How A Garden Is Healing for Your Body and Mind

Becoming a Steward of the Earth

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IT’S SPRING!! Like a whole beautiful month into it. I don’t live in the northern part of the US, but I can still enjoy the new flowers blooming, all of the birds chirping while building their nests, the warm afternoon hugged by the cool mornings and nights.

Living in Florida I can grow food all year long, but the spring is especially fruitful. And it hit me the other day how wonderfully healing gardening is.

A garden not only allows you to grow your own food and save money in the process, but it also offers a variety of physical and mental benefits.

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A garden gives you something to tend. to care for. to check up on.

The nurturing side of humans, I believe, is very important. Especially in the age we are currently living. We constantly rush, have pressure placed on us from others and ourselves, we stress, we worry, we become angry, hurt, exhausted. It is difficult for us to slow down and take care… of anything. Even when we do take the time to take care of our food or clean the house, or even taking care of our bodies, it somehow turns into a chore. Something that has to be done, not something you are thankful for the ability to be doing. It seems the only area in our “lives” that there is room for nurturing is when we have children. But what about those who don’t have children? What about those who can’t? Women are especially created to be nurturing, and we need to nurture that side of ourselves.

Waking up in the morning and checking on your seedlings, seeing if they’ve arisen from the ground. Checking the leaves for bugs that may harm it, or fungus that make kill it. Taking the time to water, talking to them to help them grow. Keeping a watchful eye on your little plants so that they may grow big and strong. This long, yet extremely rewarding process feeds not only our stomachs during the harvest, but our souls as well. You put your heart into your garden. As you tend your garden you also tending to and taking care of yourself.

A garden requires you to put yourself in the elements.

If you’re like most, you live in a city. You’re surrounded by buildings, concrete, cars, pollution, noise. You must drive far and long to achieve a state of peace and calmness. But in our fast paced society, many don’t have the time or resources to really take the time off of their normal life and go do something in nature.

With a garden, you have managed to create your own little space of peace. You may still be surrounded by other houses or buildings, but in this space, you have brought nature and made it fit into your home. You are then able to experience the sun on your face, back, and shoulders. You can feel the wind brushing across your cheeks, filling you with gratitude. The scents of the flowers and trees that rush into your lungs, expanding your body and breath until you are at peace with yourself and your life.

You are cooped inside for probably 90% of your life and being outside in the fresh air is extremely beneficial for your physical health; increases brain function, raises vitamin D levels, reduces stress, reduces inflammation, fights fatigue, boosts immune system, protects eye health, etc.. There is scientific proof that being in the fresh air, surrounded by plants can help you live a happier and longer life.

A garden demands your thoughts.

We all have things we are worrying about, struggling with, suffering for. No one has a perfect life, and too often these feelings can consume us until it’s all we can think about. It can be hard some days to distract yourself, and many people use mind-numbing devices and activities to forget. Drinking, TV, phone, social media, drugs. None of which actually offer any benefit to you and your healing. Having a garden is an activity that benefits not only your body, but also your mental and emotional health. You are forced to forget, even just for a little bit, about your troubles. And you can let yourself be consumed with the joy of taking care of something. of nurturing.

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I am no master gardener, I am only in my mere second season of growing. And while it can be sometimes difficult or disappointing, remember that these too are all part of the cycle of life. You must make mistakes to learn from, you must go through the motions to have a grasp on what it is you are trying to accomplish.

So if you have ever dreamed of having a garden, or even if you haven’t until now, I urge you to take that leap. Even if it’s just one pot with one tomato plant. Pour your heart into it, and feed it with the love and attention that all of us crave.

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Wishing you a beautiful day, and that you are taking the steps to become a WellSpring of Life.

xxjoannaxx

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Stop Feeling Guilty For Relaxing

Time spent wasting time, is not wasted time.

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I know the holidays have somewhat recently passed, and you probably (hopefully) took some time off work/your regular schedule to rest, relax, recoup, and enjoy time with family and friends. I’m sure you’re now back into the swing of things, juggling a thousand projects and ideas at once, your mind whirring a million miles an hour.

Holidays are a wonderful forced break, making you get out of your head, and enjoy the season of laughter and giving. But– what about the rest of the year? What about those thousands of other weekends that you spend still running around, still stressing out?

If you’re one of the many, then you rarely allow yourself the blessing of complete, utter relaxation and stillness. Americans are a hardworking group, we are a super dedicated, driven, motivated people. That has its many benefits, but if you’re not careful, it can also some awful side effects.

Heart Attacks. Strokes. Cancer. Digestive Problems. These can all be (and frequently are) caused by a constant surge of stress. You may be under this constant fight or flight sensation and don’t even realize it.

However, with all of this said, the main reason I wrote this post is to encourage you to relax. actually relax.

and not feel guilty.

For many, this is a difficult habit to break. We have this idea that we should be super productive and busy all the time- every day, all day long. So even when we try to “sit down,” there’s that nagging voice in our head and body that makes us feel that we should get up and do something more “important.” Just this small surge causes anxiety and stress. and judgement.

Your body needs to rest. and not just while sleeping.

It’s a wonderful thing to be busy and accomplish everything on your list; but at what cost? And why right this second? You have your whole life to do whatever you want, but you won’t be able to get there if you exhaust yourself at an early age.

Your body and brain weren’t designed to constantly run without a solid, intentional break. (even while sleeping you’re subconsciously processing what you did that day, and planning what you need to do.)

Here’s the real question:

Would you rather go flying through life, only stopping for brief seconds, only looking ahead. Or taking your time, completely tasks thoroughly, while enjoying your present life and moments that make life so special.

It’s okay to say no to invitations.

it’s okay to cancel previous engagements.

it’s okay to ask for someone to help you out, take the kids.

it’s okay to stay at home all day on the couch binge watching your guilty pleasure tv shows.

it’s okay to take naps.

to take long baths.

to read that book you’ve been wanting to read for a year.

YOU DESERVE IT. you work hard, your body is tired, your mind is exhausted.

please, stop feeling guilty for something you have been given that you undoubtedly, irrevocably deserve.

And enjoy this process of honoring yourself. It won’t be easy, you’ll forget, fall back a few steps, but as long as you realize that you need this. that your life will be better, fuller, brighter.

you will get there.

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xxjoannaxx

Achieve Your Dreams with Mantras

‘Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All?’ 

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Yeah, I got jokes.

Alright babes, lets talk about mantras.

A mantra is a phrase or idea that you repeat either out loud or internally to help keep you focused on that thought. This is especially useful if you’re struggling with something and need to stay positive. Of course this could be used for any area in your life, but I’m going to focus on how to use it in your perception of your beauty. I know many of us may struggle with how we look, and always think of things we wish we could change. This isn’t healthy. And with specific mantras we can train our brain to think differently, starting the healing process.

Begin by setting your intention- what do you desire? What problem is it you wish to resolve? This will help set the foundation for your mantra, keeping you motivated and focused.

Repeat the mantra as many times as you can.

This can vary depending on the person, but the most common practice is to repeat it to yourself a couple times throughout the whole day. Maybe when you wake up, get ready for work, look in the mirror, before you sleep, etc. Always make sure to try and repeat them to yourself especially when your mind starts to turn negative. This will help reinforce those positive thoughts. Consistency and repetition is key if you really want to see any improvements.

Mantra Examples

I am enough. 

May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be creative. May I be at ease. 

I am thankful for everything I have

I am fulfilled. I am fearless. 

Today, I will choose happiness.

I am bountiful, blissful, and beautiful; bountiful, blissful, and beautiful I am. 

I honor that which I am capable of becoming. 

I am loved. 

I am beautiful.

 

I hope this information helps you with any areas in your life you may need healing, confidence, or support. Let me know how it works for you!

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xxJoannaxx

Healing From Openness//My Story

Examine Your Heart

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Let me start off by saying that this is not a normal thing for me. I do not open up my heart to many friends or even family members, let alone strangers. I am extremely private and introverted. But.. recently I have had the insane pressure put on my heart to open up and be vulnerable. 

From my own experience I know how letting all of your sadness, worries, anger, and grief out into the open can be the most healing, weight lifting action. Not only for yourself, but for others. Hearing someone else’s struggles allows you to feel more connected; and truly know that– You are not alone.

While struggling these past couple years, I did feel alone. completely, utterly alone. Who could I turn to that would be able to offer some comfort or solace? Who could really lean into my heart and pick it up for me?

But I realized one day.. that we are all silently suffering. All of us. We all have things in our life that make it difficult. But we all still exist. We all thrive despite the occasional feeling that our bodies are about to burst.

And I am here to share my story as it has been told so far. And to tell you that I see you. I know you are broken and trying your hardest. I understand the pain, I understand the sadness, I understand the need to push it as far from you as possible.

My heart goes out to you. You are doing so well despite it all.

My Story

Okay so my parents are divorced. If you knew my family when I was younger, then you may be surprised. Despite living in the home, and seeing some problems, I can’t help but admit that I, too, was surprised. It happened about 2ish years ago? I think? See- I’m so far detached that time doesn’t exist for that period.

But I was newly married trekking across America, miraculously protected in this little bubble of separation. I was sad and angry, but the events had taken place so far from me, and existed outside of my life that the blow wasn’t nearly as impactful as it would’ve been if I was still living at home.

Of course having your parent’s date other.. let me say “less than desirable” people is maybe even more difficult to swallow. However, like everything else, I buried it. I thought I dealt with it, but I unconsciously just buried it deeper into my heart so that I could move on.

And then of course- there’s marriage. The most self sacrificing journey anyone could ever begin.

So yes, like everyone else, we have problems.

But again, I became quite skilled at acknowledging, superficially dealing, then letting it sit and fester within my heart.

It wasn’t until I was in Italy for two weeks, forced out of my life, forced out of my comfort zone, forced to slow down, that I was forced to acknowledge the utter grief. I have a tendency to keep myself busy, and to never rest. Which does have its benefits, but too much can lead to unacknowledged problems. Which just grow bigger and stronger with time.

So unfortunately, instead of admiring and being thankful for the magnificent opportunity I had been given, I became overwhelmed with the sadness that had made its home within me.

I had thrown myself into daily tasks. I threw myself into my role as a wife. I threw myself into my school. I threw myself into my business. I threw myself into every other thing. Except what mattered the absolute most.

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly on the brink of crying, but try your absolute hardest to resist because you fear if you let one tear slip your whole body might shatter from the intense pressure of utter sadness that needs to flow from your body?

I realized I needed to do something, I needed to find a release. And I began seeing a counselor.

Who quite literally saved my heart.

I am still seeing her, crying every session. But there has been so much progress. And even though the trip to Italy isn’t what I dreamed it would be, I cannot help be thankful that it happened. That I was exposed to my heart’s needs.

I can struggle with being joyful. with being hopeful. with trusting. with feeling worthy. with feeling wanted.

I well up when I see photos of myself, things I was doing, because I know my state of happiness was far greater that it is now. And I struggle to imagine myself ever becoming that person again.

But I am working towards it. I have the goal in mind. I am examining my heart daily, I am being open with myself and others. I am trying.

Always trying.

I write this not to gain pity or empathy, but to be honest. So that you can understand that absolutely no one has it all together. And everything I have learned and talk about, is from my own experiences.

I want to encourage you to speak to someone. Whether it be a counselor or mentor. You need someone who isn’t biased, who isn’t already involved with your life. Seek out wisdom.

Daily distractions can be healthy, but too many can damage your sight on whats important. Don’t push everything down and away. It never truly goes away until you look it in the face and hear its cry.

Hope that you are on a path to becoming that wellspring of life.

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xxjoannaxx

My New Year’s Intentions + 4 Lessons from 2017

New Year, New Moments, New Discoveries, New Dreams

FullSizeRender (7)I recently discovered this quote and it instantly struck home with me. I never really quite thought of the word “resolution,” but it’s not the right vibe I wanna start the year with. And you shouldn’t either. 

I learned SO much from last year, and unless I sit down and think about it I can forget so easily and only remember the struggles.

 

2017 Lessons

 Be Rooted In Love. Pray for it for the ones you have trouble giving it to, and give it freely and openly to those that need it.

I Am Cherished. People are finite and imperfect, but I am loved and created and was knitted together by my Almighty, Holy Creator who cherishes every cell of my being.

Know When To Ask For Help. It can be so easy to think I can handle everything on my own, but I can’t. Community and support are key for the struggles and celebrations.

You Create Your Own Happiness. Do not depend on circumstances, they are always changing. 

New Years Intentions

Celebrate Every Success. Don’t only give attention to mistakes, but cherish and rejoice in those which you have succeeded in.

Serve. Serve family, friends, strangers.. give and give and give, for I have been given so much.

Be Present. Don’t go through every day in a daze, but focus on the present moment and it’s fleeting beauty.

Stop Worrying. The constant fear and anxiety that riddles my life, let it go- b r e a t h e. it will all be okay.

I LOVE making intentions, I actually make them monthly and post them on my instagram (check my instagram here.) It keeps my mind in the right place, and breathes new life into the month, giving it purpose and uniqueness.

What are you ‘Intentions’ for this year? Is 2018 going to be the best year yet? Leave me a comment below and let me know! It’s so great to be inspired by others and their dreams.

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this stunning photograph is me in 2018 : www.niravpatelphoto.com

xxjoannaxx

7 Reasons Why You Need a Health Journal

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No, this isn’t a “diary” full of secrets and first kisses and boys and drama.. that’s another thing entirely. This is a journal that is solely dedicated to your health and symptoms that you experience day to day. I know it sounds kind of unnecessary and a waste of time, but in order for you to really maximize your health, you need to prioritize it. Once you fall into the habit, it’s no big deal, and you’ll be so happy you started!

Benefits Of A Health Journal

  1. When you write down your symptoms you begin to notice patterns which will give you a deeper insight into what your body is doing and how to address it.
  2. Journaling will help you realize how much of an affect your food/exercise has on your mood/energy/motivation/sleep, etc.
  3. It may uncover hormonal issues of which you were previously unaware.
  4. Helps you notice if you have certain food allergies/sensitivities. (always bloated after a certain snack? Something isn’t agreeing with you.)
  5. Allows to you build a better health routine; if you don’t record what you’re currently doing, how can you make it better?
  6. When you’re keeping yourself accountable for your health decisions, it will help keep you from falling into a rut or backsliding.
  7. You will be able to clearly notice how much progress you have made since you implemented certain changes, which is extremely motivating and exciting.

I really love having a health journal. I also write down questions or theories I have, which I can later research on my own or bring to my doctor when I visit her. Plus this gives you a great excuse for picking out a new pretty journal. (And I’ll be honest with you, I’m always looking for pretty journals.) Do you think a health journal is something you’re willing to try? Do you have any experience from using a health journal? Let me know!

Help yourself become a WellSpring of Life

xxJoannaxx

What Are Intentions & How To Use Them

Staying On The Path of Your Dreams

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I realize at first glance this topic may seem a little “out there” for some of you. You may group it together with crystal healing, card reading, mind reading (ha)…. but intentions are super applicable for everyone no matter their beliefs.

Intentions are basically the fuel to reach your goals and dreams. They help keep you on that path, focused on where you want to go and who you want to be. Where goals are your end destinations, intentions are the path. We often get caught up in day to day life and lose sight on what we really want. Intentions are really great at keeping us centered on the right path.

For this month, I focused on relighting that fire of joy that I once had. No lie, I had a couple people nickname me “Sunshine” because of that palpable happiness. But with life and age and responsibilities, that light had dimmed. Thanks to some recent self questioning, I realized how much I had changed and made it a priority to get back to who I used to be.

Although you probably don’t have the same intentions as me, what are yours for this month? Is there anything in particular you see in your life as holding you back instead of pushing you forward?

I really encourage you to try this exercise. Take some alone time and think about what you really desire, and what you need to get you there. Try taking the paper and post it somewhere you always go; kitchen, bathroom, closet. Remember that you are in charge of your life, and you only have one.

Do all that you can to become a WellSpring of Life.

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xxJoannaxx

‘A Gift’ Meditation

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So every morning before I start the day, or sometimes after yoga, I take about 10-15 minutes to get centered, and take deep, slow breaths. There are days when I have a phrase/thought/verse I continuously repeat to myself to help keep my mind focused and not drift.

I started doing this about a month and a half ago because:

  1. I have a tendency to stress myself out by constantly filling my day with too many things and feeling guilty if I don’t accomplish it all, and taking time to be still helps counteract that.
  2. I have a compromised gut and digestive system, and deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which increases healing.
  3. Deep Breathing is great for increasing lung capacity and reorganizing your cells for optimum use and health (especially for the brain.)

The other day was an especially special time for me though. I had just finished yoga out on the dock. It had been breezy and cool when I began, but the sun suddenly came out and it got really hot. So I was sweating.. big time. But I sat on my mat, closed my eyes, and tried to focus on my breath. Deep, slow inhale, deep slow exhale. Really gentle.

But of course my mind kept returning to that fact that my back was on fire, and I had sweat dripping down my thigh.

But then all of a sudden, my mind started drifting to these thoughts of “This is a gift. Your family is a gift. Your mother is a gift. your father is a gift…” etc. And it was so beautiful, so natural, and totally not of my doing. I did not think about this beforehand, didn’t read an article about it, it just came about in my mind.

I moved from the gift of my family and home to the gift of my body. I began from my toes and repeated how this and that were g i f t s. And if I came across a part of my body that I was self conscious about, I would just repeat it until I felt whole again.

This practice was extremely therapeutic and needed, as I have been going through some difficulties lately. God wanted to remind me of how everything I own and everything I am, is a gift. From the breath in my lungs to the simple thoughts in my head.

I would love to share this meditation with you so that you can also feel complete peace and gratitude. Of course, please alter it to fit your personal life and current situation. I am simply providing mine as a starting point.:

Get comfortable, if it’s too strenuous on your back to sit up straight, lean against a wall, sit in a chair, or even lay down.

Close your eyes, quiet your mind, and gently ease into a slower, deeper breath.

With each inhale and exhale, repeat this to yourself.

“My family is a gift.”

“My father is a gift.”

“My mother is a gift.”

“My sister is a gift.”

“My brother is a gift.”

“My husband is a gift.”

“My house is a gift.”

“My creativity is a gift.”

“My intelligence is a gift.”

“My drive is a gift.”

“My health is a gift.”

“My past is a gift.”

“My future is a gift.”

“My present is a gift.”

“My toes are a gift.”

“My feet are a gift.”

“My legs are a gift.”

“My stomach is a gift.”

“My thighs are a gift.”

“My curves are a gift.”

“My fingers are a gift.”

“My hands are a gift.”

“My arms are a gift.”

“My chest is a gift.”

“My neck is a gift.”

“My face is a gift.”

“My hair is a gift.”

“My skin is a gift.”

“My beauty is a gift.”

“My mind is a gift.”

“My thoughts are a gift.”

“My self is a gift.”

“This is a gift.”

and wherever you wish to end, slowly return to normal breath. Focus on your breath, on your body. Feel the heaviness and sink into the earth, into yourself. Slowly open your eyes and acknowledge this beauty of life you so often overlook.

If you really listen and understand what each phrase means, you get struck by how powerful it is. How it is not by what you have done, or your capability, that you have been blessed. It is all a gift.

There is so much beauty, and endless room for thankfulness. Maybe today take some time to realize it. You are a gift.

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Hope you are consistently filled with love and light.

xxJoannaxx

Endless Search for Eternal Youth

Loving Your Skin, Even As It Ages

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Women fear getting older. We won’t be as attractive by society’s standards, things will droop, sag, wrinkle. We fear becoming less desirable. We fear the comparisons. We fear losing our ‘prime’ in our youth and then going downhill turning into an ugly and unwanted human being.

It sounds ridiculous, but it is so true. We put so much emphasis on how we look, and what we think we should look like that it has quite literally poisoned our minds.

Why else would women stick huge needles in their face? Or put balloons in their chest? Or go under surgery to have a doctor cut and sew their face so it looks like barbie?

This is Crazy! Madness! Insanity!

We hurt our physical bodies to try and tame our internal beast of self destruction.

 

Women go to such lengths to try and save a few years. What have we become? Are we above nature and time? Are we really trying to win so many battles, but know eventually we will lose the war?

 

It is time we try and stop fighting time and aging, but rather embracing it.

 

The french women, no matter their age, have this air of sexiness and beauty and class that has somehow alluded the americans.

What is it that they have? Better doctors? Better plastic surgeons?

No, my dears.

They have confidence. Confidence in themselves and their beauty. They welcome age with open arms instead of trying to slam the door on its face.

“Do not regret growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.”

Be happy and thankful for your life. Treat yourself with care and love, that is the most beautiful thing a woman can possess.

 

There is beauty in age that is not found in youth, remember that. 

Everything in the natural world ages and grows old, remember that.

Embrace change and be kinder to yourself, remember that. 

 

Hope this helps you, my dears. maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But maybe someday something will click and you will remember.

 

You are beautiful. 

Then. Now. and Always. 

 

xxJoannaxx

How To Achieve an At Home Spa

Relax- You Deserve It

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image via TheJewishLady

I get it, we’re all in the same boat as you. You are tired. Exhausted, rather. There are just constantly so many things piling up, so many responsibilities, so many plans, and just not enough time for you. You may feel guilty for taking time for yourself, or you may not prioritize it. Whatever the reason is— it frankly isn’t good enough.

You are so important. Your mind, body, emotions, all that stuff makes you into the wonderful, lovable person that you are. And when you get stretched too thin, when you’re constantly on the go, that takes a huge toll on your well being. Do you know what a major cause of disease is? Stress. That one letter word that packs one hell of a punch.

 

It is actually a health issue when you don’t take time for yourself. You may not feel the effects now, but eventually your body will just give up. It will break down in order for you to force yourself to take a breather.

But who has time for being sick? Plus it’s not exactly enjoyable.

So how do we avoid this?

You simply just take time for yourself everyday. It doesn’t have to be hours, just something small will do. Whether that’s meditation, watching your favorite show, taking a bath, whatever suits your personal needs. A popular stress relief is the spa. You relax, you get rubbed with all sorts of things, you feel good, you smell good, you’re glowing. Theres really nothing better.

Spas are expensive though. SO you should make your own! It’s quite simple really, you just need a couple things and you’ll immediately feel that tension rolling off your back.

 

  1. Essential Oil Diffuser. This baby is so nice to have around. The whole room will swim in whatever intoxicating scent you choose. Lavender essential oil is a popular one, but there are also many others.
  2. Candles. Oooooo baby. Light the candles, turn the lights off, and enjoy that vibe. Bright lights are super invigorating and stressful, so taking time to be away from them is really beneficial. (When buying candles, make sure to buy the non-toxic kind- such as beeswax.)
  3. Music. If you choose. Some people love a little background music, some people prefer silence. If you are the music type, put on something soft and calming like classical piano or a yoga station. Music will help distract you from all the thoughts and events from the day.

 

Now these are the basics, you can add in a face mask, bath, face massage, really anything that makes you feel good.

So remember to – take time for yourself! You only have one body and mind, so please take care of them.

xxJoannaxx