Keke Palmer Says She Was Working Herself ‘To The Point Of Exhaustion’

Keke Palmer has a long list of accomplishments, but what the 28-year-old is most proud of is learning to put herself first.

While the actress and singer seems to have a healthy balance in her life today, she said Women’s health that this was not always the case. From her early days trying to make it in Hollywood, she shared that she often worked herself “to the point of exhaustion” and developed a work ethic quite extreme for a young girl.

Palmer appears on the magazine's September 2022 cover. (Photo by Djeneba Aduayom for Women's Health)

Palmer appears on the magazine’s September 2022 cover. (Photo by Djeneba Aduayom for Women’s Health)

“You can’t work for Disney or Nickelodeon and not be a professional. They don’t care if you’re 5 years old!” she told the publication of her filming days True Jackson, vice president. But it was starring in TV, movies and launching a music career at the same time that kept her moving a mile a minute.

“I would go from long days on set learning how to play soccer to touring and performing music at military bases on the weekends,” he said of working on the film. The Longshots and her debut album is released So cool at the age of 14. “It became a habit to rush hard.”

At the time, Palmer didn’t notice the impact all of this was having on her body or mental health. As time went on, however, she eventually felt like she had “hit a wall” and had to make lifestyle changes to fix it.

Palmer shared that she started therapy at 17 and later took up yoga. However, it took her a while to realize exactly what she was trying to achieve by engaging in more physical movement.

“It was like, ‘I want my body to look good because one day I want to do action movies,'” she said. “It was a superficial start, which I think is good. The point of entry is you don’t always have to be so serious.”

She added, “I realized I didn’t have to compete with my classmates. I’m supposed to get in my own zone. I discovered that appreciating the mind, body and soul doesn’t have to lead to a six pack.”

After changing her perspective on the practice, Palmer faced several realizations about how she should take care of herself. She also thought about how much effort she was putting into her work.

“It hit me that I have to practice loving myself the same way I practice acting,” she said. “I’ve learned over the years that in order to stay sane and to keep this machine running, I have to pour into myself as often as I can.”

To do that, she also had to learn how to say no to job opportunities and other things that didn’t work for her.

“I realized that it’s hard to say no because we don’t trust. We don’t believe that if we say no the opportunity will come again. Or we don’t believe that if we say no, we’ve made the right choice. Or we’re afraid that if we say no, we’ll offend someone. But I realized that saying yes to too many things made me more stressed,” she said. “I’ve learned not to be afraid to rearrange things and accept that I won’t be able to do everything without hurting myself.”

In response to a recent job offer, Palmer made a point of making herself a priority.

“A few years ago, I would have said, ‘Well, your career is over if you don’t do this,'” he said. “But this time I said, ‘Physically, this is not possible. I would have to dishonor myself in such a cruel way. [to make it happen] that I should just say no.”

And while her efforts to keep herself grounded and sane aren’t perfect, Palmer is thrilled with her progress.

“It’s been two years since I started this whole ‘I don’t say’ thing and I have to say I’m pretty good at it now,” she said. “That’s the grace and the silver lining. Everything I’ve been through has taught me how to love myself more.”

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