Sarah Hyland Reveals Her Self-Care Strategy Amid Her Health Struggles

The last ten years of Sarah Hyland’s life have been a roller coaster of health problems, from hospitalizations and surgeries for her kidney dysplasia, to managing her endometriosis. So when much of her life is out of her control, the Modern Family star likes to pamper herself to get into a better mental space.

“It really is this balance of mental, emotional and physical reality,” Hyland, 28, tells PEOPLE. “So if you’re feeling mentally and emotionally drained, or if you are in a very dark space, you have to pull the string on the other side to lift you up out of that.”

For Hyland, that typically means working out, which she says “helps a lot.” But with her health problems — she underwent a second kidney transplant in Sept. 2017 after the first one failed, and ended up in the hospital several times in the last year — she hasn’t been able to consistently hit the gym.

“I haven’t really been able to work out the past four months,” she says. “It’s just been putting me in a more anxiety ridden place. You have all of these plans and something happens where you’re not able to do it.”

Because of that, Hyland has instead focused on treating the outside of her body, which she describes in Transformation by Olay, an upcoming waterproof book from the brand.

“I’ve been using the Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus body wash for the past two to three weeks, and even though I haven’t been able to physically get back to the body that I used to have when I worked out five or six times a week, just using this body wash and seeing the transformation in my skin has made me feel more comfortable in it,” she says. “To be able to take control of my body and use a product that makes me feel comfortable, because I’m not able to do what normally makes me feel comfortable, has been really amazing.”

Hyland admits that she didn’t bother with skincare until the last few years.

“I never really paid attention to skincare at all,” she says. “I didn’t think that it was necessary because it wasn’t at that time. But as I got older, you start to be like, ‘Oh, I should probably be taking care of myself more and eating more greens than fast food and using moisturizers instead of not and really investing in myself.’ Rather than other trivial things.”

The actress says that managing her health — especially in the public eye — has changed how she thinks about self-care.

“It’s been a big transformation for me, not only health wise, but emotionally, physically and mentally,” she says. “If you don’t have control in some areas of your life, you need to be able to take control of the other ones that you can do.”

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