“I didn’t think it would feel this good”

Jennie Garth talks about prioritizing her physical and mental health.  (Photo: Getty, designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Jennie Garth talks about prioritizing her physical and mental health. (Photo: Getty, designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The relaxation is Yahoo Life’s wellness series in which experts, influencers, and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental healthfrom self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to mantras that keep them alive.

When it comes to staying happy and healthy, Jennie Garth believes it’s all about the company you keep.

“I’m very, very selective about who I spend time with and the conversations we have,” he said Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, 50, told Yahoo Life. “My circle has gotten pretty small by choice. I have really limited ability and energy to put out there, and I want to make sure I’m putting that energy in the right places, with the right people.”

The actress was just 18 years old when she soared as the beautiful Kelly Taylor in the 90210. But as her profile grew during her decade on the show, the Illinois native realized she needed to put in extra work on her mental health when the cameras were off.

“I’ve been in therapy since I was in my 20s,” says Garth. “I’ve learned so much about myself and how to take care of myself. When you have mental health issues, whatever they are, you really feel like you’re alone. You feel like no one else thinks the way you do, or has the struggles you have . But we all have the same struggles. Through therapy, I’ve learned how to take care of myself.”

To maintain her mental health these days, Garth practices meditation for at least 10 minutes a day. She thrives in nature, crediting her well-being to daily walks. He is also an avid golfer, which he calls a “mental game.” But one aspect of her mental health that Garth says she will always work on is letting go of worry. As a mother – the actress shares Luca, 25, Lola, 19, and Fiona, 15, with ex-husband Peter Facinelli – she’s learning to deal with change now that her two older daughters have left home.

“I have two whole girls out of the house; they live in New York. There is so much to worry about. “Will they be happy? Will they be safe? When will I see them again?’It’s a constant thing as a mom that you worry about as a mom when your kids are out of the nest,” Garth explained.

In order to be the best mother she can be, Garth realized she also needed to take better care of herself. That means limiting the time she spends on social media, even when it’s a necessary part of her career.

“You just get tired of seeing everyone’s perfect life and it’s mentally draining. It saps your energy level and, in turn, it’s bad for you physically,” says Garth, who actively tells herself to “stop — just stop.” when you’re about to scroll through social media.

But taking care of herself and meals she faces physical health problems. About five years ago, Garth realized she was having trouble getting up and down as easily as she used to.

“There was a feeling of pain that went through my joints, my knees, my hips,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘what the hell is going on?’

After consulting her doctor, Garth was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. Shocked that she could have the condition in her 40s, she soon learned about the stigma surrounding arthritis and aging.

“Everyone associates it with being older, but you can get arthritis at any age. It can affect anyone,” says Garth, who blames both genetics and “age and wear and tear” from decades of dancing (she struggled dancing with the Stars in 2007) and horse riding.

Garth recently partnered with Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel to launch the CareWalks campaign, created to empower caregivers with joint pain to take care of themselves. It’s an important mission for Garth, who not only lives with arthritis, but helped serve as her father’s caregiver before his death.

“So often, people focus on the patient and not the caregiver,” says Garth. “This is an opportunity to flip the script and talk to the people behind the scene. They suffer so often with their own struggles.”

When it comes to aging, Garth hit a major milestone in April when she turned 50. At first, she felt like it was “a bit of a mental roller coaster,” but she says she’s determined to stay positive in the face of change.

“It’s a milestone. But I have to say, you do come to a very cool place at 50 — a place of inner confidence and stillness, and it feels really good,” Garth explained. “I didn’t think it would feel this good, but it really does.”

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