John Legend: “You need to take care of yourself so you can show up for others”

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  • As John Legend launches his new campaign with Headspace, the iconic singer-songwriter sits down with MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot to talk self-love, self-care and the power of positivity…

    You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Headspace, with the mindfulness app becoming a necessity in this post-pandemic world.

    Through science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools, Headspace is on a mission to improve the health and happiness of the world – reducing stress, heightening focus and improving sleep.

    And if that wasn’t enough, it has just launched a new campaign with the iconic John Legend to help you focus on number one – yourself.

    Introducing, ‘Love Yourself Like A Legend’, a bank of new sleep content reminding people to practice self-care at a time when burnout and anxiety are at an all time high. Because, as John says himself, improving your relationship with sleep is a great way to practice self-love.

    “After a Valentine’s Day full of giving to our loved ones, we still have to save some love and care for ourselves,” John explained as he announced the campaign. “Self-care starts with a good night’s sleep. We all need it, and I’m excited to partner with my friends at Headspace to share my sleepcast and sleep playlist with the world.”

    Sign up and try the 14-day free trial for Headspace now

    Expect a relaxing sleepcast narrated by Legend (seeing him guide listeners through an old concert hall) and an eight-hour sleep playlist curated by the “King of Valentine’s Day” himself. Plus, John will be taking over mental health podcast Radio Headspace next month as guest host to give his own life advice on sleep, self-care and love.

    “Our vision at Headspace is to create a world where everyone is kind to their minds,” said Amy Davis, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Headspace before the hilarious campaign advert aired at the Super Bowl last week. “With ‘Love Yourself Like a Legend’, we’re using a cultural moment and humour to deliver a very important and often overlooked message: for people to take care of the most important relationship they have – the one with themselves.”

    MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot caught up with John Legend to find out more about the important campaign and to talk self love, the power of positivity and the key to a loving relationship…

    Tell me about “Love Yourself Like A Legend”…

    Well, obviously I’m a big fan of Headspace and we’ve been working together for a long time now. They brought me in as Chief Music Officer to help curate music playlists, focus playlists and help explain the power of music to affect our minds and the way we operate in the world. And we also know that it’s really important for all of us to get good sleep and that music and other aspects of the Headspace experience can help people with that. We believe it’s an important part of self-care and of living a healthy life, and so we wanted to focus on self-care and self-love during this time when we celebrate love.

    Burnout and anxiety are at an all time high right now. How important is it that people take the time to look after themselves?

    Well, if you look back at the last couple of years, people have been traumatised by the pandemic and all the measures that we’ve had to take to fight it. It’s just been one big mental health concern, and that’s in addition to the respiratory health concerns. Any time you go through this much trauma, and you have this much loss of life and changes in the way people have to live their lives, there will be repercussions on mental health. People are dealing with more depression, more anxiety – with all kinds of mental health issues. There’s going to be multiple ways that we have to address that, but one of them is making sure we take care of our mental and physical health needs, and sleep is a part of that.

    What does self-love mean to you?

    It means taking care of yourself so you can be the best person for yourself and for the people that you love, And so that you can show up for the people that you love, whether it’s your family or your close friends, and show up for whatever you’re passionate about when it comes to work. You need to take care of yourself so you can show up for others and be the best person you can be.

    Do you have any advice for people struggling with self-love?

    I think maybe people struggle with it because they feel guilty taking care of themselves, and they feel like it’s more noble to take care of other people first. But like I said before, I think it’s important to realise that if you want to show up for other people and be the best friend and the best lover and the best partner and the best parent, you also have to take care of yourself. You need to look after yourself so you can be the best you can be for everything else you want to do in life.

    How do you personally practice self-care?

    Well, part of it is getting a good night’s sleep and part of it is eating healthily and taking care of yourself physically, whether it’s working out, yoga etc. – whatever it is. I think meditation is important, and scheduling is something that I believe is really crucial – where you schedule enough time to take care of yourself, take care of your family and be present for the people you love. But of course it’s also important not to over-schedule.

    What is the key to a happy and loving relationship?

    Well first of all, we’re all trying to figure it out – I don’t pretend to have all the secrets! But I think part of it is about being a good listener, being a good communicator, actually loving and respecting the person that you’re with and treating them with love and respect. It’s about supporting their dreams and their desires and really treating it like a partnership. Particularly when you have kids together, I think it’s important to be real partners with each other as you’re figuring out how to be the best parents and the best partners to each other.

    How crucial is it that we lift each other up and are cheerleaders for the people around us?

    Oh I think it’s so important to have supportive friends around you that care about you, love you and want the best for you. Sometimes it means that they’re not always going to tell you just what you want to hear, they’re going to tell you what you need to hear. But I think it’s important to have those kind of folks around you – who genuinely want the best outcome for you and will do what they can to help you get there.

    When are you happiest?

    I’m happiest when I’m hanging out with my family and good friends. When we can laugh together, cook together and enjoy music together – that makes me happy.

    Conversations around self-care are finally taking place. Do you think we are in a moment of change?

    Well I think people realise how important their mental health is to everything else they’re doing. And you can’t neglect yourself when you’re thinking about how you want to be in the world – how you want to live your best life and be the best person you can be for others. You just can’t do it without making sure you’re taking care of yourself.

    What can we expect from your sleepcast?

    For the sleepcast, I read a story and we have music – it’s kind of setting the tone for people to get relaxed and get centred before they go to sleep, and hopefully it will help a lot of people. It’s a collaborative effort – we have some great musicians that we reach out to to develop some of these playlists. My key when I curate it is that I want it to feel like people are under a spell and we have to make sure we don’t break the spell with the music – we want the spell to continue throughout the experience.

    Do you have any sleep hacks of your own?

    Well, I don’t have a lot of struggles with sleep, but I do think it’s important to get enough. So, part of it is about naps if you need them. Like when I’m on tour, I almost always take a nap in the middle of the day. I like to have a little bit of background noise (kind of like my sleepcast) when I’m going to sleep – it helps me relax and gets my mind into the right place. I think sleepcasts are really helpful. Sometimes people listen to podcasts or other things but it needs to be calm enough for you to actually genuinely relax. And I think when making our sleepcast, we did a really good job of slowing the pace down and helping people focus and get ready for quietening their minds down.

    What do you hope people will take away from “Love Yourself Like A Legend?”

    Hopefully they can find a way to take care of themselves, to get the rest they need and the mental health support they require – all of it. I think our campaign (along with everything else that Headspace does) offers really useful ways of taking care of yourself and trying to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

    To experience John Legend’s new sleepcast and discover mindful ways to prepare for a more restful night’s sleep, sign up for a free trial or a Headspace membership at

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