Chill Chat

The Unexpected Thing That Finally Got Chelsea Handler Into Meditation

The author and comedian shares all of her wellness habits.

Chelsea Handler's wellness routine is peak goals.

Getty Images/Stefanie Keenan / Contributor

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, Chelsea Handler shares her workout routine, her mindful morning practice, and the best advice she’s ever received.

She may have a book titled Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, but these days, Chelsea Handler prefers cannabis. “I mean, I was always interested in THC, the psychoactive component, because I’m always looking for a party,” Handler tells Bustle. “But I did learn about CBD and the calming effects it has on your body. After the election, since 2016, I needed to pivot from alcohol to something that was going to calm me the hell down.”

The multi-beneficial cannabinoid ended up helping Handler get into meditation. “I wasn’t able to start meditating until I started using cannabis because it gave me the ability to stop the running thoughts in my head and focus on my breathing,” she says. The fact that it doesn’t give her a hangover helps, too. “Cannabis has been a great way for me to not be hungover the next day so I can still be creative and mindful.”

It’s the 47-year-old comedian, writer, and producer’s budding relationship with the plant that led to her partnership with Leisuretown, a line of CBD-infused functional beverages — some with THC — meant to help you chill out. Here, Handler chats with Bustle about her morning routine, go-to workout, and why she’s fighting to destigmatize cannabis.

Can you talk more about how you use cannabis and CBD?

What I like about the [Leisuretown] drinks is that they have the same immediacy as smoking a joint, which is really my favorite way to ingest cannabis. But I don’t like to smoke too much, because it hurts my throat. I’m writing a new book, so when I have to punch things up, I’ll have a Leisuretown to give my creativity a little boost.

I definitely use cannabis to sleep, too. It’s much preferable over anything from the pharmaceutical industry. Cannabis is natural, and that’s the most important message for me to get across — the plant has been held from us for so many years in the name of crime when this is something that Mother Earth has provided us.

Walk me through your morning routine.

I wake up, I meditate, then I do my Peloton abs class for 15 or 20 minutes, and then I go do my real workout with Ben Bruno. The reason I have to do my Peloton abs class is that my trainer doesn’t know how to work the abs out, so I have to take it upon myself, even though I pay him probably a fortune. Please make sure you put that into the article so I can forward that to my trainer.

How did you get into meditation?

Well, I got into it through therapy and cannabis. I just could not meditate. I would just sit there, and my therapist was doing it with me and he had some weird meditations that I wasn’t into. I went through all the apps and landed on Chopra, which has guided meditations. I do about 20 minutes every morning when I wake up, before I even get out of bed, with my feet on this grounding mat. It’s a good way for me to just have an intention for the day, like, “Do not be a b*tch today. You are one. Try not to be.”

What do you usually have for breakfast?

Usually a yogurt with some flax seed, or I’ll make some egg whites with some avocado and douse it in Parmesan. Parmesan’s pretty much my favorite thing to put on everything that will take it.

What’s your go-to self-care practice whenever you need me time?

I’ll read a book if I’m feeling very frenetic or out of control. Or if I notice I’m on my phone too much, I’ll go outside and just read a book, leave my phone inside, and give myself an hour. If you can get an hour or 30 minutes of reading in every day, it really doesn’t matter what you’re reading — I find that to be the most therapeutic thing. And meditation always works. It’s always good to just sit down and really focus on your breathing.

You’ve always been vocal about mental health. What else do you do to take care of yours?

Exercise is a major thing. Walking outside is something that I really am not that interested in, but I make myself do it because it’s so good to be outside in nature and look at the trees and actually focus on the fact that you’re alive instead of stressing about all the things that you haven’t gotten done. Being grateful is another thing, and doing all the things that I used to think were so stupid and annoying when I moved to Los Angeles — gratitude and meditation and kale. All of those things are big components of my life now, so I’m a huge hypocrite.

What’s the most out-there wellness treatment you've ever tried?

I went to a silent retreat once that was so stupid. I’ve been to an Asterian astrologist, which I stand behind. I’ve been to psychics. I mean, I did that drug 5-MeO-DMT, but that was a hot mess. That's supposed to get rid of your ego, and it did not.

What do you need to get a good night’s sleep?

I need my lemon cucumber water in my thermos with ice, because I need everything to be ice cold — I do not like room-temperature drinks. I also need my eye shades and I need my lip balm, which has to be right next to my bed because at around 4 a.m. I need my lip balm. And I need my doggies in my room, always.

What’s the best wellness advice you’ve ever received?

To know that any situation you’re in isn’t going to last that long. Anytime you’re going through something difficult, remember that there’s always something better coming. Conversely, it’s the same with good times. When you’re on top of the world, that doesn’t last forever either. Understanding that has helped me through a lot of difficult times. That’s the best mental health advice that I’ve been given and something that I think about all the time.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Readers should note that laws governing cannabis, hemp, and CBD are evolving, as is information about the efficacy and safety of those substances. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as legal or medical advice. Always consult your physician prior to trying any substance or supplement.