Jennifer Aniston has been in the spotlight for some time, but even she is still working to manage the anxiety of her job and all that comes with it — something that she said quarantine helped her to address.
“There was so much good and so much horror all happening at once. For me, the good was a big decompression and an inventory of ‘What’s it all about?'” the actress shared in an interview for InStyle. “Being idle is not preferable. It was important for those who were willing to let it be a reset to slowdown, take all of this in, reassess, reevaluate, and excavate. Literally cleaning out crap that we don’t need.”
While being stuck at home and away from the chaos of work or the public attention that someone like Aniston receives as a result of her occupation, she explained that she was able to focus on her mental health. Most importantly, she worked to cut out the things that impacted her negatively.
“My level of anxiety has gone down by eliminating the unnecessary sort of fat in life that I had thought was necessary,” she said. “Also realizing that you can’t please everybody.”
Aniston has also faced a reckoning in friendships when it comes to the pandemic and people’s attitudes toward vaccinations, sharing that she’s distanced herself from those who refuse to get it.
“There’s still a large group of people who are anti-vaxxers or just don’t listen to the facts. It’s a real shame. I’ve just lost a few people in my weekly routine who have refused or did not disclose [whether or not they had been vaccinated], and it was unfortunate,” she explained. “I feel it’s your moral and professional obligation to inform, since we’re not all podded up and being tested every single day. It’s tricky because everyone is entitled to their own opinion — but a lot of opinions don’t feel based in anything except fear or propaganda.”
When it comes to returning to the set of her Apple TV+ series The Morning Show and filming the highly-anticipated reunion of Friends, Aniston felt comfortable knowing that co-stars and crew were responding responsibly to the coronavirus. “I was able to walk into it pretty centered, knowing we had an incredible epidemiology team,” she said.
Still, she had to prepare to face some of the stressors of returning to the spotlight. Notably, the media.
“It’s the promotion of it that creates some stress in me. You get, like, a second of what it is that you’re promoting, and then the rest of it is salacious crap that you somehow got wrangled into talking about. There’s a big appetite for that — and listen, I get it. But if you don’t give it, then they make it up,” she explained of press junkets and red carpets. “The way the media presents us folk in this business is like we’re always trotting around the world, on beaches having fun. But there are a lot of other, less obvious things that go into it.”
For the stars coming up just after Aniston, like Britney Spears, the media’s treatment of them was particularly cruel. “[They were] feeding on young, impressionable girls. Half of these kids started on The Mickey Mouse Club. I was lucky enough to be raised by a very strict mother. The priorities were not about becoming a famous person,” Aniston says of her own upbringing. “I think that [Spears’s] group of girls as teens didn’t have any kind of “Who am I?” They were being defined by this outside source. The media took advantage of that, capitalized on them, and it ultimately cost them their sanity. It’s so heartbreaking.”
Aniston explained that she maintained her own sanity by acquiring a strong support system of people outside of the industry upon moving out to Los Angeles. And while they helped to keep her grounded, she’s also relied on professionals.
“Therapy,” she credits for her ability to stay optimistic about and open to the world of Hollywood. “A wonderful amount of trying to understand it,” she continues. “Also, being given examples of what I do not want to become, seeing people I love get lost and lose the plot.”