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.
With credits such as Claws, Reno 911!, Scream Queens and Family Guy, Niecy Nash is used to appearing on screens, not staring at them — "I was never on screens, I was on sets, honey," she quips to Yahoo Life. But with the pandemic, the actress and comedian has become all too accustomed to Zoom life and all that comes with it, paving the way for her latest project (more on that below).
Here, Nash opens up about navigating the digital world, getting married during the pandemic to wife Jessica Betts and trusting in herself.
How have you been navigating this year in general? Are there any rituals or self-care practices that you've adopted during the pandemic that you want to carry with you into life after the pandemic?
Well, I fell in love during the pandemic, I got married during the pandemic, I finally got to live in a house for more than a [month] — I think when I moved here I had not been able to get more than a consecutive 30 days straight. So I've been able to be home and that part I've enjoyed. But, time to get back out there.
Congratulations on getting married. How has married life been during lockdown?
Fantastic. I know some people didn't have a great experience; [for] some people you have to be stuck with someone for so long. They're like, "oh, my God, I'm over it. I'm out of here." But for us it's been great. We really, really get along, and we really, really like each other. So having this concentrated time, I would probably say, is how I ended up married.
Who inspires you?
My wife inspires me. My children inspire me. Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Roberts, just to name a few. I love being inspired by people who look like me, you understand?
You have so much going on: actress, producer, author, host, director and so on. How do you manage your time?
Well, I used to work back to back to back to back with no breaks. And what I have now come to know is that that break is so necessary. Also I have to balance out style. If I was doing a project like When They See Us and then on the other side of it, I'm like, where is my Reno 911! family? I need to balance the drama and the pain with comedy; it helps keep me stay balanced in my real life when my heart is also balanced.
Do you have any kind of advice or guidance that you tend to follow when you're trying to pick what comes next? Or something that you listen to within yourself?
I listen to my instincts. I have been practicing trusting my first mind more. I feel like that first instinct is the closest that we will ever get to God. It's that little inner voice that's telling you, "Hey, you should —" and I feel like we've been conditioned to dismiss it. It's like something in your mind tells you, "Grab a jacket." And you talk yourself out of it saying, "They said it was going to be 90 degrees, I'm just coming right back. I'm not going to need a coat." Then you find yourself in the pouring rain at midnight somewhere and you're like, "Dammit, why didn't I bring a coat?" You've gotta listen to yourself.
What are you excited about every day?
I'm excited when I wake up next to the most beautiful soul I've ever met. Whatever happens after that, it can only go up.
You've partnered with Charmin on a new beta-robot, the BRB Bot, which creates an AI twin on Zoom and other platforms so you can step away from the screen. What drew you to the project?
Because I want it! I really feel like this is necessary technology. You know, this whole new normal that we're in, with so much screen time, you've got to have a way to navigate it that makes sense. And I was like, "this is perfect." And plus, I look cute as a twin. Let's not forget that part.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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