Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Styling by Kristi Hunter

Published on June 8, 2021

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Small rituals make home a place for rest and rejuvenation. In The Wind Down, we explore the wellness routines of people we admire.

Sometimes 20 minutes is all it takes. “Self-care is the first thing to go when you’re stressed,” says Faith Brown, a student in Washington, D.C., and copywriter for the 15 Percent Pledge. “I find that when I say I have no time, it’s really that I’m not forcing myself to make the time.” At those moments she is reminded to pause, refocus on the “things that make me the happiest,” and allow some time for herself: Morning yoga, the aptly named West Elm Double Dream sofa she scored on Facebook Marketplace, and products like U by Kotex’s Security Ultra-Thin Pads all prevent stressors, both mental and physical, from holding her back—and let her wind down on her own terms.

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A feast for the senses: Brown is all about a next-level nighttime routine. “When I have a little extra time to myself, I will take a hot shower, turn off all the lights, get a good playlist going, and light a lot of candles,” she says, laughing at her preference for anything that “smells like a 19th-century library or treehouse.” Her top picks are Byredo Bibliothèque and Diptyque Ambre.

Only use the best: “I showed up to college with no sense of a self-care routine,” says Brown. “Now I’m the one my friends always ask about products.” As part of her skin care, Biologique Recherche’s Serum Placenta is “a lifesaver.” When lounging, she can be found cozying up in a fluffy white robe with her nickname, Ms. Brown, embroidered on the front. For her period, the Security Ultra-Thin Pads by U by Kotex are a new favorite addition to her bathroom cabinet; they are dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic, and offer up to nine hours of powerful protection. “When you’re on your period, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself,” she says.

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Sharing is caring: For Brown, who lives in the same apartment building as two of her best friends, self-care isn’t something that you just do solo. Together they take on everything from burnout to cramps. “My period is frequently within a couple days of one of theirs—I actually use her as my own personal tracking app! We’ll order in instead of cooking and hang out and support one another,” she says. “We’ve learned that everyone’s period is different—and that’s totally okay. It’s all about discovering what our love language is so we can be there for one another.” And that might look a little different for each person: Some might want to grab a U by Kotex pad, focus on their day, and refuse to let their period hold them back; others might want lots of attention and love. Either way, everyone deserves to feel secure during their period—no questions asked.

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Fake it till you make it: Brown, who identifies as “the best plant mom to fake plants,” says that self-care isn’t just about the products you use but how you choose to fill the space around you. That involves good light and lots of greenery. “I have a ton of pampas grass, because it doesn’t need to be watered,” she says. “And I love flowers. The great and weird thing about me is that I love them both alive and dead—I think I might be the only human on earth who finds beauty in dead flowers.”