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May is “Mental Health Awareness Month”, and now that we’re coming out of a year of self-isolation, it’s okay to not feel 100 right now. Depending on the circumstances, the symptoms of a bad mood — sadness, restlessness, loss of sleep — can oftentimes be addressed through easy at-home methods and items that don’t require a prescription.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health Awareness month is a time to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay. Even if it might be a little easier to meet up in person now, certain brands are also helping to increase awareness on ways that you can take time for yourself and help boost your mood naturally. Each year the stigma around discussing mental health becomes less taboo, and there are things you can add to your day-to-day routine to help release stress and feel a little bit more like yourself.
For Zak Williams, son of the late actor Robin Williams, the loss of his father in 2014 spiraled his anxiety “into overdrive” and led him on a six-year search for ways to cope more naturally. “[After my father died] I found myself depressed, anxious and unable to cope with daily life,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I found myself trying to treat the chronic stress and anxiety I had with alcohol and cannabis products, which left me feeling numb, disconnected and addicted.”
On a search to find healthier ways to cope, Williams discovered the benefits of adaptogens and amino acid complexes that are said to help “recalibrate” the body and brain. “I spent the next two years innovating on compounds, taste, bioavailability and accessibility to create a safe, natural and effective anxiety and stress relief product,” he says.
This year, Williams officially unveiled PYM (Prepare Your Mind), a “mental health support brand” that launched with the release of a tin of “mood chews,” designed to help calm nerves and anxiousness, especially in uncomfortable or overwhelming situations. According to PYM, the fruit-flavored gummies naturally target your body’s hormone levels, to effectively manage stress and anxiety. It’s not a one-dose-fix-all solution, but if you need a little boost, Williams says a couple chews could go a long way.
And while everyone’s relationship with mental health is different (and ever evolving), Williams says the important thing is to not leave your feelings unchecked. “Your mood is your body’s barometer on what your needs are,” he says. “If you are not taking care of yourself, your moods will be inconsistent and will not be balanced. In my case, when I neglect my well-being, I end up responding disproportionately and make mountains out of molehills, I get defensive for things I shouldn’t be defensive about, and I find myself getting resentful over silly things,” he says. “When I take care of myself and listen to what I need, I can get to being joyful and am able to manage challenging situations and scenarios with ease.”
“When I’m able to check in with myself and actually understand how I’m feeling, I’m able to provide myself with the things I need to balance me out,” Williams continues. “And when I’m feeling balanced,” he says, “I can show up for others as I would want others to show up for me.”
Whether you’re looking for a way to relax, something to help calm your nerves, or something to cheer you (or a friend) up, we’ve rounded up ten products that can help bring some lightness and levity back to your life (Note: we don’t profess to be medical professionals, so if you’re experiencing severe mood swings or anxiety, it’s always best to speak to a doctor). For everyone else, scroll through this list to find a few easy ways to get a little lift this week.
You don’t have to wait until you’re in total crisis mode to take advantage of therapy. Get out what’s on your mind with one well-reviewed teletherapy option, used even by celebs like Michael Phelps and Demi Lovato—Talkspace is a subscription based therapy service that you can even use from home. When you sign up, you’ll be matched with a therapist from their network of licensed professionals, and communicate through live video sessions, text messages, phone calls, as well as picture and video messages in a private, text-based chat room. Not only is it accessible, with the ability to reach out to a therapist 24/7, but affordable too—Talkspace accepts many major insurance plans such as Cigna and Humana.
2. Apollo Neuro
We like this Apollo Neuro wearable, which works by delivering smooth, gentle vibrations to your wrist or ankle that the brand says activates a nervous system response, helping get you out of a “fight or flight” state of stress. Connect it to the Apollo app, which features seven modes based on how you want to feel, like “Clear and Focused” or “Sleep and Renew”. You can customizable settings for duration (the battery can handle up to 8 hours of continuous use) and intensity.
It’s recommended that you start out using the Apollo Neuro for at least 2 hours a day for 30 days to feel the full effects. Remember – consistency is key here, because you’re essentially retraining your nervous system so that you can eventually manage stress a little easier on your own.
3. Sunday Scaries
The team at Sunday Scaries believes that the key to improving your mood could start from eliminating the “manifestations of worry.” According to Sunday Scaries, their CBD products are for the everyday worries in life, like dealing with your annoying coworkers, rush hour traffic, and yes, even those Sunday night moral hangovers. Sunday Scaries’ CBD gummies contain 10mg of third party-tested broad spectrum CBD, along with vitamin D3 and vitamin B12.
The Side Piece bundle also includes their 500mg CBD Oil, for anyone looking for a nighttime calming reinforcement. But their original CBD gummies can be incorporated with other daily vitamins as well. Take a gummy as needed when you feel moodiness symptoms creeping in—it’s like how you’d feel after getting a good pep talk from a friend. As Sunday Scaries says on its website, these are made to support a “relaxed and focused vibe” for any day of the week.
4. Udemy Stress Management Courses
The online learning site Udemy has an entire section dedicated to “happiness courses,” with classes about how to get “unstuck” from your life, how to manage stress and anxiety, and even courses on how to manifest more joy in your work, relationships and daily interactions. The courses are taught by certified life coaches, professors and industry leaders, and with prices starting at just $9.99.
Sign up for a class and get instant access to hours of online lectures, reading materials and more. Unlike real school, you can show up to class whenever you like and proceed at your own pace. Classes also include how to manage stress and anxiety with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) techniques, how to cultivate mindfulness, or just how to find joy with where you are in life.
One of the highest-rated courses in this category right now is called “Anxiety and Stress,” which teaches practical techniques for reducing anxiety and increasing the empowerment you feel over your own life.
5. Pact Room Service Sheet Set
A good night’s rest can be instrumental to your mood (and overall mental wellbeing), and can bring relaxation in the morning if you can get all eight recommended hours in. That’s where Pact’s organic cotton sateen bedding comes in—not only do these wrinkle-resistant bed sheets feel silky smooth, they’re cool to the touch for anyone who runs hot, or is just in desperate need of decent shut-eye. The set comes with a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, two pillowcases, and a handy laundry bag.
6. Good Feals Kit
CBD has basically become a buzzword these days with no shortage of products that purport to promote good health and good happiness. While you should see a doctor for serious bouts of depression or anxiety, those who just need a little boost will want to consider this “Good Feals” Kit from Feals.
The company believes that mental health shouldn’t exist in a vacuum, and they put together the kit as “an antidote to screen time” and a way to encourage taking small moments to commit to self-care. This bundle features their best-seller, and is a great way to get into CBD for the first time. Start with their 600mg Feals tincture, which contains full spectrum CBD to help contribute to feelings of relief and relaxation. The 500-piece puzzle, meantime, gives you something else to focus your mind on, and both the drops and puzzle come packaged in a reusable nylon tote.
For Mental Health Awareness Month, Feals will also be donating 100% of net proceeds from this limited bundle to Painted Brain, an LA-based mental health nonprofit focused on group art therapy.
7. Caliper CBD
For an easier way to add CBD to your routine, try Caliper CBD’s perfectly-precise packets, which each contain 20mg of odorless, flavorless, dissolvable CBD powder that can be easily added to any food or beverage The brand says the CBD helps provide a quick boost to your overall mood and provide temporary relief from stress, occasional aches, or restless nights. Caliper was founded by CBD skeptics who recognized a need for a quality, science-backed CBD in an industry rife with misinformation and unfounded claims.
Caliper says its clinical studies have shown its CBD powder is 6.5 times more bioavailable in the first 15 minutes and 4.5 times more bioavailable overall than oil-based CBD, which means you get more of the CBD you expect. Why we like Caliper: it offers you the flexibility of CBD on your terms, wherever and whenever you need it most. Sprinkle this into a glass of water, your morning coffee or a cup of tea before bed. We also like the flavorless CBD powder in our smoothies for a subtle boost.
8. Heatbag by Ostrichpillow
The company behind the ingenious (if a little clunky) Ostrich pillow has come up with a much easier way to relax. The heatbag (stylized as one word) is a new take on the classic hot water bottle or heating pad. It’s filled with natural clay, rather than water inside, which is safer to use and stays warm or cold for a longer period of time. The filling is wrapped inside a squishy memory foam cover and lined with a T-shirt-soft jersey material.
The heatbag is great for post-workout aches and pains, and the company says it’s great to help relieve cramps and minor aches as well. Microwave the clay for just 30 seconds and zip it inside the cover. The bag is designed to release heat slowly; we alternated between having the heatbag against our back and propped on our shoulders, and the warmth lasted for hours. If you want to melt away your stress or recover a little “me” time, this should be an essential part of your self-care kit.
9. PYM Mood Chews
While there’s no magic pill that can help alleviate all your mental worries, consider these citrus-flavored gummies from Zak Williams’ company, PYM. The PYM Mood Chews are made with safe, naturally-occurring amino acids like GABA (for pain relief), L-Theanine (for relaxation and focus) and Rhodiola (for support for depression and anxiety). Take one gummy a day, or whenever you start to feel a sense of anxiety or start feeling overwhelmed. The all-natural formula is gluten-free and sugar-free and starts working within minutes.
10. Miroco Light Therapy Lamp
One of the easiest ways to boost your mood is with a little bit of light therapy. This UV-free desk lamp delivers a warm, cascading glow to mimic the appearance of sunlight. It’s great for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) or those who need a pick-me-up during the day. It’s also idea for those who have trouble waking up in the mornings, as the gentle light slowly lulls you up from bed.
The mood lamp delivers up to 10,000 lux of light; choose from three modes based on your light sensitivities and desired effect. You can also set a timer to deliver anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes of light. The simple, portable design allows the lamp to easily stand on a desk or bedside table; it folds flat when not in use.