We Chat With Mamamia Executive Editor, Clare Stephens

We sat down with Clare Stephens and chatted about how she steps away from her busy schedule to unwind and relax. When she isn’t writing up a storm on stories like her journey to find the perfect pair of jeans for a short gal to the very important topic of financial abuse, she also hosts a podcast with her sister, Jessie, called CANCELLED!

Introduce yourself to our readers, what do you do for work? 

Hey everyone, I’m Clair - the Executive Editor at Mamamia Women's Network - Australia's largest independent women's media company. Up until very recently, I was the Editor in Chief, managing a team of 20 content producers, editors and social media executives. But after two and a half years (and, you know, a global pandemic thrown in the mix), I decided to change direction to a part time role at Mamamia, to dedicate more time to my own creative projects. It's bloody terrifying and I might regret it in six months’ time, but hey, I think most of us made a 'pandemic decision,' and this was mine! 


What does self-care mean to you?

To me, as corny as it sounds, self-care is ultimately about being kind to yourself. I think the rise of wellness culture and wellness influencers sometimes leads us to believe that self-care has to look a certain way, which takes away from the fact that it should be deeply personal.

For a long time, I had really rigid ideas about what it meant to 'look after myself', and they ended up being incredibly unhelpful. For me, self-care is about abandoning hard and fast 'rules' about how to live my life - especially when it comes to food and exercise. I should exercise because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good, not because I'll feel guilty if I don't.

Self-care also means accepting the body and mind you're living in today. Even if it's sick, or sad, or tired. My mum used to say, 'be good to yourself' when I was younger, and I would tease her because it sounded so dumb, but it's actually quite profound *laughs*. 


Talk us through any rituals you have that promote a sense of health and well-being? Why are these important to you?

I've been doing Pilates (badly) for a while and have found that it does wonders for my mental health. During lockdown, I did online classes (shoutout to GoChlo Pilates), and my favourite thing was that Chloe doesn't talk at all about how your body looks - only about how it feels. It's the only exercise I've found that I actually enjoy and feels inclusive of all kinds of fitness levels. I still can't touch my toes, which I think must be some kind of record.

I've also done a frankly silly amount of walking in the last year, but it's been really good for my well-being. I have my best chats with friends and family when I'm walking and can also completely zone out by listening to a podcast.

I'm also consciously trying not to 'hate-follow' or 'hate-watch' things that annoy me. I used to spend a weird amount of time looking at opinions and content that drove me nuts, and I'd get myself super angry. But you can also just ignore it?? And go do something else??? And the world doesn't fall apart? Lifechanging. 


How do you unwind and relax after a long day at work?

I'm particularly terrible at this. Like, really bad. To be honest, after a long day at work I sit on TikTok for so long that a message comes up on my screen telling me to take a break, which is pretty embarrassing. If anyone has any tips for unwinding, I'd love them. I really like baths but I don't have one! 


If money was no option - what would you treat yourself to? 

The most ridiculous holiday imaginable! With my whole family. And it would be chaotic and brilliant all at once. 


In society, self-care has often been viewed as a luxury, rather than a necessity. Do you think that needs to change?

Yes, definitely. But I think we need to be pointy about what we mean by self-care. It doesn't necessarily mean facials and eating foods you can't pronounce.

I think a huge amount of self-care could actually be introduced at a societal level. For example, it's pretty weird that most of us only go to the doctor when we're so sick we need a doctor's certificate, or we need something attended to urgently. Imagine if we went regularly, to just... check in. And we did the same with a psychologist.

I think there's basic self-care skills that most of us are missing. And if we were able to better access professionals, before we get sick or start struggling with mental health issues, that would be pretty amazing!

Amazing advice, Clare. If you want to check out more of Clare’s work - you can follow her on Instagram here, or check out Mamamia Australia here

If you feel inspired like us, it’s time you treated yourself or someone you love to some self-care? Shop The Pamper Gift Card here.

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