Okay, so Camila Alves McConaughey isn’t exactly just like the rest of us, because most of us are not an incredibly successful model and also an entrepreneur (Alves McConaughey is the co-founder of baby food company Yummy Spoonfuls) and also a philanthropist and also a mom and — oh yes, also married to Mr. Alrightalrightalright himself, Matthew McConaughey. But in other ways, the busy, talented, multi-hyphenate mama is oh so relatable — a homebound, homeschooling mom of three just trying to keep her family healthy during a global pandemic and catch a moment or two for herself. That part, at least, sounds familiar, right?
SheKnows caught up with Alves McConaughey to talk about self-care, pandemic parenting, and how she prioritizes wellness from the inside out for herself and her family with the help of Clorox Wellness Brands — no easy feat as a mom of tweens. (Her children, Levi, Vida, and Livingston are 12, 11, and 8, respectively.) Here’s how she does it:
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SheKnows: How are you making time for yourself during this absurdly challenging time?
Camila Alves: It’s really crazy, right? If you’ve got kids, you’re going through a very challenging time. For us, we still have to stay home. We’ve all been in the same space and environment, and it’s challenging to take time for yourself and find ways to recharge. I’ve been finding little ways, like taking a walk by myself, whether it’s 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour — some days I get really lucky! I try to do breathing exercises every day. Sometimes I’ll just be sitting and like, the kids are talking and I just zone out and do breathing exercises for a couple of minutes. That helps me reboot.
Finding time to do self-care is so important because we’re so used to taking care of everybody else’s needs. I’ve noticed that if I don’t — even if it’s just a little something for me — I’m not as much the ‘fun’ mom; like, I get a little bit sharp and impatient. So I’ve been trying to practice [self-care] even more during quarantine than before. Little things — if I have time to dry brush before I take a shower. I have this lymphatic face massage that I do after I wash my face.
And then, you know, I have my tea station, and that’s really mine. It has all the things that I love — my cinnamon, my cloves, my star anise, fennel — but what I did was, I added a couple of items to it. I added collagen because that’s taking care of beauty from the inside out. I’m getting older, so I need to get that in there! I just do that in the morning in my tea. And then at night, I use Calm. I’ve been using this for many, many years, and it might be my saving grace throughout the pandemic. I take that at night in my tea, and it just clears your mind and relaxes you. I feel like I get a deeper sleep and I wake up the next morning and I’m refreshed.
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SK: Has wellness and what it means to you changed over this last year?
CAM: Wellness first changed for me when I got pregnant and had babies, because I was like, OK, I really need to learn about wellness and understand what it is. Then it was a different level of wellness when I actually had health problems and had to focus and understand why those things were happening. And it changed for me a few years ago when it started to be, OK, stop worrying about just the outside, how do you get yourself healthy on the inside? Understanding the importance of beauty from the inside out, being healthy, feeling my strongest… When I’m feeling good, I’m strong. I can take care of the kids. I can then handle all the stress that’s coming in. My body looks better, my skin looks better, my hair… It’s a domino effect.
But throughout the pandemic, I had to go to a different level — like, now you need to keep your immune system strong. Now my kids have to take vitamins, my husband, myself, my mother-in-law. I got more into understanding the supplements [I was taking] and where they’re coming from and making choices that were better for me and for my family.
SK: As parents, we’re worried about our kids and the impact this is having on them. What do wellness and self-care look like for your tweens right now?
CAM: You know, look, I have an 8-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a 12-year-old. So the reality is, it changes daily. For my 8-year-old, I’ve got to make it fun. I mean, for all three of them, it has to be fun. I try to get them really involved in giving back. I’ve been doing a lot of things with the community throughout this whole time, and everything that we’re doing, we explain to them, we get them involved so they understand what’s going on and how many people are in need of help right now. So that has also helped them to get through this time.
And giving them specific tasks, so they’re not lost. When they finish school, they’re not walking around going, ‘What do I do now? Mom? Mom?’ We made a list and every child has their list on the refrigerator. They have responsibilities. So they have that purpose every day.
SK: What foods and recipes help your family feel healthy and cared for these days?
CAM: Well, the first thing is, I don’t buy the crappy stuff. I just don’t buy it, you know? And let me make it clear: We have a balance. But if we’re going to have dessert, I’m not going to buy candy. I’m going to get a real dessert.
Another way that I got them to understand the relationship between health and food and how they feel is by getting them to cook. They’re in charge of breakfast and they help with lunch. And sometimes if I’m busy, they do lunch themselves. And we talk about it. I don’t tell them, ‘You have to do this for breakfast, you have to do this for lunch.’ But we have a conversation about, ‘Well, you need a good source of protein, you need a good source of fat.’ And then some days I’ll just ask them, ‘How are you feeling?’ [If they say] ‘I feel tired. I don’t have energy.’ I’ll be like, ‘Well, when did you eat?’ So you know, naturally teaching them that way and getting them to understand those things is making it easier in the process of them growing in these pre-teen years to do better for themselves.
SK: Is there something that would surprise people to know about your self-care and wellness philosophy?
CAM: I’m a big believer in beauty inside out. I don’t believe in fad diets, I’m a big believer in listening to your body. I truly believe that we’re all made differently and we have to listen to our bodies. We’re not all made equal, and also not everything is created equal. As women, we have different needs than men do. So having supplements and vitamins that are actually catered to what we need — I’ve seen a big difference.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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