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The Unwind is Yahoo Life's well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.
From her leading TV roles as Olivia Pope in Scandal and Mia Warren in Little Fires Everywhere to her Emmy-award-winning work as an executive producer, Kerry Washington's talents seem to know no bounds.
But beyond her professional accolades, Washington has also become well-known among her fans for her radiant skin, which she attributes to an all-encompassing self-care routine.
"Taking care of skin is really a holistic job," Washington tells Yahoo Life, explaining that there is "no one product," but rather an accumulation of "lifestyle choices" that have led her to her current glow — something she didn't always have.
"I've had eczema my whole life. So I've struggled with sensitive dry skin since before I can remember," says the Neutrogena brand ambassador. "I'm learning to really embrace hyaluronic acid. It has truly transformed the way that I'm able to care for my skin and how my skin looks and feels."
Still, she explains that it's that her mood that influences her appearance, not the other way around.
"I think we put an emphasis on if you look good, you'll feel good. And I think it's the opposite. If I feel good, I'll look good, because I'll shine and I'll put my best foot forward," says Washington.
Managing stress and prioritizing sleep are also musts for the actress, who admits that when she has "a lot going on," she can began to feel bogged down.
"Those are the areas that I find I struggle with more, stress and a lack of sleep. So it's really important for me to keep challenging myself to take better care of myself," says Washington.
She also uses meditation and journaling to mitigate stressors, but says nothing trumps spending quality time with her family and furry friends.
"That sense of community of being able to be with people who I love and who love me unconditionally, I find that that can sometimes be the greatest stress reliever, and pets!" says Washington.
Between acting, producing and raising her three children, who she shares with her husband, former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, alone time can be hard to come by. But on the rare occasion she is able to take some time for herself, Washington says she is partial to local getaways.
"I recently did a little staycation where I just went by myself to a hotel for a night just to have a real night of sleep. And to sort of relax a little bit more than I'm able to do at home," says Washington.
Engaging in "loving" behavior towards herself is another cornerstone of her mental wellness routine, a practice she says she adopted after years of therapy.
"I started therapy in college, so decades ago. And it's been a really, really important tool," she explains. "When I engage in behavior that is loving, it can help me feel more loved and lovable."
Those behaviors can look different depending on the day.
"Sometimes that means pulling myself up, washing my face, putting on sunscreen and going out the door. And sometimes that's like cocooning in my bubble bath and taking it easy," she says. "Treating myself with love and kindness, especially my skin, my most important organ. That can be a pathway to feeling better."
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