Katie Becker is the beauty and health director at ELLE. In her coveted role at one of the world’s leading publications, she heads beauty coverage and spends much of her day, “in meetings and at events to learn about cool new products, brands, trends, and experts.” Taking us behind the scenes, Katie shares, “every issue is brainstormed and developed months in advance—first I meet with Editor in Chief Nina Garcia and the editorial team to choose the best stories for each issue of ELLE, then I brainstorm with the art team to create concepts for photoshoots and layouts. Testing all the products can be really overwhelming and it takes many years to develop that spidey sense for what’s worth taking home.” Where does a beauty director keep all of the products she’s currently trying out? Katie tells us, “I have so many beauty products at home that I had The Container Store install an entire wall of shelving. The result is a 6-foot-tall medicine cabinet packed with my favorite finds.” How does Katie find time for herself, when her position keeps her busy both in and out of the office? She shares her self-care tips and tricks below. 

What are some bad habits you’ve cut from your daily routine?

  1. I stopped drinking coffee about two years ago. I switched to green tea for my caffeine instead and I feel much calmer throughout the day. I also take Nue Co or Plant People Nootropics when I feel I need help focusing. 
  2. I no longer keep my phone next to me at night. Now it charges in the kitchen. 
  3. I stopped waking up to the news as my alarm. It’s too stressful and makes me panicky. Instead, I wake up to music and then switch to the news in the shower. 

Good habits you’ve added?

  1. To stay hydrated, I fill my Yeti bottle with half water and half grapefruit juice, and then I add a spoonful of chia seeds—some people feel this is actually more hydrating than just straight water.
  2. I make time to walk. I add walking time into my calendar to get to certain appointments so I can get my steps in.
  3. I’m constantly working out my personal boundaries muscle and I talk a lot about self-forgiveness these days. There’s always a point in the day where I step back and recenter my self-worth and values through reading, meditation, podcasts, or a text with a friend. 

How do you take care of yourself throughout the day?

I spend time massaging my face in the morning and it makes a big difference in how I look, which makes a difference in how I feel. At work, I do a simple breathing exercise—4 second inhale, 8 second exhale. I don’t skip lunch because I get hangry easily and I avoid sugar which sends me into a tailspin. When I’m feeling negative, I make myself smile—your brain has a feedback loop that gives you a little bit of happy hormones in response to the physical act. At night, if it’s been a rough day, a salt bath is the best way to calm down. I especially love Pursoma’s Digital Detox bath salts.

Are there any activities you do to de-stress?

I love yoga and running because they are solo workouts with very little human interaction. It’s a good time to face my inner dialogue and level with myself. I only watch funny shows at night—anything violent or anxiety-provoking is too much for me. I also love an Oprah Supersoul Sunday podcast in times of need!

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

I need 8. I usually get 7. These days it’s been as bad as 5! My dream schedule is to be in bed at 9:30pm and sleeping by 10pm so I can wake up early—I’m most productive in the very early morning. I am seriously eyeing the Eight Sleep bed, which is a smart mattress that regulates your temperature through the night and monitors your patterns to help you improve your sleep fitness. It’s brilliant.

Do you have a favorite wellness trend?

My favorite wellness trend is seeing better body representation on Instagram. I don’t follow women that appear to glorify a physical ideal that is unrealistic and triggering for me. I follow beautiful women with bodies that look more like mine to help remind me that healthy is more about how you feel than how you look. 

What is your favorite healthy food? 

My job requires me to eat at restaurants a lot, so a simple, fresh arugula salad is one of my favorite meals. It gives me a break and makes me feel cleaner and healthier. I’ll eat it with just a bit of olive oil and some salt.