer and making my tiny corner of my workspace my own. I also have essential oils misting and my air purifier is always in tow when I set up shop. From there, I bring photos to make it feel personal and a really cozy blanket and pillow.
Has your approach to wellness and self-care changed since you became a mom?
I would say my wellness practices haven’t changed since becoming a mom, but they have evolved. Finding the time has been more of a juggle, but prioritizing self-care is something I want my daughters to see me do. I want them to seek out their own rituals and practices that help keep them feeling whole and grounded.
Are there any empowering well-being practices in particular that you hope to pass on to your daughters?
I hope that my daughters see that practicing self-care and wellness is a journey, and one that always offers an opportunity to learn about ourselves and grow. We may need different things at different moments in our lives, but it doesn’t change that we should always prioritize taking the time for our mental health and wellness.
You’ve spent so much of your life acting. How do you keep perspective?
I have been asked about this many times over the years, and I always come back to gratitude. Having the opportunity to make a living doing what you love is a gift — and one that I never take for granted.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s so hard to pinpoint one piece of advice that means the most. But the idea we should always be learning is a huge theme in my life and one I always try to focus on.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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