Levitating from the stage in a custom black bodysuit adorned with 120,000 crystals (see Future Nostalgia tour), Dua Lipa certainly knows how to command a room. Sure, she has the help of stage lights, special effects, and her voice, of course, but let’s be real: She could be wearing jeans and a T-shirt and still turn heads.
Thanks to Vogue’s The Real Dua Lipa story, I got an in-depth, BTS look into the two-time-Grammy-winning, 26-year-old pop star’s life. Behind all the glitz and glamour and fame, Dua (meaning “love” in Albanian) is a staunch advocate for refugee groups, LGBTQ rights, and racial justice. She’s also a yogi, good cook, hugger, fan of star signs, and overall boss (AKA my new girl crush).
As if we needed more reasons to adore her, she’s been open about her own struggles with mental health. On an episode of The Gurls Talk Podcast with host Adwoa Aboah, Dua shared how she prioritized her well-being during the pandemic. Of course, I took notes. Drawing inspiration from another Vogue piece, I gathered Dua’s six tips on how to care for your mental health from her guest appearance on the podcast. Be warned, you’ll want to be her BFF.
1. Stay connected with loved ones
If there’s one takeaway from the past couple of years, it’s the importance of connection. We’re all guilty of putting off calling our moms or reconnecting with our high school besties. But Dua encouraged The Gurls Talk Podcast‘s listeners to make time to connect with their network to foster the feeling of togetherness. She credited group chats and FaceTime workouts with friends to keeping her sane when quarantined (if only I could’ve been a fly on the wall). Now that we’re back to some normalcy, IRL interactions have never felt better or been more valuable for maintaining our mental health (but you still can’t go wrong with picking up the phone, whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic or not).
2. Have a journaling routine (that works best for you)
It’s no secret we’re journaling stans at The Everygirl, and Dua would give us major props for making the practice part of our routines (that practically makes us BFFs, right?). While writing songs is Dua’s main form of journaling, she suggested writing about your feelings and not being afraid of your thoughts and putting them down on paper (whatever way feels best for you). Whether it’s a diary entry, poem, short essay, or just a few bullet points about how you’re feeling, Dua said journaling really helps bring your mental health A-game. To make it even simpler, she recommended grabbing a piece of paper and scribbling out whatever you’re thinking—it doesn’t have to make sense and you can rip it up after all is said and done. Leave it to Dua Lipa to make journaling even cooler.
3. Try positive escapism
Wanting to take a break from challenging emotions (think: a breakup, work pressures, a health scare) is normal. Although temporary, it gives us the chance to disconnect and take our minds off our circumstances so that we can reset and be in a better headspace to handle obstacles. Dua’s form of escapism? You guessed it: music. Sometimes, all we need is a good cry or a solo dance party to our go-to songs to shake things off. But other times, it takes more effort.
If you could use an actual physical escape to, say, a private island but it isn’t in the budget (if only), plan a weekend getaway or staycation to look forward to. And when future plans just won’t cut it, settle in to a good book, pick up a new hobby, or get lost in a movie or show. While imagining yourself as a Real Housewife (you pick the location) won’t solve your problems, it can provide the space you need to gain perspective and reframe your mindset.
4. Take a social media hiatus
We’ve all been down the IG rabbit hole of incessantly scrolling through the filtered and edited lives of friends and influencers—the next thing you know, you’re comparing yourself and your life to theirs. Dua Lipa told Adwoa that there was a point when online criticism kept her from feeling proud of her achievements. “I don’t think I could have done my second record if I hadn’t taken a step back from social media,” she said. “You should always remove yourself from things that have a negative impact on your mental health. Leave any good things that inspire you, excite you, and make it fun.”
Taking Dua’s advice, set boundaries around your social media usage. Limit the amount of time you spend on TikTok each day, schedule social media-free days, or take a month-long breather from certain apps. If you need more convincing, consider this: A 2021 study revealed that most participants reported a positive change in mood, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep during and immediately after a break from social media.
5. Regularly practice kindness
Dua’s MO in a nutshell? “Work hard and be nice,” she shared with Adwoa (changing my status to #1 fan). The power of kindness goes beyond making the person on the receiving end feel good (even though that’s good enough!). According to the American Psychological Association, acts of kindness boost happiness and well-being and is even linked to physical health benefits. Even observing or looking back on kind acts have been shown to increase well-being. So smile at every stranger, treat a friend to coffee, or pay others a compliment because you just might start a domino effect. Also, you deserve to show yourself kindness. “Think about what you’re saying to yourself because you talk to yourself the most … Be kind to yourself,” Dua stated. I couldn’t have said it better.
6. Give back
If you’ve ever volunteered for an organization, donated money to a cause you believe in, or used your voice to help others, you’re also doing your mental health good. Beyond contributing to charities (she works closely with UNICEF and UNHCR), Dua swears that supporting your friends and family is not only an important thing to do but is also a wellness hack. Whether it’s as small as sending a positive text message to your gal pal or making dinner for your parents, showing altruism does more than just produce feel-good moments. Research shows that giving back is the closest thing to a magic pill, filling our brains with dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. In other words, bring on the happiness!