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Bella Hadid on Overcoming the Anxiety of Getting Dressed Every Morning

Being a supermodel often means having to deal with photo shoots, scheduling and travel that are subject to change at the 11th hour. This year, Bella Hadid is determined to maintain more consistent routines. The 25-year-old says all the last-minute changes have disrupted her personal life in an unsustainable way. Hadid, who has been public about her mental health challenges and Lyme disease diagnosis, is committed to reinvesting time in her health. “I realize now that my body is a temple,” she says, “and the routine that we have in the morning, especially Monday mornings, is…almost the most important thing because if you don’t start your week on a good note, it’s not going to be good for you.”

Hadid, the daughter of real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and former model Yolanda Hadid, was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Growing up, she, along with her older sister, Gigi, now 26, and younger brother, Anwar, 22, sometimes appeared on the reality TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which their mom starred in. (Gigi and Anwar are both models, too.) Hadid began her modeling career in her late teens and within a few years became a feature on runways including Tom Ford, Chanel and Givenchy. She’s starred in numerous campaigns for brands such as Fendi and Nike and has collaborated with the American label Chrome Hearts to design clothing and accessories. She’s known for her street style and the way she’s reimagined and repopularized ’90s and early 2000s trends like low-rise jeans, rimless sunglasses and newsboy caps.

Hadid announced at the end of last year that she was joining Victoria’s Secret’s new VS Collective, a diverse group of models, athletes and actors that has replaced the Angels. Last year she also became the co-founder of Kin Euphorics, the nonalcoholic wellness beverage company launched by Jen Batchelor in 2018.

Here, she speaks to WSJ. about her gym routine and why posting photos of herself crying on Instagram made her feel less lonely.

What time do you get up on Mondays, and what’s the first thing you do?
If I’m not working, I usually wake up at 8 or 8:30 a.m. on Mondays. I try to keep my phone in the other room, I try to not charge it right next to my face.

My favorite book is The Artist’s Way, so every morning, [I write] three pages, journaling. [Editor’s note: The book encourages readers to write three stream-of-consciousness “Morning Pages” every day.] What’s important for me is to have that ritual and have that moment to myself…. I try to do a gratitude meditation every morning. If it’s on my way to work, I usually put it on in the car, on the loudspeaker, so whoever’s driving me and I have a nice moment of gratitude together.

I’ll head to the gym if I can get the gym in. That’s my New Year’s resolution, trying to get in the gym more often for my mental health.

Do you have a go-to breakfast to start the week off right?
I’m a smoothie person. I have this one granola that I love that used to be at the juice place I worked at when I was younger and I found it recently in New York. It is really sugary, but I’m obsessed with it.

The issue is that I do need protein, so it’s always scrambled eggs, avocado, a piece of toast or a bagel—like a bagel and cream cheese from Bagel Bob’s is my favorite. It’s usually a smaller breakfast and then a move into a big lunch. By the time it’s noon and I’ve done my morning stuff and meetings, I’m solidly hungry and ready to eat.

Do you have a secret to putting together a great outfit in the morning?
I haven’t had a stylist in a long time, maybe two years now. I was in such a weird place mentally that it was really complicated for me to get out of the house and put an outfit together, especially with the anxiety of [paparazzi] being outside and all that. In the last year, it was really important for me to learn that even if people talk about my style or if they like it or if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because it’s my style. When I leave the house in the morning, what I think about is: Does this make me happy? Do I feel good in this and do I feel comfortable?

And you mentioned the gym—what does that part of your routine look like?
What I love to do is take long walks on the Hudson. I love boxing. I love rowing. I like anything that seems like an activity. I love Pilates, because I’m just swinging and jumping on things. I just want to have fun and I don’t want it to feel super heavy. The gym for me is also about the social aspect, about being around energy and people.

You’ve opened up about mental health on social media, like with the photos you posted of you crying on Instagram. How did you get the idea to start photographing yourself when you were crying?
I would have really depressive episodes and my mom or my doctor would ask how I was and instead of having to respond in text, I would just send them a photo. It was the easiest thing for me to do at the time because I was never able to explain how I was feeling. I would just be in excruciating and debilitating mental and physical pain, and I didn’t know why. That was over the past three years.

[When I posted them] it was to make sure that anybody that was feeling that way knew it was OK to feel that way. Even though on Instagram things look so beautiful, at the end of the day, we are all cut from the same cloth. I felt like it was just good for me to be able to speak my truth and at some point I wasn’t able to post nice pretty pictures anymore. I was over it.

How are you doing now?
I do have good days. Today is a good day. My brain fog is feeling better, I don’t feel depressed. I don’t have as much anxiety as I usually do. But tomorrow I could wake up and [be] the complete opposite. That’s why I get so overwhelmed. But that post made me less lonely because I had a lot of people that have reached out saying, “I feel that way too.” Walking outside, being able to remember there are so many people going through things and have similar patterns to me, it makes me feel better.

I don’t know if that’s not what people want on Instagram, and that’s fine. I don’t have to be on Instagram forever. I feel like real is the new real, and that’s what’s important to me.