10 Healthy Habits from the World’s Most Creative Women

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Grace Bonney
Photo Credit: Christopher Sturman
By Sarah McColl

Grace Bonney has built a career from curating inspirational images and ideas that feel firmly within reach. If Design*Sponge—with its IRL book, Design*Sponge at Home—inspires a beautiful home, Bonney’s new book, In the Company of Women, fires you up for an empowered career, and shares the healthy habits and tools to make it work for you.

“I wanted to produce a book that would reflect the full depth and breadth of women in the business community,” Bonney said. “I wanted to see women at all stages of their careers, women from different backgrounds, women of different ages and races, and women who are as open about what they’ve learned from their failures as they are about their successes.”

In The Company Of Women book cover

There is a powerful, cumulative effect reading 107 fierce, wise, and persevering women share their self-determined rhythms of balance, calm, joy, and inspiration. Themes take shape, like the importance of creating everyday rituals, no matter how small, and honoring your physical, emotional, and spiritual health in whatever unique ways work for you.

The book itself is a love letter to individuality that coheres into a portrait of a tribe with a mission: How can we thrive, no matter what curve balls come our way? To realize that those curve balls—bad moods, bad ideas, zeroed checking accounts, lost deals, haters—swerve toward everybody, and that each of us is tasked to discover how we will keep going, is part of the infectious inspiration. Consider In the Company of Women a cheat sheet.

“The expression, ‘Whatever works, until it doesn’t,’ is always on the top of my mind,” Bonney said. “I’m always proud and happy when I come up with a solution at work that solves a problem and makes work easier. But what works this year may not work next year….So learning to embrace change and the changing needs that come with it has been a powerful work and life lesson.” More creative wisdom and healthy habits from the pages of Bonney’s book:

Karen Young, product designer and entrepreneur, on how she starts every day (pictured below):
“I have been doing a gratitude list for the last year. Every day I think of three things that I accomplished or experienced the day before that I’m grateful for. The trick is to think about each one in full so that it doesn’t become rote; with each thing I’m grateful for, I have to expand upon it to think about why I feel grateful. It’s a nice way to start the day and a reminder that although some days I feel like I’m barely raising the dust, I am actually moving mountains.”

Karen Young
Photo Credit: Sasha Israel

Tavi Gevinson, writer and editor, on how she deals with self-doubt:
“Self-care, which for me means taking walks alone, journaling, and doing yoga.”

Preeti Mistry, chef, on the trait she is most proud of:
“I am myself. I refuse to fit into what people want me to be or expect me to be. I stand up for what I believe in and will fight for it.”

Amalia Mesa-Bains, artist, curator, and author, on workday rituals she can’t live without:
“Coffee time in the morning and meditation and prayer in the evening.”

Jodie Patterson, beauty entrepreneur, on what success means to her (pictured below):
“We can be eternally working on the dream, and if we love what we’re doing and who we are, we feel accomplished. I rely on six touch points to make myself feel whole: kids, love, business, health, travel, spirituality. If I touch them all each day, in varying intensities, I am successful.”

Jodie Patterson
Photo Credit: Sasha Israel

Amina Mucciolo, artist, on her favorite thing to come home to:
“Silence. We really don’t get enough of it in this world. I so look forward to those moments of just pure silence, even if it’s just for ten minutes.”

Janet Mock, author and television host, on a mistake that lead to success:
“A mistake I made at the beginning of my public writing career was being a bit too open and transparent. I learned that I needed to create boundaries—clear and exacting—that I would not cross until I truly was ready to share things publicly. It was an early mistake that required me to realize that not all of me was up for public consumption.”

Christine Schmidt, artist and designer, on what she would do with three extra hours each day:
“I would spend more time with my daughter and cook more. No recipes or preset expectations—just intuition and stained clothes. That’s like all the best parts of my creative work, but I get to eat it afterward.”

Carla Hall, chef and television host, on what the world needs more of:
“The world needs more face-to-face conversation, perhaps over a meal, so we can really get to know each other without assumptions. The world needs fewer sound bites where those assumptions are formed.”

Cameron Esposito, comedian and actor, on how she gets inspired (pictured below):
“Exercise. I live at the base of a mountain in Los Angeles and try to get up there every day to hike, to clear my head of any cobwebs and step outside the necessary self-focus that comes with being self-employed, and remember the vastness and variety of the world.”

Cameron Esposito
Photo Credit: Sasha Israel