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After she was diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer, entertainment journalist Maria Menounos took a yearlong leave from her work. During that hiatus, she underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove a benign mass and began an extensive recovery.
Stepping down from her role as co-anchor of E! News, Menounos said, was exactly what she needed. “I’m so thankful that this happened because I know that I got the break that I needed to reset myself,” she told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday at the SheKnows Media #BlogHer18 Creators Summit in New York.
The 40-year-old said that she originally planned to return to her busy schedule six months post-surgery, but ultimately decided to take more time to ensure she made a full recuperation. “For me, it was so important to make this new foundation so solid, so that no matter what gets added in my schedule, I’m able to apply the tools I’ve learned in a real kind of instant way,” Menounos said.
She has returned to jam-packed workdays, focused on growing her digital broadcast network, Afterbuzz TV, but stresses that her physical, emotional and spiritual health are priorities in her life.
“We’re all working harder than we ever have,” said Menounos, echoing the sentiment she expressed to attendees during her talk at the summit earlier that day. “I do believe in hard work, but it can’t be at your detriment.”
Menounos, who filled in for Kelly Ripa on Live With Kelly and Ryan this week, says women need breaks in their schedule for a clear head and better decision making. For the journalist, that means taking lunch breaks with friends and going on walks.
Earlier in her career, Menounos said that she was “a human doing, not a human being.” Her surgery, she said, flipped this mind-set.
“I really was excited to become a human being again,” she said.
Now at the helm of her own media company, Menounos said she wants to create a positive work environment for young, aspiring hosts while also spreading the message of self-care.
“I’m really, really adamant about keeping this perspective and this mindset,” said Menounos. “I love every opportunity I get to be able to share it because it’s my mission now.”
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