When Sophia Bush tried Transcendental Meditation 12 years ago, it was because she was feeling burned out. “I have been working since I was a junior in college, and ever since then I’ve been busy,” she says. For her, taking 20 minutes twice a day—for no one but herself—was truly transformative.
But meditation isn’t the actress’ only hack for maintaining peace, no matter how chaotic life gets. Here, she shares her tips for staying calm, even if your work commitments and pile up and your to-do list goes on a crazy growth spurt.
Keep reading to learn the three things Sophia Bush does every day to eliminate stress.
1. Get to work 30 minutes early
Sophia Bush is not a morning person. “If I don’t have to be at work until 10 a.m., I’m not going to get up extra early to hang out with myself for half an hour—I’m going hit snooze and get up at the latest possible time,” she said at the launch of Listerine’s Unlock Your Bold campaign. Even though she knew getting up earlier would make her morning less hectic, she just couldn’t make it a habit.
Her solution? Literally asking her boss to order her to show up half an hour before everyone else. “I get to set, get my hair and makeup done before any of the other actors are even there. Then, I have a whole half hour to do whatever I want, like walk my dog or meditate,” she says. “Even if you have to trick yourself into getting up earlier to make it a habit, once it’s a habit, you’ll start to see the ways it positively impacts your life.”
2. Do something small for yourself, several times a day
Once the workday starts, it’s easy to get sucked in to everything that needs to be done—no matter what your job is. “I’ve learned that you have to create small, meaningful moments for yourself,” Bush says. For her, that means savoring a cup of coffee or five minutes of stretching.
“Self-care is not selfish—it should be mandatory,” Bush says. And that doesn’t always mean soaking in the tub for 30 minutes at the end of the day. Small moments add up, and can take that chaotic feeling out of your day.
3. Make your workspace as inviting as your home
On the set of Chicago P.D., Bush has her trailer decked out with her favorite things from home. “I have my favorite throw blanket, some pillows, and my favorite beauty products,” she says. While you may be confined to a cubicle—or a fraction of a shared table—at work, it’s still where you are spending a lot of time, so make it pretty!