March 24, 2016 11:59 AM

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Hayden Panettiere didn’t put too much pressure on herself to lose baby weight – and her healthy attitude has obviously worked out for her.

“The more that you give yourself grace, the better that you feel,” the actress, 26, told PEOPLE.

RELATED: Hayden Panettiere Feels Like She’s ‘Finally Coming Back Into My Own Body’ After Giving Birth

“You go through the, ‘I’m not going to eat,’ ‘I’m not going to eat this,’ ‘I’m not going to eat that,’ ” she continues. “Part of [losing the weight] is mind, body and spirit. Spirit’s a huge part of it, so being happy and being content [helps].”

For more of our interview with Hayden Panettiere, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Going back to work on her hit show Nashville also helped her drop the baby weight.

“I’m standing on my feet on the show for sometimes hours in a day,” she explains.

For added exercise, Panettiere likes to get on the treadmill and zone out.

“I put on some guilty pleasure TV and just jog,” she says.

RELATED: Hayden Panettiere Details Her Experience with Postpartum Depression: ‘It Is One of the Most Debilitating, Scary, Guilty Feelings’

And her 15-month-old daughter Kaya sometimes gets involved in her workouts too.

“Working out with your baby is actually great,” says Panettiere. “When I’m holding her in my arms, I lift her above my head, or do bicep curls with her, or I’ll dance with her a lot. She’s the best weight I can find!”

Gabrielle Olya, @GabyOlya

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