It's been a long day for Jenna Dewan Tatum. The actress, dancer, and mom has spent her afternoon in front of a camera, posing for photos and meeting fans at a Young Living Essential Oils event in Manhattan. Still, her white skirt and top are as unruffled as ever, and her laugh comes easily as she admits she's been using essential oils for a while now. "Seriously. Sixteen years. I've always been fascinated by how the brain responds to scent," she says. "I felt the difference, I saw the science, and it’s really fun. I feel like a little hippie white witch."
The power of scent isn't the only thing Dewan Tatum has to talk about, although she certainly could go on about it for a while. Here's what she has to say about how motherhood has changed her, what her workouts look like now, and letting go of perfectionism.
Working out as a working mom.
As a kid, Dewan Tatum danced for eight hours a day—and that didn't change much when she became a professional dancer in her teen years and into adulthood. These days, she only has time to exercise a few days a week—but she's never felt better.
"I work out maybe three times a week if I can get it in. But I’m so active; I’m constantly moving around with my child. I hike a lot and walk a lot, and my job in general is very busy," she says. As for how she recovers, she says essential oils, meditation, and breathwork are key. "I’ve done all different variations of meditation," she says. "Frankincense is good for meditation, and I recently got into breathwork—a three-point breath is kind of my meditation of the moment, but I have always liked to feel grounded and balanced, which is why this speaks to me in all the techniques I do."
Struggling with perfectionism.
When asked about her No. 1 mental blockage in life, Dewan Tatum quickly admits that it's perfectionism. "Being a dancer, that’s a big hurdle you have to get over," she says. "Perfectionism is a double-edged sword, because it works; in one way it keeps you motivated and makes you want to work hard, but then it blocks and inhibits you on the other side of it because it feels like this pressure to be perfect."
So, what's helped her over the years? Coming to terms with where the magic really is. "A lot of the time the magic comes from getting outside of your comfort zone," she says. "You do a triple pirouette and drop your heel and beat yourself up for three days about it, but eventually you realize that's holding you back. Sometimes it’s good to be messy. It’s good to be a hot mess from time to time."
How having a daughter has helped her let go.
Although she's come a long way when it comes to perfectionism, Dewan Tatum still struggles with it. And when she does, she calls on her personal mantra and thinks about her 4-year-old daughter, Everly.
"I say, 'Let go, let God.' It sounds religious, but I’m not actually that religious," she says. "I’m just spiritual. When you give in to that bigger presence and get outside of your own self—that's huge. It was all about myself for so long, but when my daughter came in, my priorities shifted. Now, if a show doesn’t go the way I wanted it to, I let it go. It has freed me up and brought me even more opportunity."
Inspired by Jenna's story? Here are 14 mantras wellness leaders swear by.