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.
In terms of plum roles — WandaVision's suspiciously nosy neighbor Agatha Harkness, an empty nester exploring her sexuality in HBO's Mrs. Fletcher and, next, one of the leads in the upcoming Will Ferrell-Paul Rudd series, The Shrink Next Door — Kathryn Hahn has been cleaning it up lately.
And she's quite literally cleaning it up off-screen in partnership with the new home cleaning and laundry care line 9 Elements, which uses vinegar and lemon- and eucalyptus-scented essential oils to tackle hard water damage. Though the mom of two admits hating housework, having things nice and neat is integral to her peace of mind. Here, she tells Yahoo Life about finding harmony through meditation, baths and an "emotional calendar."
Since we're talking about cleanliness, a lot of people find calm and stability in having a neat, orderly environment, especially now that we're spending so much time at home. Do you find comfort in keeping your space tidy?
I definitely need a clean, nice-smelling space for my mental health. It has definitely been difficult for all of us being in the same space for now over a year. We have two rescue dogs, two kids and we've been fostering kittens, so it's been difficult. That's one of the reasons why I was so excited to partner up with 9 Elements. I hate cleaning and I've grown to hate it more the longer that we have been in this situation, but I know that I have to. I've been able to, like, sit and watch the scum on my shower head and on the glass of my shower and on my glasses and on the armpits of my shirt, so I was very excited to partner up with [them].
What is your approach to mental health? Is it therapy, meditation, forest bathing?
I have heard that it is important to just stand on the earth with your bare feet, and that is something that I have tried to do. I do love meditating and I love stretching. I think for mental health, stretching has been really important. Lying on a foam roller has been really important to open up this part of my body [her shoulders] because we've been spending so much time [hunched over]. I think also lifting my gaze has really been helpful. You forget how much time we spend looking down, and actually just lifting your eyes is helpful for your mental outlook. I've been trying to practice that. Therapy is good, too.
Do you have any small self-care rituals brighten your day or help you reset?
I do love cleaning a counter; I like the lemon smell. I love lighting a candle. Taking a bath — that's something that I had not done before the pandemic that often. I never gave myself that time, or found that kind of time in the day, or felt like I just couldn't find that time. And for some reason during this time, all of a sudden that space became available during the day... so all of a sudden I've been taking baths, which is kind of feels like a luxury. I used to really love a massage and that hasn't been able to happen. So I think a bath has become that, so that has been really, really nice. Just to be able to sit in silence without a device is also a real luxury.
You're not on social media. Do you think that helps you be more present or tune out a lot of the chatter?
I think so. I mean, I don't know the difference, but I think it must. I don't feel the need to take a picture of anything or post anything or share anything. I certainly lurk around and I am curious what other people are talking about, but I don't have access to anybody else's stuff. So I read the news and I stay informed, for sure. And I have my sites that I regularly like to go to, but I don't feel those urges to share myself.
Looking at all of your film and TV credits, it strikes me that you work so much. How do you avoid burnout?
It's difficult. I do burn out sometimes. I think that exercise is helpful in getting out of my frontal lobe — moving, finding flow in the body, just trying not to think so hard and just be more active. Not to bring it full circle, but I do need a clean [space]. If I have a clean space, then I can find myself more present. So as much as I hate cleaning, there is something about organizing my space, and then I can be more present, where I feel more like relaxed or focused. So that is certainly helpful.
Also, my friend and I talk about our emotional calendars. We'll be like, "Oh, where am I going to be at tomorrow at 4 p.m?" You know what, I'm going to be real cranky. So I should not schedule anything at 4 p.m. tomorrow. At 4 p.m. tomorrow, that's when I take my bath, that's where I'm going to remove myself. I'm not going to schedule [anything]. So just knowing where you're going to be emotionally is also really helpful. Like, no, I'm not going to have a call tomorrow at 4. That's not going to be a good moment.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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