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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.
In her hit Netflix series On My Block, Sierra Capri is Monsé Finnie, the confident leader of her high school friend group. Offscreen, 23-year-old Capri has put high school — and college, where she studied biology — in her rearview mirror. Now, the actress has teamed up with St. Ives to give one lucky student a year’s worth of free tuition and books, as well as a supply of the brand’s new Solutions line, in order to create a more stress-free year of learning for the contest winner.
Capri herself knows a thing or two about managing stress. The actress is well-versed in meditation, and despite her 2.4 million Instagram followers, knows not to take social media too seriously. Here, Capri speaks to Yahoo Life about her wellness routine and the shift she made in college to make sure she caught much-needed shut-eye.
What does wellness mean to you, and how do you take care of your own well-being?
I think wellness is everything. It’s important to figure out what that means for you, in terms of what you do to make sure you stay mentally and physically healthy. I have my own regimen that works for me, but I think it’s different for everyone. It’s important, because the world today can be very stressful.
I definitely take care of my skin. I am obsessed with St. Ives's new Solutions line. Starting my day with my skincare routine helps me reenergize, and in the evening it helps me calm down. I’ve had the chance to update my skincare routine, and I use the St. Ives Solutions cleanser, the toner. They feature 100-percent natural tea tree extract, and it’s important in my routine that I use things that are good for my sensitive skin. In the last year, especially with COVID, I’ve had the time to figure out what ingredients are in products, and what chemicals.
How do you manage stress when things get busy?
I always wanted to try yoga in college, and when I started doing it, more and more often, it went from doing yoga to meditation. I started trying to find other ways to meditate, if I didn’t have time for a yoga session. I wanted to do something quick, like five or 10 minutes, that could give me as much peace and joy for the rest of the day. When I started meditating I would just sit in my room, and listen to music. Sometimes I listen to the meditations on the Calm app, which I love. I light a candle. It’s great.
How do you use social media so it doesn’t impact your mental health?
I definitely think that social media should be fun and empowering. For me, it’s important to set boundaries for how long I am on social media every day. I have to have thick skin when it comes to comments on social media. I’ll take a quick glance, but I won’t take the bait with comments that are hurtful or toxic. I’ll also do the whole “no phones” policy when I’m with friends and family, to make sure that I’m present and in the moment, and just appreciating what’s happening, and the people around me.
As a former college student, what were some strategies you used to balance schoolwork with the rest of your life?
For me, I just had those moments where I would dedicate at least one hour a day to take a break from everything I had to get done. Sometimes, if you think about every single thing you have to do in a day, it will overwhelm you, so I tried to just take everything one thing at a time. I’d meditate. I’d do yoga. I’d go get food with friends, or go to take a Zumba class. I think it’s important to take that period of time to do something for yourself, and not worry about all you have to do.
What’s something you wish you knew earlier about maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
I wish I knew sooner how what you’re eating and what you’re putting in your body can affect how you feel, and your mental state. I don’t think many people see the connection. If you’re feeling depressed, or stressed, or happy, a lot of that can be connected with what you eat. There can be a lot of chemicals in your body that are messing with your hormones, and I just didn’t know. When I was in college, and struggling money-wise, I was like, "This is the perfect time to go vegan." It was the best sleep I had gotten in months. I wasn’t tossing and turning at night, and I’m a very light sleeper. When I did that, I would be knocked out. I had the most energy I ever had in my life. I’m not vegan now, but I’m not opposed to going back. You really feel the difference in your body.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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