- Rebel Wilson is raising awareness about prioritizing mental health after a concussion.
- The actress suffered a concussion while on a film set and said she went straight back to work.
- Wilson now wants people to know they shouldn’t “tough it out” after a major head injury.
Rebel Wilson’s wellness journey has been an inspiration to many, starting with her “Year of Health” in 2020, during which time she lost 80 pounds and achieved her goal weight. Most importantly, she made lifestyle changes to support her overall health.
Well known for being an iconic actress and comedian, she is now passionate about raising awareness regarding the importance of prioritizing mind and body health. Rebel is committed to relaying the message that people should stop “walking it off” when it comes to head injuries. That’s why she’s partnered with Abbott for the launch of their new campaign, Concussion Awareness Now.
We had the opportunity to chat with the actress about her mental health journey following her concussion, what emotional and physical practices help her stay mentally well, and more.
My concussion happened on the set of “Isn’t It Romantic.” It was early morning and we were just walking to set so it’s a bit embarrassing since I wasn’t doing some crazy cool stunt. I was walking down a grass hill and seconds after I said, “Everybody watch out, this is slippery” I fell down the hill, hit the back of my head and fell straight backwards. I was unconscious for a few seconds and after a minute I could get up and walk, but they still called an ambulance. I was in the hospital for a few hours. I also started feeling nauseous and I knew something was wrong. The doctors confirmed it was a concussion.
I asked “Can I work?” because I felt pressure to go back to the set. We had at least 500 extras on location that day. I went back and did a 16-hour day. I remember having bad headaches, feeling nauseous and having neck and shoulder tension for a few days.
Looking back, I shouldn’t have returned to set that day. There’s this belief, “You can tough it out” especially when nobody can see the injury. But I realize now that I should have rested.
You just realize how important your health is. You only have one body and you only have one brain so you have to appreciate it. For example, when I was younger, we got this lecture in school about how alcohol kills your brain cells, and that’s one of the reasons why I don’t drink that much. Because I realized I need my brain for so many things and should make my brain health a priority.
What I’ve learned from the whole experience is to have the courage to say, ‘I value myself and I value my health.’ For me, I had this realization in 2020 and that’s when I did my own personal experiment, which I called ‘the year of health’ to overhaul my lifestyle. And that includes taking care of your brain, which is an important part of your body.
What I love about this campaign is it’s quite simple. The message is if you hit your head, get it checked. Because you’d be surprised by the number of people that don’t get it checked. Concussion Awareness Now is about encouraging people to seek help. You can visit concussionawarenessnow.org to learn more about symptoms and other concussion-related information.
Their newest campaign involves a family of characters called the Melons. It’s great, especially for young people, because if you think about it, your brain is like a watermelon. It feels hard on the outside, but on the inside, it’s really soft and really precious. And just a little bit of force can do a lot of damage.
What the Concussion Awareness Campaign has done is really clever and it’s getting the message across in a simple and entertaining way.
For me, I felt the pressure to just get back to work and I think a lot of people can relate to that. You hear some people say things like, “Just tough it out” or “Walk it off.” And there are all these misconceptions such as, “Since I’m not a professional athlete, I don’t need to get my head checked.” But truthfully, you’d be kicking yourself if you had a concussion and medical intervention could have saved you from something really serious.
Moving my body and exercising has always been helpful for me. Even when I was at my heaviest weight I would always exercise six days a week. I love walking. It doesn’t even have to be fast, but it helps me emotionally and physically.
Also, I work as a writer so I’m staring at a screen all day. Just getting outside and looking at trees and nature makes a big difference for my mental health.
Another practice I do is called purge emotional writing, which is 12 minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing. I either do it at the beginning of the day or the end of the day. It’s really helpful for processing emotions. And I came from a family that didn’t really discuss how you’re feeling or what was going on with you emotionally. So I started this practice when I was doing my ‘year of health’ in 2020. It’s such a great exercise because you cleanse yourself of your emotions so that you’re not holding on to them whether it’s anger, frustration or anxiety. And you end each entry with gratitude.
For example, even if you’re writing negative things about your coworker, at the end you say to yourself, “I have my job and I get paid each week,” which helps reframe your perspective.
I also like to have bubble baths at the end of the day. I used to eat dessert at the end of the day as a way to unwind, but now I’ve tried to replace that with bubble baths instead.
It’s hard since I used to have to only worry about myself and now my daughter is first priority. I’m not getting much alone time anymore, but she’s so precious. And I’ve become good at multitasking. Sometimes when I do squats I’ll hold Royce and she acts as a weight. She loves it. And she’s 12 pounds now so that’s quite a decent weight.
I have a lot of respect for all the moms out there because it isn’t easy to juggle everything. I’m lucky though because I do get to incorporate what I like to do with Royce, like taking her with me when I go for walks. And I also have a loving partner who is amazing.