Today, we're talking about cannabis and mental health! I'm releasing another new page with tips on how you can improve your mindset.
Our mental health is tied in with every other facet of our well-being. If you're malnourished, don't move your body or get enough sleep, your mindset can seriously suffer.
I know this from experience.
When I was a junior in college, I decided to try and be the "do it all" girl. My friend Ryan Haskins (designer of the lovely stash jar in the final giveaway) had branded a cannabis dispensary for his senior Capstone project the year before and posted it on Behance. By winter, he was having people contact him for all kinds of work and needed help. We had always dreamed of opening a design studio together in the future so we thought, "Hey, let's just go for it now."
Ryan was in Boulder at the time working at a magazine, but I was still in Kirksville, MO struggling with a serious aversion to my professors. Having a cannabis-branding design studio was a dream, and I was determined to make it work, even though I was still doing school, work, and AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts). Ryan and I would sit on Skype together for hours at a time, working and working. I would only sleep for 15 minutes - 2 hours at a time, "power naps" and "fifteeners" I called them, and I forgot to eat. When I did eat, it was a power bar or bag of chips. I wasn't getting any exercise. On top of it, this was my first-ever "real" client — and it was stressful. It didn't help that they were a little bit of a nightmare.
For a while, I was able to keep up with it all. I thrived off the excitement of opening a design studio and still keeping up with my grades. "I really can do it all," I thought. Wrong.
After a few weeks, I started to become dysfunctional. Things were falling through the cracks, and I wasn't being a very good friend, daughter, or even student. My body was trying to tell me to slow down, but I wouldn't listen. There were a few mornings walking to class when get a wave of sickness, pause to throw up, then go on my way. I would just randomly break down sobbing for no apparent reason.
But I was on a mission. I had a dream. I couldn't fail.
It was 2.5 months before I finally gave in and let it go. My parents came — on a week night — to see me at school, and I could feel how concerned they were about me. That's when I knew it was time to make a change. Ryan and I ended up firing our client (which in and of itself was a traumatic experience) and took a break on other work as I went through my finals. But even after the weight of working for this client had been lifted, it took me a long time to get my body and brain back to a normal, functional, and healthy state.
The thing about cannabis is that it can be whatever you need it to be.
When I needed to stay awake and work, cannabis helped me. I would smoke and just go, go, go for hours. A lot of college kids use Adderall to focus... I used dabs. Then there were times when I would smoke that bowl in an effort to stay awake but my body would refuse and force me to sleep. Other times it would bring my awareness back to my body and I would be so hungry that I would have to go eat something. My body would take over and I would actually get up and stretch.
It also kept me sane.
I'm already an anxious person, but the disregard for my body during this time sent me over the edge. Over time, I figured out exactly what dose of cannabis kept me positive and in a "happy place" while I worked for hours on end. And when it was time to sleep, cannabis would help my brain turn off its to-do list chorus and let me get some rest.
Cannabis still works in this way for me. If I really need to power through a project, a dab will focus my attention on the task at hand. It's usually when I do my second dab that I realize I need to eat something or get up for a crazy dance session. Then I'll go right back to work.
Cannabis can be intimidating because no one can honestly tell you what dose or method is going to work best for you.
Everyone's a little different, and it takes time to truly figure out how your body interacts with cannabis and how you can best benefit from it. Don't let this stop you — just be responsible while you experiment. Start low and go slow, be in a comfortable place, and keep track of how things affect you so that you can draw conclusions from your own data. Remember, even though everyone reacts a little differently to cannabis, no one has ever died from using it.
Pause to reflect a little bit on your own mental health today with these questions:
- Where has my focus been?
- What is drawing my attention away from the here and now?
- Is my body trying to tell me anything about my mindset?
- What steps can I take to improve mental and emotional health?
Share your own story about mental health with us on social media to enter the final giveaway!
Copyright © 2016 Kristen Williams, All Rights Reserved