5 things that help my anxiety and my experience with CBD

This post is sponsored by Equilibria Women but the opinions are my own. Click here or enter the code FITNESSISTA at checkout to get 15% off.

I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. It’s varied from the small amount of anxiety that elevates my heart rate yet keeps me productive and on-task, to the debilitating, room is spinning, struggling-to-breathe variety. Over the past handful of years, I’ve found some things that have helped dramatically with my anxiety and thought I’d share them in today’s post:

1) Prioritizing sleep. I’ve noticed that when I’m sleep-deprived, everything feels worse. I’m obviously more tired, but also more hangry, stressed, and anxious. It’s no wonder that I felt my anxiety ramp up after we had kids, not only because there was so much more to be worried about -you’re keeping additional humans alive! and you love them so.dang.much – but because our sleep went down the drain. Now that the kids are sleeping and the adults are sleeping, I feel remarkably better.

2) Daily meditation. I try to meditate every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes before bed. (Ideally I like to meditate for 7-15 minutes before getting started on work for the day.) I use the Calm App on my phone, which has a ton of different options to choose from. I especially love the sleep meditations and often crash out before they’re over. On the same note, it’s made a huge difference to add yoga back into my routine. Yoga is like a moving meditation and gives me the chance to drop all of the external stressors and tune inward for an hour. It’s one of the only times I stretch each week and slow down, and I look forward to it every weekend. My favorite classes are the hot ones that leave me in a puddle of sweat. So good.

(Bella has always supported my yoga endeavors)

3) Therapy. I can’t recommend therapy enough if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression. It’s helpful to have an outside professional source that can listen to your concerns and provide an action plan. I haven’t been able to find a therapist since we’ve been back in Tucson – it seems like everyone is cash-only, which is fine, but no one is taking new clients – but am going to keep trying until I can get one. 

4) Making thorough to-do lists, and checking things off. A majority of my anxiety is related to to-do lists, since I’m juggling my work schedule and deadlines along with the girls’ routines and extracurricular activities. Often, I’ll find myself listing things in my head, like, “Finish this draft, hop on the Peloton, take a conference call, shower, pick up P, take Liv to piano, roast a chicken for dinner” etc. When I stop and take the time to write everything down, it keeps me from feeling like I constantly have to check things off in my head. Write it down, cross it off, and move on.

5) Adding CBD into my routine. This has been a gamechanger for me. To be honest, I heard about the benefits of CBD a couple of years ago but was too sketched out to try it. Since it’s not regulated, you could be buying a product that doesn’t actually contain CBD and could be shipped from another country. (I actually tried a brand that I had researched a bit and found out that it was produced in Mexico. It went in the trash.) I knew that if I was going to give it another try, I had some serious requirements the brand had to meet, and Equilibria met all of my personal stipulations. 

So what is CBD and how is it different from marijuana?

CBD is a compound found within industrial hemp flowers that has been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing. It’s completely safe and legal. (From what I understand some government positions don’t currently allow it just in case trace amounts of THC are found. For example, the Pilot is not able to take it.) Industrial hemp is a Cannibis Sativa plant grown to express 0.3% THC or less. That’s why CBD does not make you feel impaired or high. Anything above 0.3% THC is not considered hemp; it’s marijuana and federally illegal. 

CBD can help bring the body back to homeostasis and is often used for sleep, mood, and pain regulation. It can also work by reducing inflammation, which can be the root cause of various ailments in the body.

Our body has a natural endocannabinoid system which, as we age and experience stress, functions less effectively. By consuming CBD, which is a phytocannabinoid and interacts with our endocannabinoid system, we help to increase our production of cannabinoids and more efficiently use what’s already been created.

Is CBD regulated?

The FDA hasn’t worked out regulations for CBD, so this is why researching is so important.

Some of the things to look out for:

– Make sure that it’s full-spectrum, which means they use the whole plant to maximize the benefits

– Make sure it’s produced in the USA on the same farm

– Ask for third party lab results. This one is HUGE. Since CBD isn’t regulated, some brands are heavily leaden with chemicals, pesticides, or don’t contain much CBD at all. 

*As always, talk with a doctor before adding any supplements or changes into your routine. Just sharing my experience 🙂

Some of the things I love about Equilibria is that they are organically produced here in the US on their own farm in Colorado. Their lab results are incredible (they’re also extremely transparent with lab results) and I also love that they individually help with dosing. Dosing takes a little experimentation to figure out at first (don’t worry, you can’t overdose on CBD), so they make sure you’re taking an amount that makes you feel your best. 

Here’s what my personal CBD routine looks like #MyEq:

– One (10mg) softgel before bed

– One dropper of the oil under my tongue during the day if I know it’s going to be a stressful or intense day

– Using the salve as needed on my thumb. I had nerve graft surgery a few years ago, and while my thumb feels SO much better, it still aches occasionally. The salve takes the aching away within a few minutes.

CBD is one of those things where you might not notice a huge difference when you take it, but you do if you forget to take it. I forgot to take it last week, and I just felt like I was on edge throughout the day. I was like, “Hmm. I’m kind of a spaz right now.” I’ve been sleeping more soundly (and going to sleep faster) and it helps to quiet my buzzing anxiety throughout the day. I was trying to explain it to Tom, but when I take the softgel at night, within about 15-20 minutes, I feel like I slipped into a warm bathtub. I don’t feel weird or high, just incredibly relaxed. It helps to stop me from obsessing over the ol’ to-do list at night so I can just relax and go to sleep.

It’s made a dramatic difference in my life and I hope that if you give it a try, you love it as much as I do!

My friends at Equilibria offered 15% off if you’ve been interested in trying CBD (or switching to a brand that’s responsibly produced and made for women)! Click here to check it out. They also help with individual dosing support if you have questions along the way.

Fellow anxious friends: what are some of the things you’ve found to help?



Photos: Kristi Harris

*Equilibria makes no claims that CBD can cure or treat symptoms as these are my own opinions.

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  1. Janice O'Kane on October 28, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Gina, thank you for this. I remember wanting to check it out when you mentioned it in your podcast earlier this month. Just placed my order – I’ve been looking for a reputable brand and Equilibria seems to be it! Thanks also for always being so forthcoming about your anxiety and sharing your tips and tricks!

  2. Andrea B on October 28, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Last week I made a promise to myself to get 7.5 – 8 hrs of sleep per night and to start back to a very simplistic bullet journal routine, so that I could make daily to do lists & check things off as I got them done. Oh what a difference it has made in one short week! My stress & anxiety levels have been much better and I haven’t woken up once in the night with monkey mind!

    I’ve also been looking at buying some adaptogenic, full-spectrum CBD teas (one for sleep & one restorative to help with inflammation) and you’ve motivated me to go out this week and buy them!

  3. Stacey on October 28, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, both with my psychologist and on my own with a book on Mindfulness that she recommended. Anyone in the Chicago-land area, I recommend CBT Centers of Chicago! I live 2 hours away but make the trip regularly!

    • Melissa Caulfield on October 29, 2019 at 3:25 pm

      This is so helpful! Is the dropper that you use 10 mg also?

      • Fitnessista on October 29, 2019 at 4:13 pm

        i think so!

    • Cristal on February 12, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Stacey, Can you share the title of the book on Mindfulness?

    • Faye Holloway on April 15, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      What is the book she recommended?

    • Susan on July 18, 2020 at 3:18 pm

      Where and who do you see?

  4. Molly on October 28, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Does this work for men too? I’m looking for something for my husband

    • Fitnessista on October 28, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      absolutely. i ordered some for my brother

  5. Nina Simon on October 29, 2019 at 2:35 am

    Great post, thanks for sharing about CBD!

    • Fitnessista on October 29, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      thank you! <3

  6. Megan on October 29, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Have you searched for a therapist using Psychology Today? You can apply any number of filters, including your insurance provider

    • Fitnessista on October 29, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      i did. unfortunately, none of the practitioners that came up were accepting new patients

  7. Jennifer on November 13, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Such a responsible post! LOVE IT! The whole CBD trend rubs me the wrong way, but mostly because of the reasons you have mentioned above. I am not sold on it the idea of topical applications will do anything, but that is simply because there is no decent studies on it.

    Have you tried any of those online therapy apps/sites while you are searching locally?

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