HBO's 'Insecure' star Jay Ellis says this is 'HUGE' to maintaining your mental health after a hectic work day


Whether you work 9-5, 5-9 or an unpredictable set of hours throughout the day, the monotony of your own unique schedule can become overbearing and at times, isolating.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind that we often forget that (newsflash!) there’s actually a life to be lived outside of our careers and jobs.

But with work taking up the majority of our days — which turn into weeks, and before we know it, years — making time for loved ones and for ourselves requires almost an imperative effort to do so.

Mount Gay Rum’s newest initiative is aiming to encourage consumers to do just that.

The program, aptly titled Time Well Spent, aims to spread the message that the best way to spend time is to do so effortlessly, bonding with others over shared and similar passions.

As a company whose namesake heritage rums are crafted slowly and appreciated over time, the concept of slowing down and paying no mind to the notion of ‘hurrying’ through life, the program seems to be an embodiment of the nature that the brand has built itself upon.

For some, that might mean an non-stop weekend of letting loose at a music festival, a few days of complete retreat with the warmest blankets and best Netflix binge you can garner up or completely undeterred adventure scaling mountains and immersing oneself in nature.

For Jay Ellis, star of HBO’s breakout hit ‘Insecure’, taking some downtime looks like a little bit of all of these things.

Jay partnered with Mount Gay to kick off the first installation of Time Well Spent in Telluride, Colorado, where Jay celebrated all things après ski, including everything from cozy cabins to chilly slopes and of course, perfectly-crafted Mount Gay cocktails.

We chatted with Jay about how he decompresses after a busy work day, why it’s important to do so and how he’s preparing for the demanding workload of his upcoming projects:

AOL: What’s a typical work day for you like?

Jay Ellis: “A typical day on set is about 13 to 14 hours. I usually start the day with breakfast, then head into the ‘works,’ aka the hair & make up trailer. From there we go into a rehearsal with our director and crew for whatever scene we are shooting next. After rehearsal it's back out to my trailer to get into wardrobe while our crew preps camera, lighting, and everything else we need for the scene. When they're ready we go back in and do the scene.”

AOL: How do you unwind after a particularly stressful/busy workday?

JE: “I do anything from reading a book or watching a movie to going to dinner or drinks with friends depending on the day. But I have to say there’s nothing like laughs and drinks with friends.”

AOL: Why do you think it’s important to take a break from day-to-day work hours to unwind?

JE: “Taking time to connect, download, and decompress is HUGE to mental health, productivity, creativity and it’s also a time to look back on the day a reflect on the great things going on in your life because sometimes they can be hard to see through all the craziness of a busy day.”

Jay Ellis joins Mount Gay Rum for an après ski weekend in Telluride (Photo Courtesy of Mount Gay Rum)

AOL: Are you a big skier? What was the après ski experience like — did you use the time to unwind, to plan for the upcoming workweek, combination of both?

JE: “I’m not a big skier but I did snowmobile for a day in a pretty hardcore snowstorm and that was an amazing experience. At one point it was a complete whiteout where you couldn't see much more that fifteen feet in front of you. I have to admit though, I am all about the après. Sharing stories and connecting with others over a glass of Mount Gay Rum fireside after a day on the slopes is time well spent. The rest of the time I spent writing. It was so peaceful and quiet, I had to take advantage of it to write in the moments between hanging with everyone.”

AOL: When taking on upcoming projects, how do you prepare?

JE: “I spend a lot of time researching similar project, characters, the real life version of the character, etc. That goes from watching movies and reading books or articles to people watching and talking with people who have a point of view or relationship to the project or character.”

AOL: Anything you can tell us about those upcoming projects?

JE: “I wish I could but there are people from studios and networks monitoring this as we speak! I'm super proud of a Sony thriller I did last fall called The Maze ... If I say anything else I might not be alive to see the movie. I also got the chance to pop into an indie directed by Sam Boyd with Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Dree Hemingway and Paddy Gibson called ‘In A Relationship’ that premieres at Tribeca in April.”