Stress is kind of like a Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch—there’s a lot that goes into it, it has a way of creeping up you, and there are a few ways to get rid of it. But unlike the revolutionary burrito creation, eating your stress (aka emotional eating) is not usually recommended. Instead, there’s a little something called self-care than can help you deal.

Self-care is a hot topic (especially in the mess that has been 2018), but it isn’t the same for everyone. It can mean going to the gym, getting a facial, cooking a healthy meal, taking time to watch a movie and unwind, having a cup of tea, or really, anything that makes you feel good. Recently, I got the chance to talk with Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” and how he practices self-care, including his go-to comfort meals (spoiler alert: one is from Taco Bell), breathing techniques, and his partnership with Lipton and their new Wellness teas.


Spoon University: What are you favorite ways to destress and relax?

Jonathan Van Ness: “I’m really big on my yoga practice and my mindfulness practice, so that’s definitely something I look to incorporate—meditation and mindfulness—on a daily basis. And really, honestly, quality alone time at night is something that really helps me; spending some time alone is a really great way to recharge.”

Where do you feel most relaxed? Would you say it’s at the yoga studio or in your apartment?

JVN: “Like, if you’re in a really intense yoga pose, I don’t know if I’m the most relaxed there. But I’m definitely the most present, and I think that being present and being relaxed are not the same thing, but they’re both really important. I do feel really grounded at a yoga studio though, especially in shavasana. So, let’s say shavasana. That’s where I think relaxation and presentness can come into the same fold.”

Self-care is super important on a college campus, and that can include eating. What is your favorite comfort food?

JVN: “Um… Oh my gosh. I’m like, should I give an answer that Antoni would be proud of? Here’s the thing: If I’m in a very uplifting self-care mood, like I really wanna take care of myself through my self-care comfort food, then it would be like a gorgeous kitchen sink stir-fry. Just like, take everything that’s in my fridge that’s a vegetable and make it into a gorgeous stir fry. Antoni taught me a lot about using chicken stock, and so I would make like a little quinoa gorgeous stir-fry with all the vegetables in my fridge that are not gonna be that cute in a couple more days. So, that would be one. But then if I’m feeling like kind of self-destructive, self-care comfort food Jonathan, then it would be Taco Bell. Oh my God, I said it. “

What’s your usual Taco Bell order?

JVN: “Oh my God, it’s too shameful to go here.”

You can do it! There’s no shame here!

JVN: “I’ve never said this out loud. No, it’s a slip of the tongue honey, really it’s just always a stir-fry. She’s always a stir-fry fan... And a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. My God, I did it again!”

So you mentioned you’ve gotten Antoni’s help in the kitchen. What is your favorite meal that Antoni has cooked on “Queer Eye”?

JVN: “Well I love everything he’s done on 'Queer Eye', but on Wednesdays, he makes me this chicken fajita that could make you cry. It’s gorgeous. Really, it’s like a top secret recipe that he makes and it’s my most favorite.”

Curious—for the guys going into No-Shave November, how do you keep your mustache so clean when you eat?

JVN: “Um, spoiler alert: I don’t. It is a nightmare. I just gotta have like the make-up removing wipe handy and like get ready to do the most between bites. Yeah, I’m still human, even with a mustache.”


You’re partnering with Lipton on their new wellness range of teas. How did you get involved and which one is your favorite flavor?

JVN: “The Lipton wellness range is really kind of a focus on creating wellness in a acceptable way. You know, I think that this world, I don’t know if you notice, but she’s busy and has a lot going on, so any place where we can take an opportunity to take care of [ourselves] is great. So, I think that’s why wellness and self-care, for me, is so important. For Lipton and their wellness range, it’s really important for them, too.

“So, I was so excited to partner with them, especially, like, [with their new] Stress Less tea? Yes, thank you very much. I mean, their whole line is gorgeous, and there are so many gorgeous little flavors in there. We’re working with little baby botanicals like chamomile and dandelion, and a little ginger moment, and then they also use essential oils like peppermint, and a little grapefruit moment, and a lavender mome (which is like short for moment, that’s not like an official statement, I just need a mome). So yeah, but the Stress Less is definitely like, she tastes gorgeous and she’s very calming. Stress less is where it’s at for me.”

Do you have any de-stressing tips for college students who maybe pulled an all-nighter at the library, have bags under their eyes, and are just exhausted? What would you do in that situation?

JVN: “One thing that we talked about on 'Queer Eye' that was one of our Hip Tips is alternate nostril breathing. There are a lot of breathing techniques that are really energizing, like Kapalbhati breath for instance, or breath of fire. Like you could do three sets of 20 seconds of that—do Kapalbhati breaths for 20 seconds, rest a minute, do the breath for 20 seconds, rest, and repeat that a few times, and that’s energizing, or even [try] like a seated meditation. I know it sounds relaxing, but if you meditate on breathing in energy and as you exhale, exhale out the stress, that could be a way that you could really get yourself going. I think breathing is really a great way to reset and it doesn’t cost anything and you know, that’s great. And then also, I think that with any of these flavors from the Lipton wellness range, we love tea and she’s still going to give you energy. Give yourself a cuppa cuppa of a gorgeous wellness tea.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.