This Mental Health Challenge Inspired By Kristen Bell Will Help You Go On An Anxiety Detox

Kristen Bell’s Mental Health Challenge Is The Ultimate Anxiety Detox

Kristen Bell has been refreshingly open about suffering from depression and anxiety. So when Women’s Health interviewed the star of The Good Place and Frozen 2, it’s no wonder that she had the best idea for staying on top of your mental health: developing a “toolbox” of strategies that help when you’re feeling overwhelmed…or even just meh. Brilliant, right? If you prep a mental-health […]

by | Oct 17, 2019

Kristen Bell has been refreshingly open about suffering from depression and anxiety. So when Women’s Health interviewed the star of The Good Place and Frozen 2, it’s no wonder that she had the best idea for staying on top of your mental health: developing a “toolbox” of strategies that help when you’re feeling overwhelmed…or even just meh.

Brilliant, right?

If you prep a mental-health toolkit of your own, you’ll be ~so~ much better able to deal when anxiety starts to creep up on you, says psychologist Nicole Issa. “You don’t have to worry about, ‘What am I going to do next? Or what am I going to do when I feel this way?’ You’re already prepared for these situations when they come.”

To help you create your own toolbox, WH has put together a mini mental health challenge using inspo from the things Kristen told us help her stay in a good mental place—and then tapped some of our favourite psychologists for intel on how you can use the tools in your everyday life to improve your mental well-being.

RELATED: Kristen Bell Just Shared Her Most Embarrassing Parenting Moment, And Wow

Challenge #1: Do a physical activity you genuinely enjoy.

For KB, working out with friends trumps…pretty much any solo workout.

“Exercise should be the first stop for anyone who experiences depression or anxiety because it encourages serotonin and endorphins,” she tells WH. “I feel so much more centred, patient, capable. It sets the next 48 hours for me.”

Experts cosign the mental-health perks of physical activity for everyone—not just people who experience depression or anxiety. But if you’re forcing yourself through an hour-long torture session at the gym, it’s going to be really tough to make it a habit and therefore reap the benefits. That’s why you want to focus on something you really like—and therefore will do on the reg.

Having that go-to type of movement in your toolkit can also help you in specific moments where you’re feeling stressed or down, says Dr. Chloe Carmichael, a clinical psychologist. “Doing physical exercise you enjoy helps to create feelings of empowerment,” she says.

The result? A calmer, more centred you that’s ready to kick ass and take names.

Challenge #2: Find a way to restore your energy when you’re feeling drained.

Maybe surprising, but true: Kristen Bell, the ultimate perky girl, considers herself an introvert. “I will get irritable when I have to do too much press or people interaction,” she says. “Turning into alone time is how I fill up.”

Knowing what helps fill you up is key, say experts. “It is essential to engage in restorative activities,” Issa says. “It means you’ll be less likely to lean on destructive ways that people manage their emotions, such as binge eating, overconsumption of alcohol, etc.”

Once you know which activity (or activities) help you feel restored, the key is finding the time to actually do it. For Carmichael, massages after stressful events help her refocus and centre her energy. So she schedules them in advance and times them for the day or week after things she knows will deplete her energy (a conference, a big meeting with a manager, etc).

“Plan into your calendar to do your recharging activities at regular intervals, or you can plan them to happen right after a big challenge,” Carmichael says. Either option will make the draining situation feel more manageable because you’ll be able to look forward to your restorative time, Carmichael says.

Challenge #3: Do something that helps you live in the moment.

Before, Kristen says she would spend her entire drive home from work fixated on what she had to do for her kids that week. Not anymore. “Taking CBD oil turned off my mental to-do list that is constantly in a slot machine rotation in my brain,” she says. 

“If we don’t have a way of consciously shutting off our to-do list, we run the risk of constantly feeling like we’re on the hamster wheel,” Carmichael says. “If you are able to focus on the present moment and practice mindfulness, then you will be less likely to get swept up in problematic thought patterns or emotions,” Issa adds. 

If you find yourself obsessing, break the cycle by using CBD oil like Kristen, jade rolling before bed, or whatever relaxing activity works for you.

“The more consistent you are, the more benefits you have,” Issa says. If you build this habit, over time it will signal to your brain that it’s time to relax and engage with the present.

Challenge #4: Explore coping mechanisms for when you’re annoyed.

Stars, they’re just like you! As in, they also like venting about their S.O.s sometimes. Or Kristen does, at least. She says she will go on the video app Marco Polo to connect with her girlfriends “all day, every day.”

“It’s just like, ‘I had a terrible day. My husband’s being an a**hole.’ ‘I’ve got to have lunch with you because I’m f*cking freaking out.’ Anything like that.”

When you’re flustered, it’s basically impossible to come up with a productive way to deal in the moment, says Carmichael. “To have a little foresight and think about something helpful you can do before you even get upset helps you have a healthy tool that will make moments of frustration go smoother—so you’re less likely to spiral.”

So jot down your version of venting to your girlfriends on Marco Polo (or just steal KB’s strategy for dealing) and make it your go-to the next time you need to get to a more Zen mindset, stat.

Challenge #5: Do something that makes you feel strong.

Kristen says she’s never felt physically powerful—until she started taking classes at a local place called Studio Metamorphosis. “I’m loving the fact that if we ever get attacked by ninjas, I would be a valuable asset,” she says.

Not feeling confident or empowered can lead to negative self-talk, insecurity, and anxiety, says Issa. “When you need a boost of empowerment, it’s good to be able to know what to reach for,” Carmichael adds.

If your confidence booster is something like going for a run, you might be able to do that in those times when you need a pick-me-up. But if your answer is, say, sky diving, even just looking at a photo of yourself enjoying your favourite activity can help, Carmichael says. When you see it, you’ll feel stronger—and be able to tap into your inner badass instantly.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US. 

RELATED: Kristen Bell Shares Moving Video About Her Battle With Depression And Anxiety 

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?