Although advice on loving and taking care of yourself are everywhere these days—including contributions from Messing—she reminds us that this wasn’t always the case. “Self-care is a concept that is modern,” she says. “It’s certainly not something that I was taught about when I was younger, but I’m so thankful that we’re starting to talk about it now and realize its importance.”
Messing explains that taking time for herself is the only thing keeping her from buckling under the pressure of motherhood and her acting career. “I’m around a lot of people all the time, and so at the end of the day when I come home, I either go into my room for a half hour by myself or I go for a walk…I suddenly feel like I am a more present mom and a better person altogether.” That’s how Messing interprets self-care, but every person is different, therefore their needs are different. The Will and Grace star values solitude and sleep, but believes simply taking a bath or meditation can be very healing.
However, self-care can only take you so far if you don’t have inner-confidence, something very difficult to obtain in this perfection-obsessed world. Messing urges us to take a step back, do some introspection—maybe journaling—to find the root of this lack of confidence. If it’s simply about appearances, there are ways to change that: get a new hair color, new outfit or start exercising. If the root of the problem runs deeper, Messing attributes that to a perceived lack of purpose.
So how does one remedy that?
For Messing, writing down 10 things that make her happy—anything at all—helped find counters to this feeling. “It was a really good exercise and I really had to think hard about it,” she says. “And then writing it all down, you can see the theme or see the links. Just asking those questions and figuring out how to incorporate those things in your life on a daily basis is key.”
Lastly, she offers some advice on following your dreams: First, don’t dismiss them as nonsense or unachievable; second, be open with your friends about them, so they can support and encourage you. The bottom line is don’t run away from what you want; keep working until you achieve success. “Doing what you love is so important,” she notes. “A lot of times it can be hard to get there, but I think that anything worth doing is scary.”