When we’re on our period, just rolling out of bed and trudging to work is tough. So it’s completely baffling to think that actress, dancer and Emmy-winning choreographer Julianne Hough somehow sings and dances her way through endometriosis, a chronic condition that causes severe, painful cramps and affects as many as one in ten women in the U.S. We asked the SpeakEndo.com spokesgal to reveal her self-care secrets…and then immediately stocked up on avocados.
1. She gets moving. We know, the last thing you feel like doing when you have cramps is peeling yourself off the couch, putting on actual pants and exercising. But the Dancing with the Stars alum insists that getting sweaty helps her stay balanced. “For me, it’s about being active, but also being fluid,” she says. “Dancing or swimming is best for me.” But when she’s feeling extra rough, Hough makes sure to remember her limits: “If I’m not feeling well, I will stop myself and say, ‘I’m good.’ I have to trust my body. I don’t need to push myself.”
2. She eats an avocado. It took some serious guessing and testing, but Hough feels confident that she has figured out which foods make her feel better when she’s having a flare-up, and which ones are total no-gos. “If I have a lot of sugar, or grains like oatmeal, I’ll be so drained I can’t even get up,” she says. “But I love avocado. The oils and healthy fats give me a boost of energy, and it fills me up without making me feel blocked.” That works out great, because we just so happen to make a mean avo toast.
3. She does a body scan. What the heck is a body scan? It’s a guided meditation practice you can do at home. Just lie down, stay aware of your breath, and mindfully soften each part of your body, from head to toe. “I love meditating and doing energy work,” Hough told us. “It really helps me get out of my head and into my body.” In fact, she’s a huge proponent of all sorts of energy healing—bring on the crystals.
4. She asks for help. The 29-year-old dancer is fiercely independent, so she used to brush off offers of help from her family and friends when she was feeling sick. But now, she realizes that by including her loved ones—like her husband, hockey player Brooks Laich—she’s allowing them to be a part of her healing, and giving them a stronger sense of purpose. “It’s hard for me to ask for things, because I never want to put anybody out or sound like a diva,” she explains. “But just get out of your head, get in your heart and let somebody do something for you. It feels really great to be taken care of, and you give the other person so much value.”
5. She forgets the “how” and asks “why.” On a particularly rough day, sticking to a busy schedule can feel not only daunting—it can feel downright impossible. But Hough has a great tip that works for any busy lady, whether you’re an actress or an accountant. “We always get stuck in the ‘how,’” she says. “‘How am I going to overcome this?’ It’s better to visualize the outcome: I am going to have a great day because I deserve to have one. So I’m the one creating the circumstances and reverse engineering my day. When you decide how your day is going to go, the rest will figure itself out.”