First-time expectant mother, model, and entrepreneur Lindsay Ellingson talks self-care during strange times and running her business from home.
Although they’re not exactly the runway struts the world knows her for, Lindsay Ellingson’s long walks along the calm lakeshore in rural Ohio—where she and her supportive-husband-turned-J BRAND-photographer Sean Clayton are tucked away during the COVID-19 quarantine—have become a most prized treasure during self-isolation. The eight-months-pregnant supermodel, Victoria’s Secret Angel, and beauty entrepreneur uses these walks—along with an arsenal of other self-care devices—to keep her and her baby healthy and thriving during this unexpected and challenging time; of course, Ellingson never could have predicted that a global pandemic would color her first pregnancy experience, and she’s doing her best to make it work.
“The most challenging part [of my pregnancy so far] has just been the worrying—there’s so much you can worry about, especially with what’s going on in the world right now,” she tells us via phone from her family's lake house. “We can hold on to so much stress and fear, and everything we’re hearing [on the news] just adds up throughout the day, so I think it’s really good to work on some meditation and breathing exercises, to put on a face mask while you’re in the bathtub, to just breathe. Whatever you can do to calm the worries.”
Ellingson is a devout meditation practitioner who has been studying a technique called hypnobirthing, an age-old approach to birth preparation that focuses on heightening the expectant mother’s trust that both her body and baby are doing exactly what they are designed to do during gestation and childbirth.
“Hypnobirthing is all about trusting the natural process of birth—that your body and baby know what to do. Part of the exercise is you have to meditate and listen to positive affirmations every day, so that’s really been helping me,” she explains. “It’s a matter of whatever your birth plan is, you can incorporate these tools to get into a deeply relaxed state and be really positive throughout the whole experience. A lot of women say it reduces their overall pain as well as the amount of time they’re in labor.”
Plot twist: Not only is Ellingson navigating the unknown waters of her third trimester, but she’s also running Wander Beauty, the clean beauty company she co-founded five years ago, from home.
“At the time we launched, I was traveling around the globe working as a model, and I just felt like my beauty routine was so complicated,” she explains of what inspired her to create her brand. “I was traveling with so much makeup, and I would often never finish a product, so there was just so much wasted. What we wanted to do was create products that would simplify your life, that are easy to travel with, and that are all multitaskers. Everything we create is made to downsize your beauty routine. We’re not going to just launch a foundation, it’s also going to be a concealer; we have our On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator, which we launched our brand with, with a cream blush on one side for your lips, cheeks, and eyes, and then on the other side is this beautiful highlighter for your face and body. And because it’s so important to us, all our formulas are also clean and cruelty-free.”
Being eight months pregnant and running a beauty brand from home while the entire world is in quarantine isn’t child’s play, per se, so Ellingson has come up with few tricks to structure her days and to ensure she’s prioritizing self-care for herself and her growing baby.
“I still keep a routine and a schedule. I set my alarm every day for 7am, I make my bed, I make breakfast. Just having that routine is really helpful,” she describes of her average day. “My workday ends around 5:45; I think a lot of times when you’re working from home, it can feel like it never ends, because there’s not that separation between office and home. I really try to shut things down and transition from work to home with a workout or a meditation. I’ve been doing Ballet Beautiful again; I did her workouts when I was training for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and I just recently started picking them up again because she has these great prenatal classes online. I’ve found it’s a great way to transition from work to home.”
“I like to really treat my skin at night. Especially with pregnancy, my skin is drier and more sensitive, and I’m getting rosacea flare-ups out of nowhere, so I like to treat my skin to a mask and take a warm bath, and just totally relax,” she continues. “I think it’s really important to just completely let go.”
Ellingson pauses here, reflecting on her daily activities as an expecting mom running a company and trying to remain centered in a strange new world. She brings up that dreaded phrase that haunts many women and mothers in the workplace: “work/life balance.”
“For me, at the end of the day, I can feel it in my body if I have not achieved work/life balance: I’m not breathing correctly, and I feel the tension in my shoulders and jaw,” she explains. “Finding that balance is just about incorporating moments throughout the day where you pause, breathe, and take a break, even if it’s just a 10-15 minute break to stretch or whatever you have to do.
For me, I know I’ve achieved work/life balance if at the end of the day I feel calm and good. But it’s hard.”
Another thing that helps? Getting dressed.
“I try my hardest to get dressed every day, or at least a few times a week; especially if I have a conference call, I dress for the occasion and apply a little bit of makeup. I think it just boosts your confidence and mood,” she says. “It’s been really challenging to find good maternity clothes. But there are a few brands, J BRAND included, that are giving us amazing options to feel elevated and chic. We want to feel exactly the same as we did before—to express our style.”
“Before I tried the J BRAND maternity jeans, if I was wearing pants, it was only leggings,” she laughs. “I was so happy to finally find jeans that fit, because a lot of the other maternity jeans I’ve tried kept falling down and getting saggy throughout the day. The J BRANDs have a beautiful fit; they’re stretchy and super-comfortable like a legging, but they look like a chic jean. The colors are a lot of fun for Spring.”
“I feel instantly chic in my J BRAND maternity jeans, yet they’re functional at the same time,” she muses. “However I want to express myself that day, the jeans fit seamlessly with that. These jeans are for women who care about quality and function, but who have their own distinct style as well. I’ve gotten really into the white jeans paired with an oversized denim shirt; a lot of times I’ll just grab my husband’s work shirts, roll up the sleeves, and pair that with a little loafer or a boot depending on what I’m doing—lately, it’s house slippers, haha. I love that look.”