Wine Nights, Workouts and Wide-Open Spaces

Chart-topping, twice-Grammy-nominated artist Kelsea Ballerini, whose latest self-titled album releases in March, is about as real as it gets when it comes to her comprehensive self-care routine. She doesn’t like meditation because she’s “too ADD” but she is trying to be more mindful in her daily life at the encouragement of her husband, fellow country artist Morgan Evans. With each new album the Knoxville native and Nashville resident has reinvented herself as well as how she takes care of her body.

Kelsea’s Philosophy

After becoming more self-aware in the last year, she has settled on an 80-20 philosophy: drinking a ton of water so she can feel guilt-free about ordering wine at dinner. When she has those “uh-oh” moments, like eating fried chicken tenders with her friends, she forgives herself and moves forward to a workout class. Almost to demonstrate her point, at the whimsical new Graduate Hotel, fitting for Ballerini’s glamorous persona, she munched on a chopped salad and sipped San Pellegrino. She also enjoyed her beloved coffee and talked about how long it took her to finally enjoy working out. While she does have a green smoothie, most mornings made by her Evans (a recently converted vegan) this creative soul has a refreshingly realistic
perspective in regard to health. Ballerini, who’s struggled with body image, wants to feel good in her own skin rather than hit a certain number on the scale. Here’s what she has to say about practices that help her feel good about herself every day:

Choose Wisely

“Find a workout that YOU like, not what someone else pushes. There are so many different kinds of moving. Going to the gym or running on the treadmill, which I personally hate and tried for years, isn’t the only way to exercise. I love any kind of cycle class because the music is super loud, the lights are dark, and I can shut my eyes and feel like I am at home with my headphones on. I also love Pilates for building long, lean muscle. Lastly, I work out with a personal trainer who is super encouraging and helps me meet my fitness goals. Working out, which I used to
dread, is now something that I look forward to because it boosts my stamina onstage and makes me feel much more clear-headed and, in my body, too.

Have Fun

Nights out are great, but this doesn’t necessarily mean getting drunk on Broadway. Spending light-hearted time with people I love is a huge part of my self-care because it makes me happy and keeps me motivated. How I have fun has changed over the years and now it’s playing board games or Facetiming someone I care about. Talking to trustworthy, nonjudgmental people is so important. Healthy relationships are critical to my health.

Find a Creative Outlet

“Before music, my creative outlet was dance for many years. Everyone needs an escape where they can express themselves and feel safe in this crazy world. I’m so thankful for music, which is my therapeutic outlet.”

The 80-20 Philosophy

“The 80% is really, really healthy and the 20% is Oops, I did it again” {laughs and sings song in a Britney Spears growl.} I work out pretty hard four days a week and the other days I sleep in. I drink a ton of water and drink a ton of wine. I believe in balance. The most important thing to me isn’t necessarily how I look but my ability to run the life I want. To keep up with a crazy schedule, I have to eat more salad than I care to.

Love Where You Live

While being on the road is incredible, I also am a homebody who likes to hike at Radnor Lake, visit downtown Franklin, and favorite coffeehouse The Frothy Monkey, and have dinner with my husband at Bricktop’s or Adele’s. I love Nashville and spending time at my favorite haunts.”

Personal Space

“I need major alone time. I am, by default, always around people. In the last year or so, I started to realize that I need balance so I can live a very social life, which means spending time in my safe space at home with my husband or alone. Similarly, I try to limit how much I am on my phone and have more quiet time. Although limiting how much I use technology makes me feel less anxious I won’t lie, I am fully addicted to my phone and social media. (Laughs)

No Shaming

“I don’t shame myself if I screw up. I don’t make myself feel bad if I have a cheat meal or even a cheat day. I’ve struggled with body image my entire life and knew if I was going to be an artist, I had to figure my shit out. I don’t diet. I like my legs. I hate my stomach. I try not to stress about it. If I start to feel like crap about myself, I get off Instagram and stop comparing myself to others. I do the best I can.”