Jen Gotch has built her career on vivid colors and good vibes, but above all, emotional honesty. Now the Ban.do founder is publishing her first book, The Upside of Being Down, all about how putting your mental health first—and accepting all the hardships that arise on that path—can end up bringing you exactly where you need to be. And a part of that journey is self-care.
According to Gotch, that can be as simple as putting on a nice pair of pajamas instead of an old T-shirt, sipping a hot cup of tea, or enjoying a chocolatey snack right before bed—all things that she does as part of her nighttime routine (which she admits can be pretty flexible from day to day). Here, she shares all the essentials:
Skin saviors: Admittedly, sometimes I go to sleep with a dirty face because I doze off while watching Netflix on the couch. I have very unpredictable skin—I’ve had some version of a rash on my face for the past 20 years. I wash my face with Cetaphil, and some nights I’ll use Naturopathica’s Oat Cleansing Facial Polish. After that I apply Thayers Facial Toner. I recently met Annie Tevelin, who is the founder of the skin-care brand Skin Owl, and I love her products. I use Beauty Drops and Beauty Whip. I’ve been getting so many compliments on my skin since I started using them.
Brush up: I was using another electric toothbrush that eventually broke, and I remembered someone had given me a Quip. Once I finally started using it I was like, Oh, my God, this is 10 times better! It makes me want to brush my teeth because it times the full two minutes you should be doing it for—it’s like forced mindfulness.
Simple sips: I’ve replaced wine with tea—in particular, tulsi. I was browbeaten into doing an anti-inflammatory cleanse at the beginning of the year, and I’ve kept drinking it ever since.
Midnight snack: I really like to have chocolate at night, but that tends to make me wake up very hungry. Daily Harvest has these things called bites: There’s one that’s a hazelnut and chocolate flavor that I love. They’re basically like frozen cookie dough. I’ve been forcing them on people because they’re so good.
Netflix and chill: I try to not watch anything in bed, but I sometimes put on the TV in the living room. Right now, I’m enjoying the Formula 1: Drive to Survive racing show on Netflix. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve got two seasons to keep you. I’ll watch that or Seinfeld.
Aromatherapy: I thought I wanted to be a Reiki healer about a year and a half ago, so I got certified in level 1. One thing I took away from that experience was the idea of lighting palo santo and wrapping its smoke around my body. I also have incense from Wonder Valley that I really love.
Best bed: I have a Tuft and Needle mattress, which is amazing—lying on it feels like you’re floating. I had a really nice mattress, but after I got divorced I felt like I should get a new one. It’s the thing I’m happiest to come home to when I travel—well, besides my dog and my cat. I sleep with one pillow under my head and one over it, because I lived with someone who snored for more than a decade, so it became a force of habit. For my bedding, I love anything from Parachute.
Under pressure: I have a weighted blanket from Sheltered. Pamela Hunter, who owns the company, makes all of them by hand, and they’re really beautiful. Before I had one, when I was feeling really anxious, I would make my dog lie on top of me, but now whenever I feel like I need help falling asleep, I’ll just pull this on instead.
Perfect pj’s: At Ban.do, we make a lot of pajamas—right now we have a green floral set that I’m really into. Another thing I did after my divorce was get rid of all my old T-shirts and switch to pajama sets. I find myself wanting to get dressed specifically to go to sleep. My friend Busy [Philipps] has a Natalie Martin dress she calls Mr. Nightgown, and she gave me one for Christmas—that changed my life. [Editors’ note: See more of Philipps’s nighttime essentials here.]
Required reading: I have a huge amount of self-help books because I’m a nerd. I usually pick one up and skip to a random page. I’ve been returning to The Four Agreements a lot lately.
Sleep ease: I’ve been through so many different sleep aids because I used to be a horrible insomniac—but that was in my 20s. Now the only thing I use is Lord Jones Royal Oil.
Uncut gems: I am the crystal equivalent of a single person with too many cats. If I can’t sleep, I’ll just grab one and hold it, and you know what? Sometimes it really helps.
Mental reset: I journal if the urge strikes me, but I don’t hold myself to doing it every day. I do like guided meditations that are appropriate for how I’m feeling. And right before I go to bed, I like to think of five things I’m grateful for, which I think is a really helpful reset at the end of the day.
Lights-out at 9:30 p.m.!
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