In Chill Chat, Bustle sits down with stars to chat about all things wellness, from their favorite skin care products to their hacks for getting a good night’s sleep. Here, Kristen Bell reveals what’s in her “mental health toolbox.”
Kristen Bell is known for the funny, happy-go-lucky characters she plays. But off-screen, the actor likes to get real, especially when talking about her experience with anxiety and depression. “I've not been secretive about my mental health journey as of the last 10 years,” the 42-year-old tells Bustle. While she used to hesitate to share her feelings due to the stigma surrounding mental health, the actor has since made it her mission to be her full, authentic self.
“I'm not just this bubbly person you might see in the media,” says Bell. “I have a fair amount of days where I’m overwhelmed, grumpy, agitated, or depressed. And those things are normal because I'm a human being.”
This is why Bell partnered with Hers, a platform that provides personalized health and wellness experiences, as its mental health ambassador. The goal? To continue combatting mental health stigma by encouraging conversation and sharing treatment options for people who have anxiety and depression. “My hope is that the conversation moves towards the personalization of how mental health can be handled,” Bell says.
To find what works for her, Bell says she’s always down to experiment with new “tools” for what she calls her mental health toolbox. “I like to know every resource out there and how it makes you feel,” Bell says. “I want to know how a cold plunge makes you feel, a solo hike, how it feels to vent to a friend, or talk to a therapist — all these coping mechanisms.”
Here, Bell reveals the activity that boosts her self-esteem, her go-to relaxation trick, and how she copes with stress on set.
What does your typical morning routine look like?
I need caffeine in the morning because I borderline hibernate every night. When I wake up I’m one of those people who trip on the carpet, I can’t do math, I can’t see my hands clearly — so nothing happens until I’ve had my tea. I like green tea with Vital Proteins in it.
I say to my kids, "Once you see that mug in my hand, game on. I'll do your hair. I'll make your toast. I'll find your shoes. I'll help you with your homework, whatever." But until that mug is in my hand, I'm off limits.
What beauty products are you into right now?
I’m absolutely loving The Outset's cleanser from Scarlett Johansson’s line. It's incredibly gentle, it takes everything off, and it feels wonderful. My husband and I recently discovered the Victoria Beckham serum, and we're both addicted to that. And I also love the KOZE red light. I sit under that for 10 minutes every morning. It's so relaxing and I really feel like it helps my skin.
Your new movie, The People We Hate at the Wedding, just came out. How did you take care of your mental health while filming?
When I went to London for six weeks to shoot that movie, even though I did have a really great time, not having my husband and kids there was hard. One of the tools in my mental health toolbox was FaceTime, so seeing their faces, hearing from them, and keeping that contact really helped.
How do you and your family relax at the end of a long day?
In the evenings before dinner, we jump in the pool and do a cold plunge. It’s cold in LA right now, so the pool’s about 60 degrees. We sit in it for a couple of minutes, all freezing our tails off, because the cold water is really good for your endorphins and your norepinephrine. Then we go in the sauna for 15 minutes, then jump back into the pool.
That sounds so invigorating. What does your evening look like after that?
We go inside and have dinner, and I like to check in with my girls. I’ll also check in with my husband and have some genuine intimacy and connectivity. My family is what fills my cup back up. Sometimes in the moment it can feel like work. “Oh, the kids need this, the kids need that.” But when I get through it, the after-effects are a little bit like going to the gym or going for a really long run. Family time boosts my self-esteem.
It sounds like you’re open to trying new things to see what works for your mental health.
Exactly! I've never been a person who’s allergic to advice — giving or receiving. If you're having success, I want to know how you did it, and then I want to figure out if it works for me. There are so many different ways to help your personal mental health journey.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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