In an exclusive interview with People, Obama shared a few tricks on how she manages tough times in life, a topic she tackles in her upcoming book “The Light We Carry.”
Obama said she was struggling with “a crushing sense of hopelessness.” as the COVID-19 pandemic led into the 2020 summer of racial injustice and thereafter the 2021 Capitol insurrection.
“We were all at home watching what felt like our country and our world unraveling. The death tolls mounting, violence, the insurrection, healthcare system crushed, all of it,” Obama told People. “I was in a low place.”
The former first lady said she picked up knitting needles and began learning to use them through YouTube tutorials. The small exercise of control Obama had over her ball of yarn helped calm her anxiety at a time when everything else felt out of her control.
In “The Light We Carry,” Obama shares stories of how she is also lifted up by her “kitchen table” of close girlfriends during hard times. These women, Obama told People, “they help me vent, they help me see myself. They give me laughter and love.”
The “Becoming” author also opened up about her struggles with self-image and appearance.
“I personally have plenty of mornings when I flip on the bathroom light, take one look, and desperately want to flip it off again,” Obama writes in her upcoming book, per People.
On the mornings when she can only see “what’s dry and puffy,” Obama said she’s practicing being kinder to the woman in her mirror.
“So today when I’m looking at the mirror, I still see what’s wrong, but I try to push those thoughts out and say, ‘Wow, you are healthy. Look at your skin. Look how happy you look, your smile.’ I try to find the things about me that I love and start my day a little more kind. And that’s just a small simple tool. It doesn’t require a gym membership. It doesn’t require anybody else,” Obama said.
The former first lady also said she sometimes copes with anxiety and fear by simply turning on the TV and zoning out.
“You name it, I watch it. HGTV. Anything on the Food Channel. It’s not all lowbrow. I love the dating shows, Married at First Sight. Oh my God, yeah, I can do it all. TV is an escape for me. I am a fully informed citizen. I read the paper, I get briefs, I sit with Barack Obama every night. I know what’s happening in the world. When I’m by myself, I need to be able to turn my head off and think about wallpaper,” she said
“The Light We Carry” is scheduled to release on Nov. 15.
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