The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real test to the mental health of everyone, everywhere. We have had to deal with the forced estrangement of our nearest and dearest, Rapunzel-esque isolation, boredom, redundancies, furloughs and financial insecurity. In other words, many of us have had to go through a lifetime's worth of turmoil in the space of a year. We know that it's going to take a long time to heal from the horrors of the pandemic (and everything else that's happened in 2020).
In this post, we will be running you through the things you can do to achieve mental harmony. We'll also include some information about how to create a nice self-care-regime with CBD.
CBD: an overview
As you might guess, at MANTLE we are obsessed with an ingredient known as cannabidiol. Known to all by its abbreviation, CBD is the compound derived from the cannabis plant that is on everyone’s lips right now. Stick with us, as we break down the ins and outs of this phytochemical, and how it can bring balance.
As we said, CBD is derived from the cannabis plant. More specifically, the cannabis Sativa plant species. This makes CBD a phytocannabinoid, a chemical that stems from a plant. Making up cannabis Sativa are two main varieties, known as hemp and marijuana. While these two strains share common characteristics, marijuana has higher concentrations of THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid that causes intoxication (also known as a "high"). As a result, marijuana and its derivatives largely remain illegal (with the exception of some countries and states erring on the liberal side of the divisive cannabis debate) for both healthcare supplementary and recreational usage.
Hemp, on the other hand, has a naturally higher concentration of CBD and less THC. Consequently, there are more flexible laws surrounding the hemp plant and uses of CBD. CBD has a history of use as an agent of balance. Notably, CBD is non-psychoactive, and thus does not cause highs like THC.
So, we've established that CBD and THC are chemicals known as cannabinoids. They aren't the only ones found in cannabis; they are two of over 100 active cannabinoids, including CBN, CBC, and numerous others. Each of the cannabinoids has its own unique properties, just as CBD does.
Although the legal status of CBD can be somewhat confusing, hemp-derived CBD is legal throughout the EU, the UK and at a federal level in the US. That said, there are varying regulations on the THC content allowed in a CBD product. Although this differs per EU country, with some allowing higher concentrations of THC than others, the limit is mostly 0.2% THC and 0.3% across the United States.
CBD & self-care
CBD can have centring effects. For the best results on achieving balance, we recommend finding your dosage (starting off small and gradually increasing your dosage), using your CBD daily, and continuing this ritual for at least three weeks. It's important to remember that with CBD, patience is a virtue. Its effects may not immediately set in, but if you stay persistent with your CBD intake, you're sure to reap its balance.
There is a reason behind the booming popularity of CBD, and that is the numerous anecdotal accounts of its centering effects from so many people. CBD is an entirely natural and organic way to keep us balanced. It is a self-care hack that the whole world is now clocking onto, and is an easy thing to include in other practices you do in your daily routine It has been known to affect overall balance, and that's why we here at MANTLE are huge CBD junkies!
What can I do to protect my well-being?
Achieving mental harmony requires a delicate balance in your life. So, here are a few crucial, albeit often dismissed, things you can do to keep yourself in check.
We here at MANTLE understand that getting enough exercise is vital to maintaining mental clarity. Aerobic exercises have been linked to reduced anxiety and depression, as well as improved self-esteem and cognitive performance. Such mood improvements are allegedly caused by factors such as an exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain.
It is generally recommended to get 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Even brisk walking or climbing the stairs can count.
Getting your thoughts and feelings out into the open is a great way to relieve a heavy load from your head. Ensure you are not keeping all your negative feelings bottled up. Whether you open up to a friend or family member or invest in a therapist, it is hugely important to share your mental burdens, so they don't end up (figuratively) crushing you.
If you find it hard to open up, research shows that penning your feelings down in a journal can also be a cathartic way to offload problems.
Take time for yourself
We are sure by now you have heard the term 'self-care'. Practise it! Make time for yourself and do the things you love. Whether it's a spa day or hitting the shops, choose a day and put you first! There is no shame in a little self-rewarding! Why not try a soothing warm bath with a CBD bath bomb, or indulge in some edibles?
By the same token, we highly recommend practising 10 minutes or more of meditation every day. Evidence is abundant that meditation and mindfulness are incredibly beneficial to your mental health. Sitting down somewhere quiet to do this every day can be extraordinarily centring and produce vast improvements if you're struggling mentally. It can keep general mental health stable and give you a much-needed sense of inner tranquillity.
Eat well & Eat often
Your diet is key to ensuring your mental health is level. Certain foods are pretty bad for us in that regard. Ensure you are eating plenty of protein, fibre-rich foods and different-coloured fruits and vegetables every day so that you get a good range of nutrients in your diet.
That said, over-regulating what you put in your mouth can also quickly spiral out of control. Don't force yourself through a strict diet that may be detrimental to your mental health and body image. Instead, try to find a happy medium between eating foods high in nutritional value and treating yourself with sweet favourites here and there.
On a similar note, we strongly advise against meal-skipping. Cutting out breakfast, in particular, can reduce your blood sugar levels, in turn having a negative effect on your mood and ability to stay focused. And remember to hydrate yourself throughout the day for optimum and sustained concentration capacity and alertness!
Do some yoga
The likelihood is, you'll know someone who regularly practises yoga, given the CBD-like explosion of popularity it has faced in recent years. Yoga is linked to a range of physical benefits, including increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration and energy, cardio and circulatory health and many others.
Yoga also has a number of credentials when it comes to our mental state. It has been cited as helpful in dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, depression and even insomnia. Its impact on such mental conditions is said to be due to its reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Get enough sleep
Peace of mind might be a lot more difficult to reach without sufficient sleep, so it is imperative to catch those Zs. It is widely thought that the body's ability to function declines if sleep isn't in the seven to eight-hour range. Anything lower than 7-8 hours per night is simply not enough, and is not conducive to a buoyed mood. Not enough sleep will inevitably throw you off-balance and jeopardise your peace of mind.
If you're struggling to sleep, there are plenty of remedies out there for this: end your screen-time an hour before you hit the hay; oh, and of course, try sipping a camomile tea at least 30 minutes before bed - perhaps adding a couple of drops of CBD into it for an extra burst of earthy flavour before bed.
Have a giggle
Sounds silly, but there is truth to the phrase "laughter is the best medicine". Research is adamant that a good laugh can bolster both our physical health, by relieving physical tension and stress, as well as relaxing our muscles for up to 45 minutes after the laughter. It is also believed to boost the immune system, decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving our resistance to disease.
In terms of our mental health, laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. So, make sure if you haven't laughed yet today, you get one in before the day's out!
Play with a furry friend
Dogs and cats have been known to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as well as ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness and even boost cardiovascular health. If you don't personally have a pet, it could be an idea to meet up with a friend who does, so that you can get in some cuddle time with their furry friend.
Listen to our playlists!
At MANTLE, we've curated some blissful Spotify playlists, made explicitly for winding down and achieving that vital peace of mind. The likes of our playlists include Zen express, self-care sesh, work focus and breathwork. Studies attest to the powers of relaxing music on mental health.
Integrating all or some of the tips we have been through into your everyday life could be vital to centring your mind and restoring your sense of inner peace.
But beware of widespread myths
Yes, CBD can help you feel balanced - but not on its own. Achieving that state of zen requires a healthy balance. Much as we'd love to tell you it's a cure-all solution, it isn't.
CBD: the MANTLE way
It may bring you peace of mind to know the origins of the CBD you are taking. We are proud to say that our hemp plants are grown organically on the Swiss hillsides, each of them meeting BioSuisse standards, which is the highest organic standard in Switzerland (even trumping the regular organic standards given by the EU and those in Sweden).
MANTLE's hemp is grown under natural sunlight and in pesticide-free soil. Only the best leaves are hand-picked from the plants, during a window of just three days a year to maximise the content of CBD, while minimising the THC content (which will be removed entirely during extraction). We make sure to only use the leaves closest to the flower for the highest concentration of CBD.
For extracting the CBD, we use the environmentally friendly and non-toxic supercritical CO2 cold extraction method, which is a gentle approach that preserves all the active ingredients from the plant. After extraction, we remove all traces of THC. Every single batch of oil we produce is then examined by a third-party laboratory and tested for purity and potency to ensure consistent dosage and safety.
Here at MANTLE, the CBD oil we produce uses broad-spectrum extract, which is like full-spectrum but without any of the THC. In summary, we retain all the natural plant ingredients and compounds so that the entourage effect is still possible (where the plant-derived compounds work in sync to bring out the best effects in one another). Because the terpenes are left in the CBD oil, it keeps its earthy scent and slew of potentially centering effects – without any of the illegal or potentially intoxicating components like THC.
As a carrier oil, we use organic MCT oil derived from coconuts. Our Original Oil is, therefore, just 10% organic and MCT oil.
When looking for a CBD oil, watch out for things like preservatives, chemicals or artificial flavours. Check for a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which any reputable company should not hesitate to provide. This document is proof that the product has been tested by a certified lab, totally independent of the company. The COA should list the cannabinoid and terpene profile of a product. Another thing to consider is that even if two oils have the same CBD concentration, they can differ a lot in how potent and qualitative that proportion is. The other ingredients in the CBD oil matter as well. Unfortunately, there are currently not many regulations universally upheld over the CBD industry, meaning many companies can get away with mislabelling their products or making unfounded claims about them. So, do watch out for claims that can't be verified in the ingredients or Certificate of Analysis.
Peace of mind is not a piece of cake
Remember, it isn't always easy to get that peace of mind; there is no "quick fix", and it can take a lot of work.
Don't be too hard on yourself if you've had a long spell of feeling down in the dumps - it's been a tough old year! However, if that long spell of feeling down is concerning you, it's essential to know when to seek help. If you're doing everything to help yourself and yet your mental health still hasn't been good for a while, it may be time to make an appointment with your doctor, or seek help from a therapist. You wouldn't ignore a problem with your physical health, so why should you ignore a problem with your mental health?
We hope we have given you the tools to look after your mental well-being in this post, and wish you all the best!