25 Famous Women on How They Relax

“Going dancing.” —Hari Nef Photo: Getty Images

The holidays can be a time of renewal or, particularly after this election, deep stress. It’s never too late to find a new way to unwind, and now seems like the perfect time. For ideas, we looked to 25 famous women who have shared their best relaxation techniques, which include Lego-building, trips to Costco, and many, many baths. Read on to learn how Oprah, Hari Nef, Yoko Ono, Gisele Bündchen, and more women find inner calm in the midst of hectic schedules.

Shailene Woodley

“It depends. If I’m having a me night, I might do 15 to 45 minutes of yoga. The thing that’s most grounding for me before bed, though, is when I wash my face. To wash my face and nourish my skin and cleanse myself of everything that happened through the day, and then to sit in bed with my journal or a book of poems or a novel and a cup of tea, is the perfect way for me to ensure a good night’s rest.” —Interview, July 2013

Shonda Rhimes

“I actually like being alone. I spend most evenings reading and taking long baths … The bathtub is the most important thing in my new house. It took me weeks to pick that bathtub.” —O, The Oprah Magazine, December 2006

Emilia Clarke

“Bathtime is a ritual! You’ve got to get the right temperature, you must have good bath salts or Epsom salts and dissolve them properly, and you need bath oils to get some scents going. I don’t do bubble bath — it makes me feel too much like a kid. I have to soak for at least half an hour. If I had time I could be in that bath for three hours, although me having three hours to take a bath is like finding a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.” —Violet Grey, June 2016

Lily Aldridge

“I put my bath salts in a Ziploc bag and bring them with me [wherever I go]. I bring Diptyque’s small candles in amber or lavender everywhere, too. Even if I’m just getting ready for an event, I’ll bring them to hair and makeup.” —Vogue, 2015

Carrie Brownstein

“If I’m being good, I really try to read before bed because I think it helps me sleep instead of having the interface of a glowing screen in front of me. That seems to kind of mess with my sleep patterns a bit. … Reading before bed is relaxing and edifying, but if I’m too tired for that, I’ll try to get in a Breaking Bad episode on Netflix.” —Adweek, February 2013

Yoko Ono

“I walk around. Walking is such a great way to relax. I know it might be dangerous, but that’s only in the corner of my mind. Maybe I’m the only one now. Very few famous people are walking around now. They disappeared. It’s that kind of world. It’s sad, isn’t it?” —Rolling Stone, March 2016

Giada De Laurentiis

“I count on chiropractic sessions to keep my body aligned. Standing for hours can impact my posture, and that can throw the rest of my body out of whack. Acupuncture helps me relax and release stress. I’m also very into massage to help release tension in my back, neck, and shoulders. I think all these things help keep my immune system strong.” —Women’s Health, April 2012

Misty Copeland

“After a show it’s late at night and you’re exhausted, but your adrenaline is still pumping. I usually listen to music and walk home to kind [of] transition into relaxed-mode. I get home and usually have a glass of wine, eat a light dinner, watch TV and try to relax. We have class the next morning at 10 a.m. and we don’t get home until midnight some nights, so we don’t have that much recovery time.” —Women’s Health, March 2014

Gisele Bündchen

“I noticed every time I felt overwhelmed I would hold my breath. I had to learn to stop, relax, and take long deep breaths and within seconds I would feel more clear and ready to deal with the situation in a more loving way. Meditation also has been a wonderful tool. I notice that when I don’t take the time to do it, I am not as centered, patient, or clear.” —People, April 2016

Marie Kondo

“A comfortable environment, a space that feels good to be in, a place where you can relax — these are the traits that make a home a power spot. Would you rather live in a home like this or in one that resembles a storage shed? The answer, I hope, is obvious.” —The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, January 2011


“I always say to Leigh [her husband], ‘If they ever put me in prison for anything, make sure I have a sewing machine and lots of fabric and I’ll be fine.’ If I want to calm down I’ll buy some fabric, get a pattern, shut myself in a room and stay there for days, really happy. And at the end of it you get a bedspread or some curtains or something to wear — it’s lovely.” — the Daily Mail, September 2008

Gigi Hadid

“I had my birthday parties at a Color Me Mine [pottery studio] in L.A. when I was a kid, so now on my days off in New York I’ll get coffee with some friends and go to Color Me Mine and sit there for, like, five hours and paint really detailed mugs or whatever. They’re good birthday presents or presents for yourself, and it’s really relaxing. I do a lot of art at home, like painting, drawing, sometimes working with clay. I build a lot of Lego sets. That’s art, I guess!” —Harper’s Bazaar, October 2016

Vera Wang

“My evening really begins when I take a long, hot bath. I light a candle, and I turn on the news and try to catch up. It’s when I can breathe from the day to the night, and that means a lot to me.” —Harper’s Bazaar, October 2012

Selena Gomez

“I love how Pilates makes me feel, like it opens me up. I have the hardest time breathing, weirdly enough. Even when I have conversations, I need to work on my breathing, so it’s something I enjoy because it’s peaceful and it helps me relax.” —Vogue, May 2016

Nancy Meyers

“Like most struggling writers trying to get their scripts commissioned, I had to do something odd to pay the rent. So, aged 21, I started up my own small cheesecake company in Philadelphia. This was the ’70s. Cheesecake was big news. I worked late into the night, baking them in my tiny kitchen in my tiny flat, and sold them to hotels and shops. I just about made ends meet. I don’t eat so much cheesecake now. I’ve switched to fruit pies. I’ve always been a so-so cook, but I bake very well. It’s relaxing. I don’t bake anything too exotic, just homemade cherry or apple pies.” —The Guardian, May 2010

Kris Jenner

“Costco is a passion. Costco is like a massage.” —the New York Times, May 2015

Jennifer Lawrence

“Downtime is normally the bane of my existence. It makes me depressed, not relaxed. But I was actually enjoying myself this time … [I] hang out. Drink wine. I’ve got a bunch of friends who live really close, thank God.” —Vogue, December 2015

Erykah Badu

“I guess it’s the daily routine. I don’t have any particular thing I do ritualistically. I do the same thing every day. I get up. Drink a lot of water. Have a wheatgrass shot. Drink some green juice. Eat as healthy as I can. I’m not trying to win an award for being the best vegetarian, just want to be healthy. Take a salt bath. Do things that my parents were never able to do. I’m blessed to do anything I want so I decide to take the best care of my body and my family in the same way. Holistically. Vitally.” —the Huffington Post, February 2013

Hari Nef

[My de-stress trick is …] “Going dancing.” —H&M, September 2016

Jada Pinkett Smith

“I do a lot of reading, meditating, and praying to stay as grounded as I can be in this crazy world. Right now I’m studying Taoism. When I hear my own negative voice, I usually just give it a big old hug. I ask myself, ‘What are you afraid of?’ I don’t have difficulty confronting my fear anymore.” —Women’s Health, November 2005

Nora Ephron

“One of the reasons I cooked was that after writing all day, it was a relief to do something that I knew would work out — as opposed to what I was doing at the typewriter. For me, cooking was relaxing, but I don’t think most people look at it that way — it seems more like work.” —the New York Times, November 1990

Cindy Crawford

“I try to go into an infrared sauna for 20 minutes at least once a week. Before I invested in my own, I just went to a local tanning salon that also had an infrared sauna — my homeopathic doctor suggested I get one because it’s good for detoxing. It’s not like a normal sauna, which can be harsh. Instead, infrared is a super gentle, soothing, and therapeutic heat that helps me relax and improves my sleep (and we all know how much I value sleep). It also works somewhat like a Japanese hot spring in that it stimulates collagen production to reduce wrinkles, improve overall skin tone, and improve circulation. Another added benefit? Twenty minutes of uninterrupted time to read!” —Into the Gloss, July 2015

Gaby Hoffmann

“I’ve been in L.A. for six weeks working and I’ve yet to find my way to a yoga class. What’s really relaxing to me right now is being with my baby and my boyfriend — just having a couple hours in the evening or in the morning to be sitting in and be doing absolutely nothing with those two. That’s sort of as good as it gets. I’m fairly good at being in the mix of this, as you’re saying, slightly crazy, disorganized, messiness. I’m mostly really good at it until I’m not and then I fall apart! I just sort of show up on [the Transparent] set, hand my baby off — having a conversation. We’re all incredibly, madly in love with each other and a big, happy family. You show up and you see 100 people you love and you’re trying to eat something and you’re pumping and then you’re like wait a minute we have a scene!” —Nylon, September 2015

Jennifer Lopez

“As women, we tend to give away a lot. We take care of a lot of people, and we can’t forget to take care of ourselves. If that means once a week you’re going to go off without the kids or without anybody and just go shoe shopping — well, that’s me, because I love shoes — or get a facial even if your sister thinks that’s selfish, or join a Zumba class, or take a painting class, or whatever, you’ve just got to do it. It’s just two hours a week, for heaven’s sake.” —Redbook, April 2010

Oprah Winfrey

“I always give myself Sundays as a spiritual base of renewal — a day when I do absolutely nothing. I sit in my jammies or take a walk, and I allow myself time to BE — capital B-E — with myself. When I don’t, I absolutely become stressed, irritable, anxiety-prone, and not the person I want to be in the world.” —Oprah

25 Famous Women on How They Relax