My Health Journey

The Emotional Side Of Healing

Getting healthy is a lot more emotionally involved than you may think. But let me just start off by saying that I am not perfectly healthy now, and honestly never will be.. our bodies are imperfect. But I have, like many of you, struggled with something for years and am finally at a point in my life where my body looks and feels it’s best. It’s been a long journey but I wish for nothing more than to share all that I have done in order to help some of you.

The Beginning

I remember the first time I knew something was wrong.  I had just eaten a meal that I had eaten probably 100 times, and suddenly my stomach started to cramp, I got really cold, chills all over my body. It had gotten so bad so fast that I began writhing on the floor. I felt so nauseous, and tried making myself throw up but wasn’t able to. It would start to go away then immediately come back full force. I was crying out in pain. It was honestly the worst pain I had ever experienced, even worse than awful period cramps because of the fear of not knowing what was happening to my body. I literally felt like my stomach was going to burst through my skin.

It thankfully passed after a few hours, but I was really, really scared.

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The Healing Process

Physical Side

Over the next few years I became extremely cautious with my food. I kept making little changes in my diet, always eliminating food that gave me problems.

My symptoms included: sharp, excruciating pains in lower and upper stomach, chills and goosebumps covering my body, nausea, rash from chest to stomach, unintentional weight loss, continuous breakouts, various food sensitivities, and feeling totally and completely helpless.

But it had gotten to the point that even healthy foods began to give me these problems. And foods would one day be fine, but then another day suddenly cause me to drop to the floor and curl up into a ball. It felt like my body was continuously rejecting all of the food I tried to give it.

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March 2, 2017. It wasn’t until later that I had realized how thin I had become. My body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients.

I signed up for Dr. Axe’s Leaky Gut Program after watching a webinar because I knew my disease was at least partially caused from my gut being damaged. It is a magnificent program that helped both my husband and I, but I knew I needed further attention.

When we were in Florida for a holiday I made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor I used to go to. And with the normal testing- blood work and hormone test, he gave me something I never heard of before- a breath test. To test my level of bacteria in my body.

When the results came back it showed that I had super high levels of bacteria which gave me the diagnosis of Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth aka SIBO.

I was ecstatic. The fact that there was a name for my condition meant that there were certain steps I could take to help heal my body. I had gone so many years,slowly giving up hope and this was the first sign that showed the light at the end of the tunnel.

So I went on the specific SIBO diet- cutting out a lot of different vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sugar, protein, etc. And although this helped a little bit.. I am sorry to say that it did not heal me. My body was still weak, I still felt like my stomach was always upset. I went back to the doctor but never quite felt like he had my best interest in mind, something about how he spoke just didn’t show the care that I needed. So back to square one.

*small lesson: You do not need to see a doctor you do not love. You are your own best health advocate. Trust yourself and your feelings.*

I started seeing an acupuncturist, and after our consultation she gave me such confidence again that I started tearing up and gave her a huge hug. She is actually a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor so she was able to help me more than the typical acupuncturist. She first put me on high dosages of natural antibacterials to help kill the bacteria, high doses of probiotics to bring back the balance, and a shake to heal the gut lining and give my body the nutrients I wasn’t absorbing through food.

She also ordered a stool test which was by far the NASTIEST thing I have ever done but it is the best test to see how your body is doing. It tested my nutrient absorption, which bacteria levels were high, if I had any viruses or parasites, etc. This allowed my doctor to personalize my treatment even more.

my healing journey, sibo, emotional side of healing. www.awellspringoflife.com

September 22, 2017. I was far along in my healing protocol and my stomach was doing better, but I was still really thin and dealing with a lot of emotional baggage.

Emotional Side

But it wasn’t until I tested my hormones through Delgado Naturals and saw how high my cortisol was that I also began to work on my emotional stress. If you read my other posts on my story on healing. ways to deal with emotional stress, and how to reduce cortisol, you’ll know that I have had some pretty hard years.

And you must know, this is so very important, that all stress manifests itself in physical ways. So my constant low level stress was causing my stomach to get all twisted up inside. I was constantly on the verge of tears, I was extremely lonely and heart broken, so I took the path to begin seeing a counselor. Having that outlet and a source of calm wisdom helped heal my heart and mind.

The Finale

Through persistence and patience, I am now at a point in my life where my body is absorbing nutrients, my gut is strong and healthy, my energy has dramatically increased, and I am, without a doubt, so much happier. I still go once a month to my acupuncturist to keep my body aligned. I don’t really take many supplements besides ones to balance my hormones, and I have kept up with the lifestyle changes to reduce my stress.

Now, I’ve been told that SIBO never truly leaves your system.  You can help it go into recession, but it may never fully go away. And that’s okay- I have accepted it. Through this health journey I have discovered various natural ways to help my digestive system whenever I do have a flare up. I am just so thankful that I never gave up trying or looking for a doctor that I truly felt was looking out for ME.

my healing journey, sibo, emotional side of healing.www.awellspringoflife.com

September 26, 2018. This is me now. With a little extra love all around, and a healthy, strong body

my healing journey, sibo, the emotional side of healing. www.awellspringoflife.com

Your health is not determined by a number on a scale. It is only defined by your happiness.

 

What are you currently battling in your health journey?

xxjoannaxx

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How To Handle Emotional Distress

Help Yourself Heal 

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Yes, like many of you I have had my fair share of days where I cried at least once and always felt like I was on the brink of sobbing my eyes out.

But through those hard times I have learned that there are ways to help ease the sadness so it doesn’t seem as suffocating.

Ways to handle emotional distress. take time to heal yourself and release emotions. www.awellspringoflife.com

Ways To Deal With Emotional Distress:

Let yourself cry. Yes, I said it. Let the emotions flow as strong or as weak as they are. Stop trying to put forth a version of yourself that you feel is better or stronger. You need to be you, and by pushing those feelings further down you will only make yourself more miserable. I learned that there are times when I needed to cry to heal- I could not become whole again until I let go of the things which made me ill.

Begin a gratitude journal. Write down the things for which you are thankful. Write down those which are not related to humans because relationships can and probably will at some point disappoint you. Write down the things that are inherently and purely good, that will never wrong you.

Talk to someone. It is okay to speak out your troubles. Let your mouth run with all of the thoughts you have been bottling up. If you cannot talk to a close friend or family member, find a counselor. They are 100% there for you and have no ulterior motive. You are their concern and they want nothing more than to help you. Speak your heart, speak your thoughts, speak your truth.

Pray. One can never fully heal without fully letting go. Give it to God. Give the pain, the stress, anxiety, guilt, sadness. You are imperfect and were not meant to go through life alone. He is there with you and constantly a place to rest your soul.

Take deep, deep breaths. Once you have released everything you had locked up inside, take the time to realize that you are okay. There is more to life than what is happening at this moment and you will be okay. Put your hand on your heart and your belly and fill up your stomach with slow long inhales. Then with intention and gratitude, let it slowly flow back out from you. You will become calm, your mind still, and you will slowly be able to regain the strength to continue. I did a video on how to breathe deeply on my instagram page- click here to watch.

Yoga poses. There are certain poses that cause inward reflection and surrender. A favorite is child’s pose, you are bent over your knees with outstretched arms. You cannot help but feel all of the emotions you have been hiding from.

 

Be aware of you. If you need to sleep, sleep. If you need to run 3 miles, run. But just make sure that you aren’t distracting yourself too much. Even though you be able to fill your thoughts will daily tasks, does not mean anything is being resolved. Be gentle with yourself and give your heart what it needs.

Use healing essential oils. There are essential oils that have the ability to support and heal your emotions. Using frankincense will calm your mind, wild orange will uplift your spirits, the forgive blend will help you release, and many more. Doterra actually has multiple blends for specific emotional needs, and they all come in a kit if you wish to have them for all situations. The kit includes all of the oils, a diffuser, and an informative booklet. There are times when you need a natural support for your emotions. Click here to view the kit which can actually be your enrollment kit to become a wholesale customer for 25% off plus all future orders. If you wish to enroll click here.

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These all helped me, and I know they will help you. Crying does not make you weak, remember that.

have you found other ways to help with emotional distress?

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xxjoannaxx

 

Why I’m No longer Afraid Of Food

My Unpopular View Of Diets

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(If you’d like to watch the video I made about this topic, check it out here!)

I’ll be honest, this has been quite a revelation for me and I know it will be for you too. Food has been an obsession since the first fast weight-loss diet. The idea that we could lose weight at rapid speed simply by radically changing the food (or “food”) we ingest and how often we eat. But with that comes unhealthy obsession, eating foods that don’t actually sustain us, relying solely on food instead of treating the lifestyle changes, yo-yoing between one weight and the next, etc. Diets only last for so long, they’re not sustainable, and it is such an unhealthy way to try an obtain an “ideal body.”

However, with that comes the complete opposite end of the spectrum- Obsession with HEALTHY FOOD. This is much healthier and far more beneficial for your body, but as with all things, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I’m not referring to healthy, vibrant, whole foods because you can literally eat as much of those as your body needs and you will become the most lively, lovely, vibrant person. I am referring to the obsession with healthy food. You can go too overboard. There is even something people can be diagnosed with called Orthorexia, which is “a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.” source

This causes STRESS. The nasty six letter word that is the underlying cause for so many diseases and conditions.

You can literally look up any problem you have, might have in the future, your friend has, your dog has, and you will always find that there is some food group that you should remove from your diet to help heal your body and/or as prevention.  This isn’t a bad thing- it is quite miraculous! The fact that our body is literally made up of the food we eat is nothing short of incredible. We have the ability to change our weight, our skin, our ailments, even our genes just by choosing what foods we put into our mouths. Can I get an Amen because I think this definitely deserves an AMEN!

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But as I have learned through my time at the Institute Of Integrative Nutrition and from personal experience, you must must must have balance.. with everythingI do have a type A personality so I do have the tendency to go to the extreme with things. I am a research lover and really enjoy learning as much as I can and becoming the best I can be.

But I now know for sure that I went overboard.

There was a time, quite recently actually, where I felt like I literally couldn’t eat anything. If you read health articles or books, or listen to podcasts, or watch documentaries, you can always find someone bashing each and every food group. And not only sugar and gluten because those have been “evil” for awhile (and for good reason.) But there are some that say you shouldn’t eat meat. Or beans. or fruit. or fats. or anything with seeds. or grains. The list goes on and on and contains all types of food no matter how raw or pure it may be.

While I was searching for my one ticket to save me from my breakouts and heal my gut, I was listening to anyone and everyone. I was trying all of the recommendations, cutting out all of the food groups, taking all the vitamins, I was like a derailed train that just kept going and gaining more speed. But you know what? Nothing seemed to be that one perfect answer that solved all of my problems. Yes, there are definitely things I do that keep my skin more under control and my stomach more manageable, but there wasn’t anything that seemed like my holy grail.

And I had become afraid of food. 

I never felt like I could go out with friends, eat the same dinner as my husband, go to family functions because I knew either A. There would be nothing for me to eat and I would be really hungry. or B. If I did indulge and break my insanely strict diet I would break out horribly and my stomach would swell up to a 6 month old pregnant woman. And you know what this caused? STRESS. Big fat stress all day every day. Even when I wasn’t dealing with the crossroads of deciding if I should or shouldn’t go to an event, it would be there all day. I would have mini battles in my head of “Oh I really want this. But can I? I have already had so many fruits today. But will this red apple be too much sugar for my system? Will I have a reaction? Is it worth it? Am I seeing anyone soon? Will I look okay when I take my makeup off? Oh but I really want that juicy apple. But nah, I guess I shouldn’t. Let me just have a little more water.”

For real you guys. This was my life. And looking back at it now I realize how crazy it was, how much low level stress I was dealing with every day.

But then we decided to go to France for vacation. And I told myself that I will give myself complete leeway to eat whatever I wanted. Breakouts be damned, I wanted to treat myself! It’s not everyday you go to a beautiful country, and why go and not have the complete culinary experience?!? It’s near blasphemy.

So we went and for the first day I was subconsciously keeping track of how much bread I ate, how many veggies I had, and I had to break that habit. So I don’t know how many vegetables I ate during our trip, but I definitely know it wasn’t the allotted 3 cups a day. And those baguettes and pastries? Yeah. Your girl ate them. A lot of them. I also had delicious cheeses and alcohol.

Are you ready?

I FELT INCREDIBLE. not only that, but I also looked absolutely great.

My body was bangin’, my skin was glowy, but most importantly I felt so joyful and more at peace than I have in a very, very long time.

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I could not believe the results. All this time I thought that “unhealthy” food was the root of all evil, when that wasn’t it at all. The stress over being healthy and not allowing myself to ever let go, and then the guilt when I did indulge was doing damage to my mental state which was totally affecting my body and it’s symptoms.

And then it hit me- No food is inherently evil. It’s the manipulation and modification of foods that can make it unhealthy. Eating foods that are made in a lab or that are heavily with pesticides and chemicals, food that has been so processed and pumped with artificial sugars, THAT is what is unhealthy.

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But bread that was handmade by the baker early that morning, cheese that came straight from the farmer’s farm, meat that came from the hands of the butcher, these are not the things that put our body out of balance. They are the things that sustain us. Not only from a physical point of view, but also our mental and emotional state. If you constantly eat foods that you find gross or unappetizing, your body isn’t going to receive it as well as a beautiful balanced meal that satisfies every taste bud in your mouth.

However, we must remember that everyone’s body is different. You must always listen to your body to see how it reacts to foods, what works for your friend may not work for you. And you shouldn’t always eat super heavy, extravagant meals, your body will feel sluggish and probably run down over time. But hey, your girlfriends wanna go out to eat and chow down on some delicious food thats full of dairy and gluten and sugar and split a bottle of wine? GIRL, DO IT.

The medicine you will receive in the form of laughter and community is far more beneficial than staying home alone and eating the same food you’ve been eating all week. 

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Being back home, I now approach my diet with a much softer and relaxed hand. If I want that cheese on pasta? I’ll add it. If I’m way too exhausted to make dinner, I have no problem going out and picking up something to eat, even if it’s not the healthiest thing. Balance is key. You can be healthy eating tons of whole foods while also eating some gluten here and there, or dairy, or whatever. Try to get good quality foods because that is what counts. You should really try and avoid that processed junk that filled with preservatives and colored dyes, but again, if you’re at some barbecue that only happens a couple times a year and you see your favorite chips, girl- eat those chips.

Stop restricting yourself to the point of stress. Let loose and be wise.

I hope you now feel a little less suffocated and constricted. Your body is a wonderful, magical thing and it can handle a little indulgence every now and again.

Be kind to your body and your mind.

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I hope this helps you further along your journey of Becoming A WellSpring Of Life.

All my love.

Joanna

How To Reduce Cortisol (STRESS)

It’s Time To Tell That Cortisol To Get LOWWW

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If you guys know me, or follow me on my social media— you’ve probably deduced that I have a tendency to stress the frrrriiiick out. But you also probably know that I struggle with gastrointestinal issues as well. Surprise, surprise, most stomach problems are caused from the body’s response to stress.

Quick story: Your body manifests your mental and emotional state in your physical body. So if you’re ever going through a hard time at work, home, relationships.. this all translates into your body. The symptoms depend on the person, some get skin issues, some people get really imbalanced hormones, some (like me) get stomach problems. So just keep that in mind when you’re addressing your health issues- ask yourself how happy are you? how stressed? Is there anything you are dealing with?

Okay so back to me. (so self absorbed i know)

The main reason many people have stomach problems due to stress is because you subconsciously squeeze and contract your stomach. What do children do when they feel sad or uncomfortable? They cross their arms over their stomach- as if to protect it.

If you read my previous post, I kinda go into detail about all of the things that I’ve been struggling with. You can find that here. So through my journey of healing my body and healing my gut (that would randomly give me such awful pain, chills, bloating) I have learned so many tips and exercises to use to help calm my body down. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so whenever you are in the “fight or flight” mode, your body floods itself with cortisol. Causing a whole host of problems.

Symptoms of High Cortisol 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Weight Gain
  • Food Cravings
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Brain Fog
  • Emotionally Unstable/Mood Swings
  • Imbalanced Blood Sugar
  • Weak Immune System
  • Poor Sleep
  • Changes In Libido
  • Acne/Skin Issues
  • Aches and Pains
  • Imbalanced Hormones/Period Problems

I’m betting you have one or maybe even multiple of these problems. So let’s get down to business (to defeat the huns) no just kidding. to defeat high cortisol. (that was a mulan joke if you didn’t get it)

WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS/CORTISOL

Eat Whole Food Diet, Reducing Inflammatory Foods

  • When you feed your body things that cause it to work overtime, deprive it of key nutrients, or flood your system with toxins that it cannot process- you are putting your body and your internal systems under a lot of stress. PLUS, when you eat inflammatory foods your blood sugar becomes super unstable- rising then crashing constantly throughout the day.
    Foods that are anti-inflammatory are high in key nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants which help balance hormones and control your cravings, all of which help bring your body into balance. Read this blog to find out what Inflammatory Foods you should avoid! 

Meditate

  • Meditation has been around for centuries. Creating space and stillness in your mind and body is scientifically proven to reduce your stress response and encourage relaxation and healing. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. Try slowly building up your ability to meditate. It is really difficult, especially for those who were raised in this current generation who need that constant gratification of doing a million things at once. There are some apps you can get to help guide your meditation, as it can be difficult to know what to do and calm yourself down. Just try it for one minute one day, and keep adding a minute every day. 

Deep Breathing

  • When you’re stressed your chest become tight and your breathing becomes shallow. Very quick, light, short breaths. Unfortunately, these are automatic reactions that are part of the stress response… but most adults breathe like this all the time. To help counteract this- try diaphragm breathing. This actually activates your parasympathetic nervous system aka your natural relaxation response!!
  • How To- Breathe in through your nose, long and slow, filling up your belly and chest with air, then slowly exhale through your nose. You can also try putting one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach to help monitor your breathing, while also directing your thoughts and energy towards those areas to increase the loving healing. 

Acupuncture

  • I began acupuncture probably a little less than a year ago to help address/heal my SIBO. Combined with supplements and lifestyle/dietary changes, acupuncture had a really impactful effect on my healing journey. Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago, and is intended to rebalance the energy in the body. Injuries, disease, stress, these all cause the body to become out of balance. Acupuncture can help alleviate pain, balance hormones, heal stressed organs, achieve better sleep, increase circulation, etc. If you’re in the N. Tampa area, I have a really wonderful Traditional Chinese Doctor who offers acupuncture, she’s the best. 

Regular Exercise

  • This one should come at no surprise to you- exercise is pretty much the second most important thing you can do for your body. I’m serious. It is also one of the best ways to manage stress- as well as balance hormones, balance blood sugar, help you sleep better, yada yada yada it’s really important. There is one catch though- you MUST make sure that you do not overexert yourself to the point of exhaustion. And you must make sure you give yourself time to rest and heal. People who over train actually cause more stress on their body, releasing unnecessary cortisol into their system.
  • Although exercise temporarily increases cortisol, it brings it back down once you are finished. This teaches your body how to handle stress and how to lower cortisol levels easier. 

Adaptogens

  1. Food is medicine. What we put on and into our bodies literally break down and become our cells. So what better way to “treat” ourselves than to feed it substances that can help balance our body. Adaptogens may be something you have never heard of before- and I’ll be honest, until I became super health conscious I never heard of the word either. To put it simply- adaptogens are herbs that help your body “adapt” to undesirable conditions. “According to naturopath Edward Wallace, an adaptogen doesn’t have a specific action; it helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological functions.” source 
  • I am a big big fan of adaptogens, I really believe I can tell a difference when I consistently take them. I have had experience with Ashwagandha, it is the most common and gentle of herbs. Here are the other top adaptogens that aid in reducing cortisol:
    astragalus
    licorice root
    medicinal mushrooms, including reishi and cordyceps
    rhodiola
  • TIP- always always always make sure you are buying your herbs and adaptogens from a reputable source. Often conventional foods herbs are grown with heavy pesticides and metals. I solely buy my adaptogens from Sun Potion. Their products are top of the line and they last a reaaalllyy long time.

Essential Oils

  • Ah, oils, my favorite! These work similarly to herbs and adaptogens, they work with your entire body bringing it back into balance. If you want to read my previous post about what essential oils are- check this post, it’ll help you understand more of what I’m talking about! Here are the top oils for reducing stress: lavender, clary sage, frankincense, and ylang ylang. I actually just bought the Doterra Roll On Blend called Clary Calm. This is specified for women who deal with PMS/menstrual problems (hormone imbalance, stress, cramps.) I like using it because it helps reduce my stress while also working on the other problems in my body. I love that it is already packaged so I can take it with me wherever I go to get a quick pick me up! 
  • NOTE- When buying essential oils, make sure they are from a reputable company!! Conventional companies are known to add fillers and toxic ingredients to their oils.. which can cause serious harm to your body. I exclusively use Doterra, if you have any questions or want to get started- let me know! 

Get Enough Sleep

  • Remember, cortisol isn’t inherently bad. It is a natural part of our body- it is the thing that wakes us up in the morning, and the thing that makes us tired at night so we sleep deeply. A lot of people with high cortisol levels have an extremely hard time sleeping, their circadian rhythms are out of balance. Getting enough sleep helps our body repair itself, and control cortisol production. Try applying the other tips to balance your cortisol and this will hopefully help our sleeping situation. ALSO- keep in mind, naps are okay. If you are super super tired and you didn’t sleep well and you can’t function- take a nap. Rest. Your body needs it.

Yoga

  • So yoga is like the ultimate cortisol defeater. It includes exercise, deep breathing, and meditation. You can also include essential oils into your practice to reap those benefits. I know yoga isn’t for everyone, but it is a really really powerful tool for reducing stress in your body. Even if it’s just ten minutes once a week. Your body feels so good afterwards, very light very open.

WHEW. Now that was a long blog post. But I know how important it was to write! If you have any questions or any other tips, leave me a comment or send me an email! Don’t forget you can catch me over on my instagram to see all of the other healthy tips and tricks.

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Hope you find the time to relax today. <3

xxjoannaxx

 

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

How to Create a Magical Bath

this is for you

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You gently lower your tired body into a porcelain tub; letting your mind and body slowly relax and unwind as you become enveloped in the comforting, warm water. You let go of the stress from the day, your body releases the pent up and stored tension, you are taking time for you. This alone is a mighty healing act, but there are ways to take you deeper into your world of rest, peace, comfort, and utter stillness.

Increase the Magic in Your Bath Time Ritual

Depending on the feel you wish to accomplish, there are various things you can add to your bath. Whether you want something detoxing, moisturizing, calming, soothing, the list is endless. Listen to your body and heart and see what it wants. You can add one or a combination of the following items to create your dream bath.

  1. flowers
  2. greenery
  3. citrus
  4. carrier oils
  5. essential oils
  6. powdered milk
  7. himalayan salts
  8. oats

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Here’s two blends I’m currently enjoying:

Heaven on Earth Bath

  • Slices from various citrus (lime, lemon, orange)
  • Fresh/Dried Eucalyptus
  • Powdered Milk
  • 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Release and Detox Bath

  • 1 large himalayan salt block
  • 1 TBS coconut oil
  • 10 drops Patchouli Essential Oil

I hope this inspires you to take the time for yourself to make yourself feel special and worthy of magic. You work so hard and have so much to worry about, let this one act of self honoring be something you prioritize. If not a magical bath, what are other ways you practice self care? How you do take care of yourself in ways other than eating and sleeping? 

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xxjoannaxx

Benefits of Yoga//My Story

Namaste, Beautiful Yogis

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We’ve all seen them- those girls on the internet doing crazy arm balances and stretches in beautiful scenery.. makes yoga seem like a dream, yeah? The healing, relaxing, de-stressing mind-body ritual that has been around for thousands of years, and that is now taking the world and instagram by storm. It was actually first used to center the mind before meditation, allowing a deeper, calmer, more focused meditative state. Today it is more so used as a form of exercise, a way to release stress, and a super easy way to make yourself look really, really cool.

I began my practice a couple years ago when I wanted to change my body and start exercising (at 19), but I wasn’t really into running or any other cardio. Yoga brought this wonderful way to work my entire body in a very non-strenuous way but with amazing results. Seriously, people started asking what I was doing to get so skinny and fit.

However, the yoga I was doing wasn’t hatha (slow, stretching) yoga, it’s called Interval Yoga which combines deep stretching with high intensity movement. This form of yoga was invented by the bulgarian beauty Ali Kamenova. If your main motivation for yoga is losing weight/gaining muscle or definition, I highly recommend her youtube videos.

As I developed a body I was pleased with, I began dabbling in other forms of yoga. Some more slow, relaxing, others that held positions for 5 long, deep breaths.. etc. I now have a wide range of yoga series that I practice and I definitely feel like my body is thriving from it. The other great thing was that as I started looking more into yoga I began to read ALL of the amazing benefits! Yoga not only positively affects the body, but even more importantly- the mind.

I’ll be honest, I get stressed and overwhelmed pretty easily. I tend to hold in a lot of angst, stress, and grief, it’s just the way my mind processes things (INFJ.) But this can cause serious internal damage; stress on the body is even more detrimental than unhealthy food, lack of exercise, etc. But yoga has the ability to counteract that! It is not really the poses that are so healing, but the breathing, the focusing on the body, letting the mind become still and rest.

 

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Yoga is beneficial for literally everyone. If you want to lose weight, stretch, detox, have better digestion, sleep better, have more focus, reduce stress, increase mental clarity– yoga is for you. And we all have at least one of those things we wish was better, right?

Even just five minutes a day, five minutes out of your 15-18 hour day is nothing and it offers SO many benefits! Do you think it’s definitely a possibility to add in a small daily practice into your daily routine? What benefits would you hope to achieve, what are you currently struggling with? Comment below and let me know! Maybe even tag a friend you’d like to start yoga with!

xxJoannaxx

Common Causes of Acne

Power to the Pimple

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image via www.drterry.com

Now this is one heck of a topic. The majority of people, men and women alike, have struggled with acne. If you’re one of those people who have miraculously avoided the common curse, well forgive me as I silently praise but also become increasingly jealous of you.

Our skin is an organ, just like your liver, spleen, and lungs. It is the mighty organ because it is exposed, first hand, to all of the external attacks- i.e. toxic fumes, sun rays, bacteria, etc. It can handle a lot, but it’s not a saint. Any sort of issue on your skin is a sign that your body is out of balance. There is something going on that isn’t right, and your body is telling you that through- you heard it- the dreaded, cursed, loathed, pimple.

External Causes

Dirty Phone

Dirty Pillowcase

Your incessant touching and picking of your skin

Incorrect Cleansing

Stress

Clogging Makeup

 

Internal Causes

Hormone Imbalance

Poor Diet

Food Sensitivity

Digestive Issues

Genes

Toxic Buildup

 

Yeah.. so pretty much anything can cause a skin flare-up. It can be a quick fix for some, or a long, long journey for others. My number one tip is to don’t stress out over it, that will only cause more skin problems.

 

Your skin does not define you. 

You can and will conquer it. 

Be patient. 

Love your skin. 

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

My Experience with Acupuncture-pt 1 

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Acupuncture: Being stuck with a ton of needles.. willingly. 

This is part of a series. I will continue to write new posts when there are updates that are worthy of announcement.

Health Background: (aka why I ever started acupuncture)

I am plagued with SIBO (small intestine bacteria growth.)Which pretty much means:  I’m frequently bloated, I randomly get these sharp, debilitating pains in my gut that render me unable to walk or even stand, I have a super limited amount of foods I can eat without feeling nauseous or bloated. It’s an awful problem that unfortunately a lot of people struggle with but aren’t aware of it. (If you think you’re a candidate, ask your doctor for a breath test.)

I’ve had this for a couple years, now. First thinking it was just certain foods causing it, but it progressively got worse and worse despite eliminating more foods from my diet. I eventually went to a holistic doctor who prescribed a bunch of tests, and eventually referred me to an Acupuncturist. Who is thankfully a doctor who also practices in the same building.

I had  been reading about acupuncture for a couple years, always super curious but never dived in because I didn’t want to spend the money. Well I now had a really good reason, so I was not only excited about healing my body, but also learning about one of the coolest, most ancient practices out there!

We had an initial consultation and because of my serious condition she recommended I see her once a week for a couple months to start, and then reassess to see how my body was healing. I already liked her, she was super knowledgable with no nonsense, and I could tell she actually cared for me and my wellbeing- which is hard to find in conventional doctors.

First Treatment:

Laying on a paper covered table, head on a pillow, legs propped up on a pillow, in a dark, warm room, ears filled with soothing music. Before the needles, she took my pulses on each wrist, and felt around my stomach to see where the pain was. I couldn’t look as she poked my legs, feet, hands, arms, stomach, ears and head. I have a weird thing with needles. Not gonna lie, a few of them hurt which I wasn’t expecting. But then she left the room and let me lay for twenty l o n g minutes. With it being my first time I had a really hard time relaxing. I definitely didn’t fall asleep like a lot of people do. My mind kept whirring around with all the lists I needed to check off, then also these crazy waves of extreme grief came over me, like a full on mind and body detox. Afterwards though, I felt so good and relaxed and had this beautiful pink glow.

Now:

I just finished my fifth treatment and each time it is more and more enjoyable. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep last time! I can tell a huge difference in my body already, and it’s only been a little over a month. For one, my eyes don’t have crazy burning sensations anymore, I don’t feel exhausted at 3, and I am becoming less frequently bloated! I also feel more relaxed and “even.” Before I began my treatment, I really did feel like butter spread over too much bread. Thin, fragile, always on the verge of crying.. totally not healthy. I am so thankful for the opportunity and ability to heal my body in this natural way, and my doctor is amazing. She never misses a moment to teach me, and is so willing to answer all of my questions.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments! I would be more than happy to help.

*You are your own health representative. You have the power to be in control of how you are treated. If you do not agree with a doctor’s assessment, or feel uncomfortable, feel free to say no and do your own research. Doctors don’t know everything. And every body is different.*

xxJoannaxx