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Health & Fit: Laura Dern Shares Why the Most Difficult Part of Quarantine Is the "Unknown"

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  • Laura Dern opened up to Prevention.com about experiencing anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic, particularly around the uncertainty of the future.
  • The Big Little Lies star said she's been leaning on her family for support and has cherished the bonding time spent with her two teenage kids.
  • Dern has also partnered with the American Lung Association and CVS to support those who have been affected by COVID-19.

While you may know Laura Dern as Renata Klein in Big Little Lies, at home the Academy Award winning actress is simply known as Mom. Over the past several months, as the coronavirus pandemic has swept through the U.S., Dern struggled with her inability to provide answers and security to her kids' questions around the pandemic, the health of their family members, and the future.

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For Dern, all of the "what ifs" were unsettling. "I think the most difficult part of quarantine personally for our family was the worry of the unknown and the worry for my mom, who has a lung condition," Dern tells Prevention.com. "I don't know if everybody in the world has anxiety around the unknown, but for me, I like to know the plan. I like to know even with a moment of great hardship of grief or loss, like OK, well, in two weeks, this is happening, and then in four weeks, that's going on."

As a parent to Ellery, 18, and Jaya, 15, Dern says the adults in the household are supposed to have all of the answers, but she simply doesn't. And as coronavirus cases have begun to spike in the U.S. again, we're all unsure of how the rest of the year will play out. To cope with her anxiety around the unknown, Dern has been focusing on acts of service, bonding time with her family, and meditation and yoga to ease her stress.

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1. She partnered with the American Lung Association and CVS to help COVID-19 patients.

While quarantining at her L.A. home, Dern decided to transform her anxiety into service. The BLL star and longtime supporter of the American Lung Association (ALA) joined CVS to support the ALA's COVID-19 Action Initiative, which is a $25 million investment to end coronavirus. From now through July 18, people can make donations to support the cause at their local CVS or online.

After recently losing a friend to coronavirus and caring for her mother Dianne Ladd, who has lived with a lung condition caused by exposure to environmental toxins, Dern said she was inspired to partner with the ALA and CVS. She also spent her quarantine days working with her governor's office to fight for a protective ban of harmful pesticides around schools and residences, especially at a time when elders are high-risk.

Laura Dern Shares Why the Most Difficult Part of Quarantine Is the "Unknown"

  Laura Dern Shares Why the Most Difficult Part of Quarantine Is the The "Big Little Lies" star says she's worried about her mom, who has a lung condition, in particular.For Dern, all of the "what ifs" were unsettling. "I think the most difficult part of quarantine personally for our family was the worry of the unknown and the worry for my mom, who has a lung condition," Dern tells Prevention.com. "I don't know if everybody in the world has anxiety around the unknown, but for me, I like to know the plan. I like to know even with a moment of great hardship of grief or loss, like OK, well, in two weeks, this is happening, and then in four weeks, that's going on.

"To watch my mom deal with her personal challenges while supporting everybody else, always being of service, loving her work, being an actor, and being completely present for me and her grandchildren, is just an extraordinary gift to behold," Dern says. "But also, my mom's condition is an example of many other lung conditions that go undiagnosed or partially undiagnosed, and I know the American Lung Association works so diligently in these areas."

The coronavirus created a situation for us all to prioritize our health, but we still have so much to learn and how we can prevent future lung infections. That’s why I’m proud to announce that I’ve partnered with the @lungassociation and @CVSHealth to raise COVID-19 funds for COVID-19 research, education and advocacy. Donate at the register at your local CVS Pharmacy or online at Lung.org/CVS. #AD #Covid19 #LungHealth #Lungs

A post shared by Laura Dern (@lauradern) on Jun 23, 2020 at 10:21am PDT

Dern says she values the ALA for navigating the unknowns around coronavirus, not only in terms of how one contracts the virus or how to protect others from getting it, but the lasting impact COVID-19 has on the lungs and health of those affected.

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"I think what we've all learned that sitting in the worry does nothing, and there have been days for all of us that we have," she says. "I think we are better served in service and in action rather than just receiving information."

2. She learned to care for her kids in new ways.

For many of us, quarantine has been an adjustment in having to spend large amounts of time with our family members. Dern has relished in this time with her kids.

"I think the most beneficial thing about quarantine has been maybe taking care of my kids, and to be honest, in new ways," she says. "It has certainly helped my mental health, and I believe their mental health."

In particular, the actress began cooking with her family, which is something they didn't usually do together. "And I mean not just cooking together, but finding the food, and figuring out what to prepare based on that, and access, especially in the early weeks there," she says. "It became a really creative bonding time for us."

"And I'm not traditionally a cook," she continues. "I've cooked because I had to as a parent. This was the discovery of, like, what would be fun, just trying to keep them happy, and so they forget something's radically difficult." Dern said she would call friends for advice or recipes. "We'd sort of figure it out together, and that's been a huge part of our bonding time."

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I grew something edible!!!

A post shared by Laura Dern (@lauradern) on May 17, 2020 at 2:26pm PDT

3. She made self-care a priority.

Aside from cooking, Dern has been staying active with yoga, hiking, and going for walks with her kids and dogs. "I need them to get out of the house," she says, adding that hiking and walking with them has been really grounding for her. "With my daughter or my son, whether it's a dog walk or putting on a Zoom yoga class, we kind of do whatever we can to keep our bodies going," she says.

Aside from staying active, Dern is also an active meditator. "That's been really helpful and continues to be," she says. Dern is a fan of Transcendental Meditation (TM), a form of mantra meditation practiced by celebrities like Katy Perry.

4. She found create ways to celebrate milestones.

From missed graduations to cancelled weddings and birthday parties, the coronavirus pandemic put many special events on hold. Dern found this particularly challenging.

"To be the parents in the household and the adults in the household that said, 'No, you're not graduating high school; no, I don't know if you're going to college; yes, we're going online; no, I don't know if there are going to be finals; I don't know if you're doing great; no, I don't know when I'm working. I don't know,'" Dern says. "Oh, my God. What a time."

"I know families and communities all over the world have felt that," she continues. Dern said that she had to get creative in celebrating milestones with her family, like her son Ellery's graduation. "Having things to do can make a difference for others, for your children," she says. "The simple task of saying, OK, there's no graduation, so what are we going to instead that will be special?"

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My boy’s day!! Happy Graduation, amazing Ellery! Class of 2020!!!!!!!!

A post shared by Laura Dern (@lauradern) on May 28, 2020 at 4:01pm PDT

Ultimately, Dern says that being in quarantine taught her a lot about the importance of self-care and also making sure others are taken care of. "There is a connection to self-care and service, like I've never seen that part of taking care of one's self is taking care of their community," she says.

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Gallery: Celebrity Moms Candidly Share Their Experiences With Postpartum Depression (US Weekly)

Chrissy Teigen, Reese Witherspoon, Shay Mitchell posing for a photo: Sharing their stories. Reese Witherspoon, Behati Prinsloo and more celebrity moms have spoken openly about their postpartum depression. The Big Little Lies alum had “a different experience” after each of her children’s births, she told Jameela Jamil in April 2020. “[With] one kid, I had kind of mild postpartum, and [with] one kid, I had severe postpartum where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn’t thinking straight at all,” the actress said during an episode of Jamil’s “I Weigh” podcast. “And then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all.” The Whiskey in a Teacup author shares daughter Ava and son Deacon with her ex-husband, Ryan Phillippe, as well as son Tennessee with her husbannd, Jim Toth. After she stopped nursing her little ones, she went through “hormonal roller-coasters.” Witherspoon explained at the time: “No one explained that to me. I was 23 years old when I had my first baby and nobody explained to me that when you wean a baby, your hormones go into the toilet. I felt more depressed than I’d ever felt in my whole life. It was scary.” Without “guidance or help,” the Oscar winner “white-knuckled” her way back to herself despite “reaching out to [her] doctors for answers.” The Little Fires Everywhere star said, “I think hormones are so understudied and not understood. … There just isn’t enough research about what happens to women’s bodies and the hormonal shifts that we have aren’t taken as seriously as I think they should be.”     As for Prinsloo, the Victoria’s Secret Angel received help from her husband, Adam Levine, while battling PPD. “My husband was so incredibly supportive and always got me out of it,” the mother of two said on a June 2019 Today appearance. “I think it’s very normal, though, as a young mom and a new mom to feel helpless and to feel overly emotional, you know.” The model added, “I think I got lucky not to have it to an extreme case, but you can see yourself spiraling.” Keep scrolling for details on how other celebrity mothers have overcome their PPD, from Brooke Shields to Shay Mitchell.

13 of the Strangest Places People Quarantined During the Pandemic .
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