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Shania Twain’s Words of Wisdom for Staying Energetic, Openhearted, and Happy

The Grammy-winning singer shares her tips for focusing on joy this holiday season.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, Grammy-winning singer Shania Twain, 57, is full of gratitude — for family, friends, and being able to continue doing what she loves, especially in the wake of vocal surgery a few years ago. “It was a scary, scary thing,” she shares with First for Women. “I didn’t really know what was going to happen.”

Thankfully, Shania was able to heal — and ultimately thrive. But whether she’s acting in the TV series Monarch, headlining a Las Vegas residency, or recording new music, focusing on what’s important is what keeps her going.

“I’ve accomplished so much and I’m grateful,” beams Shania, who plans to release a new album next year. “I love to express myself through writing, but after almost losing my voice, singing takes on different meaning.” Here, Shania shares her tips for focusing on joy this Thanksgiving, and for a holiday season of looking and feeling your best.

Reflect in the morning.

“I believe a lot in meditation,” Shania says. “I like to just sit or lie in the dark and take a few extra minutes in the morning or before I fall asleep at night to slow my breathing down and clear my thoughts. That’s really working for me. If I wake up earlier than usual, I will just force myself to stay there and still myself and my mind instead of jumping into the day. The day can wait…and those moments bring such lasting peace.”

Exfoliate daily.

“I exfoliate every day,” Shania says. “I mix a facial soap, water and a little sugar. It slightly dissolves as you go, so it’s gentle on your skin.”

Enjoy a treat.

“I love to cook!” says Shania. What’s one of her faves for the holidays? A breakfast bannock. She even gave us instructions on how to make her special recipe: “I stir 2 cups of flour, ¼ cup of nonfat dry milk powder, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl, adding ½ cup of raisins,” she explains. “Then, I add one cup of water and one tablespoon of melted margarine and stir until the dough clings.” Spread it in an 8″x8″x2″ pan, and bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, then cut into rounds or squares. “When I was a child,” she adds, “we’d eat them with butter and jam — delicious!”

Put up a little resistance.

“I’ve never been great at doing strength training,” Shania admits. “I’ll do weights if I’m preparing for a tour, but it takes more discipline. In my day-to-day, I’ll do sit-ups and pushups and lift free weights. I keep my endurance up with tennis and walking most of the time. Those are my go-to things.” Her key tactic: alternating 30 seconds of fast walking with 30 seconds of moderate walking for 10 minutes. According to Mayo Clinic, alternating periods of brisk walking with leisurely walking like this has many benefits, such as improving cardiovascular fitness and burning more calories than regular walking does.

Spend time with gal pals.

“When my friends and I get together, the fun thing we do is vent — and usually, that means a lot of laughing,” Shania reveals. “My greatest pleasure being with other women is the venting process and just being uncensored. That is something therapeutic and it’s definitely something we do together as girlfriends. We all know we can just let loose. It’s so important for our mental health and well-being.” Indeed, positive venting — or venting wherein you express yourself while a friend actively listens — is proven to soothe stress and lower blood pressure.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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