Whew. 2022—am I right? This year, we marked the second anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and many people effectively washed their hands of the virus—both figuratively and literally. Headlines have proclaimed that COVID-19 is “over” and offices, restaurants, bars, and schools are essentially operating at full, in-person tilt. But it would be incorrect to say that we’re back to “normal.” Concerns about health and safety abound, and stress and anxiety levels are still running high, which has made this year’s Well Intentioned column a particularly relevant part of what we do here at Vogue.
Cher (Cher!) extolled the mind-clearing virtues of burning incense, Tiffany Haddish offered up the greatest mantra of all, which happens to be chanting Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All, and Drew Barrymore gave us permission to be “a mess” while still leaning into the important self-care ritual of watching Top Chef while eating. Because here’s the truth: There’s no such thing as normal anymore, so best to mind some of our favourite tips for staying centred from the year that was, to better learn how to cultivate an internal sense of comfort and familiarity for the year ahead. We can think of no better resolution for 2023.
1. Practice passive and active helping
“I wish that I journaled, and I’m actually supposed to! And I just. Can’t. Get. Into. It. I just can’t get there, you know? I have great intentions and I’ll write for like three days, and then I’ll just misplace the book and I won’t be interested in finding it. But there’s one meditation that says, ‘May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering and find true happiness,’ and I think that’s my favourite thing to kind of focus on—I think it’s really important. Because my life is so easy, and people have such hard lives, you know? So you have to be actively helping people, and you have to be passively helping by just putting it in the universe.”
2. Drink more water
“My strategy is having a water bottle that I really like carrying around. I have this bedazzled one that’s made by Collina Strada. I love carrying it and I get so many compliments on it! It also helps me use less plastic. It’s so silly, but it feels like a very fun accessory and I know I’ll never lose it because I love it so much. Another thing is having a really beautiful glass carafe with its own cup. I have that at my bedside and now it’s become a ritual of filling it up each night. I really do drink a lot more water because of it.”
3. See yourself as whole
“In our culture, we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves as like a problem we need to fix—our skin, weight, diet, even fashion is never quite living up. Recently, I shifted and reframed my belief about myself: I am whole, I am strong, I am healthy, and I am enough. And anything that I’m adding to that is about what makes me feel good. For example, I’ve had a history of injury and pain since I was a teenager and I find the best way to transform my story around that physical trauma is to feel my strength. At the moment I’m doing that by weight training with my trainer Grant Roberts. We like to use Gripbell weights for our virtual workouts. I’m also enjoying my trampoline and getting on my Peloton.”
4. Keep your eyes open
“I try to meditate for 10 minutes every day. Sometimes there’s the traditional sitting meditation, which, weirdly enough, I don’t do as often as I do chants, mantras, or listen to affirmations and repeat them. The thing about meditation is your mind needs to be still. I feel like sometimes, when we close our eyes, our mind just goes crazy. But I find that, when I open my eyes and focus on one specific thing, I can clear my mind more. Meditating with your eyes open: Most people don’t know that’s a thing, but you can sit and watch the trees! Mantras and affirmations also help me focus my mind on something positive. It’s super-easy to focus on something negative, or something that really doesn’t mean anything, if your eyes are closed. Some people are really, really good at that, but I have a very active mind, so I need to focus it on something positive. I use my UE Fits earbuds to listen to those affirmations, or thunder and ocean sounds—anything like that to get my mind into a calm state.”
5. Go with grace
“I have no boundaries. I’m all about burnout. My time management sucks. And I’m a total overachiever, so it’s a hot mess! I am just trying to stay afloat, and I’m never going to tell anyone that I’ve got my shit together. I am a work in progress, and I am desperately trying to get it right. My joy comes from if that day I acted and behaved with grace—if I was emotionally rational and I handled situations to the best of my ability. Don’t look to me for tips on how to live your life and get it right—I don’t have them! I am still trying to figure it out myself. Did I not freak out, did I handle myself well, did I manage to keep the stuff I’m going through to myself and not put it on other people? Those are my daily goals.”
6. Be of service
“I grew up in a household in which being of service was a dialogue that we had at a really young age. The expectation of assessing the resources you have that go beyond the monetary, to what time do you have? What advice do you have? How can you be of support, and how do you give that to people? My parents surrounded us with the expectation that in order to receive you must constantly be giving, but also the idea that abundance has to flow, and it’s not our job to capture everything there is for the taking, but to continue passing on opportunities and moments. It was a blessing to be on a show like Black-ish, and then Grown-ish, that really didn’t shy away from being about something, or taking pride in the fact that we have things to offer and conversations that we’re excited to start. So much of what brings us together is figuring out how we can do good together.
“For me, as somebody that’s been so moved by the people that have poured into me and mentored me in the space of acting and production, it was exciting to be able to partner with the Ghetto Film School, and in turn be a mentor of sorts and offer resources. Even what drove me to want to go to school in the first place was that I want to learn more, I want to dive in and understand that I’m one small part of a much bigger lineage of people that have chosen to be of service, that have chosen to use their platform. This means that every couple of weeks my idea of what service is, and how to be effective, changes.”
This article first appeared on Vogue.com.