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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.
Catt Sadler can't help but see the glass half full in life, despite the curveballs she’s been thrown lately. The entertainment journalist, activist and mom just launched the Dear Media podcast It Sure Is A Beautiful Day., which features unfiltered conversations about important topics, including mental health, with both close friends and notable celebrities.
“'It Sure Is A Beautiful Day' doesn't mean every day is going to be easy or filled with sunshine and joy,” Sadler says, chatting to Yahoo Life. “It’s remembering that regardless of what comes at us, there is a peace and a solace where we can be OK — and OK is really nice. We’ll all take OK after what we went through last year, right? That OK is beautiful in and of itself.”
What has surprised you the most over this past year of change and transition?
The waves of it all. [This past year brought] a lot of highs and a lot of lows and I felt the rollercoaster of emotions like so many people did. Beyond the pandemic, I went through a lot of personal changes — a romantic relationship had ended, my kids' father moved across the country — and I found myself faced with an opportunity to look inside and think more about my stage in life, being in the middle of my life.
What surprised me was that I was pretty good at being still and being centered. I got really comfortable swimming around in this bigger, deeper question of our purpose. I liked the slower pace and the introspection, and I invoked that in the direction of the show. The last year, for me, was a gift in a lot of ways.
What's something you learned during the recording of It Sure Is A Beautiful Day?
This is my second podcast and this time around it’s different because, right now, [the show] is recorded over Zoom. That won't last forever and I still try to paint an intimate picture for the listener, and spend some time cultivating an exchange that’s real. We’re all human beings that come to a conversation in the middle of our lives. These are people's real lives and I love capturing that. I like asking where in the world people are so I can paint a picture for listeners.
For example, I interviewed CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins. I was really impressed by her over the past year and she was one of my first Beautiful Day guests. She was coming to the interview from the basement of the White House, below the press room — which was just so cool — so I wanted her to describe that scene for the listener.
What’s your approach to mental health?
You have to make [self-care] a priority. We hear about “the work” — the work we’re supposed to do on ourselves, whether it's therapy or exercise or eating a certain way or meditation — to heal or just to sharpen up your wellness. It is the discipline of the practice. I told my therapist that [self-care] does work if you’re actually consistent, if you invest time each day, bit by bit. It doesn't have to be three hours a day, but it has to be consistent. You do feel the shift; you do blossom into this better version of yourself. I am here for it — I know that it works and I really want to be that cheerleader for people. I don't feel bad about [taking time for] self-care at all!
Do you have any small self-care rituals to start or brighten your day?
I think bite-sized rituals help keep you staying grounded and relaxed. I try to gratitude journal in the morning, and write in another journal, even for two minutes, which is more of a form of prayer to set intentions and ask for guidance.
Movement is so key! Walking is so easy... I walk with or without my dog and I try to not always be on the phone so that I can be completely present when I walk, to look at my neighbor’s flowers and see the details of the trees. It sounds crazy, but the exercise of being where you are is so rewarding and definitely helps people manage stress and anxiety. For me, movement is a big part of self-care. I also have a mad love affair with hot yoga, and the meditative component feels like self-care.
What about wind-down rituals? How do you end the day?
Yes, sleep for me is a ritual. At night, I listen to the Calm app to fall asleep; they have sleep stories for adults. And I spray a little lavender on my pillow. It’s a nice way to end the day… I love this stuff! I prioritize it.
What wellness trend do you think is overrated?
The celery juice trend just popped into my head [laughs]. I succumbed to that and drank it for maybe two weeks — but it didn’t last. I do think wellness at its core is quite simple. There are so many products out there — I love powders and potions and oils and things to add to my smoothies — I'm always on the search all the time. But I realize some things I do work against me, [like] drinking alcohol, drinking coffee, which are dehydrating. It’s pretty simple: It doesn't take a lot of money to drink water.
You really open up on It Sure Is A Beautiful Day. Were you nervous about being so open and unguarded?
We’re starting to see that vulnerability can be a strength, not a weakness, but there are varying degrees of comfort with that. I’m getting better but believe it or not, I'm far more comfortable asking the questions. It is difficult for me to crack open and know that I’ll be judged, so I had to let go of that — and that required me to be unguarded. Doing this podcast — asking people to be open and share — I had to do the same, and it was more challenging than it sounds.
From talking about feelings on a podcast to advocating for therapy, you seem to really see the benefit of opening up.
I struggled with therapy in the past because I wasn't being open enough and would inevitably stop going. This is the first time I’m being completely raw and myself. I’m not performing or keeping things tidy anymore. It’s scary — there are days I get nervous before talking to my therapist [laughs]!
I always tell my kids how important it is to talk about their feelings and inevitably, when they come to me and unload, they always feel better and lighter, just from talking through it. I encourage and am such a believer in trying therapy if you have access to it.
What brings you joy?
Being with my kids. Quality time! To grow closer with them is real joy. I even convinced them to come to hot yoga with me on Mother’s Day!
What’s your mantra for life?
I try to see the beauty in everything and gratitude in the moment. Our thoughts have value and weight and contribute to the qualities of our days. My mantra right now is "I am breaking the cycle." I’ve been guilty of having patterns of bad, toxic relationships so I’m loving myself first and foremost and learning new boundaries. I’m not lying to myself. It feels really good to have that mantra because I’m living it. I am breaking the cycle.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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