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.
Adults know Tia Mowry as the star of iconic ‘90s sitcom and youngsters know her as Coco in , Netflix’s heavily watched family series, which has won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Program and is about to enter a third season. The former child star and famous twin also hosts her own YouTube channel, , posting weekly videos to help viewers solve small issues. The mother of two, who’s married to actor Cory Hardrict, also has a new cookware collection which has launched on the heels of her cookbook, .
Needless to say, she's juggling a lot, both in and out of the kitchen. For Yahoo Life's The Unwind, Mowry shared why discussing mental health these days is more crucial than ever.
Raised in a religious family, Mowry was hesitant to approach mental wellness outside of the church. Turning to therapy wasn’t encouraged, she says, let alone practiced. But when she was urged by a close friend to give therapy a try, she did — and hasn’t looked back.
“It’s about deserving peace and happiness. I chose myself, my peace of mind. I’m very proud of myself because a few years ago, I was neglecting my mental health and a good friend of mine told me I needed therapy,” she says. “One of my friends told me the importance of therapy for about four or five years. I [made excuses not to go] but he was persistent. I give him a lot of credit for his advice — and for allowing me to see the importance and guiding me in the direction [of therapy].”
After the loss of family members in recent years, Mowry knew it was time to honor herself and her own mental well-being.
“I realized after the passing of two family members — one was old and one was young — how short life really is. I needed to find my peace and my true happiness and focus on my mental health and start therapy,” she says. “I’ve been in talk therapy for three years [now]. I’ve become extremely intentional when it comes to my mental health. [The past few years] were a wakeup call. Life is short and you need to make sure you are well, mentally. As a Black woman, in our culture, therapy isn’t something we grew up doing and [mental health] wasn't something we were mindful of."
Aside from talk therapy, Mowry turns to her phone for peace of mind. Not only does she use social media to connect with her fans and followers, she taps in daily for inspiration.
“I’m a fan of apps and social media and making sure whatever information I'm seeing on a daily basis is uplifting and positive,” Mowry says. “I‘m very intentional in terms of what I allow myself to see and read on social media. One account I follow is I love their daily affirmations, and I love too. I also use Slowdive, a : they have specific sounds for specific needs — like if you want to feel less stressed or more energized.”
She also relies on diet and exercise to keep her balanced and feeling good. She knows what to cut out when she’s feeling sluggish and knows to turn to movement when she’s feeling especially down.
“I’ve noticed that exercise is so incredibly important — but it’s the hardest thing to do when you're not feeling well or when you just want to stay in bed. What really helps me is [reminding] myself that there’s not one workout I regret."
Aside from giving into exercise, Mowry also cut down on alcohol because of the way it made her feel.
“Many times if you have a glass of wine or two, you feel good at that moment,” Mowry says. “But unfortunately, it can be a depressant and if you’re not in the best mood, drinking is counterproductive. I really limit my alcohol intake and try to be mindful about my sleep and what I’m eating.”
The actress and author credits her family with giving her a "healthy perspective," but deals with stressful times like anyone else.
“Being misunderstood stresses me out,” Mowry admits. “A goal of mine is to live through my authenticity —and I get stressed through other people's lives; I empathize with them. When people can't live their truth and be allowed to be themselves; or when I see prejudice or injustices or inequality, it stresses me out. I hope we can continue to work toward change. Some people don't know how to approach these conversations and [I hope] I can use my platform to have this conversation. It’s about inspiring and being purposeful.”
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