(Mindfulness)

How These Successful Women Are Putting Their Mental Health First

Their practices might work for you, too.

Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a fantastic reminder for everyone to check in with themselves and how they’re prioritizing their own wellbeing. By now you’ve probably figured out a few things that work for you when it comes to grounding yourself and reaching a level of calm. But if the past year threw you for a loop, you’re not alone. Even the most successful women have had to take a pause and reconnect with the things that always bring solace, clarity, and self-compassion — and thankfully a few such female founders share their mental wellness practices with TZR in the hopes they can help others, too.

Dips in mental health are normal and can happen regardless of how financially secure you are, what your relationship status is, or the level of success you’ve achieved in your career, among so many other factors. And this is especially true with extenuating traumatic circumstances like a global pandemic. Fears about health, job security, and loneliness have touched practically everyone this year, but for many it’s been a wake-up call to make self-care a priority — however you define it.

Whether it’s scheduling regular therapy sessions, practicing meditation, getting into nature, or making time for some type of exercise, the habits of some of the busiest and most successful working women might look just like yours. On the other hand, they also might offer you some new options to try (like surfing, for example). Ahead, see exactly what 17 such female founders and CEOs are doing to put their mental wellness first, even when it can feel like a struggle to do so.

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Misa Miyagawa of Botanica Workshop

“As a small business owner, I would say that good mental health is a huge asset to your company. It's not something that you can run out of and restock down the line, and I always invest time and effort into my personal self-care. I love taking neighborhood walks on my breaks because the spring flowers are peaking right now, and it's always nice to prepare a delicious meal for yourself at the end of a challenging day (call me crazy but peeling veggies is a form of meditation).”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Oleema and Kalani Miller of MIKOH

MIKOH

“I will admittedly say that 2020 was by far the hardest year of my life. Emotionally, physically, and mentally I was tested each and every single day. While I did my best to honor those feelings, I always knew that I couldn’t stay stuck in them. Each day, I would choose to honor them, let them pass, and move forward. I am so fortunate to live on the beach and with the ocean in my backyard, I swear it saved me this last year. To cope with the stresses of the world, of running a business, and of being away from my family and friends, I turned toward the sea. Each and every morning, and still to this day, I make it a priority to bathe in the best gift from Mother Nature, the ocean. The sometimes cold and crisp salty water re-centers, rebalances, and rejuvenates me; no matter rain, shine, cold, or warm weather.” — Oleema Miller

“About four years ago, I attended a Vipassana retreat which is 10 days of silence. No phones, no human touch, no eye contact, no speaking. It truly was a total disconnect from society in order to reconnect with myself. It was one of the most impactful 10 days I have ever had. Today, I am able to incorporate the meditation techniques and mindset from the retreat when stressful times arise. I also am a huge advocate of therapy! It may take a couple times to find a therapist that you click with, but don’t give up! It is worth it and will make a positive impact in your life!” — Kalani Miller

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Boronia Fallshaw of Mello

Boronia Fallshaw/Mello

“I'm a huge believer in positive affirmations and have learned that the way I speak to myself in my head has the power to shape my life. Every morning I aim to meditate for 10 to 15 minutes and then practice daily affirmations facing a mirror. I accept and use my own power, whatever I say to myself I will say it with love. I have created about 40-ish [affirmations] that are personal to me and every morning I repeat a few that resonate with me on that day. I also worked with a therapist to create past tense statements for my goals, which has been amazing. You create ‘why’ or ‘how’ statements for what you desire. ‘Why does it feel so great to have it all?’ When I neglect this daily mental health practice, I start to believe I am unworthy and I tend to self-sabotage. I forget to talk to myself with compassion and everything suffers — my loved ones and community, my passions, and my business. But most importantly I begin to forget to love myself, which is the most important thing of all.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Lisa Farr Johnstone of Optimist Drinks

Lisa Farr Johnston/Optimist Drinks

“Broadly speaking, taking care of my mental health was one of the reasons I became an entrepreneur. There’s too much going on in the world, doing something about it avoids the torment of cognitive dissonance. I look to nature for help. The ocean is where I go to escape my thoughts, and reconnect, try to find some sort of balance. As often as possible, I rise for an early session down at our local spot at the Venice breakwater. Staring out at the horizon is meditative. Getting pounded also brings its own lessons. When I’m lower energy, poetry offers space and perspective. My Ross Gay and W.S Merwin are well thumbed, and I listen compulsively to the Poetry Unbound podcast (part of the brilliant On Being Project, itself an endless source of comfort and inspiration). And I cuddle my kids, my husband, and my dogs a great deal, too — true contentment right there.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Alexandra Bonetti of Talent Hack

Talent Hack

“I’m an avid meditator. I practice Vedic meditation daily and it’s truly my medicine and fuel. At first it seemed like it was consuming my entire day, but once you get in the groove of it (similarly to exercise), it’s actually given me more time, calmed my anxiety, and focused my mind.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Carolina Kleinman of Carolina K

Andres Oyuela

“With the need to multi-task all day, focusing on my mental health allows me to better achieve my goals. I prioritize my mental health by making the time to practice meditation, yoga, Kundalini breathing exercises, and chanting. I also participate in women circles to share my thoughts and feelings about what we experience as mothers and female entrepreneurs.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Tisha Thompson of LYS Beauty

“As a busy wife and working mother of two boys, I understand the importance of self-prioritization in order to present the best version of myself to the world. We are only as great as our emotional wellbeing, and I think it’s important for everyone to continually take inventory of how they’re feeling, what brings them joy and key areas for improvements. As someone who operates at 100mph, rest and relaxation are my favorite practices for taking care of myself. I seek opportunities within each day to do kind gestures for myself, like giving myself a manicure or facial, enjoying a glass of wine or completing an at-home workout. The more consistent I am with tending to my own needs, the more effective and attentive I am both personally and professionally.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Tina Hedges of LOLI Beauty

Tina Hedges/LOLI Beauty

“As a founder of a clean beauty start-up, I’m constantly cycling between the highs and lows of owning your own business. So finding go-to, easy practices to incorporate into my daily routine is important. My favorite remedy to center and ground myself is what I call my ‘walking meditation.’ Instead of trying to meditate at home in a state of quiet and stillness, I go outside to the park and walk three to five miles a day. I don’t speak on the phone, I don’t read emails or texts. I just walk and observe nature, feel the sunshine and wind on my skin, and smell the blossoming flowers. There have been so many times that I have been so stressed, and by just getting up and doing my walking meditation it resets my entire nervous system. At night, I love the healing powers of a soothing celtic, Epsom, or Himalayan salt bath. I get creative and add in aromatherapeutic essential oils, herbs or flowers, even apple cider vinegar. It works magic on the nervous system.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Kendra Kolb Butler of Alpyn Beauty

"‘Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.’ If you run out of oxygen yourself, you can't help others around you. I have been living by this quote for many years now and try to apply it to all aspects of my life whether it be running a company, nurturing my children, or trying to be the best friend, partner, wife I can be. Besides taking a brisk walk in the mountains of my hometown of Jackson Hole or eating chocolate, a go-to practice to help boost my emotional well being is to do something nice for somebody else. I find random acts of kindness to be both refreshing and a great way to recharge if I am feeling drained of energy or just simply burnt out.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Angela Manuel-Davis of AARMY

Angela Manuel-Davis/AARMY

“We can only truly take care of others or give to others from a place substance. We can’t pour a glass of water for our neighbor if the pitcher is empty. My go to practices for my mental health are prayer, quiet time, nature hikes, AARMY cycle practice, worship music, an inspirational podcast, and strolling art galleries or museums.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Laura Liles of Kinga Csilla

Kinga Csilla

“Certainly hiring the right team has been an effective way of releasing some of the anxiety that comes from running a brand. Recognizing areas of my business that aren't my forte and then delegating those tasks (without guilt) to a proficient team member leaves me with a sense of trust that provides calm. My most cherished habit towards mental wellbeing though is a simple, quiet walk. I've learned in more recent years to listen to my body, brisk walks are meditative for me. I'll take a 45-minute stroll along my local beach every other morning. The quietness in nature is a powerful and restorative source of calm. It's worth noting though, that I wouldn't have hired a team or started a new walking habit if it wasn't for conversations I'd had around mental wellness. Conversations with trusted friends were some of the first steps I took towards cultivating calm.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Deepica Mutyala of Live Tinted

“Mental health is definitely something I aim to make a priority in my life. Lately, I’ve made it a goal to make sure I take time each and every morning to meditate and journal. Working out every day is also something I try to do to keep my head clear. I think to be able to successful in anything in life you have to continually put as much effort into being healthy, mentally and physically, as you do your business or career.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Ali Mejia of Eberjey

Eberjey

“I’ve worked to create a structure around my life that is self-care heavy. Managing my mental health is the highest priority for me; when I’m in a positive place, everyone around me benefits. I find that daily exercise helps me move stuck energy and gets my endorphins going. Long baths, abhyanga (an Ayurvedic oil ritual), meditation, and using a gratitude journal helps me realign on what’s important. Apart from this, I prioritize the things that make me happy, which means spending quality time with my family, engaging in creative activities outside of work, and connecting with friends.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Aurelie Dudziak of Moonglow

Moonglow

“Over the past few years, I’ve developed both mental and physical habits that have really made the quality of my life a lot better. One of them is being more gentle with myself in all situations. Always being in a mode of achieving things can sometimes unleash the perfectionist in you and your worst inner critic. I have learned to be more loving and supportive towards myself as I would be with my loved ones.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Christina Mace-Turner of Mab & Stoke

Mab & Stoke

"Physical and mental wellness go hand-in-hand, so when I started making herbal remedies to help myself get better sleep, focus during the day, and pretty much feel better all over, the mental aspect comes right along with it. I also carve out time to step away from the screens and go for lunchtime walks. It resets my mind and I return to my desk with a clear head, which in turn makes me a better leader for my team.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Jacquie Aiche of Jacquie Aiche

Jacquie Aiche

“When I am free of stress and anxiety, life feels more intentional. There is so much power in keeping a clear and positive mind. And for me, meditation has been one of the greatest practices for finding peace. I rest in the quiet spaces between my thoughts and connect with the calming energy of my consciousness. Presence and gratitude are the best medicine for any problem, big or small.”

Female Founders & Mental Wellness: Alyssa Wasko of DONNI

DONNI

“It has taken me years to learn that, when I am not taking care of myself, I am not taking care of DONNI. Fitting in some 'me-time' in the morning is essential; it can be as simple as a walk with my dog (no phone), a quick Melissa Wood workout, or making breakfast (and actually sitting down to eat it)."