‘Ted Lasso’ star Hannah Waddingham on self-care and why she’s ‘very vocal’ about needing time off to be a mom

'Ted Lasso' star Hannah Waddingham on self-care and why she's 'very vocal' about needing time off to be a mom

The Unwind sees experts, influencers and celebrities sharing their approaches to wellness and mental health. Learn more about what prioritizing well-being looks like, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

As a single mom, actress and TV host, Hannah Waddingham is adamant about taking breaks, both for her sake and so she can spend more time with her 9-year-old daughter. “I’m very vocal with my team about when I’m at home with her,” Waddingham tells Yahoo Life. “There’s a vortex of calm. I’m very vocal about saying specifically, like, 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., that’s my baby’s time. I think it’s important for you to put your foot down and just go, ‘With all love and all respect, that’s a time when I’m not available.’”

The Ted Lasso star admits that it took some time to set those boundaries. “It does take a few years for you to say that kindly,” she says. “I’ve always struggled with that, and I don’t anymore.”

Carving out downtime is so meaningful to Waddingham that it made perfect sense for her to partner with Pepperidge Farm for their new “Have a Little Taste” campaign. “I love the double meaning of that,” the British star says. “‘Have a little taste’ is about time stopping for a moment. It’s a little quiet moment for yourself with something that is full of taste and elegance. It’s that moment, with [so many people] being busy [and] on the trot all the time — especially me as a single mum — it’s that moment of just going, ‘You know what, I’m going to let myself off the hook, and I’m going to sit here.’”

By allowing herself time to just be in the moment, Waddingham has found she’s able to recharge and connect with her daughter, who she describes as being “at a beautiful age.” “I’ve found that when I’m able to unplug from being ‘on,’ I can give myself a chance to just be me and decompress and ‘power down,’ and that means largely time with my beautiful little daughter, listening to music and dancing with her,” the Emmy winner says. “I’m very blessed that she’s such a little poppet. So, that’s my favorite way of unwinding.”

Waddingham and her daughter also love to sit and watch a movie or read in bed together. “Then, she goes off to sleep, and I have time to myself,” she says. “It’s really about stealing those little moments. You must have that. It’s so important.”

When she’s not hanging out with her daughter, Waddingham decompresses by “going for walks with old friends,” she says. And because she feels like her home is her “haven,” she’ll have friends over, as well. “I’m a massive, massive foodie, so [I like] having friends over — just relaxing with them. My self-care is not just taking myself off to a spa — it’s being at home and being homey and kicking back.”

In fact, when looking for a bit of support, it’s those friends — “those who know me best and love me regardless of becoming more known” — who have the best advice, Waddingham says. They’ve encouraged her to always trust her gut and “say ‘no’ sometimes, Han.”

Prioritizing sleep is also a must. “[I make sure] I’m well-rested, because of course, if you don’t have your health and a good amount of sleep, then the wheels come off,” admits Waddingham.

She also finds pleasure in looking her best. “I love skin care,” the star shares. “I love beautiful perfumes. I love beautiful clothes. And I also obviously have to maintain myself. I love beautiful makeup. Always making sure my hair and nails are done.”

While it may be challenging to cover all these bases, Waddingham is highly motivated. “It’s the thing of juggling my life as a single mum, which is obviously the most important thing — above work,” she says. “It’s trying to get a balance and being strong and healthy for my work, and also strong and healthy for [my daughter].”

And there’s an additional benefit to this kind of restorative self-care: Waddingham is even better prepared to hit the ground running when she returns to work. “It’s so important for me to do all of that on a regular basis so I can deliver the best of what is required of me when I do — very happily — hit work mode,” she notes.

Ultimately, she’s found that timeouts elevate her craft. “Stepping away from work and engaging in self-care activities really [does] inform my creativity on set,” she shares. “Whether it’s taking a walk, listening to music, reading, watching documentaries, which I just love — all of this helps me refocus when I hunker down on set with fellow castmates, crew and the director.”