With a few days off from filming Good Witch, Catherine Bell is busy in her kitchen doing a conjuring of a different kind — cooking. Whipping up chicken soup, Bolognese sauce, and chili to share with her castmates and crew, she explains to Woman’s World that this is one of the things she’s learned to love during the pandemic.
“It’s been good for me to find little things like this to do,” Bell says with a smile. “Finding small activities and moments to be grateful helps me stay hopeful during the difficult and scary moments.”
And difficult times they have been, both for the world and for Bell’s family. “Suddenly, everything changed,” she recounts. “Like so many, my kids were kept out of school for exposure and I could have become unemployed at any moment. It was a lot of tears, worry and emotion for a while.”
But with her family at home full-time, Bell says one day, she decided to try to make lemonade out of the lemons. “I started asking, ‘What can we do to make this better?’” she says. “We started cooking together, had a lot of great talks and watched a lot of nostalgic ’80s movies. Just staying positive for them helped me stay more positive about life in general. And stronger too!”
Even with the hopeful start of summer, the 52-year-old admits it’s hard to stay positive at times, but she’s found that gratitude helps her move forward. “It’s a constant work in progress,” she says. “If I start to get discouraged, I remind myself that I’m working, my family is healthy and I am surrounded by people I adore. Difficult situations make us stronger, whether they go well or if they don’t. All we can hope is to learn from them and find the good!” Here, Bell shares some of her favorite tips for finding your own silver linings and staying happy, healthy and feeling great.
Find joy through helping others.
“Volunteer work helps me stay happy and grounded no matter what’s going on in my life,” Bell shares. “Recently, I became a supervisor for a criminal rehabilitation program, Criminon. I don’t use my own name, but I help grade the inmates in the different courses they take, like communication and moral code. I write them letters too. They’ve made incredible changes in their lives, and it’s a great way to celebrate that positive transition.”
Boost confidence with self-love .
“Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to stay in my sweats watching TV in my downtime,” Bell reveals. “Tomorrow, I’ll find my moment to get dressed and put on a little blush, but it’s all about finding your balance and being okay with you, regardless of whether you’ve washed your hair or put on makeup. You’re perfect the way you are!”
Discover your creature comforts.
“I’m an only child who spent lots of time in my room drawing, painting, and reading, so I’m okay with being alone,” Bell shares. “But the pandemic helped me realize that I actually like it!” What brings her peace in her solo time? “Reading!” she cheers. “Right now, I’m reading Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s autobiography and Widow Basquiat. I also love sketching, so I started doing that again. It’s all about finding simple things that bring you joy.”
Catalog the good.
“In life, I think we get more of what we pay attention to,” Bell says. “So I choose to put my attention toward things that are bright, positive and hopeful.” In fact, her father recently sent her a gratitude journal to keep her in the light. “I write something in it every day, like how grateful I am to have hot water. It’s made me realize there are so many little things to be grateful for — and that list grows daily.”
Fight stress with a happy routine.
“I love going for walks in nature,” says Bell of her routine stress reducer. “Just going outside, looking at nature’s beauty helps me.” Another worry slasher? “Hot baths — I add lavender Epsom salts. It stimulates your liver so toxins leave the body and relaxes the muscles.” Giggles always help in the stress department too. “I love funny videos. My kids and I will watch some before bed and laugh — that’s always a wonderful way to turn in for the night!”
Feel great with guilt-free exercise.
“Some days, I don’t feel like exercising, but I won’t make myself feel bad for it,” Bell laughs. “But when I do work out, I love to just put on a video at home — there are so many things you can do. I have resistance bands and a slider I put on the floor and slide from side to side. It’s just light exercise to keep me moving and feeling great.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.