Chris Weeks/Getty
Aili Nahas
January 13, 2016 04:00 PM

The moment Khloé Kardashian heard the news last October that her estranged husband Lamar Odom had been hospitalized following a near deadly overdose, the reality star rushed to his side, where she remained for over a month.

“Mentally, it took its toll,” Kardashian tells PEOPLE of the tragedy. “But it wasn’t about me. I realized how much it was about [Lamar] so I didn’t think twice about it.”

Lamar Odom

Still, long hours in a hospital room, coupled with the extreme emotions of the situation, weighed heavily on the reality star.

“Normally, when I’m going through stuff, I have my release of energy or stress at the gym,” says Kardashian, 31. “But I literally didn’t leave the room for a month. I wasn’t sleeping as well. I went a week without showering.”

Continues the star: “I was stuck in a room with my thoughts. My mind didn’t have that release. I was like, ‘I can’t breathe!’ ”

RELATED VIDEO: Khloé Kardashian Shares Cryptic Instagram After Lamar Odom Leaves Hospital

For much more from Khloé Kardashian, including exclusive photos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

But Kardashian, whose new show Kocktails with Khloé premieres Jan. 20, says she learned a valuable lesson from the painful situation. (Thankfully, Odom is continuing to recover and was recently transferred to a rehab facility).

“I had to switch gears,” says Kardashian. “I was like, ‘I know I’ll get back to the gym, I know I’ll get that release, but for now, what’s my therapy?’ ”

Continues the Strong Looks Better Naked author: “I had to remember that even though something tragic was going on, I still needed a few minutes. I was like, ‘Okay I need to take a shower.’ Just the little things make you feel so much better. I had to learn to [take care] of myself.”

Kocktails with Khloé premieres Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on FYI.

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