“I take time every day to be with myself” [Video]

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Relaxation is Yahoo Life’s wellness series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and Mental Health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to mantras that keep them afloat.

Onscreen Boris Kodjoe saves lives as a firefighter in ABC action drama Extension 19. Offscreen, he hopes to do the same by amplifying a new Men’s Health Awareness Month campaign highlighting prostate cancer risks, especially for black men like him, who are 75 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and twice as likely to die from it.

In a video interview with Yahoo Life, the Austrian-born actor emphasizes the importance of taking care of his and Mental Health. With regard to the first, he associates with To depend and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) for the return of Be strong for men’s health initiative to de-stigmatize male incontinence and offer support to people treated for prostate cancer; Depend will donate up to $ 350,000 to the cause.

Kodjoe calls the cause “very personal” because he has seen a close friend and mentor fight his own battle with prostate cancer.

“It reminded me that I had to take care of myself,” he says. “And the first step in doing that is to talk about health issues, to talk about everything that concerns us – spiritual, mental and physical health – to be vulnerable, to be open and not to see it as a weakness of. talk about these things. And as black men we are faced with a lot of things every day. There is a lot of weight on our shoulders, but in order to take care of others we have to take care of ourselves first. -same. “

The Soul food The actor hopes the initiative and breakthrough in cancer research will help garner attention and find solutions to racial disparities in access to quality health care. He also wants to spark conversations about other pressing health issues within the black community, including obesity and the mental strain brought on by the pandemic and social justice unrest.

Boris Kodjoe opens up on mental health, marriage and prostate cancer awareness. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Now 48 and a father of two – he and his actress wife Nicole Ari Parker share a daughter and son – Kodjoe prioritizes his own health needs as he ages.

“I’m now coming to an age where I’m the guy who now holds the phone six feet from my face so I can read what’s on the screen,” he jokes. “There is no denying that we are all getting older and so we need these constants… I am the first to admit that I have not done a great job always taking care of myself. I have a family and they depend on me. , so I have to do it. “

It also includes taking care of your mental space.

“I practice what I preach and take time every day to be with myself, whether it’s my morning prayer, meditation, or lying down and stretching in my trailer when I have five or 10 minutes. between shots, ”he says. “There are things you can do that are fairly simple to include in your daily routine that you could turn into a habit. And that’s important because we have so many habits that are harmful to our health. balancing that with habits that are really good for ourselves – whether it’s mental health, spiritual health, or our physical health – that will ensure that we’ll be here longer. “

The Hollywood real husbands star – soon to be making his directorial debut with the movie Lifetime Safe space, in which he plays alongside his wife – says his work can also be “therapeutic”.

“It’s a creative outlet,” he says. “It’s a way for me to represent who I am, to represent ourselves [the Black community] in the most multidimensional way possible. Historically, we’ve been kind of portrayed in a one-dimensional way. And I think every role we take on, we try to make sure that you represent our culture in a way that shows how multidimensional we are. It’s an outlet that I’m really grateful to have. “

While this job is rewarding, Kodjoe makes sure to maintain what he calls a “work-life priority list,” with his family in mind.

“You have to figure out how to juggle it all,” he says. “And again, your sanity is an integral part of it. And I think as black people we sometimes ignore it because we are often in survival mode; a lot of us are in combat or on the run. Most of the time, with so much going on, it causes severe exhaustion on a daily basis. And we have to strive to find the time to be there for ourselves, even if it’s only for five minutes. “

Kodjoe credits his German mother, a psychologist, for helping him “understand mental health.” As for the other great lady in his life, Parker, he has previously shared how therapy has helped keep their relationship strong and their respective issues resolved.

“I think relationships are constant work and effort,” he says of his marriage to the And just like that … actress. “You’re going to get what you put in it. And we’re two people with flaws and two people who have faced childhood trauma like everyone else. Over the past two years, in particular, j discovered that spending the time spent on it actually represents an opportunity for us to be better now and in the future, so I had to dig deep and go back in time to my 8 years old, to understand how, for example, my father’s departure affected me and what kinds of patterns resulted from it and how as an adult I coped or didn’t and what that means to me and my relationship. So I had to be responsible. I had to take responsibility. I had to, again, go back and explore and understand what that meant. And put effort on yourself first, then on yourself. the relationship, in addition to refusing to give up, is a recipe that can give you enough ent to maximize your potential as a couple. “

Working as a husband and father of two teenage boys is what brings him “fulfillment,” Kodjoe told Yahoo Life.

“What brings me joy is to take care of myself, and therefore to be a better father, to be a better husband, a better man,” he says. “At the end of the day, all we have are our relationships. All we have is the love that we have experienced, the love that we give, the bonds that we have forged, the things that we learned from others. These are the things that really matter, I think, in life and as long as we can honor it, engage and learn, the better. “

—Video produced by Stacy Jackman.

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