Anyone who does something to feel be琀er, either mentally or physically, or both, is experiencing “self­care.” That term would seem to be self­explanatory, however, it’s open to interpreta琀on. Get­ 琀ng a manicure may be someone’s way of allevia琀ng stress, while going for a long walk may be another’s preferred method for realizing the same benefits. “Essen琀ally, self­care is more of a con­ scien琀ous decision to priori琀ze yourself and deal with the things that are really the founda琀on for a lot of the stress that we feel on the surface. People don’t as­ sociate this with self­care,” explains Dr. Alishea Rowley, a mental health clinician and associate professor in counselor edu­ ca琀on at Florida A&M University (FAMU).

Neuropsychologist Dr. Gwendolyn Sin­ gleton, associate professor and chair of FAMU’s Department of Psychology, agrees and says there are significant benefits to prac琀cing inten琀onal self­ care.

“Research has shown that it decreases blood pressure. It can improve our cog­ ni琀ve processing along with how well we sleep, our thinking, our rela琀onships, be­ cause we’re calmer, we’re posi琀ve, we’re happier. It helps us to balance so many aspects of our lives. I strongly urge every­ one, if you’re not engaging in self­care in­ ten琀onally, iden琀fy some inten琀onal prac琀ces to engage in star琀ng today,” Singleton said.

But you don’t have to take the “self” part literally. You may need to get help with improving your overall well­being, whether through expert advice on nu­ tri琀on, with medical marijuana treat­ ments or with therapy.

Dr. Genester Wilson­King is a firm be­ liever in taking a natural approach to healthcare. She is a board­cer琀fied ob­ stetrician and gynecologist who provides integra琀ve wellness at the Rejuvena琀on Center in Lake Mary near Orlando. In addi琀on to advising her pa­ 琀ents to eat real food, drink clean water and breathe fresh air, as a qualified med­ ical marijuana physician in Florida, Dr. Wilson­King has helped hundreds of her pa琀ents make legal cannabis and CBD treatments part of their self­care reg­ imens.

“There are many self­care prac琀ces that cannabis can help with,” says Wilson­ King. “One of the main reasons to use it is for REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which really helps heal, repair and rejuve­ nate your body. O昀en琀mes, sleep medi­ cines will not get you into REM sleep. They just zonk you out. Low­dose canna­ bis does not disrupt the sleep architec­ ture.”

She says insomnia is o昀en caused by other medical issues, such as pain and anxie琀es, that medical marijuana also is effec琀ve at trea琀ng.

All the doctors stress the importance self­care plays in establishing a be琀er quality of life. Dr. Rowley, who has more than 15 years of experience as a mental health counselor, recommends visi琀ng a therapist as part of a self­care rou琀ne. “We’ve gone through a very, very diffi­ cult 琀me with COVID. If people are hav­ ing mental health disturbances, a therapist is someone they can talk to and get some of that toxicity out of their system.”

Watch MMERI’s Conversations on Cannabis Virtual Forum on YouTube featuring Dr. Alishea Rowley, Dr. Gwendolyn Singleton and Dr. Genester Wilson-King. For more information on medical marijuana and to sign up for the MMERI newsletter, go to For more information on qualifying conditions and how to obtain a medical marijuana card, go to the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use at