Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik of ‘Almost 30’: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness
Nature: Getting out in nature is such a grounding experience. It has been shown to ease anxiety, release stress, boost energy, and increase memory and attention span. It can be something as simple as taking a long walk around your neighborhood. Leave your phone at home and be really present with all the sounds, sights, and smells around you. It’s beautiful and so relaxing!
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik of Almost 30.
With 350+ episodes and more than 15 million downloads, the Almost 30 Podcast has been hailed as “The Best Wellness Podcast to Listen To Right Now” by Covetuer and nominated for “Best Wellness Podcast” and “Best Spirituality Podcast” by iHeart Radio. Hosts Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik are your virtual best friends, impactful female founders and seasoned event speakers as seen on the stages of Create & Cultivate, BlogHer and POPSUGAR Play/Ground to name a few. Almost 30 is the go-to place for heart-centered, hilarious conversations and real, raw, impactful interviews with brilliant guests. In each episode, Krista and Lindsey dive deep into everything from modern spirituality to health and wellness, aliens to entrepreneurship, and social justice to self development. Almost 30 also hosts life changing events and retreats, as well as provides courses, workbooks and programs to assist in your spiritual and emotional evolution.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Krista: I grew up in a small town in Ohio, and I always had big dreams of making an impact! For most of my life my dreams would cause me anxiety because I didn’t know how to achieve or express them. I worked in digital marketing, consulting, and events for eight years in Chicago and New York before moving to Los Angeles to *try* to pursue blogging full time. I ended up serving, nannying, and just trying to make my way for a long time until I went back to the corporate world. Through that process, I struggled to find my purpose and the best way to share my message with the world. I fatefully met Lindsey when I decided that my calling was to be a SoulCycle instructor!
Lindsey: I grew up in a town just north of Philadelphia. Singing, dancing, collecting bugs, and being dramatic was my thing. Fast forward to my early twenties and I’m respecting bugs but still focused on becoming a professional performer, Broadway specifically. I moved to New York after college in Boston, where I auditioned by day and bartended by night. Eventually I became a SoulCycle Instructor, which was my unexpected ticket out to LA. In LA, I began to understand my higher expression of my creativity and voice. My creative journey has been so intertwined with my spiritual journey…anyone else? Krista and I soon met through SoulCycle….and we felt immediately connected.
Krista: When Lindsey and I met we were both going through the tough transition between our 20s and 30s, and we started having deep conversations about rejection, fear, relationships, and finding purpose. I had just been rejected from SoulCycle, confused about my career and feeling all the feels about getting older. We decided to record these really intimate and raw conversations on our closet floors so we could help others navigate their own transitions in life. After 7 months of recording, we finally got the courage to launch the Almost 30 Podcast! Now we’re so proud that Almost 30 has evolved into a top 50 podcast, global brand, and community of hundreds of thousands of women all over the world (who are super badass and special). We seek to help women in their evolution and to remember who they are.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Lindsey: The early days of Almost 30 can feel like a blur sometimes, but what I do remember that was so interesting (and thrilling) was the rate at which we were doing things that no one asked us to do. I spent most of my life waiting to get cast, waiting for the yes, or the green light on creative projects. With Almost 30, we were experimenting along the way, leaning into what felt right and following through. For example, no one ever told us to go on a world tour! We knew we had people listening all over the world, but we weren’t at all sure that it would warrant a 13-city tour LOL. The number of attendees never dictated whether a tour stop was successful. Rather we would feel into the connections made, the growth, the breakthroughs, the laughs…whether it was 500 people or 50 people, New York or Australia, it was well worth it to us to make our community feel seen, heard, and supported.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Krista: There were so many! We did an episode recently on our 4-year anniversary where we listened to our first episode back again…and WOW! Firstly, we used copyrighted music (illegally), we didn’t even say anything (we kept going in circles), and we talked about crude things that make me cringe thinking about them…it was hilarious to reminisce. But what mattered is that we showed up anyway, right? There were also multiple times in the beginning that we forgot to hit record or lost all our audio — when you do that with guests it can be really embarrassing. We quickly learned to double and triple check all the technical aspects as well as to be more mindful of our words!
Importantly, we learned that we needed to get really clear with our intention for our brand from the start — that it wasn’t enough to just have an idea in our heads, we needed to define our intention out loud, write it down, and share it with our audience. Now, we’re grateful for all our “mistakes” and learnings because we can share them with other podcasters. We have an entire program, PodcastPro, devoted to teaching podcasters all the lessons we learned along the way!
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Lindsey: We are huge believers in putting in the work on yourself first. This is so important, especially as leaders. We work with our own healers and coaches and make time for our personal spiritual practices like meditation, breathwork, prayer, and channeled writing. When we take this time for ourselves, we’re able to tap into our creativity and connect to our intuition as leaders. We also highly suggest blocking off time every day — no looking at emails, Slack, or Instagram — to brainstorm and create. That way, you’re coming from a place of authentic creation instead of being reactive. We like to do this in the mornings before the day gets too crazy with meetings.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Krista: Work culture is everything! “Growing up” in the corporate world really helped me to understand what I did and did not want to bring to our office. I learned so much (whether I wanted to or not, LOL)! To us, a fantastic work culture is one where every team member feels seen, connected, and appreciated. I remember so often feeling uninspired, unheard, and unproductive at jobs so I wanted to really work to help folks at Almost 30 not to feel that. So we love bringing our team together, whether in person or virtually, as much as we can to connect and inspire one another. We have weekly team meetings where we share wins, and we host special gatherings like team dinners, energy healing sessions, sound baths, and Tarot card readings. We make sure to set up regular check-ins with each team member to discuss their goals and make sure they feel supported. Lastly, something we implemented this year was giving the team a dedicated office shut down for two weeks in the year — one in the summer and one in the winter. We all use this time to relax, get away, be with family, and just to reset. Running our company as the company I wish we would have had when I was younger means doing things intentionally and differently. It’s always asking “why not?” to doing things we want to do!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.
- Meditation: We have both been meditating for years and it has been completely transformative. Meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression, increase memory and attention, boost immunity, improve sleep, and regulate hormone levels. It’s free and accessible to everyone, and you can start small with just a few minutes a day. Personally, it helps us eliminate nagging thoughts and be more present and chill in everything we do.
- Movement: Moving your body is a powerful way to care for your mind. Exercise has been shown to release anxiety and decrease depression. It doesn’t have to be an intense or long workout — move your body in a way that feels good to you, whether that’s a leisurely walk, a workout class, stretching, or a dance party! We love to put on our favorite high-vibe music in the morning and just move around (yoga, dancing, jumping on a mini trampoline).
- Breathwork: We find breathwork to be such a powerful modality for healing and caring for your mental health. You can get grounded, release stagnant energy, and bring new energy into your body. We both love attending virtual breathwork sessions. (We’re hosting a breathwork workshop soon through our New Paradigm Digital Workshop Series). You can also try simple breathing techniques at home like boxed breathing: take a deep breath in through the nose for four counts, hold at the top for four, exhale out the mouth for four, and hold the breath out for four. Repeat.
- Practicing gratitude: This is a simple, free, and accessible way to bring more presence, peace, and joy into your life. We love starting the day by journaling what we’re grateful for that day, both big and small.
- Nature: Getting out in nature is such a grounding experience. It has been shown to ease anxiety, release stress, boost energy, and increase memory and attention span. It can be something as simple as taking a long walk around your neighborhood. Leave your phone at home and be really present with all the sounds, sights, and smells around you. It’s beautiful and so relaxing!
Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.
Lindsey: I would encourage everyone, no matter their age or life stage, to reconnect to their inner child. Reflect on the things that brought you joy when you were younger — whether that’s being outdoors, singing, drawing, painting, dancing, whatever it is — and incorporate more of that into your daily routine. It could be something as simple as skipping down the street or singing in your bedroom when no one is listening. It may feel a little odd or uncomfortable at first, but it will bring you so much joy. There is something so cool about seeing the world through the eyes of your younger self. The wonder and curiosity overpowers the doubt and judgement.
How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?
Krista: In today’s world, so many of us, especially teens, are constantly attached to technology and social media. (I can totally relate as an adult — I can only imagine the pressure for teens!) Social media is a powerful tool, but too much of it invites anxiety and comparison, and it makes it more difficult to connect to your own intuition. I would encourage everyone to do regular digital detoxes where you totally unplug for a weekend (or at least a day). I’ll take weeks at a time, or once I even did a weeklong silent retreat with no speaking OR any media consumption at all including the phone. After any time I do this, I feel so much more connected to myself because I can finally remember what my ideas, thoughts, and feelings were over anyone else’s! We consume so much on a daily basis it can prevent us from that deep connection to our intuition which is what makes life interesting :).
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Krista: Each year I feel like a new book changes my life! I have always loved The Alchemist when I was growing up. Then when I wanted to heal the relationship with my body and food, Women Food and God by Geneen Roth helped me heal in a big way. Now, the book that’s changing me is The Law of One. I had wanted to read it for a while after hearing so much about it on Gaia. I finally got around to it this year! Since then, I’ve read it multiple times and it resonated with me so deeply that I knew I’d never be the same. (I even did a full podcast episode on it on Almost 30!) It’s a beautiful metaphysical text that has helped me understand history, consciousness, quantum physics, healing, and so much more. I have to warn people though, it can be really weird to read because the vocabulary is so advanced (it’s spoken from a higher dimensional consciousness), but it’s worth it!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Lindsey: I love this question! I would love to start a movement that inspired people to do the one thing they’ve always wanted to do or start. In making it known, they can crowd source support, resources, and accountability. The hope would be that people would get just as much joy and inspiration from making their dream a reality in helping others do the same! I also envision that this type of community movement would help to extinguish the scarcity mindset that people have around their dreams.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Lindsey: “The reason you have a hard time trusting your intuition is because you are still convinced that some outside authority knows better than you.” ~Maryam Hasnaa
One of my greatest life lessons is learning to trust myself. I’ve realized it’s a muscle and that if you aren’t taught to use it early on in life, it takes a lot of practice, focus, and effort to build it as an adult. But I’m doing it! One way I love to practice this is to tell people who I have a close relationship with that I’m working on trusting myself and I would appreciate that they hold me accountable! Pretty intense, I know. But it is a powerful in the moment mirror that could be super effective in rewiring that part of your brain. When I was given the opportunity to move to LA back in 2014, I was not “ready.” I didn’t necessarily have the full-on support of everyone around me (they were too consumed in how my move would affect them). But I KNEW that this move was happening for me and in divine timing. I trusted myself, I didn’t hesitate, and I said YES. Three weeks later, I was living in LA. That move changed my life for the better for so many reasons…..all because I trusted my own feelings.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
For super fun memes, inspirational quotes, and helpful content follow: Almost 30: @almost30podcast
For future podcasters and podcasters, you can follow @yourpodcastpro
Krista can be found at @itskrista
Lindsey can be found at @lindseysimcik
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik of ‘Almost 30’: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.