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How Phylicia Rashad Is Coping With the Pandemic

From meditation to honoring nature, the actress shares 7 things you can try

Actress Phylicia Rashad leans on a tree posing for photo

Kim Tinsley

Tony Award–winning actress Phylicia Rashad has three movies coming out this season. Like the rest of us, though, she found her life put on hold by the pandemic. Here she shares a few lessons learned.

1. Get quiet

I've been a student of Siddha yoga meditation for 40 years, but I find it especially nourishing now, offering up a greater appreciation for the little things.

2. Eat what you want

When the pandemic started, I ate kale, collard greens and green beans almost every day. Then I changed it up to coconut milk ice cream, gluten-free pie and this great rye bread I'd use for my avocado toast. Yes, I did that.

3. Be woke

If we could just lean back and see how we created these hurtful inequities in the world, we'd ask, do we really want to continue being this way?


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Phylicia Rashad in the film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Gareth Gatrell/Netflix

Phylicia Rashad (middle) in "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey."

"I'm an artist. Whether race is part of the theme or not, the artist is always going to go inside and find that human heart."

—Phylicia Rashad, 72

4. Zoom on

I've disparaged technology, but it allows me to do so much now, like have virtual talks with students and record Shakespeare for radio, instead of performing it in the park. Who knew?

5. Reconsider nature

Everything — birds, forests, air — is just happier today without all our human activity. I've been honoring that by not driving unless I must and using less water and electricity.

6. Reimagine life

Before all this, I went about my business with a kind of certainty about what is, how it ought to go. The truth is, I don't know what's to come — I don't even understand everything that's here.

7. Have hope

I'm in three new films. Jingle Jangle [Netflix] is a magical holiday classic about what's possible. Soul [Pixar] is an animated feature about following your passion. And Black Box [Amazon] explores the idea of consciousness. Each really goes inside the human being, the human spirit, and I love that. It gives me hope.

—As told to Marilyn Milloy

Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad narrates Jingle Jangle, out in November.

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