Lizzo on trying to 'normalize' talking about her emotions online: 'It's not like a cry for help'

·5-min read
Lizzo shares her perspective on self-care, setting goals and being candid about her mental health. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Lizzo shares her perspective on self-care, setting goals and being candid about her mental health. (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.

There's good news for folks who use Lizzo's songs as their own personal motivational anthems: The Grammy winner's new single, "Special," has empowering lyrics — "Famous, pretty, new, but I've been used to people judging me/That's why I move the way I move and why I'm so in love with me" — that are bound to be sung loud enough to drown out any haters. The brand-new track appears in her new Defy Logic campaign for Logitech, in which the consumer electronics brand celebrates Lizzo as well as other "special" trailblazers like social media star Bretman Rock and Kenyan comic Elsa Majimbo.

"What I love about Logitech celebrating me for celebrating my individuality," the singer tells Yahoo Life. "We're long overdue for that, and I appreciate it because it's like, 'we see you' — not just to me, but to the other creators and artists that I'm sharing this campaign with. But what we represent, who we represent, it's not just about us; it's about out every person who has set out to make their footprint in this new world. We're acknowledging the transition from the old world and the way things used to be to this new way of being."

Her work as a creator is undoubtedly fulfilling, but can also be "exhausting," she admits. In an increasingly crowded field that's dependent on social media to thrive, knowing when to take a break and prioritize herself is paramount.

"I think the need to understand what self-care means matters more and more now," she says. "It's not just like, 'oh, I get pedicures every Sunday' .... that's great, that's a start. ... Real self-care is, like, hard work, you know what I mean? Real self-care isn't just treating 'yo self' or pampering myself."

Hitting the gym can oftentimes scratch that itch.

"Working out is something that is so hard for me to, like, do at first, but once I'm doing it, I'm like, 'Whew! I'm so glad I did that,'" Lizzo shares. "I'll literally be so stressed out or so sad about something and 30 minutes later after doing cardio or calisthenics or weight training or a hike, I'm like, 'Damn, I'm glad I did that. I feel so much better.' That's a true reward for me. Sometimes ... the stress that you're feeling, you've got to match that stress with something that's good for you to get it out of your body.

"Because I know that's what I deal with way more than anything these days, is stress and anxiety," she adds with a laugh.

Indeed, the 33-year-old has been candid about the moments when she's feeling low or upset by hateful messages from online trolls.

"Social media is so curated, people think that you're supposed to be, like, happy all the time," she says of talking through her feelings on her platform. "And it's like, if you're not happy all the time, why would you show that? But it's like, people act like they don't cry. People act like they're not upset about things. And the fact that I choose to show it is, for me, helpful. If it's happening to me online, I kind of wanna work it out online too, you know? It's not like a cry for help and it's not to bring any pity. It's more so to just, like, normalize it. So it is helpful for me to work things out on the internet, and I love working things out in my craft and through my creativity."

The latter approach, she notes, allows her to channel her emotions into her music and "make a bag from it, as they would say." "Special," with its references to feeling "alone" and "broken" but determined to celebrate herself and rise above the haters, appears to be just one example.

"How much of me am I willing to give away for free ... to people who don't know what to do with it?" she tells Yahoo Life of wearing her heart on her sleeve. "So I think I've put that boundary on myself and I've been more dedicated to [thinking], 'OK, if you're gonna be emotional, put in the music. If you're sad today, put it in a song, put in a visual, you know, put in a move. So I think I'm gonna let all of my emotions dictate my big moves from now on. I clearly have a lot of them, so maybe I'll have a lot of moves to make."

The "Good As Hell" singer also opened up about her goals for the year ahead.

"I absolutely believe in the power of manifestation because I've seen it," she says. "It's not just, like, a cool, trendy thing for me."

The Houston native recalls tweeting out her resolutions every year, publicly declaring her intentions to see more beaches or buy lingerie for herself, "because I'd never had lingerie." Looking back at those tweets later — and the trips and purchases she'd made since — she'd think, Man, I really manifested that.

"2018 going into 2019, I was like, 'more milestones,'" she says. "And that was one of the most milestone-rific years of my life. So I truly believe in it."

This year, one resolution the Hustlers star has set is to "finally be who I said I was gonna be."

She explains, "I always feel like I was on my way to being who I said I was gonna be, but I'm like, 'this year, do everything you've ever wanted to do — not just music-related. Like, do it all, because you can. Start your mogul-hood.' I always wanted to be a mogul and I always believed I could. I always believed I could be multifaceted, and this is the year that I'm going to begin that journey. [I plan to] really look back on the year and be like, 'I did that.'"

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