From the Magazine

Holly Robinson Peete Swears by These 5 Simple Rituals for Easing Stress and Boosting Health

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Beloved for her role in The Hallmark Channel’s Morning Show Mysteries, Holly Robinson Peete has spread joy to audiences for 35 years — and her new movie, currently called The Christmas Bond, is set to continue that tradition in a very personal way. “It focuses on a family facing the struggles and blessings of having a loved one with autism,” shares Holly, whose own son, Rodney Jr., is autistic. “I know first-hand how it’s a journey full of challenges and joy, so being able to star in and produce this movie means a lot to me.” Though Rodney Jr., now 23, is living a full life, Holly isn’t immune to worrying about him or the rest of her family. “When I start feeling anxious, I listen to the Daily Calm app: It helps me face anything!” Here, more tips from Holly Robinson Peete to ease stress and boost health and peace — come what may!

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Boosts energy: Sneaky substitutions.

“I’ve been making healthy swaps in my diet lately, and my favorite find is Beyond Meat (Buy on Amazon, $9.89) — a protein-packed plant-based meat substitute,” Holly shares. “I was skeptical at first, but I added a little taco seasoning to it and whipped it up for our family Taco Tuesday. It was delicious—my kids love it!”

Studies show that swapping plant-based products for meat can reduce the risk of heart disease by 32 percent and boost weight loss by two pounds in two months.

Busts anxiety: A soothing sip.

“I’m very into teas!” Holly says of her favorite relaxation ritual. “I love David’s Teas: Their Tulsi Tranquility (Buy on Amazon, $26.99) is a go-to. It has rosehips, strawberries and tulsi, or holy basil, which is an excellent anxiety and stress reliever.”

Keeps love alive: Hugging like this.

Having just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary, Holly and her husband Rodney’s secret to lasting love is simple: “We call it the 20-second hug!” Holly smiles. “The rule is that you have to hug for 20 full seconds when one or the other asks — no matter what you’re feeling in that moment. If we’re in a conflict or any kind of stressful situation, when we pull out our 20-second hug card, it helps and gets us get past some really stressful moments.” Holly’s right! Hugs release oxytocin, the “cuddling chemical” in the brain that reduces stress and strengthens bonds.

Inspires instantly: Gratitude tracking.

“For my 50th birthday, a dear friend made me a gratitude journal to write down everything I’m grateful for on a daily basis — at first, I didn’t want to write in it because it’s so beautiful and I have terrible handwriting!” Holly admits with a laugh. “But I took it on vacation with me recently and decided to use it to write thank-you letters to my mother for making all the sacrifices she did so I could become the woman I am today. It made me feel so good to put her deep love and impact into words.”

Revs brainpower: “Book” walking.

After her morning stretches, Holly is all about scenic hikes and slow walking for exercise. “For me, the name of the game is circulation, cardio and bone density!” she smiles. “And walking checks all of those boxes. As I walk, I also listen to aspirational books — I just love hearing people’s voices as they read to me. With my brain firing on all cylinders as I work out, listening to someone interpret the story for me — whether it’s self-help, nonfiction or fiction — is so motivating. It’s a powerful stress reliever, stimulates my brain and makes me more alert.”

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

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