16/11/2017 16:05 GMT | Updated 13/02/2018 23:27 GMT

Bellamy Young's Daily Routine Includes Prioritizing Mental Health

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Do you spring out of bed, ready to start your day, or hit snooze over and over again? That Morning Person is HuffPost’s attempt to make sense of mornings by peering into the routines of others. 

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Bellamy Young’s secret to waking up happy relies solely on how well she takes care of herself the day before.

The actress, who plays President Mellie Grant on ABC’s “Scandal,” says that her health is a major priority both morning and night. That includes plenty of exercise, meditation before bed, scheduling regular doctors’ appointments and even going to therapy. Young’s daily health regimen also includes taking care of her eyes, an element that she says many people often ignore or forget about entirely.

She was recently diagnosed with chronic dry eye, a condition that affects more than 4 million older adults, and became a spokesperson for Restasis Multidose as a way to bring awareness to the issue. The condition typically occurs when a person has poor quality tears or isn’t producing enough tears. Chronic dry eye can cause inflammation, pain and blurred vision as well as increase the risk for eye infection due to the lack of tear production. 

The actress thought that the pain she was experiencing was part of getting older as well as being subjected to studio lights for her job. 

“I didn’t know to think about the whole eye. I only thought about my vision,” she told HuffPost. “I never included comfort even in my assessment of my own eye health, which is why it was a mind-blowing moment [getting diagnosed].”

Now the actress makes sure she takes the proper steps to keep all aspects of her physical and mental health at the top of her mind. But how does she do all of that while maintaining a busy filming schedule?

Below Young breaks down her morning routine and explains how her well-being plays a role in how she tackles each day:

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What time do you get up in the morning?

I like to wake up as late as humanely possible. Sometimes that’s 4:30 in the morning if I have to be at work at 5:15, and sometimes that’s 12 or 1 [in the afternoon].

Snooze button: Hit it or quit it?

Always snooze. Snooze it up! Snooze it twice.

What’s the very first thing you do when you get up?

Ugh. The first thing I do when I wake up is look at my phone. I hate that. Actually ― that’s not entirely true. The first thing I do is kiss my dog and then I look at my phone. So it’s balanced.

Do you prefer to exercise in the morning?

No! I don’t like starting my day with exercise. I like to start it with a smoothie and kissing some animals, then at the end of the day I deal with the sweat.

I’m a big walker. I walk like six miles a day. The motion and being in nature feeds my soul in a way that being sedentary doesn’t do for me.

How do you manage your mental health on a regular basis? What are your tips for starting your days anxiety-free?

Mental health is an enormous part of the health equation that we just leave out. For me, I’ve been in therapy a long time. I feel like everyone deserves to have a real champion in their corner. You know, your friends are there for you, hopefully your family is there for you, but a real, objective, wise party just to navigate you during times that are great and times that are low is crucial for me.

Also, I meditate every night. I like to do it before I go to sleep to really let the day go. I don’t want to be thinking about stuff like, “Oh, I should have said that line better!” or “Ugh, I hate that guy who cut me off in traffic.”

Finally, what’s your go-to breakfast?

I make a smoothie every morning that is so delicious. Obviously variety is not the key for me. I like ritual. 

Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.