Feel Good Diary: How Shay Mitchell Practices Self-Care In A Pandemic

Welcome to Refinery29’s Feel Good Diaries, where we chronicle the physical and mental wellness routines of women today, their costs, and whether or not these self-care rituals actually make you feel good. Have your own Feel Good Diary about how you’re coping around the COVID-19 outbreak? We’d love to hear how you’re prioritizing your mental and physical health at this time. Submit your entry here!

Today: Shay Mitchell, actor and creator of Beis Travel, works out (virtually) with her grandma and experiments in the kitchen in her Feel Good Diary.

Age: 33
Location: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Actor, model, author, entrepreneur

Day One 

6:30 a.m. — I wake up depending on when Atlas, my 9-month-old daughter, wakes up. Our day starts with a cuddle in bed, then I take her downstairs to feed our dog while we get her bottle ready. Multitasking!

12 p.m. — After my morning with Atlas, I put her down for her first nap. Now, it’s my workout time. I like to have this time just to get a good sweat in for myself. Then I can shower, get ready, and continue the rest of the day feeling good and productive because I know that I’ve already gotten that done. I make really good use of my daughter’s nap time.

I think for any parent, you have to set aside some time for yourself if it’s at all possible, even just a couple minutes of alone time. It’s super important, for me, to continuously work on myself and make sure I’m feeling healthy: mentally, physically, emotionally. That way I can be the best version of myself for my little one.

7 p.m. —   I’ve recently partnered with Safeguard to launch a social good initiative focused on the importance of washing your hands. The Safeguard initiative has donated $10 million to promote handwashing habits among kids and provide more underserved communities and families with free hand hygiene products.

It’s something we’ve also been teaching Atlas. It’s so important for kids to learn the right way to wash their hands. That’s true anytime, but especially since we’re living in a global pandemic. I don’t think it’s ever too young to start them on a healthy routine. So before we read her a bedtime story, we’re all in the bathroom washing our hands singing the Happy Birthday song twice over, which is the method that’s recommended by the CDC. Our children are always looking up to see what we’re doing so if we can lead by example and show them the proper ways to maintain a healthy routine then that’s great.

Day Two

11 a.m. — My grandma and I have been Facetiming every day, and I’ve been helping her maintain her workouts. She usually attends classes at her senior center but they have not been happening due to COVID-19, so instead we have been virtually working out with each other. We usually do 15-minute sessions mostly while sitting in a chair. It’s more about blood flow and keeping her active while sitting vs traditional fitness.

1 p.m. — Lunch time! I’ve been using this time to try out new recipes and foods — especially healthier versions of meals I already know and love. Today’s lunch is pizza, but with a cauliflower crust. I’ve been making up a lot of recipes but also trying to learn new, more challenging ones that I have always wanted to try.

8 p.m. — After I put Atlas down to sleep, I decide to have some “me time”. I brew myself some tea and turn on the new season of Queer Eye.

Day Three

11 a.m. — Atlas and I use this time to FaceTime with my parents. It’s been so nice to be able to use technology to stay connected even though we cannot see them in real life.

1 p.m. — Another lunchtime, another cooking experiment. Today I’ve decided to make banana bread (again), but this time with some random ingredients.

8 p.m. — I have a little nighttime routine that I love. I light a candle, catch up with some friends, and have some me time. Before bed, I always map out the next day. Having a schedule keeps me on schedule, even if there aren’t that many things on it. I like to set goals for myself and check them off every day.

Day Four

9 a.m. — After I give Atlas her first bottle of the day we FaceTime my grandma. 

1 p.m. — I recently moved my treadmill into the living room from the garage. Maybe not a picture-perfect design choice, but it’s actually been kind of great — it forces me to get on it when I’m watching TV. I sync up another episode of Queer Eye and get moving. Today, I walk, but I usually rotate between walking and running while watching TV.

7:30 p.m. — One of my favorite things to do with Atlas is read to her before bed. It’s great bonding time and it’s fun to be able to go through old childhood books that I loved and to be able to start reading them to her even if she doesn’t quite understand everything yet. 

Dr. Suess books were always something I loved as a kid. I actually have all of the same ones I had from growing up. It’s very fun to be able to open them back up and start reading with her.  In addition to English books, we have also incorporated Spanish books, too, to help her learn the language.

Day Five

10 a.m. — Instead of a full workout, sometimes we’ll take Atlas out for a walk. It’s one of my favorite things to do. The wind is so exciting to her — everything is. It’s great to see things through her eyes, especially during this time.

3 p.m. — Time for a quick meditation session. There aren’t any specific meditations I like, I usually just go on YouTube and find random ones. I would say meditating is something that I always try to get in, especially if I’m feeling overwhelmed. But I know that some people don’t like to sit and meditate. Sometimes I feel the same way. Still, I’m a big advocate of taking any sort of time for mindfulness — I’ve done it while taking a shower, going for a walk, or even just sitting in the car and listening to a song on repeat. Having some one-on-one time with yourself and your thoughts is essential.

7:30 p.m. — Another bedtime story for Atlas! One of the ones that we have started reading is A Is For Activist. I don’t think it’s ever too early to get your children to understand how to speak up about things that they care about.

Day Six

8 a.m. — This morning, I decide to brew a matcha latte and take a moment for myself before officially starting my day.

12 p.m. — I put Atlas down for her nap, and decide to just chill out instead of exercising. I like to do things when it feels right, and I never put too much pressure on myself.

9 p.m. — Another night, another candle. I catch up with some friends, and have some me time. Staying connected with the people I love is extremely important to me right now, and I value the time I put aside for myself to do so.

Day Seven

11 a.m. — After I put Atlas down for her nap, it’s time to get moving. Instead of hopping on the treadmill, I decide to try out a new TikTok dance that I’ve been itching to learn. They may look easy, but don’t be fooled.

2 p.m. — It’s a beautiful day, so after Atlas wakes up we take her outside to lounge by the pool.

7:30 p.m. — We settle in with Atlas after washing our hands and finish reading a Little People Big Dreams book.

Reflection: I know it’s important to take care of myself and make sure I’m feeling mentally and physically healthy — for myself and for my child — but right now, I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. My wellness schedule changes from week to week, but what stays the same is my commitment to taking at least some time for myself, whether by going for a walk, sitting in my car listening to music, or even just taking a long shower.

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