May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans will experience mental illness in a given year making it a very common issue? Being it is such a common issue, it’s sadly still stigmatized, but we believe there’s hope. Although mental health and personal wellbeing remains something that the majority of us are embarrassed to talk about, the good news is that society is becoming more and more empathetic and aware of our own struggles with anxiety, depression and other conditions that affect how we feel mentally and sometimes even physically.
As we are in our second year of the COVID-19 crisis, mental health and wellbeing is more crucial than ever before. There is no doubt that all of us suffered in one way or another the past year, and mental health organizations have shared that they have received more calls from individuals seeking help than ever before as a direct result of the pandemic’s wrath on our emotional wellbeing.
Why is Talking About Mental Health Very Important as a Society?
Socially we may seek to hide our true feelings and mental health. With 20% of the population dealing with a mental health issue annually, there are quite a few of us that have relatable experiences. If you cannot find a trusted source within your inner circle to discuss your personal thoughts and feelings, there’s a great number of therapists that are readily available to hear what you have to say, and are trained on how to work though the rough patches that we all go through. We all need our feelings to be heard and acknowledged and finding a comfortable source to do so whether a professional or personal friend can be extremely beneficial. Opening up to someone about your own mental health and wellbeing can positively impact your life and maybe even inspire your loved ones to do the same.
If you are really struggling, please call:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
Mental Health in the COVID Era
Even before COVID became our reality, it was clear that mental health and wellness struggles were on the rise across the world, there’s been a lot of pain and fear in the world. Due to a combination of factors including socio-economic decline, social media pressure, an increase in exposure and what appears to be a magnifying effect to negative current events. This coupled with higher work pressures and loss of income has led to growing struggles and potentially more than ever before, or at least in modern society. But, COVID unfortunately has acted as a perfect storm, making many people’s mental health an issue on the forefront of many households, impacting many individuals who otherwise has had limited experience with mental health decline.
COVID turned our lives upside down in just about every way possible. In the first days of the crisis, before our day-to-day lives were directly impacted, many of us experienced enormous anxiety just reading about it in the news. We felt powerless, and began to fear for our health, as well as the health of our loved ones. The anxiety pertaining to getting sick made many of us feel paralyzed with fear.
In addition to the fear pertaining to the illness itself, the effects of the mitigation efforts to control the disease were also destructive to our emotional wellbeing in many ways. Many of us lost our jobs, either temporarily or permanently, due to the shutting down of many businesses across the country. This financial stress, combined with a looming economic crash, has sent many of us into a complete panic.
Hence, it cannot be denied that months of social isolation have taken their toll on many of us. As social creatures, humans have a deep need to connect with others through physical contact and conversation. But, once stay-at-home orders were put into place, many of us were suddenly without our support systems, forced to take on a solitary lifestyle with minimal human contact. Family members stopped seeing each other, friends were no longer able to spend time together and those of us who go to religious services or other types of meetings suddenly lost one of our most important outlets.
It is no surprise, therefore, that experts are warning of serious mental health consequences as the actual threat of COVID comes to a close. While this may sound concerning, the reality is that negative mental health and wellness decline can be managed and treated through a number of avenues.
What to Do if You’re Struggling with Your Mental Wellbeing?
If your mental wellbeing has been suffering lately, there are things that you can do in order to find relief. You do not need to cope through difficult times in silence, especially as more therapeutic options have been proven to help.
Talk to Someone
Sometimes the easiest thing you can do is talk to someone you trust, like a close friend or family member. Opening up about what you’re going through is the first step to finding the relief and understanding that you deserve.
Seek Professional Help
There are therapists and other mental health specialists all around the world who are there to help you improve your mental state. Nowadays, many therapists offer telehealth sessions and will make payment plans for those who may struggle affording it.
Start Maintaining a Wellness Practice
Many people have found that maintaining a routine of meditation or yoga has helped them manage the overwhelming stress of COVID and improved quality of life. These practices help us regulate our nervous systems so that we can better manage stressors that we encounter on a daily basis.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
We tend to overlook the connection between physical and mental health, which is an important one. How we feel physically affects how we feel mentally, and vice versa. Many people find that starting a new exercise routine and making beneficial changes to their diet have at least some type of impact on mental health and wellness, by both making us feel better about ourselves and offering the body nutrients and endorphins that can actually balance our brain chemicals that play a big role in our moods.
Take Inventory of Your Life
When you feel like your emotions are overwhelming you, it’s a good time to stop and take inventory of your life. Grab a pen and a journal and make a list of things that you engage in daily, as well as things that influence your mood. Ask yourself if there are any changes that you can make that will protect or improve your mental wellbeing moving forward, whether it be cutting a toxic relationship out of your life or committing to consuming less alcohol, little changes can make a bid difference.
Know That This Too Shall Pass
One of the most common phrases used in the mental health community is, “This too shall pass.” Even when we feel like we are at our emotional breaking point, the storm always passes, allowing the sun to show through the clouds. When you feel that you are at emotional rock bottom, repeat this to yourself, because it’s the truth.
CBD and Mental Health & Wellness: What is the Connection?
You may have noticed that over the last year, more people in your circle than ever before have begun taking cannabidiol (CBD) on a daily basis to support wellbeing. This is not a coincidence, as many have found that this hemp-derived cannabinoid may help with mood disorders. Within the brain is a network of cannabinoid receptors which utilize cannabinoids like CBD to balance things like cognitive function and neurochemical balance. This is why so many people report feeling “blissful” and just simply “better” when maintaining a daily routine with cannabidiol.
Now, if you plan to take CBD for mental wellbeing, you must discuss this with both your general doctor and your mental health specialist, such as a therapist or a psychologist. This is especially true if you are taking medications, as cannabidiol may interact with some medications.
Using CBD for Mental Health & Wellness: With THC or Not?
Many people ask us whether or not they should use a CBD product that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). First off, since delta 9 THC is illegal in most states, obviously we cannot condone using a CBD product that contains a high level of this cannabinoid unless you live in a state that legally permits you to do so.
Full spectrum hemp products contain THC, but only a trace amount (0.3%), which is within the legal limit and incapable of getting you high. Despite THC only being present in a trace amount, it may be worth considering trying a full spectrum hemp formula as the presence of each compound can play a role in how you feel due to the entourage effect, which boosts the abilities of each individual compound through synergy, while also offering additional cannabinoids and terpenes that can have useful properties.
What are the Best Types of CBD Products to Try?
Some CBD products on the market may be more suitable for mental wellbeing support than others. For example, topicals will not provide any mood-regulating properties as the CBD’s effects stay localized to the area of the body onto which the product was applied, which would be the muscles, joints, and skin.
Internal delivery methods are what you should be looking for.
- Gummies: Great choice for those who want the longest-lasting effects, as digesting the compound allows you to feel it in the body for up to 8 hours, although it can take up to 2 hours for those effects to take place.
- Softgels/Capsules: Like gummies, they are simple to ingest and their effects last just as long.
- Tinctures/oils: Administered below the tongue, taking effect in as little as 30 minutes, and lasting up to 4 hours.
- Vapes: Act almost immediately and wear off in about an hour or so.
Each type of delivery method has its place in one’s routine, so choose what you want based on your needs, and you can even consider taking more than one method in a day if your doctor approves.
Treatments are Available, Especially from a Holistic Approach
As we begin to return to normal life following the COVID crisis, it is important that we pay attention to our emotional needs, as many of us are still feeling the consequences that this crisis has had on our well being. If you’re struggling with mental wellness, we urge you to seek help, talk to someone and consider finding a form of treatment that can give you relief. Help is widely available, and there are proven support options for common mental and wellness health conditions that are affordable, accessible, and clinically shown to work.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer. All opinions expressed in this blog post are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Sky Wellness or its brands/affiliates.