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Angela Bloomfield reveals how she looks after her mental health

The former Shortland Street star talks meditation, health and how she deals with panic attacks.

When you’ve spent the past 25 years playing the role of one of our most recognisable screen characters, leaving it all behind can take some getting used to.

More than a year on from filming her last scenes as Shortland Street’s Rachel McKenna, actress Angela Bloomfield is not only focusing on new projects, she’s taking the time to recalibrate, refocus, and re-establish her sense of self.

“For five days a week I was pretending to be someone else, and you don’t actually realise how much that moulds you until you stop doing it,” she says.

“I’m spending more time being me, and that’s been the best part about leaving Shortland Street. It’s like, ‘ok, this is who I am’. It’s really nice to find that again.”

With the days of a rigid filming schedule and carefully structured routines behind her, she’s relishing the chance to focus on health and wellbeing.

“I started meditation after a friend put me on to an app, and I think it’s been really powerful,” she says.

“Yoga feels very much like exercise to me, whereas meditation feels like soul food. I try and do it daily, although it can be hard. Then again, it only takes 10-15 minutes, and if you haven’t got just 10 minutes to do something for you, then maybe you’re doing something wrong!”

While meditation helps her find calm, Angela hasn’t always been so at ease. A long time sufferer of panic attacks, she had to learn to identify her triggers, as well as ways to keep her overactive mind in check.

“I’ve suffered panic attacks since my 20s,” she explains. “They abated for a wee while but then came back – not full on ones, although I did have a couple of those at work!

These days, navigating new career territory has been exciting, but she’s also candid about the tough realities of going from a stable income to the uncertainty of life as a freelancing creative. But if there’s one thing this new phase has taught her, it’s how vital it is to look after her mental and emotional health.

“When you’re in a place that feels so different, you have to gather yourself, have a strong mental game and be centred,” she says.

“It’s about making sure you look after yourself; make sure you’re getting enough sleep but also enough joy. It’s important to have a laugh with friends.”

To read more about how Angela manages anxiety and keeps her health on track, see the latest issue of Good Health Choices.

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