how i get it done day

How to De-Stress in 3 Minutes or Less

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In moments of stress, how can you immediately calm down? Three women answered this question at the Cut’s How I Get It Done Day on Monday, March 4: Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant, Emmy-nominated food expert Padma Lakshmi, and the goalkeeper and Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo. In a panel led by the Cut’s president and editor-in-chief Stella Bugbee, each woman discussed how to deal with internal monologues of self-doubt. Try their three easy suggestions for how to calm down quickly in three minutes or less.

1. Write down everything you have to do.

Padma Lakshmi is the host and an executive producer of Top Chef, and she’s currently pitching her own TV show. The model, actress, author, and ACLU ambassador is “a big believer in lists.”

I just vomit everything I want to get done on a piece of paper, but then I go back over that piece of paper and I write numbers next to each one, and that is the order that I attack that list,” she said. “What you don’t want is to go through all the secondary issues and [later] yes, you’ve gotten eight things done but the one thing that’s the most important and the one that has the most value you’ve forgotten to do.”

Considering other time constraints, Lakshmi said: “Don’t spend more than 15 minutes on your makeup. Don’t! It’s time people never give back and it’s not that worth it. Like, only you know that your eyelashes aren’t as curled as they should be. I mean, unless you’re going to be on TV or you’re getting married or it’s the Emmys, don’t do it. Don’t, don’t. Find a good lip color you can put on in the elevator and go.”

2. Take your list and literally blow it away from you.

Hope Solo is the world’s most accomplished goalkeeper and a two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion. Off the field, she’s now a leading voice in the fight for equal pay for female soccer players and in April, she’ll speak at the the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder.

Stella Bugbee, Aidy Bryant, Hope Solo, and Padma Lakshmi at the Cut’s How I Get It Done Day at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for New York Magazine

“I would say that I’ve suffered from a lot of anxiety throughout my lifetime and throughout my career … If I did get scored on I started to have this habit of — you said brush things off, right?” she said, turning to Lakshmi. “Well, I literally would pick up a handful of grass if I got scored on, I’d take a deep breath, and then I would just blow it out. The moment I did that just symbolized that I had to let go because I had the rest of the game to focus on.”

You can do the same by making a list of what’s stressing it out, ripping it up, and throwing it in the trash.

3. Wash your hands.

Aidy Bryant has worked two jobs for the past year and a half — as a senior cast member on SNL, and as the co-writer and star of Hulu’s new comedy series Shrill, which premieres March 15. Balancing both jobs, she said, means “trying to find a way to get through those two pieces of my brain, you know? And then also have a husband and have a life and like eat or sleep and all the things.”

“What helps me a lot is to just — instead of running through the list [in my head], just like trying to return to the physical and being like okay, I’m here right now, I’m going to stretch a little bit and just get back in my body instead of just running through the list in my mind … Even if it just means washing my hands and putting on hand cream. Just like, little things that are going to bring me back to myself and make me feel like a human being again. It always helps me when I’m just like, you’re okay, this isn’t going to ruin you, nothing’s going to destroy you, if you mess up people will understand. To sort of take some of the pressure out of it, and just let it be.

And to de-stress in just one minute, there’s always deep breathing. More ideas are here.

How to De-Stress in 3 Minutes or Less