The uncertainty brought on by the pandemic has made this past year hard on everyone —even America’s sweetheart, Valerie Bertinelli. On top of COVID-19 stress, she was dealt a heartbreaking blow in October 2020 with the loss of Eddie Van Halen, her ex-husband, friend and the father of her son, Wolfgang. “It’s been hard,” shares Bertinelli, who was at Eddie’s bedside when he passed. “Some days, I feel motivated to get moving, and others I struggle and feel sad. So I try to take it one moment at a time to find a way back to joy.”
These days, Bertinelli’s purpose is: “I try to find joy in every little thing,” she says with a smile. “The more I take in the little miraculous moments, the happier I am.” What tops her list of daily bliss boosters? Celebrating her son’s debut album, Mammoth WHV, for one. “I’m so proud of it!” Bertinelli. gushes. “It’s bittersweet. I miss being able to call Ed up and go, ‘Can you believe this?’ But we are both so proud of Wolfie and so glad everyone finally gets to hear the music.”
Another thing that keeps Bertinelli happy is finding purpose in the hard moments. “There’s the saying, ‘God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,’ and it’s true: We’re stronger than we know! Though sometimes I talk to God and say, ‘I’m not that strong right now-can You give me a break?’” she laughs. “But that’s when He opens my eyes to the blessings in my life, and I’m so grateful for all of them.”
Here, Bertinelli’s tips for reclaiming joy, finding the silver lining in grief, and noticing your own small daily miracles.
Don’t miss Valerie’s Home Cooking!
Having expanded her acting career to include the culinary arts with two New York Times bestselling cookbooks and multiple cooking shows, Valerie feels like every day is a new opportunity for growth. “I love it!” she says of sharing her favorite recipes on Valerie’s Home Cooking, which airs on the Food Network Sundays at 11:30 AM (check local listings). “I’m always learning. My brain is always expanding and that makes me feel good-to be learning and growing at every turn!”
Be the light you wish to see.
“Spreading kindness always makes me feel better when I’m feeling low,” shares Bertinelli. “One way I do that is through promoting Be Kind Humankind bracelets. The sales benefit underprivileged women and children, and they’re beautiful! In the gold and silver beads it even says ‘Be Kind’ in Morse code. I always wear one-it reminds me to stop and be kind, first to myself, and then to others. That’s what I’m working on: spreading joy and kindness every day.”
Experience new ways to connect.
“It’s been challenging to find ways to stay connected lately, so my girlfriends and I started a virtual book club over Zoom,” Bertinelli shares. “Being able to connect, even virtually, brings me so much joy! It’s what makes me happy: staying in touch with people I love. My girlfriends give me a lot of strength and love, so being together just fills my heart!”
Choose happiness each and every day.
Throughout my life, I’d think, I’m not good enough,” Valerie confides. “But the truth is, every one of us has gifts to give to the world, so it’s important to just stay in the moment and look for any kind of beauty in whatever we’re doing. If we don’t, we’ll drown, and I’m tired of treading water. We have to choose to be happy, even when happy is a challenging choice. When you choose it, it brings so much peace.”
Find strength and peace in faith.
My strength comes from my faith,” Bertinelli says. “Lately, I’ve been going back to the words spoken by Jesus, which brings me solace. The kindness I see in others reminds me of those words. It’s not hard to look past the trolls to find kind people. The trolls are just louder because they are in pain. So even though they can be cruel, try to look past that to the pain and move on. Knowing that goodness is real keeps me going!
Discover the good side of your grief.
“Loss is difficult, and though I wouldn’t say I’m on the other side of losing Ed, I can say the nice thing about grief is that it also brings back all the wonderful memories of the person you’re missing,” Bertinelli says. “You forget all the hard times; they don’t sit in your heart anymore. What sits in your heart is the love you felt for them, and it feels good to revisit that. Yes, we miss them, but the love we have for them feels good to hold on to in the hardest moments.”
Give yourself the gift of self-care.
“Whenever I feel hopeless or lonely, a good cry always helps,” Bertinelli shares. “I used to think, I don’t want to cry, but when you do, it’s like getting in the gym: You never want to go, but when you’re done, you feel great! In fact, exercise is another great one. Even taking a walk or a bike ride around the block works. It’s little gifts you give yourself that heal your heart.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.