“I was shocked at how bad some things were still”

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HGTV host Retta shares her self-care secrets. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Relaxation is Yahoo Life’s wellness series where experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and Mental Healthfrom self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

When it comes to self-care, Retta learned from the best: Oprah Winfrey.

“I grew up watching Oprah, and it’s one of those things, when you watch talk shows, that they say you need it, and I took that as a bible,” said the former star of Parks and recreation and good girls tells Yahoo Life. “I don’t know if I was necessarily able to do it, but I always knew it was probably your best path. Once I could do it, it wasn’t hard for me.”

That said, getting a full night’s sleep can be a challenge when traveling for work as an HGTV host. The Ugliest House in America: Ugly in Paradise.

“Sleep is difficult, in that my body wakes up after six hours,” said Retta, who admits things got worse during the lockdown phase of the pandemic, when she felt consumed by what was happening in the world around him.

“Especially because of quarantine and COVID, I had some anxiety,” she explains. “I was staying up all night watching all the bad news and stressing about it. Melatonin really became my friend.”

The comedian is well aware that she’s often associated with the phrase “Treat Yo’ Self”, the words her beloved character Donna Meagle touted on Parks and recreation. In the past, people shouted the phrase, which is intended to encourage a person to indulge in joyful pleasures, to her on the street. It’s “not as prevalent now,” thanks to her more recent success as mom Ruby Hill on Good girls. But that doesn’t mean the actress can’t enjoy the finer things in life. Retta says her favorite ways to indulge include luxury body treatments, like getting a massage and stretching from a professional.

“When I can, I like to stretch. I’ve really found it affects me on a daily basis,” she says, adding, “I want to get my manicure done more often, I just don’t have the time because of work.”

To take care of her physical health, Retta loves to swim. And like her former character Donna, she enjoys retail therapy.

“I do a lot of online shopping,” she admits.

Retta spoke to Yahoo Life as The Ugliest House in America: Ugly in Paradise returns for a new five-episode season that chronicles his road trip to visit 15 unsightly homes designated by their owners. A home will be crowned “America’s Ugliest House” by HGTV, which will net homeowners a $150,000 renovation. Although Retta considers herself a fan of home improvement, she makes it clear that she’s not into DIY projects herself.

“I like throwing money at the problem,” she says. “But I like watching it. I like a before and after – that’s what I prefer. So I’m a fan in the sense that I’m going to watch it happen all day if I could. It’s one of those things that you keep following, and say, ‘I see why they’re using the stone here.'”

Of course, walking from the mountains to the palm trees to find the most hideous house possible for the show turned out to be quite a shock.

“I was shocked to see how bad some things were still, and people were still living in the house. Some people can’t afford [to go elsewhere]. I remember when I redid my apartment, I was living in my spare room while it was done,” Retta says. “But they’re just living with crazy people, and they’ve just decided we should- to be doing something.”

Its own must-have design upgrade? Install televisions in every room of her house so she can enjoy her favorite programs wherever she wants.

“What am I not looking at? she replies when asked about her favorite shows. “I feel like I freak out when people ask me that because I watch so much. Frenzy is the thing. Most scripted shows. I watch Ted Lasso, hacks, Yellowstone, …and just like that, You better call Saul, Only murders in the building. Right now these are the things I’m tracking, and I like to review Monk.”

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