The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being collection wherein specialists, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and psychological well being, from self-care rituals to setting wholesome boundaries to the mantras that hold them afloat.
Jonathan Van Ness has loads to rejoice as of late.
Not solely has their groundbreaking Netflix present, Queer Eye, returned for a sixth season to excessive acclaim however Van Ness, who identifies as nonbinary and makes use of they/him/she pronouns, can also be gearing up for a brand new enterprise, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, an upcoming Netflix collection the place they discover a wide range of issues that make them glad — like vogue, wigs and animals.
The proud TV persona and nonbinary activist has additionally been preserving busy as an envoy for teledentistry firm SmileDirectClub’s new Confidence Council, an initiative launched in 2014 that has helped over 1.5 million prospects world wide discover confidence of their smile.
For the affable Van Ness, giving tens of millions of individuals world wide a cause to smile isn’t just a job. It’s a blessing.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but I’m really excited I get to do it,” Van Ness tells Yahoo Life. “One factor I’ve realized about in remedy is that confidence is without doubt one of the tenants of our most-centered self. So once we really feel assured, that could be a method we are able to know we’re making choices which might be actually in our highest self.”
Turning someone’s frown upside down is something Van Ness has seen firsthand as one of the “Fab Five” on Queer Eye, which brings five gay lifestyle experts into the homes of strangers around the country to help them grow and lead healthier, more enriching lives.
“I have a lot to smile about,” Van Ness says, which includes their new marriage to husband Mark Peacock, a milestone they never thought would be possible growing up in rural Illinois.
“It’s been really good,” they say of married life. “I’m really honored that I get to do it. I grew up in a time when I didn’t know marriage equality would be a thing. I always am really happy when I think about my inner child, like my younger self, and how excited they would be that this is how things turned out — that I have a loving partner I get to build a life with. Ultimately, that’s such an exciting thing that a lot of people look forward to being able to do. Not that it’s not a lot of hard work, because it is, but we’re really happy to do it.”
Van Ness has been particularly vulnerable with fans in the last few years, writing about their journey overcoming drug addiction, as well as coming to terms with their HIV status in two very honest memoirs, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love and the recently-published Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life.
But despite turning their pain into purpose and using their social media platform to call out HIV stigma and transphobia on the regular, Van Ness says getting into that headspace took “years of follow.” That’s due, in large part, to spending their developmental years in family therapy following their parents’ divorce.
“Family therapy was very cutting edge at the time, or at least it felt like it was,” Van Ness tell Yahoo Life. “[Therapy] definitely wasn’t something that was ever stigmatized in my house. And being able to talk about mental health and your well being was also not something that was stigmatized or made to feel weird about, which is so important because when you’re young, I think, that’s when a lot of our ideas of the world are more cemented.”
The more open we can be with young people around mental health, the better, says Van Ness.
“We take care of our health. We take care of our gorgeous smiles. We take care of our insides. We get our hair done. We do our nails. We go to the gym. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of our mental health,” Van Ness says. “That’s a really important thing for people to know early on, but also a lot of adults need to know that, too.”
Finding the confidence to express yourself as you truly are is a journey requiring a “really good relationship with one’s self,” they argue. “It’s one thing we now have to put money into. It’s not like anybody is ever simply, you realize, born with a completely innate, trusting, loving sense of self. It’s one thing all of us need to study in follow, however I feel that even simply figuring out issues that you really want extra of in your life, after which following by means of on these and exhibiting your self that you are able to do that, is one thing that helps construct confidence.”
Boosting confidence can be so simple as prioritizing each day actions you like all through the day.
“As you’re moving through the world, being mindful is a way of practicing self care,” they clarify. “Focusing on our breath, focusing on what we’re doing as we’re doing it. That’s mindfulness. That is self-care.”
“It doesn’t have to be anything around skin or makeup or hair or anything like that,” Van Ness provides. “It also doesn’t have to just be yoga or meditation. It can be gardening, which is another thing that I’m obsessed with. It can be writing. It can be cleaning your house. It can be being of service to other people. It can be volunteering. It can be getting involved in local community organizations that are looking for volunteers. I think that self-care is just such a huge, huge universe.”
Turning to those self-care practices has helped Van Ness study that it’s OK to not be OK. “Sometimes you gotta feel it a little bit,” Van Ness says of days after they’re feeling misplaced.
“We need to really feel our emotions, and that is what brings you out to the opposite aspect,” they continue. “Sometimes if I’m feeling in a rut that I do know is not due to something I can management — it is like an exterior factor — then affirmations are actually essential. Sometimes I’ll pop a beautiful fast-dissolving whitening strip into my mouth that SmileDirect makes and it makes my mouth style prefer it’s not in a riot, which additionally helps.”
Looking toward the future, Van Ness shares that they are relying on one of the best pieces of advice they’ve received, which is so simply but so powerful: “Keep going.”
“The most essential relationship that we’ll ever have is with ourselves, so investing in your relationship with your self is basically essential,” Van Ness says. “My mantra is, ‘I belief myself and I make good choices.’ That’s my affirmation proper now.”
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