Connie Britton wears her heart on her sleeve — in more ways than one. In between shooting her hit show and baking cookies for refugees, the 49-year-old actress partnered with Quaker Oats to raise awareness for the fight against women’s heart disease. “For me, it’s important because I like to advocate for women and this is a women’s issue. I think it’s a very little known fact that heart disease is the number one health risk for women in the country,” she told Yahoo Celebrity. “It’s just astonishing to me that women don’t know that they need to take care of their hearts.” It’s not hard for her to see why women don’t pay enough attention to their health, however.
“We’re all so busy taking care of other people that we put ourselves last,” she observed. “I have a 6-year-old son at home, and man, it’s a steep learning curve. You kind of just let all that self-care go by the wayside.” Britton has been making an effort to change, that, however.
Though she admittedly doesn’t know her way around the kitchen, she does keep “simple, healthy snacks” on hand for herself and her son, Eyob. (Yes, oatmeal is included in that mix — and it’s apparently one of the very few dishes she actually claims to have mastered.) She also makes sure to get exercise, though she has sworn off the gym.
“I spent many years in the gym, and I never want to go back there!” she laughed. “If I know that’s what I have to do to work out, then I’m probably not going to work out very much.” Instead, she has found a few exercise options she genuinely enjoys, such as hot yoga (vinyasa, not Bikram), hiking, running, and walking. She especially likes the outdoor activities because Eyob can join her. “That’s a bonus,” she said, before adding, “He has a lot of energy.”
While she confessed that she hasn’t figured out how to balance everything as a working mom, her strategy over the years has been “to keep it as simple as possible,” arguing that life is complicated enough. We hear you, sister. “For somebody who’s busy — and that’s all of us — time is of the greatest value, so it’s really just about finding things that you can fit into the time frames that you have that you enjoy enough to actually do.”
Britton and her son recently spent time together preparing to welcome a Kurdish refugee family to America. “It was an amazing experience,” she recalled, explaining that she’d heard about the family during dinner with the mayor of Nashville the night before. “When she told me, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to come meet them at the airport,’” Britton explained.
“Eyob and I spent the day making signs and baking cookies, and I told him all about the family. He didn’t join at the airport because they [didn’t] come in until the later side and he had to go to bed because he had school the next day, but it was just so wonderful and incredibly profound to be able to meet that family and see the support from the people in Nashville,” she added.
“It was really sweet, though, because the next day my son woke up and asked, ‘Did you meet the family?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I did.’ Then he asked, ‘Where are they? Are they here? I thought I was going to meet them.’ I felt so awful, but I had to explain that they weren’t staying with us,” she said. Though he doesn’t understand everything about the Sharefs, Eyob — who is adopted — did have some context.
“He knows very well that he is from Africa and he is very proud of that, so I was explaining to him that these people live very, very far away and that they are coming to live in the United States and they’ve been on a really long journey and this is a new place for them, so we want to make them feel welcome,” she said. “It was a good day for Nashville and a good day for the United States.”
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