Kristen Bell’s Anxiety and Depression Have Been Awful—but She Finally Found a Way to Cope

An overloaded schedule can take a major toll on your mental health—and not even celebrities are exempt from this kind of pressure. Kristen Bell knows this from experience. The actress just revealed the she found herself cycling between anxiety and depression this past month because she was trying to fulfill every obligation on her jam-packed calendar.

"And it's been awful," she shared in a keynote speech at last week's MINDBODY BOLD conference in California, which featured a conversation between Bell and the brand's founder and CEO, Rick Stollmeyer.

“I’m trying to figure out why, and I have all these checks and balances of like, ‘am I working out enough, does my medication need to be changed, why am I feeling so much'—cause it’s just burying me,” Bell explained. “And I think I realized it’s because I’ve been doing so many things that are forward-facing and not enough work on myself. Or not work on myself, but just being myself.”

Bell's hectic schedule is something so many people can relate to. Veronica Mars had been her full-time job six months out of the year, she told conference-goers, and she now also produces and appears in shows on Encore and Disney. On top of her film work, Bell recently cofounded This Bar Saves Lives, a granola bar company that donates money to various charities. She also launched (with husband Dax Shepard) Hello Bello, a plant-based line of baby products sold exclusively at Walmart. Oh, and she's an all-star mom of two young daughters.

Of course, work isn’t the only reason Bell is overwhelmed. She said that she’s always been the type of person who wants to help others, and never saying no to people who ask for a hand has become a part of her identity. “I don’t want to let anybody down—and then I end up letting them down because there are only 24 hours in the day,” she explained. “But I haven’t ever acknowledged how depleting that can be, and how I’m actually not of service to anybody if I’m not whole.”

Luckily, she’s found a way to cope. “I realized that my codependency was so crippling that I couldn’t say no to people,” she said. “So what I’ve been doing this month is practicing saying no to people in a very kind way.”

It’s perfect timing. Filming just wrapped for the fourth and final season of her show The Good Place—and Bell is taking the next two months off and feeling really good about it. She’s already started turning people down but says it hasn’t been easy. “It has been so hard to write emails that say no thank you,” she admitted. “My palms sweat.”

This isn’t the first time Bell has spoken openly about dealing with mental health issues. She previously hosted a Q&A using an Instagram story feature in which she revealed some of her coping mechanisms: “CBD from Lord Jones, getting outside, naming 10 things I love for every 1 thing I don’t, hugging my girls, my husband and my dog, doing something calm and nice for a friend, cooking, gardening and meditating.”

Working out has also led to major stress relief. “I need workouts for my mental health—that is step one for me,” she said.

Her go-to workout, Studio Metamorphosis—which she described as a mix between Pilates and CrossFit—has been so therapeutic that she cried through an entire recent class. “[The instructor] Erin was like, ‘just keep going, you got this,’ and I was literally doing lunges while sobbing and everybody there was fine with it. It’s a wonderfully accepting place.”

Crying certainly isn’t a sign of weakness to Bell—in fact, she became emotional while speaking about her mental health in front of the crowd at her keynote. (Quite a few audience members had tears welling up in their eyes.) “I’m not out of control, and I’m having an emotion that’s real and authentic to me, so why would you judge me for it?” she asked.

This won’t be the last time you see Bell get emotional over something raw and relatable—and we’re totally here for her authenticity.

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