Reported by Tracy Middleton
Aromatherapy. Yoga. Meditation. In 1995, no one would have thought Alanis Morissette would be so into such chilled-out activities. She is, after all, the creator of one of the best revenge fantasy breakup songs of all time, "You Oughta Know." But now, 20 years later, the 41-year-old has found a different way to heal from life's unpredictabilities. She begins every day by reading, listening to music, meditating, or writing—which is something she's loved her entire life.
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"I’ve been journaling since the moment I could write, writing poems and reading," she tells Womens Health. "Since the second I could read, I’ve been obsessed. As a child, my parents set it up so we had to read 30 minutes a day. So that was a joy for me."
Alanis doesn't just find time to fit in the hobbies she enjoys—she builds her life around them. In fact, she has renovated her entire home to fit her lifestyle. She has a room for yoga and meditation and an entire wall for her essential oils. Each of these things contributes to a facet of the lifestyle she embraces and tries to project into the world.
"When I shop, I’m always shopping with this mindset of, ‘What would add to the home? What would symbolize what’s already happening in my heart?’" she says. "The idea of community, internationalism, service, connection, nurturance, and beauty—all of these things I highly value so much." To see Alanis' beautiful decor and healing space, check out this exclusive video tour of her home:
Alanis dealt with difficulties early in life, and in building this home and embarking on a spiritual journey, she is knocking down walls while building new, healthy boundaries at the same time.
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"I’ve been so disassociated for most of my life, and it’s shown up in various forms like eating disorders and not having boundaries around having sex as a young person and just not being aware of boundaries and having a lot of mine be violated and not considered," she says. "For me, the idea of building boundaries has become a huge part of my spiritual practice. With the mindfulness somatic practices, it’s really helped me stay in my body."
Speaking of her body, taking care of it isn't a new focus for Alanis. But practicing mindfulness, as well as healing from past wounds has become a main priority.
"The big question for me around eating-disorder recovery is, ‘What is sobriety with food?’ We know with alcohol, you just don’t drink it and don’t go to a bar. With heroin, you just don’t go near it. Whereas with food, you have to eat, so how can one go from, in my case, bingeing and purging, starving, overeating, the scale going up and down—how can I go from that to a 'sober' approach?"
Alanis' recovery involved approaching food with a new mindset and thinking about the way it could not only heal her but provide her with the energy to continue doing the things she loves.
"I was raised on macaroni and cheese," she says. "But I’ve noticed allergies that have gone away when I step away from dairy. I’ve noticed when I get the high-nutrient greens, I sleep better. There’s less moodiness. Food is entirely medicine to me. That doesn’t mean I’m just eating seeds and raspberries, although that’s fun, too, but it’s an integrative approach."
Another crucial element of Alanis' strategy towards a more balanced lifestyle is also cutting back on how much time she spends working and not punishing herself for taking moments to herself and embracing the calm.
"If I told someone I did heroin until 4 a.m., there would be this massive intervention. But if I tell someone I was working on a deadline until 4 a.m., they’d pat me on the back," she says. "But it can be equally as destructive because stress is the number one killer, right? So I’m really looking into that. It’s sort of my main focus right now."
To learn more about Alanis Morissette's home, meditation practices, and more, pick up the September issue of Women's Health, on newstands now.