For my heart, I needed to learn to unplug and recharge with those that matter most. It’s incredibly important, especially as an influencer, to remember that life outside of the screen is what truly counts at the end of our time here. Don’t forget those that know and love you. Don’t prioritize your digital world over those that make you theirs and realize that it’s essential for our mental health to reconnect with the physical world. I make “snuggle time” and hugs with my children, friends or family part of my daily routine. There are numerous studied benefits to that type of contact, and, in an increasingly digital world, I find it all the more necessary.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s well being, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.
As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing
Alysia Bear, better known as “Allie”- The Canna Canuck. Alysia Bear is a cannabiz force of nature. At home, she’s the 33 year old mother of 5. Professionally she is a true powerhouse — a well-known influencer, a model associated with some big-name brands, an entrepreneur, a widely travelled journalist, a respected cannabis educator, a skilled glass artist. Building on her vision, she now adds the founding of the Broadleaf Cannabis Collective to her trademarked The Canna Canuck brand.
On the media side, Bear serves as a valued member of the editorial teams for two major cannabis industry publications — High! Canada and High! Europe Magazine, with leadership responsibility in her home province of Ontario. Working as an editor, content creator and one of their “Canadian Correspondents Abroad”, enables Allie to find and present the hard-hitting, impactful world news in legalized Cannabis while simultaneously sampling and educating herself upon the best bud across the globe.
Her @thecannacanuck Instagram stands as a testament to the skills, opportunities, education and credentials she has obtained in just over a year- all while losing 65lbs on her weight loss journey as a chronic pain patient, amassing an engaged Instagram following in the tens of thousands and raising 5 children in her small town of Niagara, Ontario.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?
Absolutely- and thank you for having me!
I started in sales when I was quite young, one of my first career paths, and it branched into marketing and advertising. I enjoyed both of them and made fast progress in the advertising world, right up until I was in an accident that put me off work. I was hit by a truck- and I don’t mean that in any figurative sense but as in a pedestrian walking, then suddenly mowed down. After that, my new position as a stay at home mother prevented me from utilizing the skills I had learned while working to benefit my family from within the home. I decided to change that and started a mommy blog, just a small endeavor that enabled me to reach other mothers and talk about natural living.
My passion and interest into that aspect of life lead me to explore natural health alternatives for my pain management and recovery after my accident. With my husband’s urging, I became a medical cannabis patient. Mind you- I was one I was without a strong support network, feeling entirely alone and dealing with fears due to a lack of education upon the subject. Branching out, connecting with local mothers, my community and some excellent companies saved me a great deal of money, as well as starting my networking capabilities from there. The Canna Canuck simply snowballed after that, with some true bonds developing between myself and some of my followers- along with my account reaching monetization status.
I utilized the attention and advertising benefits in order to further my education, pursuing credentials in cannabis as well as an apprenticeship in glass- and I also connected with my editor via social outreach!
You simply never know what will happen when setting out into this industry- but you must wake up every day, challenging yourself to be a better version of yourself than you were the day before.
In doing that, I keep striving and looking forward to the next step upwards…whatever avenue of my career that may be in.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have to credit my editor, Cy Williams, from High! Canada Magazine with much of the professional help. He has been a mentor, confidante, friend and major career asset that I feel helped propel me to the next level. For example, finding out that I was going to be attending Spannabis as part of another team in Barcelona, Cy offered me a few different opportunities- one of which included extending my stay for a seven city European tour! I couldn’t believe it. I am so grateful for his candour, his hummingbird excitement for all things cannabis, his wisdom, his creativity and his professionalism.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
In the beginning, I really didn’t know my own value and, even once I did, I hesitated to pursue it or be proud and assertive about as much. I needed to worry less about the social image before the business one- and more about the business itself before social chatter. Once I learned that, a lot of things became laughable that may not have been “humourous” to me before. I also save more time, enabling me to indulge in more of that self-care we’ll be discussing.
As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
Exactly, you’re right! Know it. Understand that, in the grand scheme of things, your account does not matter and it does not make you. Your dreams may, indeed, be dashed if you lose your platform or your engagement drops. My advice would be to utilize the platform that you *do* grow to springboard yourself into offline endeavors you love, creating a safety net and potentially relieving some of the social media-related stress in your daily life.
Make sure you do your research and don’t think you’ll get by on clever captions, selfie skills, or your good looks alone- there’s a formula to many of the platforms and it helps to be educated upon the subject. It also helps you assist others on their way up and keep paying the blessings forward. If you’re going to be a success, a little good karma never hurt anyone afterall!
Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?
As I mentioned previously, do your research. If you’re building an audience in a specific niche, find out which accounts or businesses have the largest audiences in that niche and the types of content they’re putting out.
Look into hot topics, tags or agencies and tools they may use. Make sure you’re well versed in your subject and acknowledge that competitors may know better (for now) or have some insight to offer. Be respectful of as much and stay receptive, always.
Engage with your following, via both giveaways and personal interaction. Every good follower will get you a handful of new ones whenever you launch a giveaway and, if you’re converting on new followers and making money from your account size, it can truly pay off. Make sure you capitalize on the new eyes, the flurry of activity and the more engaged audience by doing another soon afterwards.
I believe that part of my success stems from the fact that I may have a bubbly, campy style in some of my videos but keep it very honest and vulnerable all the same. I have shared life stories, my trials and tribulations and I have grown in front of my community. I think a major part of being an “influencer” isn’t just your numbers, it’s how well people are responding to your sincerity and how much they trust you. If you’re clearly all about the dollars or product positioning, it can be incredibly off-putting. Remember to add personal touches via Stories and try to bond beyond your pitch.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)
One of my very best pieces of advice that I can give for anyone for a quick self-care practice is doing squats when using the restroom. Whenever I say that, someone always asks, “Before or afterwards?” for some reason. It really doesn’t matter and I have no idea why that’s a thought but it always makes me giggle. All the same, squats were something that were easy for me to remember, hard for me to avoid when tied with my restroom schedule, and this small change kicked off my weight loss journey.
I am not a morning person- but I’m especially not a breakfast-early-morning person. Those types of people baffle me, waking up on shaky and empty tummies to fill them with greasy bacon, heavy hashbrowns and yolky eggs. I do understand the need for a balanced breakfast though and, with that in mind, I took to making a healthy morning smoothie. Even if I can’t eat a full meal, I can get my calories, vitamins and nutrients in before my stomach sickens and my day starts poorly. I mix up some avocado, coconut water, almond milk, banana, spinach and whatever additions are in the regiment that day. It tastes surprisingly good, has a variety of health benefits and works for a busy schedule!
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
For my heart, I needed to learn to unplug and recharge with those that matter most.
It’s incredibly important, especially as an influencer, to remember that life outside of the screen is what truly counts at the end of our time here. Don’t forget those that know and love you. Don’t prioritize your digital world over those that make you theirs and realize that it’s essential for our mental health to reconnect with the physical world. I make “snuggle time” and hugs with my children, friends or family part of my daily routine. There are numerous studied benefits to that type of contact, and, in an increasingly digital world, I find it all the more necessary.
For my mind, I find slowing down is essential but- especially as a mother and a businesswoman- who can actually do that?! I would love to be able to claim I’ve reached the point of enlightenment where I can opt out of my string of consciousness by way of meditation but, unfortunately, I’ve found that I can’t get there just yet. On the bright side, I have discovered that providing myself with some solitude and a routine to allow my own thoughts to flow over me- without disruption of children, electronics, the demands of a cell phone or the routines of a household- has allowed me to reconnect with lost parts of myself or come to realizations all the same. I do this by making an effort to “ground” myself in the grass, beach or garden with my body connected to the earth. It sounds so funny to say that in an international magazine but the practice isn’t entirely uncommon and can also be called “earthing”- discovered by a man who was involved in the start of cable television, he realized that the same kind of grounding used for telecommunication cables could be used to stabilize atoms in our bodies. This improves the system, neutralizes free radicals, reduces inflammation, helps with pain, normalizes cortisol, improves sleep and boosts immunity! Check out the studies on this subject- you may be surprised.
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
Change it up! I have seen this meme that says, “I can’t decide whether I need a haircut, trip, tattoo or a little therapy” and it makes me giggle because we can all relate on some level- we’ve gone through the need to shake it up once we’ve been shaken. If I’m not feeling particularly beautiful, I go for retail therapy. As a Mama on a budget, even thrifting can be fun and so much more satisfying too. I love finding an incredible designer deal and, when complimented on it later, being able to say, “Thanks! I got it for 5 dollars!”.
If that’s not even doable, I recommend connecting with some of the online Pay It Forward and Swap groups, where women are already networking and supporting each other by trading their old items every day.
A new dress, clean up and a little glam minute to myself helps me reconnect with my feminine side and feel beautiful again.
Photoshoot, of course! As an Instagrammer, I’m obviously going to go with some seductive selfies! Just enjoy it, have fun and shoot yourself in a variety of outfits, different lighting, at various times of the day or in new looks. There will definitely be something in the mix that makes you feel like a minx again.
Lastly, I would suggest perhaps taking a break from the things that make you feel *less* beautiful. Is it social media? Television? Unhealthy patterns? Your nagging support circles? Toxic thoughts?
Whatever your drama trauma is, whatever makes you feel less than worthy or beautiful, it’s time to snap yourself out of that pattern, set boundaries and focus on the elimination of those influences.
Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
I have to credit a woman named Tamara Lilien with being a major influence on my chosen path right now- for embracing her passions whole-heartedly, advocating on behalf of interests we share, honing her skills and intelligently representing our community in the space we encompass.
She is a bright, beautiful human being in so many ways and in sharing a small amount of time with her you can tell that she is knowledgeable and educated in her field. In sharing more time with her, you will discover that she’s fun, intriguing, caring on a multitude of levels and genuinely supportive- as a professional and as a person. Her poise, information sharing and confidence truly inspired me and I have made a couple of advances since meeting her, following in her footsteps in some ways.
Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?
Have you ever had a cupping massage? Oh my goodness, the first time can leave you looking like you were assaulted by an octopus! They’re relaxing, deep tissue and worthwhile for pain patients especially- but prepare yourself for a bit of black and blue for a day or two.
As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I like to think I’ve started a bit of a movement already, with the Broadleaf Cannabis Collective and it brings a great deal of good to many but that’s a bit niche-specific and Canadian (for now).
If I were to do something larger, on a grand scale, perhaps you could help me with it! I want to start #MothersAgainstMultiMillionaires and create a movement worldwide that socially compels each chosen business, brand, industry or show supporting the multimillionaires of the world and billion dollar conglomerates into action UNTIL every single child on this earth has an education and three meals a day. I choose mothers because, if anyone is going to care about the babies and fight like hell for them, or be disciplined enough to go without for a child long enough- endure difficulties, changes to our lives, issues and inconveniences on behalf of a little being- it’s going to be the women who have already done it for at least nine months, if not a heck of a lot longer. We understand the discipline, the sacrifice and the love- and we need to bring a spotlight to the fact there’s not been enough of it, not where it counts and is needed the most. And we also need to hold people accountable for greed and selfishness on such a grand scale.
Why are so many millionaires given primetime airspace to tell us that the best way to save children everywhere is to buy into their special interests, when they could simply end world hunger with an almost unmissable charitable donation?
When women organized together to collectively shut down Iceland in 1975, in protest of unfair employment practices and wage discrepancy, nearly 90% of the female population participated in allegiance to one another and the cause. A law was subsequently passed the following year that guaranteed us equal pay. This also paved the way for the first-ever elected female president five years later- in the world!
Why were women better able to organize, support one another and evoke change in 1975 (before social media and before influencers, mind you) than they seem to be now?
I think we need to channel that Icelandic hippie spirit and target a business or figure, one by one, to take “time off” from until their owners and CEO have made a sizeable contribution that helps change the landscape of our world. We run Mom and Pop shops out of town while families starve on the outskirts of them, all while continuing to pad thick wallets further. It has to stop and it can with our collective efforts.
Once the movement takes hold, others will be spurred to action in advance of our required attention because they’ll know that we’re eventually going to come their way. On top of that, social pressures could cause permanent change. It could be the largest protest of unfair wage discrepancy that the world had ever seen and we could make a real movement. It would take a lot of love and discipline though; Could we, as mothers, muster it for someone else’s child? I so desperately want to.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 😊
From a professional standpoint, I would love to meet the CEO of Doja Cannabis, a legal cannabis brand in my country. I wouldn’t mind supporting him, sharing his space and finding out that story because they are fighting to help remedy injustices within the legal system in regards to cannabis. That’s an entire article itself but Doja partnered with Cannabis Amnesty to create PARDON, a cause and campaign I strongly believe in.
I could also use investors for a business venture so, should anyone be interested in meeting with some representatives of Canadian cannabis, I would most definitely clear a space in my schedule.
On a personal level, I would want to meet our own cannabis king- Seth Rogen. I’ve wanted one of his ashtrays for a while now, have arranged to get myself a little Rogen tattoo as an amusing part of my cannabis collage and the man simply makes me happy. I can’t say it any other way than that.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Please follow me on Instagram by searing for Alysia Bear @TheCannaCanuck or www.instagram.com/thecannacanuck
For professional matters, I can also be found on LinkedIn under the same name and the site includes a breakdown of some of my other media features.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
I truly appreciate all those that you have offered me previously, across a variety of professions and interests.
I look forward to reading more in the future- and thank you for including me in your present.