Throughout our mental health journey, it’s natural to hit a plateau in progress. It may feel as if after all the therapy sessions, journaling, and self-care you’ve undergone, there’s still more that your mind may need in order to reach the psychological benefits you’re seeking.
One alternative medicine option known as microdosing, offers small doses of psychedelics to spark changes in the brain to alter the way they think and create tangible, psychological improvements.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing refers to the practice of taking a very small, sub-perceptual dose of a psychedelic substance, such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or psilocybin mushrooms, typically on a regular schedule. The aim is to experience subtle cognitive and emotional benefits without the full-blown psychedelic effects associated with a standard or recreational dose.
Taking this subthreshold dose of psychedelics (typically within the 10 to 20 mcg range) allows one to operate within their daily lives without being restricted or slowed down by the normal effects of psychedelics or hallucinogens.
Microdosing vs. Macrodosing
“There is a long-standing history of different kinds of dosing of ‘master plants,’ as I call them, in traditional communities, where shamanic doses (or very high doses), were only taken by the maestro,” Maya Shetreat, MD, author of The Master Plant Experience tells xoNecole. “In fact, they would only offer a microdose to the people participating in the ceremony or to the person they're doing the healing on.”
While macrodosing might be more common among visitors of what Shetreat calls, “the global north,” the traditional method can vary among different communities, and in some cases, macrodosing may not be a part of their healing practices at all.
Due to the legality of psychedelics in most places, Dr. Shetreat shares that The Institutional Review Board (IRB) mandates that individuals taking psychedelics, even in microdoses, must be closely monitored in clinical or hospital settings, which can be “impractical” and often inconvenient as early research develops.
Unlike full-dose experiences, which are planned with preparation and integration sessions, microdosing doesn't make sense for such intensive monitoring. This is because microdosing involves taking sub-psychedelic doses that don't significantly alter one's state, and individuals usually take these doses every few days, making constant clinical supervision impractical for most people's daily lives.
The Benefits of Microdosing for Mental Health and Well-Being:
While research is still limited on the full range of benefits from microdosing, Dr. Shetreat shares that while subtle, there are “benefits with neuroplasticity,” meaning that neurons in the brain make new connections, even with microdoses over a period of time.
Additionally, microdosing has been shown to be beneficial for individuals who are not able, for any number of reasons, to experience large doses of psychedelics as they can be disorienting. “Some people are medically contraindicated due to their mental health or medications that they're taking, and are very sensitive to having really large psychedelic experiences,” she explains.
Is Microdosing the Best Option for You?
In terms of whether microdosing is a suitable option for you, clinical papers based on self-reported experiences suggest its potential benefits as being a safer and less intense approach to mental health issues.
“People tend to feel happier, lighter, more social, and more inclined to take good care of themselves like exercise and eat better,” Dr. Shetreat explains.
“They tend to avoid other altering substances like alcohol and feel less depressed; many people have gotten off of antidepressants using microdosing.” However, some may have concerns about microdosing due to its legality.
What To Expect From Your Microdosing Experience
Although the initial day of ingestion may not be the most potent day in terms of physical or mental experience, Dr. Shetreat shares that some individuals report having a particularly euphoric day following ingestion. “Many people experience benefits on the day that they take the microdose, but there are also people who describe the next day as being what we would call ‘The Best Day' where they feel a sense of euphoria,” she says.
In order to make the most of your microdosing experience, she suggests keeping an open mind, self-reflection, and clear intentions, which in turn, holds significant value in maximizing its benefits.
“Treat this experience with a master plant or psychedelic as being just as meaningful and sacred as a large experience can be,” she says, “Engaging in the meaning-making and thinking of it in a ceremonial way makes a difference. Coming in with a sense of preparation for the experience itself — during and afterward — has really great value.”
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Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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With every new year comes new goals or resolutions that people want to accomplish, and usually, they fall in either the fitness/ health category or the finances category. When it comes to financial goals, USA Today reports that 55.70% of people are saving for a rainy day, followed by 52.90% of people saving for retirement, and so on. To hit those goals, budgeting comes into play. However, it can be hard to know where to start. Ebony Beckford of Fin Lit Kids created a financial literacy platform for kids and parents who want to teach their kids about the importance of the dollar. After becoming a mother, the entrepreneur was inspired to give her daughter Madison a head start by teaching her about financial literacy, which was something that she wasn’t exposed to in her childhood.
“My mother passed away when I was 18, and my sister had passed the year before her. And my sister had three small children and I obviously was pretty young myself. And so when I got pregnant with my daughter Madison in 2019, I started to reflect on that period in my life where I was trying to figure out the world without any adult supervision,” she tells xoNecole. “And I started to reflect on like, the things that I wish I would have known and could have done differently. And at the core of all of my issues following the death of my mother and my other family members really was that I didn't have money. It was economics.”
That’s why it was important for Ebony to build Fin Lit Kids because educating people while they are young is the best way to change the landscape and mindset surrounding wealth in our communities. However, you can still get a jumpstart on your financial goals today through three key things, and Ebony explains how below:
Ebony Beckford with her daughter Madison.
Oh, budgeting. Some people love it, others despise it. But if you want to meet your financial goals, this is usually the first step, no matter your lifestyle. “It goes back to our values. Figuring out what matters to you most, right? Obviously, we have the essentials that we need to focus on. So pay your bills first. Get the things you need first, but after that, you have to ask yourself, what do you value?” She says.
“Because, like I know, people say, have your emergency fund. Which is important. And I know people say investing, but I think understanding what that means to you. So, investing for me right now is building my business, right? It's not necessarily investing in the stock market, which I do have that, right? But it's figuring out what is going to get you through the next year, right? And then the next year.”
Changing Your Mindset Around Money
Another reason why people may struggle with meeting their financial goals is due to having a negative mindset about money. It can be due to a number of things such as your upbringing. “I grew up in the Bronx. I grew up poor, and I considered myself to be just a poor girl from the Bronx for years after I had built a life for myself. So that was completely different, right? So, I started to realize me and like being poor became a part of my identity,” she shares. “I wasn't walking around being fabulous or not even wanting to be seen because my identity was a poor girl. So I had to do a lot of work within myself to be like no girl, you, your parents, the circumstances that you know your parents were feeling when you came into the world has nothing to do with who you are and what you come from. You come from so much.”
Investing in the Future
Fin Lit Kids tagline is “restoring generational wealth” and one of the ways Ebony suggests people do that is by investing in their kids with not only money, but time. “I think a lot times because of the things that have been done to us it feels like we come from nothing, but we come from immense wealth. And so what we're doing now is not building generational wealth we're restoring it and the key way to restore it is financial literacy,” she suggests.
“And so I think what people, I don't want to say doing wrong, but I think there's a hyper focus on assets, right? Building and creating and generating assets. And so you have parents who are super focused, they're working like crazy. They're not available to their kids because they're trying to make enough money to pass it on to the kids. And then they pass it on and their kids, they blow it. They don't know what to do with it. And so I think people when thinking about building generational wealth, we have to also understand that like financial literacy is a key component of that, as well as the time that we spend with our kids and investing in them and making them understand what our values are and why things are important.”
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