JoAnna Garcia Swisher is all about finding and celebrating joy, even when life may not seem so joyful or celebratory. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the actress has tried to stay "in the moment" and appreciate the many ways people have continued to stay connected, despite social distancing, sheltering-in-place, and wearing a mask.
"In the midst of the intense lockdowns, we all kind of still found ways to be together and experience life together, so I've tried to focus on that and really appreciate the time spent," Garcia Swisher tells Woman's Day. "I know there's a lot of uncertainty, and everyone is suffering and experiencing the pandemic in different ways — just try to be patient with each other and to be there for each other." She feels like maintaining a sense of community and coming together to get through these continuous hardships, all while keeping a safe distance, can be beneficial for everyone.
For Garcia Swisher, maintaining that sense of community and connection with others means keeping her family's holiday traditions alive, and even making a few new ones, despite the ongoing pandemic. "I'm all for celebrations and even having to be flexible with how things may look a little different this year, but we're planning on doing the same thing," she says. "Most of our holidays and celebrations center around food and drink and just sort of being together, and right now, family is kind of all you can be around."
This Thanksgiving, Garcia Swisher and her husband, former Yankees player Nick Swisher, are excited to incorporate different cuisines and involve their two daughters in the celebratory feast preparations. "They're really interested in learning how to make a cheesecake, so it'll be kind of enjoy at your own risk," Garcia Swisher says, laughing. "They seem to be excited about adding dessert to the mix." A few of the actress' chef friends sent her some vegan recipes she wants to try to make as well, though she jokes they will scare away her family. "So, it’ll be nice and intimate and filled with lots of different food this year," she adds.
Garcia Swisher's consistent effort to find joy and celebrate life is what propels her to carry on her family's holiday traditions during such an uncertain time. It's also what encouraged her to begin The Happy Place, a lifestyle destination that explores, motivates, and empowers living your life with intention and forming a deep connecting with the place you call home.
"The Happy Place is really a destination to celebrate all the spaces, places, and moments in your life that bring you the greatest joy, and I think that it's evolved over the years," she says, adding that the space changes as she encounters new things in her life that she's passionate about. Garcia Swisher's used The Happy Place to celebrate the great things that have come her way, like the lead role in Netflix's Sweet Magnolias and other highlights in her life. "It's really just about being positive and embracing the moment," she says.
When Garcia Swisher's father passed away suddenly in 2019, The Happy Place served as an incredible source of support, keeping her going through some of the hardest times in her life and continues to do so today as the county continues to face an unparalleled public health crisis. "There's so much going on in the world, and we can't hide from it," she says. "We have to kind of live with it, and I kind of choose to find that light and embrace the good stuff."
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