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Stacey Dooley on how she maintains her mental health
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Acclaimed documentary-maker Stacey Dooley decided to swap her hectic London lifestyle to stay with the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete for her latest BBC One documentary. Within the show, named Stacey Dooley: In The Convent, the 34-year-old had a raw conversation with one of the nuns about wanting to prioritise her home life after putting her journalism career first for the past 15 years. She admitted she needed to start thinking about starting a family after reflecting on her life during her stay in the convent.
The Strictly Come Dancing winner started each day at North Yorkshire convent at 6am with silent prayers followed by a silent breakfast for the documentary.
Stacey was forced to dig deep during her 10-day stay with the nuns as they worked and prayed to God in the convent.
During the documentary, the presenter realised she had put her television career before her home life with boyfriend Kevin Clifton.
The pair met on the 2018 series of Strictly Come Dancing where they took home the prestigious Glitterball Trophy before making their relationship public.
In one scene of the BBC documentary, Stacey was asked about want she wanted to put first in her life.
An honest Stacey explained: “I’d like to prioritise happiness. My home life.
“For the past 15 years it’s been work, work, career, work, work and then your private life is on the back burner. I’m 35 so…”
A nun named Sister Helen chimed in, saying: “If you want a family?”
“I know. I need to start thinking about it, don’t I?” Stacey replied looking upset and concerned.
As part of the documentary, Stacey had to study the Bible, carry out a variety of chores and help out at a local food bank.
She soon discovered the nuns seek God in mundane tasks and Stacey used the time in the convent as an opportunity to do some soul-searching of her own.
While making greeting cards to sell in a community shop, Stacey asked 56-year-old Sister Helen for some much-needed life advice.
Stacey explained to the nun: “The way I choose to live, I’m much more likely to burn out aren’t I? Working silly hours every day, here, there, everywhere?”
Helen paused and replied: “You’re working in showbiz, that’s a notoriously fickle business. Who’s to know how long [you] will have a career?”
Looking on the verge of tears, Stacey asked: “What am I going to do, Helen? You’ve got a lot more stability and certainty and security.”
Stacey has lived alongside people from all walks of life as part of her documentaries.
She’s interviewed the victims of sex trafficking as well as abortion protesters and members of various cults.
She explained in the new documentary she wanted to find out more about religious life because so many people are questioning their faith since the coronavirus pandemic struck.
At the end of the show, Stacey revealed: “What I have learnt is there is an absolute sense of purpose and they know what they want to dedicate their lives to, and in turn, I actually think they’re very fulfilled.”
Stacey Dooley: In The Convent airs Monday at 10.35pm on BBC One.
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