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LeAnn Rimes celebrated the 25th anniversary of her album “Blue” this month. But the singer and actress, who became the youngest person to win a Grammy at age 14 for the album, rarely reflects on that time in her life in order to "maintain (her) sanity."
"I can look back and recognize, I think, how much I have survived," she told USA TODAY ahead of the second season of her mental health podcast "Wholly Human" (out now on iHeartRadio). "The traumatic parts of it kind of outshadow and outweigh the success and all the accomplishments, so it's nice to kind of look back and have a have a balanced view of both sides of things."
Rimes, 38, is "still dealing" with the mental health impact of achieving stardom at such a young age.
"I always joke about this, but it's not really funny... There was never anyone for me to really call on and say, 'Hey, how did you get through this?' Because most all of us that start at that age are dead or still really shaken by the whole experience," she said.
"I feel like probably one of my greatest accomplishments has been surviving childhood stardom and thriving past it and finding my own healing and my own healing journey because not everyone is so fortunate."
Rimes has also overcome her personal drama playing out in the public eye. She and husband Eddie Cibrian made headlines when they went public as a couple in 2009. The pair met while they were both married to other people and her husband's ex, Brandi Glanville, aired details about their family dynamics as a cast members on Bravo's "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
When family situations get stressful, Rimes believes it's important to have open, honest conversations: "(Try) to do it from a place of loving kindness and understanding and not communicating when we're triggered and in such a heightened state of arousal. I think that's super important."
She hasn't always been a "boundary queen," but with time she's come to understand the importance of setting firm boundaries.
"I think... really knowing when to walk away and give people space and take space for yourself, I think those are all key pieces to family unit survival and communication," she said.
Rimes said sometimes it's best to take a break – even when it comes to family.
"There's a lot of things that are very unhealthy in our society that we're made to think," she said. "Just because people are family doesn't mean that you can't take a break. I think that's really important for everyone's mental health is to know that that is an option."
A "healthy kind of selfishness" is also OK.
"One of the biggest things that I'm learning for myself is that selfishness is not selfish," she said. "No one is served from you putting everyone else's needs before yours. This is something I'm continuing to learn... selfishness is important and self-care."
Rimes practices self-care in a variety of ways, including a morning routine that involves lymphatic drainage techniques like gua sha on her face, meditation and workouts.
What is gua sha? Everything you need to know
"I think probably one of the biggest pieces for me is really getting into my body lately, like moving and dancing and just finding ways to kind of be uninhibited and enjoy movement," she said, adding she does a "little bit of everything" in the wellness realm from breathing practices to facial acupuncture.
She's also exploring new wellness topics in her podcast. While Rimes has gotten personal through her music for years, "Wholly Human" allows her to use her voice differently, she said.
"Every time I do it I feel like I'm opening up more and more and I'm allowing that space to be a place of humanity," she said. "(It) was important to me for people to be able, after all these years, to connect with me in a new way and to share my journey for myself, to really kind of discharge the shame of my journey for myself, to discharge the shame of everyone else's journey by sharing my own."
This journey continues in her upcoming album, "God’s Work," which drops later this year.
"This album is a real call to action not only personally but for the collective," she said. "I feel like I'm really writing music that is part of my own expression and awakening, but calling people to join me on that, too."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeAnn Rimes 'Blue' is 25: Singer reflects on traumatic childhood fame