by Olivia Kirby

I always say, everyone has “mental health,” some people just look different than others’. I’ve had anxiety since I can remember, but a few years ago when I was going through a particularly difficult time, I was able to talk to someone about it in a more formal setting. Identifying and acknowledging it was a life-changing step for me. My anxiety manifests itself at night and is physical in terms of symptoms. The best way I can describe it is butterflies in my stomach. Sometimes I lie awake at night going over my to-do list or thinking about work, but I can’t put a finger on what I’m actually anxious about. I have tried many methods to get myself back to sleep, but if they don’t address the physical unease I’m experiencing – they’re not effective. After many sleepless nights, I’ve come up with a few tried and true things that help me shift my thoughts and help my body relax.

My go-to when I lay restlessly awake at night are Healist Calm Drops. There is a lot of overwhelming info about CBD right now and many brands are fighting for customer’s attention. What I love about Healist is that holistic wellness is at the brand’s core. Healist understand that your physical health is directly correlated to your mental health. Their products are formulated with the consequences of burnout culture top of mind, asking customers to address their wellness from a top-to-bottom approach.

I’ve tried several CBD brands’ products at this point, from drops to gummies to capsules, but my favorite is Healist’s Peppermint flavored Calm Drops. Their CBD products differ from other products on the market because they include a custom blend of terpenes with essential oils from orange, chamomile, hops and cardamom. These ingredients are known to have calming properties that help ease your mind and improve your mood. Also, I think adaptogenic herbs can play a pivotal role in stress management, and the Calm Chews have Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb known to nourish your adrenal glands, helping your body to manage stress, optimize energy levels, and fight fatigue.

I have tried breathing, counting, and meditating when I can’t sleep, but often my mind is so wound up I have trouble staying focused on the mental tools people recommend to help with sleep. I have started taking  Healist Calm Drops in the middle of the night as soon as I wake up with my nervous butterflies, it’s quickly become a ritual of mine. The Drops ease my stomach, and therefore my mind. 20 minutes or so after I take the Drops I can feel my body relax and I notice my breathing starts to slow, and before I know it my alarm is going off. It can take me upwards of 2 hours of counting sheep to achieve the same level of calm without my Healist drops.Also, the Peppermint flavor is perfect at night because it’s light and fresh, the last thing I want to have lingering is something sweet and strong. A bonus use: when you’ve been on one too many Zoom calls this week.

Other important tools when it comes to managing anxiety for me are therapy, fresh air, and talking about it openly. I’m a big proponent of therapy and I urge everyone to try it, yes, even those who don’t think they need it – because chances are, you do! Therapy has given me the tools to deal with my anxiety, but also to help navigate situations that lead to stress. I think we have a tendency to be very critical of ourselves, but therapy allows us to explore why we do that and how we can think into doing it in the future.  It’s provided me with a better sense of self and how I cope, which has empowered me to take care of myself with a more mindful approach. You work out to take care of your physical well-being, so why not take care of your mental well-being?

I live in a small studio in NYC, and like most New Yorkers, don’t get fresh air as much as I would like to. Every day, even if just for 30 minutes, I try to go for a walk with the intention of clearing my mind. I leave expectations for steps at home, and throw on a podcast to reset and recharge. 

I am very open about my mental wellness because I think it’s so important to normalize prioritizing care for your body and brain. There is an unfortunate stigma around mental health and the treatment methods, but CBD is an easy, all-natural product to add to your routine. It’s like a serum or SPF, and when used regularly it increases the effectiveness. This is my individual journey with anxiety and how I cope and  I think it’s really important to be candid about our individual experiences in order to empower others to confidently navigate their own.