Camila Mendes Talks About Self-Care and Appreciating Her Alone Time

Camila Mendes covers the new issue of Health and spoke to the magazine about self-care and mental health during the pandemic. The Riverdale star, 26, of Brazilian descent, is in Vancouver shooting a new season of the popular show, which airs on the CW. Like the rest of the world, the actress has had to adapt to the slower pace of life in quarantine.

"Suddenly, I was stripped of all the things that kept me busy, and I was left to think about who I was as a person and what I like to do with my time," she said. The self-proclaimed "social butterfly" loves to spend time with her family and friends, but has learned to also love her time alone.

"In quarantine, I've learned how much I actually like spending time with myself," she explained. "It's been nice to realize that, and I think it's something we all need sometimes. When this all started, I was in a place in my life that was go, go, go. I never imagined I'd have time to just sit and be by myself. It has really made me reevaluate priorities."

(Taylor Hill/FilmMagic,)

She has discovered fun new hobbies. "Normally, I love going out to eat and am not doing that now, so I forced myself to learn to cook," she said. "It's funny, my mom went to culinary school and my grandma was a caterer. I think because I was spoiled by my mom, I never really had to learn. I began with a meal-delivery service, where they send you the recipe and ingredients — it was great basic training."

She is proud of her diverse heritage. "When I started and was auditioning a lot, it felt like either there were roles for white girls or roles for Spanish-speaking Latina women. I am Latina. I was born in the U.S. and am Brazilian. I speak Portuguese," she said. "In Hollywood, at the time, it didn't feel like there were roles for people with backgrounds like mine. But now, I do think people are starting to understand that there are all different kinds of Latina women — and beyond that, all different types of people with different backgrounds and experiences. There isn't just one American experience or one Latina experience."

She is seeing a positive change in the industry, though. "I feel like some of the roles I have been getting more recently are valuing my heritage and where I am from without necessarily making it a focal point or a stereotype," she shared. "It feels very authentic."

Self-care has become a priority for her in the past year. "For me, it's taking care of myself in the most immediate way," she told the magazine. "What do I need — and what does my body need right now? Sometimes I'll randomly sit down and check in and be like, 'What does my body want? Do I need water, sleep, or to move around and stretch? Should I journal?' I think being well is about checking in with your physical and mental health and evaluating what you really need at that moment."

(Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Earlier in the pandemic, Mendes had panic attacks. "I think it was because I was in Vancouver and borders were closed — no one could visit us," she recalled. "You start to miss your home and your life, and you don't have your friends or community with you. I want to say, I am so grateful to be working and would never want this to come off that I am not. Taking baths helped with the panic attacks. I also learned in those moments to put down my phone and take a break from technology and get in the tub with some music on and a book. I never did that before the pandemic, and now I love that I've learned to do that for myself."

To take care of her mental health, she also sees a therapist once a week and keeps a gratitude journal. "You write a few brief things each day that you're grateful for. I never thought I'd be one of those people, but I love it," she shared. "I'd love to journal more in-depth every day but just don't have the time. So with this, it's great because you're still checking in with yourself and you feel good because you've done something for yourself."

To read the full interview with Camila, pick up the April 2021 issue of Health.