The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.
Joe Jonas has grown up in the public eye after making his big break as the lead singer of the band the Jonas Brothers in his teens. Nearly two decades into his career, the 33-year-old is recognizing that he can no longer put his health second to his career. Instead, the two go hand-in-hand.
"I think when you get a little older, your body catches up with you to the point where you realize, oh, you can’t do this as much as you used to," he tells Yahoo Life. "You can’t sing 10 shows in a week, party and not eat the right things and not get enough sleep and think you can just keep it up."
While Joe gained fame alongside stars like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez in the heyday of the Disney Channel, he explains that it was his working relationship with his brothers Kevin and Nick Jonas that kept him grounded. Even still, the trio had to face the difficult decision to take a hiatus as a band in October 2013.
"Obviously, a lot of young people in the entertainment industry, how they struggle with mental health, everyone’s on their own journey. And for myself, I’m lucky enough to do this with my family. We were able to be honest with each other and check in and realize we have to take this time to take time off and really check out and look after yourself," he says of the break. "We pushed ourselves so far without taking those mental health breaks, without taking even those physical breaks and breaks from each other. And I think that was essential for us to be able to take a step back and go, 'Ok, what’s important to us? We are a band, we’re also a family. Those two things can be separated, so let’s make sure we find the division and that’ll make us stronger.'"
The brothers embarked upon individual careers and began to build families of their own during their time apart. After announcing their return as the Jonas Brothers in 2019, they released a documentary, titled Chasing Happiness, showing how they worked to repair their relationships as brothers and artists. Now Joe recognizes his personal wellbeing as a vital part of existing as a group.
"I find that the beginning of my day is the most essential to get my day going. If I don’t have that me time I’m not going to be as great of a friend or brother in the performance elements that I need to be," he explains. "The first thing I do is meditate immediately, app-based, so it’s 'Headspace' for me. Then I try to write a gratitude list. Writing music is a safe space for me and playing onstage is a safe space for me where I can share my most vulnerable moments of my life to the world in a fun little puzzle piecing way."
Before expressing those sides of himself onstage for either the Jonas Brothers or his other band DNCE, Joe requests a slap in the face as a part of his pre-show ritual.
"The slap in the face wakes me up, gets me amped. There’s also the safer, healthier sides like some tea for my throat and honey and some meditation, then plenty of tequila," he says. "It’s a balance."
However, indulging in more meaningful self-care on the road can be difficult.
"When I’m home I’m getting up pretty early, but on the road, the hours are strange," he says. "I’m going onstage at 9 and then getting offstage and then you’re wide awake for two, three hours because you just performed and your energy’s going. There are tight quarters and tight spaces."
With limited downtime, it's also important for Joe to take care of his physical health in the most efficient way possible. He recently got an EVO ICL lens procedure done to fix his eyesight without a more invasive surgery.
"It was 24 hours that I was walking around New York seeing things clearer than I’ve ever seen them and then, on top of that, the recovery process was really simple and now I can see better than ever," he says.
Medical doctors aren't the only professionals he relies on to keep him going, especially after the "stressful, scary times" following the coronavirus pandemic. "Therapy is great," he says. "Talking to my therapist and being able to open up, so I’m not just going to my partner, my brothers or friends that probably don’t need to hear this. It’s nice to talk to somebody, a professional."
Although it's taken time for the singer and actor to nail down a routine that works for him, it's most important at this time in his life to be able to maintain success in his career while also showing up as a husband to his wife actress Sophie Turner and their two children.
"I’m just so grateful I still get to do what I love for a living after all these years," he says, noting the difficult balance he's learned to strike. "I pinch myself every day."
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