Bethenny Frankel talks self-care and the secret to her success: 'I'm an intense person and it's very difficult to keep up with me'

Elena Sheppard
·6 min read
Bethenny Frankel gets down to business with The Unwind. (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Bethenny Frankel gets down to business with The Unwind. (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

She may have gotten her start on reality television, but Bethenny Frankel is far more than just a TV star. The Real Housewives of New York City alum is a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a bestselling author five times over and a mom. On the horizon, she'll be bringing her business savvy to HBO Max for a business competition show called Big Shot with Bethenny. Right now, she's also partnering with Scotch brand, who are offering a $10,000 Ship It Forward small business grant and a coaching session with Frankel to a small business owner. "I'm very efficient. And their whole campaign is about finding efficiencies in your business," Frankel tells Yahoo Life of the partnership.

Here, she shares how she stays productive and focused, and what advice she has for people following in her footsteps and hoping to live out their entrepreneurial dreams while still maintaining a little balance in their lives.

How are you doing? This has been quite a year that we've had.

It's been a crazy year that definitely tests people, but also makes them sort of kick into high gear and see what they're made of now. It's definitely been something different for everyone.

As you very well know, starting a new business is immensely stressful. What is your advice for people who are just now starting out and might be feeling completely overwhelmed?

The good news is that starting a new business is stressful and overwhelming, and so is running a business, and so is maintaining a business, and so is succeeding at business, and so is staying successful once you do succeed. It's like a relationship, it usually ends up the way that it starts out, meaning it's good for people to know how challenging business can be because they have to be prepared for anything. You have to be a survivor. You have to be someone who can think on your feet, who's efficient, who can delegate, who can execute — it really just is intense.

So it's good that people realize what they're getting into. I think everyone thinks that they're an entrepreneur. I'm going to paraphrase a Mike Tyson quote, which is that everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face. A business and a pandemic and life will sometimes punch you in the face. That's just the way that it is. And I've experienced it. No matter how successful I am and how much money I make, there's still something crazy that happens. And you could talk to anyone from Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg to Shonda Rhimes to Mark Cuban, and they've definitely been punched in the face in business. So it's at least comforting to know you're not alone.

What's your secret to multitasking? You're a mom, and you have so many different businesses and things going on. How do you keep all the plates spinning?

I'm beyond efficient and beyond organized, I don't drop balls, I check boxes, I don't procrastinate. It's intense and I'm an intense person and it's very difficult to keep up with me. When I'm with my daughter I'm intensely parental and domesticated and focused and centered, and when I'm working I'm also intensely focused and centered. But I have to say, being organized is the number one reason why I can get more done than anyone I know. I'm completely organized and I don't believe in wasting time.

That doesn't mean I'm always working. If you're relaxing, be relaxing — make things special, experience moments, watch movies, laugh, do something that's fun and silly, sit in your pajamas for days.

I'm a stacker, I will book all the things that I have to do and stack them. So then when I want to relax, I stack relaxation too. l don't like things to be spread out. I always talk about Joan Rivers in her documentary because she said, I'm paraphrasing this too, that she sort of identified with how full her calendar was, that was part of her identity. And I value how empty my calendar is.

So is stacking how you keep your work-life balance?

Being present in everything you do is really how you keep your balance. Prioritizing sleep, being militant about the goal and the quest for sleep is hugely important. Vacationing and laughing is hugely important. And I'm not very social. I combine social with work. Just last week we had a bunch of photo shoots, so I went with Jill who I work with and we went out to margaritas. I was already in hair and makeup, and I know I'm not going to be out for the next several months, so we had a quick drink so I felt like I didn't waste this makeup, because it's coming off instantly. It's things like that, just maximizing your time and experiences.

Have you found any self-care practices that have helped you through the pandemic that you hope to bring with you after the pandemic too?

I have not exercised. I have now convinced myself that sleep is exercising. I sleep with my weighted blanket, and I use a much, much heavier one than you're supposed to. I didn't know that, but I guess [the weight should be] according to a certain percentage of your body weight. I keep telling people, and no one will agree with me, but I feel like sleep is exercise. I've been sleeping well and I wake up sweating so I've convinced myself that that's exercise. And I don't wear makeup ever unless I'm being paid and I don't do anything to my hair unless I'm getting paid.

I often feel like it's not fair. It's like if someone is three months pregnant they want to wear a big sign saying "I'm three months pregnant, I'm not just looking a little bloated or puffy." I want to wear a sign saying "I'm not wearing any hair and makeup and I'm not filtering my photos so I don't know how to compete with everybody else making their waist be 21 inches, and no wrinkles, and the filters. I want my Instagram account to say: "Guess what, I don't wear hair and makeup very often."

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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