“Because I work in a startup and am super busy, it’s really important for me to make it a priority to take care of myself,” says Lisa Atia, Brand Strategist for Blavity and 21Ninety, “I’m at a place in my career where I’m comfortable and enjoy what I do, but because I work long hours, it’s so easy to let life happen to me. I have to be cognizant of my energy, how I’m feeling and things that affect me throughout my entire day.”
Lisa says she’s lived nine lives regarding her career. She began in finance, started her own jeans line, went to grad school to study entrepreneurship and strategy, moved into management consulting, international project management, had a styling business, and has even worked for a non-profit. But her current role as Brand Strategist — creating true impact for people of color by helping scale the company’s operations, high-level relationship management, and traveling to speak at events — is the culmination of all the things she’s done. She describes it as her dream job.
But outside of her work day, you can find Lisa attending music festivals, hosting dinner parties for friends and staying active.
It’s a wonder how someone with a schedule like that is able to squeeze in time for everything — let alone moments for her to treat herself with face masks (such as her favorites, the Borghese Active Mud for Face and Body and a homemade mixture using Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, turmeric, activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar. But Lisa’s secret is simple — she makes it a priority.
“I have to schedule it into my calendar like I do everything else or else the week gets away from me,” she says, “There has to be an effort.” And making time for the quality people in her life — from friends and family to a community group to grow with spiritually — are the kindest and most necessary things Lisa does for herself every week in order to center herself.
“Life gets hectic being in media, and it’s so easy to compare yourself and feel like you need to be more, do more. Being grounded spiritually helps me keep my life and my purpose in perspective.”
“I grew up in an Egyptian family learning all these beauty secrets and age-old traditions, so I’ve always been interested in beauty and taking care of my body," Lisa says, “But if you don’t feel good on the inside, you don’t want to take care of the outside.”
That’s why staying grounded and spiritual is so important to her day-to-day routine.
“I’m getting into using more natural products and do a lot more research these days,” she says, “I use aloe vera straight from the plant (I keep it in the fridge) and a mixture of Grapeseed, Vitamin C & E oils especially for dark spots and hormonal acne.”
When it comes to brand-name items, Lisa’s routine involves products that are gentle on and beneficial to the body. After the shower, she’ll lather up with sweet almond body oil and move on to taking care of her face. She uses Cerave’s foaming face wash and Dermologica’s microexfoliant powder.
She follows that up with an apple cider vinegar or witch hazel toner and Eucerin’s Daily Protective Facial Lotion before moving on to makeup (SPF for her is a must). Her go-to face product is the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, but she’ll switch it up with Chanel’s Vitalumiere foundation on days when she wants that extra glow. Then just a little Nars blush in the ever-flattering Orgasm, some Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara, Beauty Bakerie Eyebrow Pomade and a swipe of either a bright lip color if she’s feeling low on energy or an orange-tinted lip balm complete her day-to-day look.
At night, Lisa will wash her face with the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System (she swears by the automatic brush) and uses a mask a few times a week. But on more low-maintenance evenings, she’ll clean her face with a Neutrogena face wipe and throw on a Retinol moisturizer.
A secret that helps her feel pampered and beautiful is going to Korean spas.
“I bought a package deal during Christmas to make myself go at least once a month for more self-care. It's a super cheap way to spend all day in a spa and only spend $15. They’re incredibly underrated and this is one of the best things I do for myself.”
Each morning Lisa wakes up super early (no joke — around 4:30 a.m.) to practice some prayer and meditation. She’ll then workout, whether it’s a cardio strength-training bootcamp or a hike on weekends (which is when she likes to sleep in). She plays soccer, basketball and even ultimate frisbee when she gets the chance, finding fun ways to fit in the exercise we’re all striving to work into our routines. “I feel more disciplined and accountable with a group, otherwise there’s no way I’m getting up to just sit on a bike at the gym at 5 a.m.” she says.
After working out, Lisa returns home to cook a good, healthy breakfast and to prepare her lunch.
“For breakfast in the mornings, I’ll whip up two eggs with some vegetables such as mushrooms, onions and spinach with salsa on top to accompany my coffee,” she says.
Food’s exciting for Lisa, who sees cooking as therapy. Her favorite meal to make for dinner is salmon, but she looks forward to the salad, almonds or leftover dinner that she’ll pack for lunch. She also packs healthy snacks to fill her up throughout the day like cucumbers with hummus (homemade), an apple with almond butter or sweet potato rosemary (baked) fries. She avoids carbs that leave her tired throughout the day and focuses on protein and vegetables that fuel her.
She takes a multi-vitamin along with Vitamin C, B-Complex, Biotin, Calcium and Omega 3 to give her body, hair and skin the nutrients she knows they need.
She’s found that cups of green tea are one easy way to stay energized and to cleanse throughout the day, but she definitely looks forward to her one cup of coffee in the morning with sweet cream.
Because of her early start, she even has time to read and mentally prepare for her day. Starting the day off with so much room for mood boosters like exercise and meditation is something everyone would benefit from.
ON STAYING CENTERED
Lisa follows this routine throughout the week. Her weekend days are scheduled as well because — especially in Los Angeles — running errands might seem like an innocent task, but before you know it time can get away from you.
“People talk about running errands and doing laundry on the weekends, but I do it in evenings so when my Saturday comes along I have the whole day to relax or spend time doing things that excite me,” she says, “I try to keep my weekends open for myself.”
Sundays are her time to wind down, take a bubble bath, indulge in face masks and overall prep for the week ahead.
“I want to get into yoga a few nights a week, maybe find a class,” Lisa says, “I’m realizing the mind-body connection is so important for me; I’m excited that yoga will help take me deeper into my meditation and centering practice.”
To unwind at night, she turns on her aromatherapy diffuser in her bedroom, will light candles all throughout her place and dim the lights just right. Smell is important to her, so she’ll spray a mix of water and lavender essential oil on her pillows before bed to help her fall asleep. The calming environment provides her with a sense of peace.
“Sometimes I’ll take a shower at night and be sure to lotion up to feel clean and soft and get relaxed to focus spiritually, pray, read, set my alarm and go to bed,” she says. Even though she has a hard time not checking her email (one more time!), she tries to unplug from her phone and technology an hour before bed to wind down and get into a mental space of rest and restoration.