After a series of highly successful movie adaptations (hello, To All The Boys franchise!) and intense pressure to do it all, actor Lana Condor wants things to be different this time around. With a new set of boundaries and a strong support system, she’s never felt this good about a press run before. Ahead of her Netflix Boo, Bitch series, Condor carved out some time to talk about once feeling like a “shell” of herself, shutting down negative self-talk, and being stronger than she knows.
[This interview originally appeared in a July 2022 edition of the Wondermind Newsletter. Sign up here to never miss these candid conversations.]
WM: How are you doing lately?
Lana Condor: I'm doing better than I thought I was going to be doing. I'm on a press tour right now for a new show that's coming out on Netflix in July. Oftentimes, press tours in general just take a lot out of the spirit, and you have to give so much energy to so many people. But I actually feel really good. I created really strong boundaries, like with my team, for this specific tour because I was like, “I don't want to feel like a shell of myself when it's over. Let's make sure that we're doing everything that we can to have breaks and do only what we need to do.” So with those boundaries, it has made such a difference because I feel really good, and I've never felt this way about a press tour before.
WM: How do you manage the comedown after a big career moment or even just a stressful day?
LC: Now I have boundaries, but I'm very much a people pleaser. So I'm the type of person that will go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go if someone needs me to. But I'm dying inside, and then there's nothing left to give.
When I go home, I’ve created practices for myself. So the comedown is real, and [this] kind of grounds me back into my body, makes me feel like a human being again: Usually, when I come back from work, I'll cook a dinner. And I might be up two hours longer than I should have [been], but just the act of doing something like an everyday thing, like making yourself dinner, cleaning the dishes—all of that stuff grounds me and reminds me I'm still a human that has a life, and my life isn't just my job.
The easiest thing that I do to help me unwind after a kind of a stressful day is definitely a bath. It forces you to relax. I do like journaling. I read at night. I do a lot of essential oils. Sometimes I'll go outside and sit with my crystals. And [I] listen to sound baths in the morning and in the night.
WM: Do you have a favorite journal prompt or do you free-write?
LC: I use the five-minute gratitude journal every day, and they have you do it in the morning and at night. But then I also just properly journal, and something that I mostly focus on is I write these mantras in my journals. It’s: “You are stronger than you know.” And I write that all the time.
I start my day with that mantra; I go to bed with that mantra because, well, I just genuinely believe that. And I think everyone has their self-doubts, their fears. Everyone has something that they might have to go through during that day that they might not really want to, but they have to do it anyway. So I find that kind of mantra, that “you're stronger than you know,” is a reminder that you are, and we've been through a lot of stuff and we're still here, and that is due to our resilience as humans. And that is proof that you are stronger than you know. Even in my darkest times or where I feel the worst, I remind myself that, and I'm like, No. I've gone through this, and I got out the other side.
WM: What aspect of your mental health would you describe as a work in progress right now?
LC: [Laughs] I think everything. I think right now…positive self-image and self-talk is probably one that I'm working on the most, and that's a practice that you kind of have to do every day.
Some of the things that you say to your image, you would never ever say that to your best friend or your little sister. Well, hoping you are a good person, hoping you're a decent person. [Laughs] So I try to remind myself of that. 'Cause I can be pretty hard on my physical appearance. That's just something that I've struggled with all my life. That kind of body dysmorphia is heightened in the entertainment industry because I see myself all day long on cameras and monitors and super close up and far behind, and you can't really escape yourself—and nor do I want to. But if negative self-talk is alive and well in my brain and I can't escape myself, then I'm miserable.
I went back home a couple weeks ago, and I was eating so much food, and I was sleeping so much. I started to judge myself, like, Why can you not stop? Why are you constantly eating? Why can you not stop eating, Lana? Why are you sleeping for hours and hours and hours? I was judging myself. And then Anthony, my fiancé, and I kind of took a step back, and we were like, Our body needs this. 'Cause our body is asking us to do this. Our body needs the nourishment. It needs the rest.
WM: What mental health advice would you give your younger self?
LC: Share your feelings with someone who feels safe for you. Don't bottle it up. Because I bottled it up a lot when I was younger about things that I was going through—and I'm still in it—and it took so much time and practice to even 1. identify it, and then 2. to unlearn. I think that if I had felt more safe in terms of sharing whatever was going on with me at that time, I think that it would've saved me a lot of time. Of course, it's always just a journey. It's an every day journey, and that's good. That's what a practice is.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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