Lauren Cohan knows what it takes to live her healthiest life.
"The best way for me to put it is that if my spiritual life isn’t bigger than my real life, then I’m out of balance," The Walking Dead star, 34, in our December issue, on newsstands this Friday.
Cohan has learned how important it is to carve out enough time for the things that enable her to feel this sense of balance. But it hasn't always been easy: "I think what happened [in the past] was I didn’t have a very good balance with exercise and food," the actress says. "I’d be stressed out and I’d eat too much, or I’d be stressed out and I’d stop exercising. The last few years, I’ve been focusing on consistency and balance, and it’s made a huge difference."
One of her strategies? Scheduling dedicated blocks of "me" time into the day. "I have timers on my phone for everything: It’s time to meditate, it’s time to do this."
Regular exercise also helps Cohan feel like her best self. She told us she works with a personal trainer to do core-based alignment workouts and strength training three to four days a week, as well as yoga on weekends. She also allows herself one "rest" day during the week—but still makes a point to walk at least 20,000 steps during that day off.
The actress explains that when it comes to her well-being, mental positivity is as important as her rigorous fitness routine.
"Somebody said to me the other day, 'If this moment isn’t the best moment of your life, you’re doing something wrong.' And I think about that all the time," Cohan tells Health. "Because not liking where I’m at is such a waste of energy. And being able to be there for others is only coming from self-acceptance. You have to do what makes you feel good, but for me it has to come from that spiritual side first."
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And while Cohan is diligent about practicing self-care, she believes a person's healthy habits can have an even bigger impact on others.
"I’m taking the time to be a better person so I can be of service—putting other people before myself."