In TZR’s franchise Scare-Free Sundays, industry leaders discuss the all-too-common weekend anxiety (aka Sunday Scaries) that can rob one of the relaxation and rest they so desperately need to properly take on the week ahead. Here, we sit down with actor and The Honest Company founder Jessica Alba who discusses the stress-fighting strategies she employs.
You’d think I was the one juggling three kids and a booming beauty company as I rushed into a West Hollywood ULTA Beauty store on a hotter-than-usual Friday morning to meet with Jessica Alba. The brand founder and veteran actor appeared cool as a cucumber despite a busy day of interviews surrounding Honest Beauty’s skin care launch at the mega retailer. In an easy white button-down top and jeans and her signature glowing skin and wavy locks, she was a stark contrast to my humidity-ravished bob and flushed complexion. How does she make it all look so easy?
According to the mother of three (daughters Honor and Haven and son Hayes), her calm and collected disposition has been years in the making and a result of her dedication to self-care. Manifesting in multiple forms, the beauty guru credits everything from regular baths and meditation to quality time with her family as her wellness secrets to success. Oh, and of course, moving her body.
“I do long walks,” says Alba. “That's my biggest one. And then I have a trainer Ramona [Braganza] who was my trainer when I was 17 and she just moved back here to LA. I was like, ‘Ramona, we got to get our sh*t together, sister. I'm not getting any younger. And she's helping me just get back into it. [Working out is just] another version of self-care.”
With two daughters in their teen and tween years, I asked Alba if her own dedication to wellness and mental health had rubbed off on them yet, to which she decided to ask them herself. “Honor, Haven!” she called to a far off corner of the ULTA sales floor. As the two young girls appear (carbon copies of their famous mom), Alba asks: “Is there anything that's part of my self-care routine that influences you guys?”
Eleven-year-old Haven immediately responds with, “be consistent and do it every night!” referring to her mother’s regimented skin care routine. Fourteen-year-old Honor chimes in, “and morning!”
Indeed, those are truly words to live by. Ahead, Alba reveals more about her self-care rituals, particularly those that help her combat the all-too-relatable work stress and dreaded Sunday Scaries.
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What do weekends or days off look like these days?
I think, since I had Hayes, and maybe even when I was pregnant with Hayes, the weekends became a sacred space when I was just like, I'm not working. I've been working since I was 12 and work always took precedence over anything else in my life and I didn't really know how to do it any other way. I kind of figured it out.
What are some common anxieties or Sunday Scaries you face ahead of a busy work week?
I think, when I'm not doing self-care, I guess it does manifest [with feelings of] anxiety and not being able to sleep. My mind is racing and I'm like having panic [episodes]. That's when I'm like, I'm not doing enough self-care, I'm not doing enough meditating. Since I've been meditating every day, [those feelings have] disappeared. I haven't had a panic attack since or had [feelings of] anxiety like I did before.
So tell me more about your meditation practice? What specifically do you do and how does it help you combat some of these intrusive thoughts?
I don't discriminate [when it comes to meditation]. I have a lot that I will try. There's someone named Joe Dispenza I like a lot. Mindful movement meditation is another one that I really like. And then there’s Insight Timer. There's a woman named Sarah Blondin that has an incredible voice and tone [that’s] soothing. So I'm really attracted to voices usually. So yeah, I kind of have my favorites — it started off [with me meditating] five to seven minutes a day, and then I moved into longer [sessions].
I admire your discipline! I struggle with calming my mind. How do you do it?
When I started, I set my alarm for that specific time and I had the meditation teed up on my phone. So I just put my headphones in my ears and I lay in my bed listening to it before I got up. And that's how I [made it work], otherwise I wouldn't have done it. So I just woke up a little earlier than I wanted to and because I was laying in bed, it didn't feel like it was that hard to do. And I did that for a few months, and then I started to sit up when I did it.
What does your Sunday evening routine look like?
I usually do a bath and a mask on my hair and face. If I don't do my hair, I definitely do one on my face, no matter what. I think Sunday is really [my day] to kind of decompress from the last week and sort of recharge for the following.
[I also] like to cook Sunday dinner or have some kind of family meal — I enjoy cooking. So that's another part of my self-care. I try to get the kids dinner by 7 p.m., so then I can have my bath after.
Do you do anything in particular to mentally prepare yourself for the week ahead?
I mean, to be honest, taking a relaxing bath with essential oils and salts and candles and I listen to a chill playlist. Sometimes I do sound bowls after. I do a face mask (sometimes two) — if I do [Honest’s 3-in-1 Mud] Detox Mask I’ll follow with [Honest’s] Prime & Perfect Mask. When I get out, I take the time to do dry brushing and then mix body butter and body oil and allow it to absorb instead of just rushing and trying to get out the door, which is usually how it is during the week. [It’s about] just sort of easing my way back into my own skin.
I know you mentioned Sunday dinners, but do you have any strict rules you abide by during the weekends or OOO days to avoid working or thinking about work?
I like to do activities with the kids. So being at home in front of the TV just opens the door for everyone to be on their devices. No one's ever [just] watching television. Everybody's on devices in some form, whether they're getting DMs or they're getting texts or looking at news or playing a game or whatever. So, the only way you can really get them out of that is to put them in a different situation where they can't do it. So I got a pickle ball net that we put in our driveway. There are also some courts around [in our area] that are free and you don't have to pre-book.
And getting three kids out of the door is a brutal, but once we're there, they're like, ‘This is the best day I've ever had.’ They always say, ‘Can we do this tomorrow?’ I’m like, ‘Tomorrow's Monday. Can't do that.’ But I think [it’s about] just pulling yourself and them outside and doing something outside of your comfort zone.