“Hollywood Unplugged,” a new series on HuffPost Entertainment, shows our culture’s most influential figures in a new light. Instead of focusing on their accomplishments, it examines how they continue to thrive despite the inevitable stress.
Melissa Joan Hart is a familiar face on the small screen thanks to her popular ’90s TV shows “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” Today, she’s busy working on her latest sitcom, ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey,” and raising her three boys — Mason, 7; Brady, 5; and Tucker, 9 months — with her husband, musician Mark Wilkerson. She may be a busy mom-on-the-go most days, but she’s picked up a few tips on how to remain stress-free. She reveals her secrets — including one that involves “Friday Night Lights” — for “Hollywood Unplugged.”
The Huffington Post: How do you know when it’s time to unplug and recharge?
Melissa Joan Hart: When I start to get emotional/exhausted, or when my kids are begging for my time. Whenever I hear, “Mom, you never listen to me,” I know it’s time to slow down.
What’s the first thing you reach for when you need to decompress?
My kids. Hugs fix everything. But when I need a little more help, I reach for the remote and watch something useless, or plan a fun lunch or girls night out to vent to a girlfriend.
If you had to pin an inspirational saying to the wall, what would it say?
“Go that way really fast; if something gets in your way, turn!” from “Better Off Dead.” I had it written on my “inspiration wall” back in my NYC apartment in the ’90.
Whose ability to balance work and life do you envy?
My mother’s. She has raised seven level-headed, hardworking, creative kids and has balanced that with her executive producer title, along with being a world-traveler.
Where do you go when you need a change of scenery?
Lake Tahoe. We have had a home there since 2004 and I have been visiting since a trip I took with a friend on whim in 1997. It is just as Mark Twain said about it: “I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”
What do you do when anxiety is keeping you up at night?
I write it down. I always have paper and pens by the bed to make “to do” lists so I don’t have to worry about forgetting it the next day. I also keep a journal by the bed for each boy so I can jot down little phrases and funny mishaps every once in a while. When I go back and look at what I have written, it always gives me a giggle and I have usually already forgotten the story I wrote. It helps me relax before bed to write in the journals or to re-read what I wrote months ago.
What’s your secret to staying serene on the road?
Good music. Hard rock usually helps me clear my mind and blow off some steam at the same time. I love a little Breaking Benjamin, Foo Fighters and Course of Nature (my hubby’s band).
What song, TV show, book or work of art lowers your blood pressure?
“Friends,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and I swear “Friday Night Lights” helped my married life. I am an art collector and have very interesting pieces around the house by Rembrandt, Dali, Degas and five Picassos that I adore. As for favorite books, Catcher in the Rye has always been a favorite but recently I was addicted to the Hunger Games series and even considered a Mockingjay tattoo for a minute.
What advice would you give your stressed-out self?
Think about what will matter in a year and focus only on that. Let the rest of the crap go. When you consider what your memory of that day will be, there is very little that would remain. Will I remember stressing over how many times I messed up my lines in a scene or whether or not Perez Hilton made fun of me that day, or will I remember playing with my son on the floor and seeing him crawl for the first time?