Baths, blockbuster movies and being alone: 15 remarkable women on how they do self-care

Posted by for Life

Emma Watson, Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama and more share their tips for unwinding after a hard day.

What is self-care?

The NHS defines it as looking after yourself, simple acts of care that nurture our emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing. Anything that brings you joy and warmth – from a well-brewed cup of tea in the bath to switching your phone to airplane mode and tuning out of the world – can be an act of self-care. You’ve probably done a little bit of self-care this week already. And if you haven’t, well, self-care is trending, with google searches up 25% this year alone.

But if you need some tips on how to care for yourself, we’ve rounded up the ways that 15 remarkable women practice self-care. 

1. Michelle Obama takes time out

“Sometimes I give myself a break. So I will retreat a moment from the fray, just to breathe. Because what I’ve learned is that my immediate reaction cannot be the deciding reaction. So sometimes I just sort of step back a second, and while I’m stepping back, I talk. I reach out to my friends, my mum, my girlfriends; I vent, I release, I have sounding boards, I get pep talks from colleagues and staff, and then I go back in… We each have to find our own coping mechanisms – and this isn’t just in terms of the hesitation of finding our voice, but in how we deal with our own stress.” As told to Women’s Health

2. Emma Stone meditates     

Emma Stone’s self-care is all about meditation

“I just started meditating… It’s changing my life completely. I’m pretty into it. Once or twice a day, I meditate. That has been the best thing for my mind.” As told to Us Today

3. Meghan Markle cooks herself a beautiful meal

Meghan’s self-care is about self-love

“I think you need to cook that beautiful dinner even when it’s just you, wear your favorite outfit, buy yourself some flowers, and celebrate the self love that often gets muddled when we focus on what we don’t have.” As written on her now-closed lifestyle blog The Tig 

4. Emma Watson takes a bath     

Emma Watson 

“I have a bath every single day of my life. And if I can have two or three — amazing. Nothing terrible is going to happen in the bath, so I always find time for that. I’ll take phone conversations in the bath, anything.” As told to Into the Gloss.

5. Cate Blanchett turns off her phone

“Sometimes you just need to sit down and turn your phone off for 20 minutes, and that’s all you need to make your face relax. People think you look so much better, and it’s just because you’ve gotten rid of the stress. It’s hard, particularly at the moment. I think there’s a lot of fear and anxiety being cultivated by our various governments around the world. It’s increased people’s stress loads. Give up social media. That’ll take 10 years off you.” As told to Glamour

6. Shonda Rhimes puts on a mask

Shonda Rhimes

“I’m a mask-oholic. I do a mask every single day, all different kinds. I’ve also started doing the 10-step Korean beauty ritual and skin care thing, which takes forever. And mostly, it’s like my time — it’s quiet, and it feels meditative because it’s just me by myself, slathering things on my face, which I absolutely am obsessed with.” As told to Zoe Report

6. Helen Mirren listens to her body

“It’s not an attempt to keep young, but you should pay attention to health, don’t smoke. Do everything but not too much of anything.” As told to Today

7. Carey Mulligan goes to the movies     

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Carey Mulligan attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 10th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 18, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Carey Mulligan

“I’m the first person in line to see Jurassic World. Literally. That’s exactly what I want to see, likewise Mamma Mia!” As told to Porter

8. Hayley Atwell sets rules around social media     

“I’m on Instagram and I have much more fun with creating funny videos or funny pictures. And I don’t read the comments, and things like my rule would be, “Don’t engage, don’t read the comments.” Yeah, and it feels like I can have much more of a… more on my terms, really.” As told to AV Club

9. Nicole Kidman stays active     

Nicole Kidman

“I was raised by a father who would get me and my sister out of bed in the morning and go, ‘Okay, you’ve gotta work out.’ He’d make us walk to school instead of catching the bus—which I’m now grateful for—but at the time, it was like: ‘Ugh!’ … [Today] If I can find an hour a day (or half an hour) to either meditate or work out, do yoga, do something for my physical self, I’m good.” As told to Well and Good

10. Hillary Clinton asks for support     

“After that first day of laying low, I started reaching out to people. I knew…I’d need my friends now more than ever… I was grateful for the one-billionth time that I had a husband who was good company not just in happy times but sad ones as well.” As written in her memoir What Happened 

11. Jennifer Aniston prioritises her sleep     

Jennifer Aniston on the red carpet

Jennifer Aniston

“I have been really trying recently to do the Sleep Revolution that Arianna Huffington wrote about—leaving your phone outside of your bedroom. The times I’ve been good at doing that, I have had better sleep. And you don’t wake up to emails and dings.” As told to SELF

12. Natalie Portman drinks water and eats vegan

“Diet is a big part of it. I’m vegan, and I drink a lot of water. If I have dairy, I break out immediately.” As told to InStyle 

13. Constance Wu listens to when her energy is flagging

“You learn how to negotiate self-care and endurance over a long period of time. I was so used to doing indie movies — the filming schedule for those lasts a couple of weeks. It’s easy to keep up your energy for that because it’s an exciting three weeks. That’s not to say my show isn’t exciting, it is, but after three months that adrenaline is not enough. You actually have to participate in self-care to keep that energy.” As told to Variety

14. Emilia Clarke soaks in the tub 

Emilia Clarke

“Bathtime is a ritual! You’ve got to get the right temperature, you must have good bath salts or Epsom salts and dissolve them properly, and you need bath oils to get some scents going. I don’t do bubble bath — it makes me feel too much like a kid. I have to soak for at least half an hour. If I had time I could be in that bath for three hours, although me having three hours to take a bath is like finding a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.” As told to Violet Grey

15. Naomie Harris tries grounding

Naomie Harris

“People always say my self-care rituals are very bizarre. I don’t think they’re that bizarre myself, but I’ve recently learned that it’s best not to eat while on planes because apparently it makes your digestion better. I tried it for the first time and I feel a lot better. It’s supposed to stop jet lag. I do grounding, which is putting my feet in the earth, which apparently is supposed to really help. So after you fly, you’re supposed to take off your shoes and socks and just ground because while you’re up in the air, there’s all this electromagnetic smoke that’s going around and then you get to release it into the earth and reconnect with the earth again. It’s supposed to help you overcome jet lag and so on. I do lots of rituals like that because I fly so much in my business and I need to find some way to re-center myself. Even if it’s weird and wacky, I’m like, ‘I’m going to try it.’ Whatever I can do to overcome jet lag, I’m going to do it.” As told to WWD

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Images: Getty, Unsplash

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.