Brazilian-American actress Camila Mendes recently shared how the locked down started messing with her mental health. The 26-year-old Virginia native said that while filming for Riverdale’s fifth season, she began experiencing panic attacks for the first time in her life.
Known for her roles as Veronica Lodge on the teen drama television series based on Archie Comics’ characters, Mendes opened up to Health magazine explaining that not having her loved ones close during these challenging times made her fearful.
“When we first started shooting season 5, I started having panic attacks, which was strange for me,” said the actress. “I think it was because I was in Vancouver and borders were closed — no-one could visit us. You start to miss your home and your life, and you don‘t have your friends or community with you.”
The Latina star also clarified that her sudden and overpowering feeling of fear doesn’t mean she is not grateful for the privilege of working when thousands of people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I want to say; I am so grateful to be working and would never want this to come off that I am not,” she added. “Taking baths helped with the panic attacks. I also learned in those moments to put down my phone and take a break from technology and get in the tub with some music on and a book. I never did that before the pandemic, and now I love that I’ve learned to do that for myself.”
Mendes said she takes wellness very seriously. “For me, it’s taking care of myself in the most immediate way. What do I need—and what does my body need right now? Sometimes I’ll randomly sit down and check-in and be like: ‘What does my body want? Do I need water, sleep, or to move around and stretch? Should I journal?’ I think being well is about checking in with your physical and mental health and evaluating what you really need at that moment,” she told the publication.
According to the actress, everything she knows about practicing healthy habits she learned from her mother. “I feel lucky that my mom raised me that way—she was very health-oriented. She bought organic and cooked healthy meals. She‘d also encourage me to work out—not to look a certain way, but because it’s important for your health to get your heart rate up,” she said. “I also took dance classes as a kid, and I think when movement is part of your life at a young age, it stays with you; you become more in tune with your body because you’re working with it.”
The Riverdale star also said she has a past with disturbed eating habits. “My relationship with food was very weird for a while—I had an eating disorder. I got through it by seeing [my] therapist and working with a nutritionist who was very adamant about me overcoming my fear of carbs,” she revealed. “I used to not eat carbs—but that would just lead me to binge on them after avoiding them for a while. I tried all the diets—I was always on a diet. But I eventually learned they weren‘t helping me at all. As soon as I started listening to my body and eating what my body needed—which sometimes is eating the things I used to think were bad, like sugar and bread—I noticed a big change.”
The crazy lesson was that your body tells you what it wants and needs; you just have to learn how to listen to it. It takes a while to learn that—it‘s hard. And what one woman needs isn’t going to be the same as what another woman needs. We’re all different.”
Camila Mendes concluded by saying that she has help from experts and writes down the good things that happen to her. “I see a therapist once a week—it gets me through a lot. I also have a gratitude journal. I got it from a co-star. You write a few brief things each day that you‘re grateful for.” she explained. “I never thought I’d be one of those people, but I love it. I’d love to journal more in-depth every day but just don’t have the time. So with this, it’s great because you’re still checking in with yourself, and you feel good because you’ve done something for yourself.”