For Lana Condor, finding ways to tackle the darkness of this pandemic has been key. She is addicted to fun exercise programs like Zumba and cycling, has a group of women to talk to and even virtual reality. “It’s a coping mechanism because you kind of can take yourself out of reality for a short period of time. And we need that!” Condor exclaimed, telling POPSUGAR that it may sound strange, but “this year it’s been nice to be in a different reality.”

Condor said she bought herself and her partner, Anthony De La Torre, anxiety magazines to answer daily instructions on how the mind and body are doing. Journaling that way, she noted, has served as a release. She still treats the occurrence of “morbid” anti-Asian violence across the nation, but “the way I have been able to protect myself from just losing hope of humanity creates boundaries.” That means, she said, knowing when to shut down the news or hang up her phone.

“Recently, I have felt every time I open up to the news, there is something that is just so awful that you can not help but take it and feel it so deeply,” Condor said. However, it is important for her to recognize when she needs a break. She has also turned to advocacy. “I think advocacy also really helps because you realize that there is a whole community out there to help support you.”

Condor’s mental health hit a really low after the first To all the boys I’ve loved before film premiered; she told Self in a cover story in February, she had never felt worse mentally. She further explained to POPSUGAR that she was filming at the same time Deadly class, where she played Saya Kuroki from the killer training academy Kings Dominion. Her body was under extreme stress due to the intense training programs that went into preparing for the role.

“It was a bit of the perfect storm for me not to be in a good place mentally because my life literally changed overnight,” Condor recalled. “I am very, very, very grateful for that To all the boys, and it’s the most favorite thing I’ve ever done, but it changed pretty much every aspect of my life very, very quickly. “There was no learning curve to settle in this whirlwind,” she remarked, adding: “When you have this amazing thing that you are so proud of that promotes such goodness, which I feel like To all the boys do it, it’s such a weird standard to be in such a positive place but also feel so awful. “

“I believe with mental health that every single day you have to wake up and actively decide to do things that bring you joy.”

Condor said she got to a point where she could not sleep or eat, and “there was just a lot for me to deal with.” The first step, she said, was to realize she needed to tell her team and family about her struggles. “Anyone going through a really, really dark time … and I know it’s the hardest thing ever to share with people around you or share in your close circle … but you have to reach out to people when you is so low because they want to help you. “She then set boundaries for herself because she’s the type of person who says yes to everything, she explained.

Now, Condor pursues activities and environments that fulfill her happiness, and she has better coping mechanisms that she did not have before. “I think with mental health, you have to wake up every day and actively decide to do things that bring you joy,” she said. “Especially this year, a lot of things can bring you down very quickly.” So whether it’s petting your dog or reading a book, she said, make that choice. Search for joy.