Women In Wellness: Ajona Olsen of Daytryp Health On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
9 min readApr 30, 2023

De-clutter your closets, garage, junk drawer regularly. This has symbolic and energetic implications for your own mental health. Letting go of what no longer serves you and making space for new things to enter your life.

As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ajona Olsen.

Ajona Olsen is the co-founder of Daytryp Health, Arcadia’s new Ketamine wellness center. She worked as a nurse practitioner before finding her calling in psychedelic treatments and since 2021, has opened both a private practice and Daytryp Health, bringing a welcoming team and atmosphere to treatments.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

My intention when entering healthcare was to help people restore their health. This sounds cliché but making people feel better actually does make me feel better. There’s something very symbiotic about a healthy provider-patient relationship.

I started in 2001 as an RN in the hospital and became an NP in 2006. I worked with a population who had either progressive brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia or structural brain damage from major strokes or traumatic brain injuries. These patients also had chronic conditions like diabetes, heart and lung disease, as well as major depressive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorders, etc. I would manage their illnesses and typically prescribe medications. I rarely took away or tapered patients off medications but rather had to add more because of worsening symptoms. I spent so much of my time as an NP working with brain disorders that were resistant to change that I forgot how malleable the brain can be and IS in a “healthy” (i.e., not diseased or damaged) brain. I saw this fact validated time and time again with each research article about psychedelics having profound healing effects on Veterans who suffered from PTSD and suicidality. This made intuitive sense to me. Then, the pandemic hit and my career path and the system of care I worked for no longer made much sense to me. That’s when I found Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) and trained in it as a provider in 2021 and then opened a personal practice. In 2023, I co-founded Daytryp Health with Chris Cohn with a team of passionate employees who also seek to help people.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Since opening Daytryp, there are always patients who teach me things. I’d say that every patient teaches me something.

One woman patient had significant trauma and actually yelled out during her journey. I made sure she was safe, but I didn’t do too much, to allow her room to internally work. When she came out of it, she was significantly improved and said her depression had lessened. It was her and the medicine doing the work and that was empowering for her. That was a great lesson for me. It’s about how good the provider is and that depends on how well the patient does. In psychedelic medicine it’s about holding space or keeping the client safe while they are the ones doing the healing internally. It’s not about the provider so much as it is about the clients. That’s been very interesting and takes quite a bit of pressure off. Every single patient has taught me this lesson.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

All the mistakes I’ve made in my practice have taught me to trust the client’s innate wisdom. I’m sure there were a lot of mistakes but, I think the patients should be allowed to keep their power. I learned early on, through plenty of failures in trying to make my patients do what I thought was best and what evidence-based practice proved to be most effective, that I needed to be a partner with my patients rather than a dictator. I could offer options based on evidence and always make sure I added the option of “do nothing.” In the end, it’s the patient who knows what is best for him/her even when the decision isn’t what I would choose. There is something about self-advocacy that is extremely healing and empowering. Acknowledging a patient’s innate wisdom can spur better self-care practices as well. The result of this is always better health.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Being a solo provider can feel limited. With a group like Daytrp Health, there’s more energy to help clients. The collective is going to be stronger together. I love working with all of my colleagues now versus working solo, especially when you’re dealing with mental health.

Ketamine assisted psychotherapy in conjunction with psychotherapy works to treat mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, and PTSD on a deeper level than anti-depressants or therapy on its own. The need for this type of medical care is enormous and has grown tremendously because of our nation’s current mental health crisis.

Daytryp Health makes a bigger impact because our treatment is combined with a passionate group and a thorough aftercare. Psychedelics are a powerful tool for healing. They act as nonspecific amplifiers and are neutral. They simply reveal to the person what’s inside. They can help us access places we may feel stuck in our lives or continue to relive something over and over again. Achieving access to deeper levels of our brain essentially allows the client and therapist to integrate meaning from the psychedelic experience and heal from the past. Helping people with improved well-being impacts individuals and their families, but also communities and essentially the world.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each

Seek out a therapist and don’t settle, really find someone you connect with. Investing in your mental well-being is the most important thing you can do for yourself but the ripple effects from your healing has potential to reach further than you can possibly imagine.

Practice something that makes you stay present and feel sensations in your body. Whether this is yoga, meditation, exercise — it’s simply important to be present and be aware of your thoughts and body. Getting out of your mind and into your body is important for healing.

Seek out ways to connect and build a community either in your neighborhood or church or through work or school and become an active participant.

If you know a new mother, give her support in whatever capacity you can. If you have time then give her some minutes of alone time or even much needed sleep and you take care of the baby. If you cook then offer her a home cooked meal. If you have money and she’s in need then offer her that. Offer her support with kindness and love. Feeling supported allows her the ability to connect with her new baby so she can form a healthy bond. This will serve in more ways than you can imagine in the days, weeks, and years ahead of them.

De-clutter your closets, garage, junk drawer regularly. This has symbolic and energetic implications for your own mental health. Letting go of what no longer serves you and making space for new things to enter your life.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Educating about the proper use of psychedelics maybe really diving in if there’s a stigma around it. Knowing if you’ve been highly influenced by the war on drugs to learn a bit more about that topic because there’s an opportunity where if we really do it intentionally then the potential for healing is just so much greater than the tools ew have now which are pharmaceuticals which aren’t doing a great job. I think for those it’s best used as a cast when mending a broken bone. Use it for a short period of time while you’re getting through an acute phase of healing then taking it away. It’s not meant for year upon year treatment.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Make the healing of psychedelics much more accessible to those who would like to use them but also to make sure that we are using them in a way much different than our current medical system does. Cultures have used psychedelics for a millennia and they know it’s important to not use psychedelics alone but with a guide. I think everyone should know and practice this.

I think it’s good to know that these practices are not similar to going to a spa, getting a treatment, and then leaving. There is internal work to be done. When we use the medicine to escape our life and are not doing the work around it but actually diving in and having support around healing and working through the traumas versus just escaping them for another day… We get much more out of it. We need to educate. Its important to take time for this process and then it’s really effective.

Starting Daytryp with this group, I didn’t know it would affect me so much. Its not something we just do. We put our entire heart into it. Knowing my capacity as a businessperson and being with a group that everybody honors each other’s skill set and the respect we give each other for our unique expertise. We all bring something to the table.

Me coming from chronic illness was my expertise as a geriatric nurse practitioner but I always provided help for mental health issues not mater what even if I was treating for diabetes. I think the knowledge that no matter what the conditions stem from our psyche and its very dismissive to say its all in your head but it kind of is. Knowing that a lot of health issues start with mental health drove me to have a passion to help. We can heal our mental illness or shift and get better, and so can our chronic condition.

Overall, the more I educate myself on these topics, the more empowering it is. I think as a society we should educate on psychedelics, mental health and proper use of medication.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is dearest to me. Nearly 50 million adults in the U.S. and over 2.5 million youth are currently suffering from mental illnesses, such as anxiety and/or depression. Post-traumatic stress disorder has also been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. As a mother of two young girls and I think about their mental health all the time. I know there are forces beyond my control that only get stronger and more pervasive the older they get. My most important job is to model well-being for them and stay attuned to their needs. I’m not going to be a perfect parent but I can let them know I love them and I’m here for them when they need to talk or process something, and then stand true to my word. Kids especially process what they see, the actions adults take, much more than they do words. Saying one thing and doing the opposite only leads to confusion and anxiety in children. Doing my best to model the behaviors I hope to see in them goes a lot farther than constant lecturing. Sadly, I know this because of experience. Not one of us can bear hearing about a child suicide or school shooting however, we also have a tendency to blame something other than the true culprit. We are the true culprit, all of us collectively.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

Readers can visit daytryp.com for more information or follow us @daytryp.health

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

--

--