Selena's Mom, Mandy Teefey, On Doing Less For Your Mental Health

Mandy Teefey (Aka Selena Gomez's Mom!) Wants You To Do Less

The Wondermind CEO dishes on mental fitness, bed rotting, and social media breaks.

Interview by Rachel Chapman
Originally Published: 

It’s that time of year again, when people have already neglected their New Year’s resolutions or are at least struggling to keep up with them. Well, Mandy Teefey, CEO of Wondermind — the self-dubbed “world’s first mental fitness ecosystem” — has some thoughts about the concept of NYR, telling Elite Daily that people need to set more attainable goals: “We put a lot of pressure and glamorize productivity over actually enjoying life.”

Instead of stressing over accomplishments, the best thing you can do for yourself, Teefey says, is to “reconnect” with your mind, which she constantly aims to do with Wondermind, a mental health and fitness resource she co-founded with daughter Selena Gomez in 2022 after both experiencing anxiety and depression.

According to the 47-year-old, mental fitness is the idea that working your mind every day through meditations and exercises can help you on your mental health journey. By providing tools that everyone can use daily, Teefey says Wondermind is “democratizing and destigmatizing [mental health], so it’s accessible to everybody.”

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One of the ways that Wondermind is making mental health a little easier for everyone is by challenging people to do less for one week. While everyone has heard of doing the most, the -seven-day Do Less Challenge invites participants to take it easy for an entire week by doing the least. That can mean taking a step back and prioritizing your schedule, so you’re not overwhelmed with plans and only focusing on one thing at a time.

Below, Teefey shares the simple “do less” activity that she and Selena like to do when they’re taking a mental health day — and you’ve probably done it as well. Plus, she dishes on the best first steps for taking a break from social media, her journey to loving herself, and why TikTok’s viral bed rotting is relatable but not always the healthy thing to do.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Elite Daily: Why do you feel it’s important to have a “do less” mindset this time of year?

Mandy Teefey: The new year has always been this time when you’re supposed to find an appreciation for life by overdoing, overcompensating, and comparing yourself to other people. Our Do Less Challenge is to remind everyone that to build that relationship internally with yourself, you’ve got to do what you like to do.

Don’t do things that other people are doing on Instagram because it looks like it’s a good thing to do. Instead, reconnect with yourself by doing less, reflect on what’s important to you, and don’t get caught up in the FOMO.

ED: FOMO is definitely real, especially when you’re scrolling all the time.

MT: It is, and it can be really dangerous to our mentality. You can get distracted and miss out on things that you really want to be doing for yourself and with your family and friends.

ED: Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to take a break from their phone?

MT: Do it in increments: Turn off your phone for maybe 15 minutes and put it away, because it is sort of an obsession and you kind of miss it. You even get those phantom rings and feel like your phone is vibrating when it’s not, because your body and mind are so used to it. So, doing it in increments helps, and then slowly, you’ll be able to do it for three hours and you’ll learn not to miss it.

Whatever time Selena needs, she gives herself.

ED: Selena’s social media breaks can be days or even months. Has she told you if a certain length of time makes more of a difference for her?

MT: No. It’s just whatever she needs for that time period. I can go a week without looking at any social media, and then I’ll get on there and I’ll try to catch up. But it’s just whatever time Selena needs, she gives herself.

ED: Have you ever talked about the benefits of stepping away from social media together?

MT: Yeah, you’re more at ease, in your world, and living in the moment. It’s so much more peaceful.

ED: Selena recently posted in her Instagram stories about her body and how she’s grown to love and accept how she’s changing and growing. Do you have any tips for getting into that kind of “love yourself” mindset?

MT: I started noticing, especially when you have a chronic illness — I have Hashimoto’s, which causes me to have times where I’m bloated, swollen, and not feeling really well — you can really beat yourself up. I look at it as I would much rather be here in the world and doing what I can do and just accepting who I am than worrying about what other people are thinking.

All they’re worried about is what people are thinking about them. People can be mean, and they can say nasty things, but that’s a reflection on them. Acceptance comes a little bit with age. When I was really sick and put in the hospital, I was told I had three days to live. From that moment on, I just decided to live for myself and love myself the way I am.

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ED: You created Wondermind together as a mental fitness resource. What are ways someone can incorporate mental fitness into their everyday routine?

MT: Wondermind has a podcast called Baggage Drop that you can listen to on your way to work or if you’re taking a walk. It actually walks you through different mental fitness exercises.

My husband also loves to play games that stimulate different parts of your brain. Sitting with yourself, realizing what you care about, and then finding a way to exercise is a great way to look at mental fitness — you’re trying to put together your own toolbox.

ED: What are easy fitness and mental health goals that someone can set for themself if they are looking for a change in those spaces this year?

MT: I’ve created a morning routine where I get up at 4 a.m. and do things. It’s solely my time. I get to write, reflect, prep my day, take my time, have coffee alone, and read a little bit. Once you get into it, your body enjoys it. It’s important to take at least an hour a day to check in with yourself and feed yourself what you’re needing.

ED: What are some ways that you’re *doing less* for your mental health?

MT: I have started to lock my calendars a week ahead of time. So then the next week, I don’t get flushed with a bunch of things that I’m not prepared for and I get anxiety. I’ve incorporated the priority matrix into my work calendar in order to make sure I’m doing what needs to be done. It gives me ease, because I know my week like the back of my hand, and I’m just so much more relaxed and productive.

Anytime [Selena] needs a good sleep, she’ll come sleep over here.

ED: Both you and Selena have talked about one of your favorite things to do for a mental health day is to spend time with your family. What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together?

MT: It’s hilarious. We come together, and we plan a movie day; we cook food and just kind of relax and hang out. Then, we all end up falling asleep. I was telling one of my therapists, “Yeah, we’re just always so tired.” He said, “When you’re around people you trust and you love, you are relaxed.” So, anytime she needs a good sleep, she’ll come sleep over here.

ED: Walk me through the perfect day of doing less for your mental health with all of your favorite go-to self-care activities.

MT: I get up, make my coffee, do my facial routine, and then I read from a joyous book. It’s not like a gratitude or self-help book — it’s just a story I’m enjoying. Then I’ll write and journal all my thoughts just to get them out of my head. Some of those writings never make any sense, but I feel better.

Then, I stretch, play with the dogs, and meditate for about an hour. That’s when I take a lovely nap. At the end of the day, I check and answer all my emails at once, then I have a nice dinner.

ED: On TikTok, bed rotting has become a trend, where people are staying in bed all day. Thoughts?

MT: I am guilty of bed rotting. I will find myself working in my bed, trying to go to sleep at night, and not being able to do that. Staying in your bed all day is probably an unhealthy thing to do. My therapist taught me the bed is for sleep only, so maybe marathon-watch TV on your couch or eat at a table and not do everything in your bed.

ED: What's the best piece of advice you can give someone just starting their mental health journey?

MT: Give yourself grace and know that you’re not going to be able to do it in two days. It took me a couple of months to really figure out what I wanted to do for my mental health. Find things that make you feel good about yourself. You’re kind of relearning yourself, and I think that’s a really special journey.

Disclosure: Bustle Digital Group is an investor in Wondermind.

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