The rain patters on the window as Naomi Watts sips a black coffee and checks her morning to-do list. “My kids are complaining there aren’t enough yummy snacks in the house,” says the mom of two teens, Sasha and Kai, with a smile. “So, first on my list is a trip to the grocery store. Then I have meetings for projects I’m developing, and then an early dinner with friends.”
As an award-winning actress, activist, and founder of Stripes, a company that educates and offers solutions for menopausal symptoms, Watts is no stranger to this juggling act. “I always feel there’s never enough time, that the balance is off,” she admits. “But usually, it’s my mind getting in the way.”
Indeed, Watts believes she has the tools she needs to fill 2023 with joy, peace, and accomplishments. And she’s on a mission to share the tips and life lessons that have made each passing year better than the last. Here, discover her tips for keeping stress at bay, nurturing the mind and body, and overcoming challenges — from menopause to everyday tasks.
1: Make snacking judgement-free, and enjoy it.
As a self-professed grazer, Watts keeps lots of healthy snacks like almonds and dried fruit around, but admits she still gets cravings from time to time. “I’ve found the best way to keep up with a healthy diet is to just moderate and not limit myself, because that’s when my cravings get exacerbated,” she says. “So, if I need my salt-and-vinegar chips today, I’m not going to judge myself. Tomorrow, it’s back to healthy!”
2: Portable hydration is the key to better health.
“Women lose hydration as we age, so I have a giant on-the-go water bottle and drink it all each day,” Watts says. “I drink more without thinking about it and I immediately feel better.” Indeed, a new study published by the National institutes of Health found that adults who stay hydrated tend to be healthier, have fewer chronic diseases, and live longer than those who don’t get enough fluids.
3: Anxious? Take a 5-minute cool down.
“I like easy meditations — it’s a good way to manage anxiety,” Watts shares. “I try for 20 minutes each day. I also love walks. I like going around the block with my dog. Even taking five minutes in the day helps. Or if I’m in other cities, I walk, walk, walk, because that way I learn about a place.” One tool Watts uses to decompress on her walks is listening to podcasts or music. “I like Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast, or OnBeing with Krista Tippett,” she says. A 2021 scientific review also shows that listening to anything while you exercise boosts performance.
4: To lower stress and connect with your loved ones, make easy, shared meals.
“I’m not a natural chef, but I have a small repertoire of meals that I really love to make,” Watts says. One of her favorites is a shrimp pasta with tomatoes and onions. “I find cooking to be very relaxing and fulfilling. Fulfilling in the sense of the vision of how the meal looks at the end, how it tastes and, most importantly, who you’re sit-ting with. I like coming together at the end of the day and the ritual of sitting around the table — that time for family to catch up is precious and priceless!”
5: Look to the women in your life for confidence, and listen to their advice.
“The women in my family give me my inner strength,” Watts says. “It started with my grandmother and her three daughters — my mother and her two sisters. They’ve all been taught to run things in their lives and to cope with difficult situations or recover when you go through challenges. That’s just trickled down to me.” Watts also credits her mom with giving her the best advice. “She told me, ‘Don’t be afraid to say no.’ I definitely have been a people-pleaser for a long time. Trusting your instincts and saying no is an important thing — it gives you so much more confidence.”
6: Find the right communities to support you through menopause.
Watts’ company, Stripes, is one of her greatest passions. It was created to offer holistic solutions to help women as they go through menopause. “Early menopause caught me off guard — I didn’t know what was happening to me,” recalls Watts, whose driving force behind Stripes is informing and educating women about this natural phase of life.
“This time in a woman’s life is lacking — not only in products, but in emotional support. We want women to feel that Stripes is a place to come to lodge a complaint, to cry, and also a place where we can help support them with vibrancy at this point in their lives.” As part of its mission, Stripes offers many options for menopausal beauty — and Watts uses just about every product herself.
“I’m wildly fond of the Dew As I Do cream and the Power Move serum,” she says. “I’m also using The Crown Pleaser for my thinning hair, and it works wonders.” For information, visit IAmStripes.com.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.