Concluding Mental Health Week
As we approach the end of Mental Health Week, I thought I would talk about COVID-19 since that is all everyone is talking about it seems. I’ve talked about dealing with blazing alone during COVID-19. I’ve also discussed resilience and thriving during these times of crisis. If you’re running low on your stash, you’ll find useful information here. Finally, my post on loss and adaption talks about the impacts of COVID-19 on you.
Today, I’ll be talking about mental health in more detail. I introduced Mental Health Week a few days ago, and also discussed my mental health experiences. I’m sure you, like many of us, are experiencing increased symptoms and stress. I’ll discuss how Cannabis comes into play, including when, where, and how you can get high while promoting health and wellbeing.
How can COVID-19 impact your mental health?
This is a good starting point to assess where you’re at after weeks of this isolation and limited activity. You may be working extra hard, lost your job, or working from home. Many of us are dealing with children at home and the struggle with balance around that. There is so much uncertainty, misinformation, and stress floating around right now. How has all of this influenced your state of wellbeing? Has this progressed over the last few weeks?
COVID-19 impacted your blazing?
You may also have an extra-large bloom of cannabis smoke following you around. When an entire month of 4/20 having just passed, many individuals made use of the time by getting real baked each day. You may be smoking more than you usually do, and who can blame you? The primary question to ask is, what impact is this having on your mental health? What can stay the same, what needs to change, and how do you get there?
Where are you at?
As you read these questions and take some time to reflect on your situation. Ask yourself, where are at you right now? Where have you been at times during this crisis, and which direction are you heading? You may note successes and failures, benefits and drawbacks, and overall good and bad experiences. Start by taking some time to do a full-body scan. Are you tense, sleep-deprived, well-fed, angry, anxious, worried, depressed?
Where do you want to go?
Now that you have an idea of where you’re at. Where do you want to go? What would you like to improve when it comes to your mental health? How is your physical health influencing your pursuit of wellbeing? Which emotions may be positive, driving productive action. Others may be negative, impeding your ability to get shit done, and enjoy life.
What do you need?
Consider where you’re at and where you want to go. What do you need to get there? What do you need for your mental health? Are you feeling isolated, are you lacking in useful information, are you angry at someone right now? What would help with these feelings and their potential negative impacts?
How does Cannabis play a role?
What role is Cannabis serving in your life right now? How is it helping or hindering your pursuit of completing goals? What are the impacts on your mental health from smoking weed? Taking the time to self-reflect on your cannabis consumption can help you identify the pros and cons. After that, focus on how you can promote the positives and reduce the negatives.
Considerations on Cannabis and Mental Health during COVID-19
When are you having your first blaze of the day? How different is this from your regular routine? What impact is this having on completing your daily goals? If your goal is to rest and relax, Cannabis definitely could help. If you have a long to-do list that you avoid while high, what problems could arise from that?
What are you doing while High? Whether you’re spending more or less time baked each day, think about your actions. What do you do while high? Are these things that promote better mental health (like exercise, socializing, healthy food, proper sleep, etc.)? Which aspect may be hurting your mental health (procrastination, negativity, anxiety, etc.)?
Maintaining Your Mental Health During COVID-19
There is something essential to be said. No matter how poorly you think you are doing right now, keep this in mind. This is a once-in-a-century global pandemic. If you are under high stress and have low productivity, you’re pretty much in the norm. We may feel alone, but we are all struggling with this in our own ways. Be compassionate to yourself and others.
Delays and Distractions
If a few projects have been delayed, what reason could possibly be better than a global pandemic? Work may not feel important right now, I feel you there. Try to remember the parts of your job you like and the reasons why you picked this career. If you want to take it a little bit easy right now, I’m not going to judge you, and nobody else should either. Don’t worry about the work you haven’t done. Focus on what you can do today, and each day moving forward.
Family and Friends
Now is a great time to reach out to friends, tell them you love them, and spend time supporting each other. This can be a socially distanced walk outside or a phone/video chat. They may need it more than you do, so think about messaging some friends or family and getting a conversation started. You may find a lot of similarities and may even feel better about your productivity level.
Parenting during COVID-19
I’m no parent, so I can’t speak to this in much depth. What I can say is that all those people worrying about educating your kids at home, take a quick pause. Is learning some random facts to recite on a test actually important right now? Are they missing out on anything of value in their lives? Depending on their age, let them enjoy some time as kids. I would have loved a long summer once in a while. I don’t think kids will be severely affected nearly as much as we all fear (around education, at least). For those who have been out of school for a while. I can assure you, anything taught in the final 3 months of school is repeated the next year. I found each first semester to be a review of the prior last semester.
If you do want to teach your kids, I think there are some fantastic lessons to learn right now. Show them the chores you do each day around the house. Let them watch you pay your bills and file your taxes. Make sure they understand percentages and basic math (that’s all you really need in life). Give them a computer and ask them for a report on some random topic, then read it after dinner and provide feedback. Gardening, crafting, cooking, repairing, yard-work, and so many other useful skills can be learned right now. They won’t suffer from not temporarily memorizing all 50 states this year. The takeaway point I have for parents is take it easy on yourselves. You don’t have to be a teacher right now, just focus on being a parent.
What do you do each day? This selection of daily activities is the most critical thing we do each day. Do you have activities that help you de-stress productively? Can you make yourself a healthy meal? How well do you clean and maintain your space up to your standards? Write down the key activities you can do each day that will help you feel better. Things that will help you to feel less stressed, depressed, and anxious. Make this list and then get it done. Some activities are better done sober, so do those first. Then, reward yourself with a joint and complete the rest of the list while baked.
Mental Health and Cannabis
Cannabis can increase the perception of negative emotions you’re experiencing. The anxiety we all feel from COVID-19 may be heightened by getting high. This can be a stressful experience for us. I also found that these moments helped provide clarity and gave me things to work on in my life. Learn more about COVID-19, so it becomes less of a scary unknown. Spend some time sober addressing your mental health symptoms. Then try to address these while high. Start with a lower dose and pick health activities to complete. You may found that the anxiety you had on the couch melts away when outside, walking in the sunshine.
Some of us may want to take some time away from weed to get ourselves back on track. Others may want to restrict smoking until after dinner, and only when your work is done. Select activities that are well suited to being high and focus on those while baked. Crafting, cooking, cleaning, and exercising are just a few examples. If you feel distressed or lost in all of this mess, please do seek out professional medical support when needed. We may all feel alone in this, but we are in it together, I assure you.
Tips for Positive Mental Health While High
Since I like bullet points, I thought I’d include some here. These are some broad tips that I hope help stimulate some ideas and decisive action on your part. Here are some tips for maintaining and improving your mental health while high:
- Eat one healthy food item. Take your time and focus on the flavor while you eat
- Get 15-30 minutes of light-moderate exercise. You can pick what you do (I like walking), just do something to get the blood flowing and encourage better sleep
- Try to spend time winding down before bed without a screen. Read a book, write in a journal, or spend time stretching
- Find a way to be social while high. This may be electronic communication, but that’s fine right now
- Spend time being mindful and self-reflective. Focus on your mind and body, noting what you are experiencing right now. You may observe some negative findings, but that’s ok. Accept them, and then keep going
- Do something that will make you feel good tomorrow. You may not enjoy doing it right now, but you’ll thank yourself tomorrow. Keep doing this and make notice how each day you have more to be grateful for in your life. Even something little like waking up to a clean sink without dirty dishes
- Learn something new while high. I know many people dislike learning while high, but it can be done. Train yourself to be more cognitively active while high through intentional effort
For all of these activities, taking notes can be productive. Pay attention to how these actions make you feel during and after. Write down any positives you note and focus on those next time you are attempting to get your butt off the couch and do something productive.