Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Haley Weaver: I open my bedroom window blinds and hope for sunshine. 

TG: What gives you energy?

HW:  Movement! I love starting my day with a walk. Also, coffee. 

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

HW: Almost anything can be improved with a glass of water. 

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

HW: I first read Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half during my junior year of collegeI’d never read something that so perfectly paired memoir and illustration. Brosh’s work completely reframed the way I processed my own feelings and has had a massive influence on my writing and art style. 

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

HW: My phone and I are frenemies! Sometimes I’m grateful to have access to people I love and so much information with just a tap of the screen. Other times, I feel addicted to the doom-scrolls and mindless phone games. Though my phone does charge overnight on my bedside table, I try to read a book before going to sleep, which helps me unwind. 

TG: How do you deal with email?

HW: I aim to live an inbox-zero lifestyle! If I can’t respond to an email right away, I leave it unread until I am able to do so. I also swear by labeling every single message (and assigning each label a fun color). 

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

HW: I call my grandmother!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

HW: Writing my first book during a peak in the Covid-19 pandemic was an isolating experience. Though I was doing work I loved, my world felt very insular — everything happened within the four walls of my apartment. Having little change in scenery made the days feel long and affected my mental health quite a bit. Burn-out felt like a direct result of the monotony (and the late nights hunched over my laptop). 

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

HW: In the spring of 2023 I tried to ween off my antidepressant (with the help of my doctor and therapist!). My body did not have a great reaction this change — my anxiety spiked, I had dizzy spells, and I felt nauseous. After a month and a half without them, I ultimately decided to refill my prescription. At first, this felt like a massive failure. I was afraid of being reliant on medication in order to feel well. But thanks to therapy, my supportive partner, and a more peaceful existence, I have come to accept that medication is an important part of my mental health management plan right now. That doesn’t mean it will be forever. Feeling safe and healthy in my body and mind is ultimately a success, not a failure! 

TG:  Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

HW: “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

TG:  How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

HW: Writing a to-do list makes me feel like I’m in control — especially if it’s written in an array of fun colors. 

TG:  What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

HW: When something feels overbearing, take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, and call your mom — she always knows the right thing to say.  

TG:  Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?

HW:   I look up to my parents. They have taught me the importance of community, the joy of working for causes you care about, and what deep, unconditional love looks like. 

TG:  What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

HW: All bets are off when I’m hungry. 

TG:    When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?

HW:   I drink a glass of water and, if time permits, go for a walk. A mood-fitting playlist always helps.

TG:  What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?

HW:   Swimming laps! There are few distractions underwater — you can’t listen to music, you can’t scroll your phone, you can’t talk. It’s just you. I find it meditative. 

TG:  How do you reframe negative thinking?

HW: I often remind myself that “no feeling lasts forever.” I find this mantra especially helpful when my anxiety is heightened and feels like it’ll never end. 

TG:  What brings you optimism?

HW:  Hanging out with my niece and nephews. They are so full of life and joy — it makes me excited for the future they will help build. 

TG:   Fill in the blanks: People think I/I’m _______, but really I/I’m ______.

HW:   People think I’m optimistic, but really I’m a realist with a twinge of unbridled hope. 

TG:    Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

HW: I bought a sound machine! It really helps quiet my mind. When I turn it on, I try to focus on the noise and disappear into it. Sleep tends to come fast that way.  

TG:  Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve the way you connect with others. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how do you sustain this habit?

HW:  I have a weekly morning walk with two friends. It’s something I look forward to for so many reasons — the fresh air, the conversation, and the joy it brings into the rest of my day. It was easy to put into effect because all three of us were set on making time for it — we text at the start of each week and find a day that works for each of us. It also helps that we walk in different parks and neighborhoods each week to keep it fresh. 

TG:   Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your focus. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

HW:   My mom gifted me a phone sleeping bag (it’s really just a drawstring pouch) and it has changed my productivity for the better. When I have an overbearing to-do list, I tuck my phone in the pouch and as silly as it sounds, it feels as if it’s disappeared. I keep the sleeping bag on my desk as a reminder to use it!

TG:    What was the biggest turning point in your life?

HW: Moving across the country on a total whim. It was the most out-of-character decision I’ve ever made and it changed everything. I met my partner, I built an incredible community, and I get to see the mountains regularly. 

TG:   What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?

HW:   Picking out my clothes the night before. 

TG:  What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep?

HW:  A mug of sleepy time tea and at least one chapter of whatever book I’m reading.

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  • Haley Weaver (@haleydrewthis) is an illustrator and writer whose work focuses on mental health, relationships, and selfhood. Her illustrations have been featured on notable accounts and websites including Bustle, Betches, New York Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Bored Panda. She lives in Seattle with her partner and, of course, her anxiety. 2 / 2 99%