The Ritual Diaries is a bi-weekly editorial series where we talk to our favorite creators, experts, and change-makers about how they take care of themselves in a busy world. This week, we spoke to Gabby Sage, a Japanese American model and sustainable content creator based in Los Angeles. Among her many passions is talking about mental health, especially for communities of color and how her identity as a queer woman tie into her wellness practices.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
When I first wake up, I always stretch and make myself matcha. Making myself matcha is a very therapeutic practice for me. There are many different steps to the whole process and it allows me to have a slow moment to myself in the morning. I enjoy matcha over coffee because sometimes coffee can make me too anxious, therefore matcha is my go to.
How has your upbringing and environment shaped your understanding of wellness?
My parents raised me in an environment that prioritized my achievements and productivity over my emotional well being. I never had the space or safety to process my emotions and grew up functioning from a place of survival. It wasn’t until college that I was able to have the space to learn more about mental health and how to take care of my mental wellbeing. When I was in college, I was able to take advantage of the free therapy on campus. That enabled me to get comfortable with talking about my mental health and making it a more normal part of my conversations.
What makes you feel your best?
It makes me feel my best when I get a full 8 hours of sleep and get a slow morning to myself. Taking time alone for myself especially in the morning enables me to feel recharged for my day or the week ahead.
What has been the hardest part of your wellness journey—and how did you overcome it?
The hardest part of my wellness journey has been learning how to slow down and take more time for myself. I normally like to keep myself busy and go from event to event. In the last couple of years, I’ve learned that I need to create more space for myself to be alone and reflect instead of just jumping into the next thing.
What is something you would like to see more of in the wellness world?
In the wellness world I would like to see more traditional BIPOC wellness practices honored. Our wellness industry appropriates many different BIPOC practices. It would be incredible to see more BIPOC businesses being prioritized when they have been practices these rituals or using these products for ages.
What is a ‘must-have’ product in your routine?
Ippodo Tea Matcha is my favorite matcha because it’s a Japanese owned brand that honors the history of matcha and has really high quality products. There’s also so many different kinds of matcha to choose from so that you can find the right fit for you.
How do you define ‘healthy’?
I feel my healthiest when I’m allowing myself the space to be fully present with myself. This is when I feel the most in tune with my body. Recently this has looked like allowing myself to have slow days and to be gentle with myself when I’m not feeling 100%. I’m learning that I don’t have to be busy all the time. I’m allowed to slow down and just be and do things that make me feel joy.
What is something you look forward to everyday?
I look forward to waking up to the sunshine in my room every morning. One of the top things I looked for when finding my own space is finding a place with good natural light. I have bay windows in my living room and when the sun rises the light hits my pink couch in the prettiest way. It’s definitely one of the highlights of every morning.
How do you reset yourself after a bad moment?
After having a rough moment I like to take time to process with my friends, my therapist, or by journaling. I sometimes have a hard time slowing down and reflecting. In the last couple of years it’s been important for me to learn how to take some time to myself to pause so that I can allow myself to feel all my feelings and process my thoughts.
What is a ritual that brings you joy?
On nights when I want to treat myself and unwind I love taking a CBD bubble baths to relax my body. I love setting the mood with candles or incense and dimming the lights. This makes the atmosphere cozy and comforting. Then I’ll put on a meditation playlist and allow myself to fully relax in the bathtub. When I need something more than just a bath to relax my body I’ll book a massage for myself instead. I hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and getting massages every couple of months helps my body to get rid of some of the tension that I carry.
What is the last thing you do at night?
I’m trying to get better about sticking to a night time routine. Right now it looks like watching a couple of episodes of the current show I’m binge watching. After I’m done, I’ll shower and do my skincare routine. Then when I get in bed my cat Mochi will jump in the bed with me and I’ll give her cuddles before I go to sleep.