Parenthood takes a major toll on your body, mind, and spirit – how is it even possible to feel this exhausted, foggy, emotional, and yet so deeply in love and committed to your little human? No one understands this more than Hello Bello’s co-founder, Kristen Bell (aka “Mom”!). She’s been candid about her history with depression and anxiety, and it’s inspired our team to support parental self-care and destigmatizing mental health issues. KB has a big heart for helping people (esp parents!) feel less alone and isolated – and it’s central to our mission. Over the years, she’s shared her tried-and-tested mental health tips, and we’ve gathered a few of our favs.
Before diving in, check out this video of Kristen explaining her experience with anxiety and depression.
Here are 5 ways to support your mental health using tips from our Mom, Kristen Bell:
#1 Open Up.
Thanks to her mom, Kristen learned about her predisposition to anxiety and depression from an early age. And now she’s helping normalize the topic of mental health because we ALL experience hard times and no one should have to handle it alone. Plus, the more we talk about our struggles, the less power they’ll have over us. The lesson here? Honesty is the best policy! Sharing, venting, and feeling your feelings is a great way to take care of yourself. No need to downplay your symptoms or sweep them under the rug. Open up with a friend or loved one, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help when you need it!
#2 Work It Out.
The mind-body connection is truly fascinating. Science shows that exercise can significantly improve our mood, sleep, stress, and energy due to the extra blood circulation to our brains (also, endorphins). We’re not talking about body-blasting workouts either! Basic movements like walking, swimming, gardening, stretching, going outside, and (yes) wrangling a toddler all count! Kristen says: “I don't work out to get a certain body shape. I work out for my mental health. And I notice a BIG difference when I do and when I don't. When I don't, I'm sad, irritable, anxious and lethargic. When I do, I'm content, motivated, peaceful and energetic.”
#3 Don’t Be A Problem-Solver.
As a parent, you’re a fixer of boo boos, dirty diapers, and turning cries into giggles. But when it comes to feeling sad, lonely, or down, you don’t have to make it all go away. In fact, Kristen does just the opposite. She’s shared a mantra that’s been so useful, she taught it to her two daughters: Think of your emotions as “a feeling that is passing through you…sometimes, with a mental health issue, you just got to let them live,” she says. When one of her daughters is having a tough time, Kristen asks, “Do you want a solution to this problem you’re crying about, or do you just want to let this feeling pass through you?” Remember: Feelings and emotions are real, but not always true! Rather than seeing them as a problem to be solved, try acknowledging your anxious thoughts, but not letting them define you.
#4 Make a List.
Writing and journaling has long been shown to reduce negative emotions and help people process what’s going on in their lives. Here’s how KB keeps herself accountable: “...if I’m feeling really low—[I] make a checklist of good and bad things in my life to see if it’s my mental state or if we really have a problem," she says. Whether it’s writing, closing your eyes, or taking a few deep breaths throughout the day, moments of mindfulness can help you stay centered and positive. When we recognize our own behavioral patterns and triggers (like feeling sad and then withdrawing from people), we can make conscious choices to avoid them.
#5 Find Your Happy Place.
Remember back to a time, before kids, when you had loads of free time–how did you choose to unwind? Maybe you liked to get lost in a book, soak in a bubble bath, or do some arts and crafts. Whatever your jam, find as many ways as you can to fit it into your life. Kristen likes to clear her mind with knitting and jigsaw puzzles because it keeps her off her phone and it’s 100% free of deadlines and chaos. If there’s no way to make your hobby a daily habit, then aim for weekly!
What about you? How do you like to care for your mental health and wellbeing? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!