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.
Canadian actress Annie Murphy is best known for her award-winning role on Schitt's Creek as the lovably limp-wristed, vocal-fry voiced "Lamborghini," Alexis Rose. And though the series has come to an end, it's led her to what appears to be a continuous flow of work — on the second season of Netflix's Russian Dolls and on AMC's forthcoming Kevin Can Fu** Himself, set for a summer premiere (not to mention ad campaigns with Hello Fresh, Nintendo Switch and, most recently, Tide). Schitt's Creek co-star Catherine O'Hara called her a "beautiful soul" at last week's SAG Awards, and this week, Murphy bared a bit of it for Yahoo Life, touching on topics from social media and bread baking (not) to mental wellness and natural deodorant.
You have been such a fast-rising star. How do you avoid burnout?
I feel like I'm coming up to the burnout phase, so I will keep you posted on that! I've been really, really immensely lucky to be working since September. I was working in Boston, and then about a month ago, I came to New York and started working on Russian Dolls… I'm about to wrap on that, and I think that will be the time when my body's like, "Alright, I'm outta here." But I get to go home to Toronto, to my apartment, and — I was going to say, see my friends, but that's not the case, because Toronto is now in full lockdown again. But. you know, books and TV and wine and baths and exercise, I think, are things that I'm very much looking forward to.
How have you dealt with the stresses of the pandemic over this past year, especially in the early days of lockdown?
I think at the beginning… there was a lot of, like, well, I'll just take this time to binge a whole bunch of TV and like eat a whole bunch of bulls**t and just be on kind of a perpetual weekend, and shake my fist at people making sourdough bread, because that makes me feel really terrible about myself, that I'm just sitting here eating pizza. But the fun two-week weekend became, like, a monthlong weekend, became a two-monthlong weekend. I was like, oh, OK. I need to just get off the couch and start doing a life, even though life, as we knew it, is not happening.
So just trying to find a routine and make a kind of schedule for myself was really helpful, even from, like, a mental health perspective — and getting exercise and eating well and trying to, you know, balance out supporting my local restaurants but also cooking for myself. We humans are not built for this, and so I know a lot of people are really, really struggling.
What are some other self-care tricks you have up your sleeve? Therapy, meditation?
I have therapy. I have antidepressants. I have a really wonderful group of friends and family who I just love so much and talk to all the time. And then, like, the escapism part, and exercise, of course. I actually just fell into the Peloton cult — I did, I did, after making fun of a very good friend of mine for a very long time! I tried it and I was like, oh, no. Which is nice, because when I go home, I'm going to be in another two-week quarantine… And then watching and rewatching things that made me happy: I rewatched The Office again, and that's such a wonderful, familiar, comfortable place. And I think a lot of people are doing that, getting back to rewatching things that made them feel OK.
How do you deal with the ups and downs of social media?
I have to be very aware. I mean, first of all, Instagram, as much as I love it, is so misleading because it's just people curating a life that they want people to see… I just want to keep mine light and fun and funny as much as possible, but you know, there have been times where I've been so angry and frustrated with mostly politics, that I have been like, alright, I'm going post what I think. And then I'm going to sit here and I'm going to reply to every person… I honestly only did that once. And, oh my God, it was an exercise! Because I didn't just want to be like, “Hey, get lost, man.” I wanted to just be funny or slightly articulate. And so I spent time responding. And for the first hour I was like, "Yes, this is amazing. It's making me feel so much better." And then by hour, like, three, I was like, "I am fighting a little ridiculous losing battle right now." There are always going to be people being contrarian or ignorant or racist or mean. So you just have to kind of unplug in that capacity sometimes.
Speaking of Instagram, your most recent post was about how you "insist on wearing natural deodorant" and were laughed at every day on the Schitt's Creek set "for smelling bad." I can relate. Why natural, and what's your favorite brand?
I mean, I'm already prone to every cancer in the book, genetically. And you know, Alzheimer's doesn't sound like a thing that I would like very much, so anything I can do to avoid things that have been connected to cancers and Alzheimer’s [both linked to the aluminum in anti-perspirants]. But that was my Schitt’s Creek life, and my new friends on the cast of Kevin Can Fu** Himself are very lucky, because I've found the perfect natural deodorant. And I’m not working for them, this is not an ad, but from one smelly lady to another, it's changed my life. It's called No Pong, and it's like a cream that you put on, and I have not smelled bad since getting this stuff. I swear. I swear to you… It's just such a game-changer for me.
You've also recently signed on to the new Tide campaign, "Turn to Cold," with Steve Austin, Ice-T, Vanilla Ice and others, to encourage washing clothes in cold water. What about that campaign spoke to you?
Well, I mean, anything that can be even the slightest benefit to the poor environment that we are just utterly trashing is appealing to me. And also the fact that this switching to cold does actually save a significant chunk of change — it can save up to $150 a year, which… I think a lot of people could use right now.
True that. Thanks so much, Annie.
Thank you for your time — and good luck with your armpits.
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