For Lana Condor, finding ways to cope with the darkness of this pandemic has been key. She's relied on fun workouts like Zumba and biking, having a group of women to talk to, and even virtual reality. "It's a coping mechanism because you can kind of take yourself out of reality for a short period of time. And we need that!" Condor exclaimed, telling POPSUGAR it might sound strange, but "this year, it has been nice to be in a different reality."
Condor said she bought herself and her partner, Anthony De La Torre, anxiety journals to answer daily prompts about how the mind and body are feeling. Journaling in that way, she noted, has acted as a release. She also is still processing the prevalence of "sickening" anti-Asian violence across the nation, but "the way that I've been able to kind of protect myself from just losing hope in humanity is creating boundaries." This means, she said, knowing when to shut off the news or put down her phone.
"Recently, I've been feeling every time I open up the news, there's something that's just so horrible that you can't help but take it and feel it so deeply," Condor said. It's important, though, for her to acknowledge when she needs a break. She's turned to advocacy as well. "I think advocacy also really helps because you realize that there's a whole community that is out there to help support you."
Condor's mental health hit a real low after the first To All the Boys I've Loved Before film premiered; she told Self in a February cover story she'd never felt worse mentally. She further explained to POPSUGAR that she was, at the same time, filming Deadly Class, in which she played Saya Kuroki from the assassin training academy Kings Dominion. Her body was under extreme stress due to the intense workouts that went into preparing for the role.
"It was kind of the perfect storm for me to not be in a good place mentally because my life was changing literally overnight," Condor recalled. "I'm very, very, very grateful for To All the Boys, and it's the most favorite thing that I've ever done, but it changed pretty much every aspect of my life very, very fast." There was no learning curve for settling into this whirlwind, she noted, adding, "When you have this amazing thing that you're so proud of that promotes such goodness, which is what I feel like To All the Boys does, it's such a weird standard to be in such a positive place but also feel so horrible."
"I think with mental health, every single day you have to wake up and actively decide to do things that bring you joy."
Condor said she got to a point where she couldn't sleep or eat, and "there was just a lot for me to handle." The first step, she said, was realizing she needed to tell her team and family about her struggles. "Anyone who is going through a really, really dark time . . . and I know it's the hardest thing ever to share with people around you or share in your close circle . . . but you have to reach out to people when you're that low because they will help you." She then set boundaries for herself because she is the type of person who says yes to everything, she explained.
Now, Condor pursues activities and environments that fulfill her happiness, and she has better coping mechanisms she didn't previously possess. "I think with mental health, every single day you have to wake up and actively decide to do things that bring you joy," she stated. "Especially this year, a lot of things can bring you down really fast." So whether that's cuddling your dog or reading a book, she said, make that choice. Search for joy.