LeAnn Rimes reveals 'stress of COVID and lockdown' impacted her health

Eight years ago, LeAnn Rimes voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility for anxiety and depression. She calls that time her “rock bottom” but it also marked a rebirth of sorts, the beginning of her mental health journey.

The knowledge gained from that ongoing journey has recently yielded an album of soothing meditative songs called CHANT: The Human & the Holy, and an iHeartRadio mental health podcast, called Wholly Human, hosted by Rimes. She spoke to Yahoo Life about why negative emotions aren’t necessarily bad, the simple healing value of nature and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected her (and her psoriasis).

“My emotional state in the past has definitely taken its toll on my physical wellbeing,” Rimes says. At the age of two, she was diagnosed with psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disease that can leave red, itchy patches, and she’s spent a lifetime hiding it. Only recently did she share her story, and a photo of herself, following her first breakout in 16 years.

“Just recently I have been broken out through this ... stress of COVID and lockdown,” she says. “And, you know, I’ve been on the road since I was 13 [and] all of a sudden my livelihood is gone, like a lot of people’s.”

With touring out of the question for a while, Rimes has come face-to-face with her psoriasis, an experience she calls “deeply challenging.”

“I'm finding more peace within my whole experience, not just when I’m healthy and when I look good,” she says. “But also … within the more challenging days where I’m broken out and I’m sad and I’m depleted.”

Rimes uses a novel application of self-love on especially difficult days. “One of my practices has been literally looking at my psoriasis and putting my hand on myself and going, ‘I love you,’” she says. “There’s something beautiful about physical touch, that [our hands] are so healing.”

And while everyone has their ups and downs emotionally, Rimes doesn’t see them in such binary terms.

LeAnn Rimes is sharing her mental health journey on a new podcast called Wholly Human. (Photo: Norman Seeff)
LeAnn Rimes is sharing her mental health journey on a new podcast called Wholly Human. (Photo: Norman Seeff)

“The greatest peace that I’ve learned on this healing journey is that nothing that I feel is bad, it’s all for purpose,” she says, echoing the same for “good” emotions. “To take away what’s good and bad and to allow ourselves to fully become intimate with our whole spectrum of feelings is so important.”

That’s certainly been the case for many people this year, as one result of the coronavirus pandemic has been increased isolation, and perhaps, introspection. And while screen time has spiked during this time, Rimes has turned to the original, longest-running form of content in human existence: Nature.

“One of the things that has been really beautiful and healing for me is to be able to sit [outside] and just let nature be my TV screen,” she says. At first, the lack of activity and readily available scrolling made her fidgety — she lasted just three minutes. But like any exercise, she put in the work every day and slowly built up her endurance. “To be in communion with the universe,” as she calls it, is a highlight of her day.

“I think one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is to sit down and say, ‘How am I feeling?’ and see what comes back,” Rimes says. “It’s a simple question as that.”

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