The Pursuit of Happiness: Tinashe Shares Her Wellness Journey

By Gabrielle Pharms | April 20, 2022

Tinashe is the quintessential queen of balance amid an ever-changing agenda. Last month, she released the deluxe edition of her acclaimed fifth studio album, 333, and is slated for an action-packed summer of performances and festival dates. Tinashe also recently debuted T Time, her brand new bi-monthly radio show exclusively on AMP. Despite a stacked schedule of in-studio sessions and live shows, the “2 On” singer taps into self-care through nature, family (adorable cat included), and songwriting.

“A big part of having good mental health is understanding and realizing, and having compassion for yourself,” Tinashe tells EDITION. Below, we speak to the star about her wellness routine and life mantra.

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As a touring artist and entertainer, what does wellness mean to you?

Wellness, to me, starts with your internal feeling. I think it's very much having an awareness of yourself. It's self-awareness and self-compassion in the sense that it's taking care of you – whether it's your thoughts, your body, your health, your mind, or your spirituality. I think all those things are a part of wellness, and it takes a certain type of self-awareness to focus on those things.

How do you implement this wellness into your busy schedule?

I often think of my work as a part of my wellness, which is potentially a controversial thing to say because a lot of people are like, “You're putting off your true emotions because you need to take a break.” I'm one of those people that always enjoy working, and I have the luxury of a job that is fun for me. When I'm creating, when I'm on stage, when I'm making songs, and when I'm doing photoshoots, I feel good and empowered. I'm doing my purpose. I think that's a big part of my wellness. For me, it's constantly moving in creative endeavors. It's staying busy, active, and inspired, but it's also finding time to see my family. My family is important to me to try to see them – when I'm at home – nearly every day. My parents only live 15 or 20 minutes away from me.

Also, spending some time with my cat and getting outside. Being outdoors and in the sun is important for our mental health. So, it's those three simple things: I love to work, be with my family, and try to get outside. Of course, there's more, but those are my main avenues to wellness.

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That's the way to your heart. I think it's such a blessing when you do what you love. I can see how that will contribute to just your overall well-being. Thank you for sharing that! I know a major topic that doesn't get discussed enough, especially among artists of color, is mental health. You tapped on some facets of how you take care of yourself, but how do you combat trolls on the internet and maybe even the internal naysayer in your head?

Yeah, I mean, that's the biggest one, right? When it comes to social media and people on the internet, it's always going to be hard to deal with. There's going to be times when we're better at handling it, and there are times where you're more fragile, and you're weaker at handling it, and I think I have to recognize that myself. If I'm in a vulnerable position this month, this week, or this day, I should avoid social media and put my phone away because maybe I'm not in the best place. I don't feel as good about myself, so I don't have as much protection against that. Then, there are other days where I feel great about myself, and I could go online, and I read a nasty comment, and I don't even care. I think it's having self-awareness and being able to tell when you're having those periods of being more vulnerable, being soft with yourself, and being gentle with yourself because we often push through. A big part of having good mental health is understanding and realizing, and having compassion for yourself through it.

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That’s a good rule of thumb when you're in a sensitive state; it might be good to log off and take a second. I must implement that. But also, sidebar: Little do people know that you could kick their butt. You're a black belt, right?

I am a black belt. Yeah, oh my gosh, a while ago, but don't be fooled!

Love it. My mom always tells me there's enough sun for everyone. You're not tight-fisted with your talent, and you use your platform to elevate others. What helps you to empower other artists and not keep that to yourself?

I really agree with your mom. I think there is room enough for everyone to be successful. But, interestingly enough, I think we make each other more successful when we’re empowering each other and lifting each other. I don't think that that has been the norm in the music industry for a long time. It’s very competitive. And there have felt like there are only one or two seats at the table for women – for Black women and women of color. There are so many layers to it that make it seem like we need to compete with one another, or there isn't enough for us all. These systems have been set in place, whether it's record labels, streaming services, or whoever isn't getting out to people. Those are the monopolies that we have to continue to work to break down to give more people the opportunity to shine, and to do that, we have to empower each other.

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Absolutely. I agree with you on that. So, that kind of leads me to my next thought. Another saying that I love is this: Joy isn't circumstantial. So, how would you define happiness?

Happiness to me is peace of mind. It's ease. It's not feeling you're pushing against anything happening to you, or you don't feel you're a victim or a martyr. You're at ease and peace – really living in the moment. Anytime you can surrender to the moment fully, I think that's happiness.

I like that. To your point, what is your happy place?

I really am able to get to that space the easiest when I'm on stage. I'm able to tune out anything bothering me or anything in my 3D world that I'm hung up on. When I'm on stage, I kind of blackout in a way, and I'm really in that moment, that hour, 90 minutes, or however long I'm on stage. That's why I think I love performing. I can also get to that place with different things, like mindfulness practices, hiking, walking, or meditation. Listening to music is calming for me. Also, driving and going on joy rides and listening to some music. And sometimes in the studio. Honestly, a lot of times, I'm in my feelings, and that’s why I can transmute them into songs. The studio is a little bit more complicated in that sense.

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So, when you do songwriting and perform on stage, do you feel like that's a catharsis?

Oh, 1,000 percent. Songwriting is a great way for me to process things that I've been dealing with in my head or say something to someone that you want to say to them that you maybe don't have the opportunity to or can't find the words to in real life. Even if that person potentially never hears what you have to say, knowing that you said something to get it off your chest, which in that sense is I think is important for people. Even for non-professional artists, making art to deal with emotions or hard things is always a healthy and a great cathartic release; just to be able to put something on paper or bring something from you into the 3D world always helps.

Lastly, what's your life mantra?

I am divinely guided and protected. Everything is going to work out in my favor because I already have all the things that I need. I already have all the pieces.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Photography by: COUGHS