Hailee Steinfeld explains how she finds balance: 'Self-care is the best version of selfish that you can be'

Hailee Steinfeld opens up about self-care, fitness and finding balance. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Hailee Steinfeld opens up about self-care, fitness and finding balance. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
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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.

At 25, Hailee Steinfeld has already checked off plenty of career milestones. After rising to fame at 14 with her Oscar-nominated role in True Grit, she spent her teens and early 20s releasing a slew of pop hits and blockbuster films. Most recently, Steinfeld followed up three seasons on the Apple TV+ series Dickinson by cementing her status in the next generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as archer Kate Bishop in Disney+’s Hawkeye. Slowing down isn’t so much an option for Steinfeld — which is why the actress, who is the new celebrity ambassador for Core Hydration, says she strives for balance.

“I think balance is everything in moderation,” she notes. “A lot of times I'm traveling and it feels like I'm in a million places at once. It’s just really important to find that inner patience, that dialogue of being kind to yourself and checking in with yourself and knowing that [you can do that], regardless of everything going on around you.”

For Steinfeld, that can be just taking a few minutes to breathe at any point in her busy schedule.

“I love to try and do it in the morning — to just breathe and check in with myself, before I check in with everyone else and in the world,” she explains. “I think it’s really important to do that.”

While the Edge of Seventeen star may find her moments of peace, she’s also a self-described competitive person who is always up for a challenge — especially a physical one. It’s in her DNA (her father is a personal trainer) and getting to push herself to her limits is one of the reasons why she gets so excited to take on physically demanding roles.

“When I started training for my role of Kate Bishop in Hawkeye, it was very intense,” she says. “I was so excited again to almost have the excuse of like, I've got to play this role, and it's going to be physically demanding, and it's going to be hot where we're shooting and I'm going to be in a crazy outfit. It kind of went further than just training really intensely — it became more about training mentally, and emotionally, to get into a space that physical. I love to set goals for myself and work towards them and challenge myself — I'm a very competitive person. So when it comes to anything physical, I'm like, Let's go to work.”

Off camera, Steinfeld is still seeking ways to power down. She would love to get a solid eight hours of sleep, but like many of us, has a bit of trouble parting from technology before bed.

“I'll be honest: The only thing keeping me from that is probably like, not shutting everything down when I get in bed,” she says. “I’ll lay in bed for a couple hours before sleep. ... I think being on my phone or on my computer has kind of [seemed like] a way of winding down when it's really not. And I'd like me to accept that.”

When it comes to self-care, Steinfeld says she used to struggle with reading up on the many ways other people are practicing it. Now, she does what works for her.

“I think that self- care is the best version of selfish that you can be, and doing whatever it is that makes you feel good from the inside out,” she says. “It is a buzzword and we see so many things around what self-care is or what it should be or what it should look like. It's different for everyone. And I think it's important to also realize that, because I can get caught up in, like, finding a list of things you should do for self-care. Not all of those things may work for me, but they might work for you. And so I think it's really about finding what it is that makes you happy.”

It’s all a learning curve, Steinfeld says, but she’s learning to trust that she knows how to care for herself best.

“Through my life, I've always been surrounded by a lot of incredible people and a lot of amazing professionals, and it's very easy to sort of look and see what's working for everybody else,” she says. “And I think if I could tell my younger self anything, it would just be to trust yourself and know that ... know what's best for you — and trust that.”

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