May is Mental Health Awareness month and a powerful time to reflect on your mental and emotional wellness. For people who love weed, there are a variety of ways we can honor ourselves and check in on our mental health this month, and every month moving forward.
With so much going on in the world around us, it is important that we take extra time to work through our feelings, try new ways to feel better, or identify the root cause of patterns we just can’t seem to escape. This could include evaluating our relationship with cannabis (yikes!) or even having deep conversations with loved ones.
But here’s a little spoiler. Sometimes, the only answer you will find is that you’re a human being with complex hormones, chemicals, and emotions. Everyone copes with life in a variety of different ways, and your job is to find the ways that are healthy and manageable for your unique life.
Here are four ways folks living the cannabis lifestyle can check in on their mental health right now:
1. Exchange social media time for self-exploration
Social media can send our brains and our emotions spiraling at the refresh of a timeline. Not to mention, social media isn’t always the most cannabis-friendly place. Assess how much time you’re spending on social media and how it makes you feel. And don’t be afraid to take a break.
There are many hypotheses about what all our time on the internet is doing to our brains, and we must remember that we don’t live in the Matrix yet.
Reducing your time on social media is a good way to make time to pay attention to your own thoughts and feelings – an activity that is a lot easier when you don’t have a constant stream of opinions and headlines coming at you.
Set limits on your phone that remind you to take a break after ten minutes of scrolling or go cold turkey and delete the apps completely. And no cheating by logging in on your desktop!
Use the extra time to reflect, light a joint and meditate, or read a couple of pages of a new book.
2. Seek sunlight
Now, this is one I really hope everyone can do.
Find a ray of sun and exist in it for at least twenty minutes. You can journal on a park bench, stare aimlessly out a window, take a spin around the block and smoke one, or just lay on the carpet and take a catnap. What matters is that you get yourself into the light of that giant, gaseous, burning star!
As many of us know, sunlight helps our bodies make vitamin D and a lack of vitamin D can lead to feelings of depression. It may seem basic, but our exposure to sunshine can have a major impact on our mood and over time, our mental health.
Studies show that people with more melanin have a harder time making a sufficient amount of vitamin D, which means that we may have to speak to our doctors about other ways (besides the sun) to get vitamin D into our systems – like a daily supplement.
No matter how much melanin you have, don’t forget the sunscreen.
3. Live in your truth
Life is crazy every single day. It comes with highs and lows, plus everything in between. Take time to recognize everything you’ve been through and the ways it has shaped you into the person you are today.
Make decisions based on what’s best for you, and don’t let anyone shame you for being different. Fighting against who you truly are will tank your mental health—you deserve to live in your truth.
If you need a mental health day from work and can do so, take it. If you need to set more firm boundaries to achieve your goals, do it. If you need to tell your family that you like to smoke weed to help manage stress, today is the day.
Give yourself permission to prioritize your well-being and don’t feel guilty about having a sense of self-preservation (even if it feels a little foreign to you).
4. Explore therapy, and don’t be afraid to get real about meds
The cannabis community is full of many different types of people. There are people bursting with passion, determination, energy, and the resources they need to be okay. And it’s also full of people who have experienced trauma and deserve the attention of a mental health professional to talk about it.
Sweet stoner family, please know this: sometimes weed is not enough to see us to the other side of life’s greatest challenges. The plant cannot go back in time and re-wire our brains or erase our trauma.
Weed is an incredible tool and a true companion when pharmaceutical medication is not accessible – and sometimes – even in addition to pharmaceuticals. But also sometimes, prescription meds are necessary, and there’s no shame in that. Multiple things can exist at the same time.
You may find a new kind of peace in smoking strains for your unique issues, talking with a mental health professional, and getting on a little medication. It is a privilege to have the money and time to invest in yourself this way, and if you can, you shouldn’t feel ashamed about seeking help.
Resources like Talkspace, BetterHelp, or Hers are there to help you understand what types mental health assistance are available to you. Betterhelp even provides financial aid options for people who need help with the price of their mental health care.
Just remember: you don’t have to do it all by yourself.
Consuming cannabis can be an important part of our self-care, but as humans, sometimes we need more than one thing to truly improve our mental health. These tips are just a starting point. The rest of your mental health journey awaits as soon as you’re ready to begin.