How I'm Coping with Big Life Changes

Photo by:  @andiwanders

Photo by: @andiwanders

It is the first day of October. My favorite month, in fact. I thought it was about time to shake the dust off of the laptop, and tell you why I haven’t been writing lately.

Have you ever felt like you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life? Do you ever feel like none of what you are spending your time, energy and resources on really matters? Does your motivation ever just vanish? Hello, and welcome to a little life event I like to call an existential crisis. I got married and moved across the country within a span of one week. Existential crisis, comin’ right up!

Before deciding to move to California, I had a list of projects that I was working on. It seemed like I was doing a photo shoot every week with a local photographer. I was meeting new movers and shakers in my community. I was attending events and networking. I was getting freelance work for social media influencing and creating. I had received some basic training on launching a podcast and purchased the equipment. I wrote an e-book with plans for a second.

If everything was so great, why did I decide to move?

I have wanted to move for a very long time. West Virginia was my home but never quite felt like home. I was very grateful that in the months leading up to my move, I was able to see it in a new light. I felt like there was more long term opportunity in California, especially in the fields of work I hope to be in. I also have always (always) wanted to live by the beach and in a politically progressive place. And I wanted more access to vegan food (and other vegans!) I really do love it here. I wasn’t quite expecting, though, to lose so much of my excitement and fervor for my projects. I guess, maybe, I have been a bit too hard on myself and not hard enough, all at once. On the one hand, I have only lived here a very short amount of time. On the other, I could sit down and get the podcast going, I could sit down and produce multiple blog posts. I just haven’t felt like creating, and that is why I am writing this and doing it anyway.

Sometimes, it isn’t about what you feel like doing. It’s just fucking doing it anyway. It’s about believing in yourself. It’s allowing yourself space to question if anything you are doing matters, while also moving forward with the conviction that it does.

So, how am I coping?

Some days I cry a lot. Some days I laugh a lot. Sometimes it’s both in the same day. I have been going to the beach as much as possible. I have been exploring my new city, sometimes I feel brave enough to do this on my own and sometimes I don’t. I have been spending time with the friends that I have here. I have been working out, eating healthy. Sometimes I bite Danny’s head off for no reason and other times I collapse into his chest. I have been avoiding this blog. I have been mentally selling my talent (and myself) short.

What’s my advice?

Look, life is messy. And sometimes life is just really fucking tough. Give yourself some credit, though. And stop being so hard on yourself. I’m not telling you that the scariest thing you will ever do is to say “yes” to that scary decision you have been thinking about. Honestly? The scariest part will probably come after. The magic is in the follow through. The magic is in the patience, the trust. Find the courage, and keep the courage. And some days, allow yourself to fall apart if that is what you need. Take a hiatus. Take deep breaths. Do whatever you need to live a fearlessly full life of your wildest imagination.

Bet on yourself. Go all in.

What scary decisions have you been considering lately?

CBD: What Is It and Does It Really Work?

Pin this photo to read the post later! 

Pin this photo to read the post later! 

Suddenly, cannabidiol (CBD) oil seems to be everywhere. People are dropping it into their morning coffee, swallowing capsules, and loading it into their vape pens. There are claims that it relieves anxiety and depression and masks chronic pain. Many of you know that I have been obsessed with testing out various CBD products over the last few months!

So, what is it and does it really work? Over the past few months I have experimented with various forms of CBD oil to monitor how and if they helped alleviate the symptoms of my anxiety. 

Disclaimers: (1) I am not a medical professional, nor a CBD expert. The goal of this post is to share information about CBD and my personal experience with it. I did my best research and fact-checking for accuracy.  (2) I was not monetarily compensated for these brands nor do I receive affiliate dollars if you buy them. They are honest opinions and reviews.

INTRO TO CBD

What is CBD? CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis plant. 

So, is CBD marijuana? Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was THC. This is the most active ingredient in marijuana (and the one that alters the mind and makes you high). Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, but the compounds have different effects on the body. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that you will not be getting stoned (sorry).

Is it legal? That depends. The legality of CBD depends on which state (or country) you reside in. There are 2 kinds of CBD. Hemp CBD products are available widely online (and what is legal here in West Virginia) whereas cannabis derived CBD products are only available in some states at medical dispensaries. I have only tried hemp derived CBD. 

Does it create a dependency? Research shows that CBD does not cause dependence. It can be a great alternative for those trying to stay away from opioids or pharmaceuticals in general. 

What dosage is right for me? Start by taking small doses and observe what happens. Listen to your body. Make small adjustments. 

THE BENEFITS

Why are people using it? 

  • CBD has been proven to have natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. This is great for those suffering from chronic pain from diseases like fibromyalgia or even pain associated with cancer. 
  • CBD has been proven to have anti-seizure properties. 
  • It can also be used to topically treat skin conditions. More and more CBD is being recommended for those with acne or eczema! It can be worked into your regular skincare routine, regardless. 
  • Struggling with nausea or vomiting? CBD can be used to treat it. 
  • And the big one: anxiety. The whole reason I sought out CBD products was to help treat my anxiety symptoms. CBD has been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety even in individuals that suffer from PTSD or OCD. 

HOW TO USE IT?

CBD comes in a variety of forms; the selection of products can be overwhelming! Some more expensive than others. There is everything from oil, tincture, sublingual spray, topical creams, infused with essential oils and even edibles. You will want to determine what symptoms you are hoping to alleviate to determine which method of consumption is best for you. 

If you are wanting to use CBD oil for its anti-inflammatory properties on your muscles or joints, a gel or cream would probably be best. Similarly, if you want to use it to treat or prevent acne, a topical treatment would be ideal. For very low doses, some companies sell CBD infused with essential oils in a roller form. 

For all other symptom treatment, you will want to choose something that has the dosage you are looking for that is easy for you to consume. You can place drops of oil under your tongue (and let it soak in), you can add it to foods or drinks that you consume like coffee or tea. CBD capsules are also an option, these are typically a higher dosage, but not always. You can also purchase a spray that you can aim at the back of your mouth. 

Blue Ridge Hemp CBD gel - great for muscles and joints!

Blue Ridge Hemp CBD gel - great for muscles and joints!

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE  

I tried many variants of CBD products. I tried products from Plus CBD, Blue Ridge Hemp and Appalachian Cannabis Company. In fact, I tried most of the product types that I listed above. I wanted to use CBD to see if helped alleviate some of the symptoms of my anxiety. That being said, I do find that taking CBD orally does help. However, it does not erase my anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn't 'go away' but taking CBD regularly alleviates the tight feelings in my chest, as well as making me feel an overall more calm feeling. 

As for my preference in which product to use, I honestly preferred the softgel capsules. It was easy, tasteless and provided the right dosage for me. I did not take one of these daily, only about every 2 to 3 days. I also enjoyed this tincture of peppermint CBD added into my morning coffee. This has been a great alternative to sweeteners or creamer, so if you drink something that you would like adding peppermint to, try a tincture. 

I also saw a benefit from CBD in my sore muscles. I used this ointment after lifting heavy at the gym, and noticed that my muscles were not as sore the next day than on days where I did not use the ointment. If you have joint or muscle pain, I would highly recommend adding in a topical CBD product to your routine. 

I have yet to try CBD bath salts or sunscreen, but I am very interested in these two products and will update this post as I try more things! Some still see CBD as controversial, and that is okay. I encourage you to open your mind and try it out, especially if you suffer from an ailment that it has been proven to help with. 

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