5 Things That Happen When You Start Running

I only run if something’s chasing me!
— Hilarious People Everywhere

Why start running?

It seems like an odd thing to do, right?  We have cars, bikes, taxis, and countless other forms of transportation to get us from point A to point B- and let's be honest, when people go out for a run, they typically end up back at point A and sweaty.  So maybe running isn't about transportation.  Great, so why do it?

I'm going to share 5 things with you that happen when you start running regularly.  

1. You feel better/faster/stronger.

 
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Your initial reaction might be, yeah, no, I ran once and it did NOT feel good.  In fact, it felt hard, I was out of breath, and my legs hurt.  Not good.  

I'm talking about your overall well-being.  If you start incorporating running into your lifestyle on a regular basis, you will notice a significant change in how your body feels throughout the day!  Each step you take further improves your cardiovascular strength and health.  The stairs won't wind you, you'll be more likely to keep up with the kids, and your metabolism will pick up greatly.  So when you're hitting the pavement, and you feel like it's hard or uncomfortable, remember that these are growing pains.  If you keep with it, you'll start to feel stronger as your abilities grow!

2. You'll be happier :)

 
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Yepp, there are ENDLESS studies that show the positive effect of exercise on mood. Scientifically speaking, we've probably all heard that exercise boosts our endorphins, which act as your body's natural painkillers.  This is true of running as well, but some scientists argue that perhaps the famous "runner's high" is more due to the serotonin production in our bodies.  Serotonin is utilized in treatments for depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders, and when it's activated in our body, we are much less likely to become stuck in negative thought patterns or a bad mood.  Other possible contributors to this walking on clouds feeling that comes after a run are growth hormones being released in to the bloodstream, as well as an increase in our bodies' natural production of dopamine, which may have the longest effect, encouraging runners to continue growing in their running practice long after an individual race.  

My personal experience is that when I incorporate 30-45 minutes of cardiovascular activity in my day, I am much more positive, energetic, relaxed, and pleasant to be around.  It helps boost our self-esteem, and it takes us to our next point...

3. You'll start to see yourself differently.

 
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When you establish a running practice, you start to witness your own inner potential and capability.  You realize that you are powerful.  Whether you are running your first mile or your first marathon, you are able to look back to where you were when you began and see how much you have grown.  

There's something about running that makes you feel alive and unstoppable.  Taking this mindset and applying it to any other aspect of your life will be a game-changer.  You might find yourself looking at a project deadline that normally would have given you an incredible amount of stress, and feeling a peace about it.  Instead of thinking that there's no way you can get it done in time, you can relate back to the first time you ran a particular distance that you never thought had been possible.  Or perhaps you are dealing with the prospect of having your first child, and you hear your inner critic telling you that you could never be a good parent, that it's too much responsibility.  You can respond by embracing this powerful, unstoppable feeling and acknowledging that you are more than capable of doing whatever you set your mind to.  This positive mindset translates to countless scenarios that we find ourselves in every day, regardless of our job, lifestyle, or situation.  

4. You'll become a part of a community.

 
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The running community is possibly one of the most diverse groups of people you will find.  There are men and women of all ages, body types, races, and capabilities who incorporate running into their lives.  Because of this, there are endless ways to build your own personal running community.  Of course, many people prefer to keep their running practice solo as it can be a sort of individualized therapy.  Whatever your preference, you'll know that you are not alone.  One of the coolest, most exciting ways to witness this is to participate in a race.  Thousands of people have found that the benefits of running are well worth the effort it takes to get started.  

If you are a social runner, there are many ways to use this community for support.  Check into local running clubs, or make a running buddy at your local gym or recreation center.  Having accountability and support can make a huge difference in your practice!  

5. You'll want to keep going.

 
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The funny thing about runners is that they keep lacing up their running shoes and hitting the road.  If anything that should be a sign that they're doing something right.  Hundreds of thousands of people can't all be wrong about this.  

So give it a try!  Start small, and be patient with yourself.  We ALL started from the beginning.  You can even start just by walking/jogging around the block.  Slowly but surely, adding on each time you go, and before long you'll be covering distances you never realized you could.  Your running practice is yours.  Allow it to grow in it's timing, and pour into it at your own rate.  Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.  

Do it for YOU!     

 

About the Author

Holly has over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry.  She has worked as an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, Pilates and Aerobics instructor, Circle Leader for The Wild Woman Project, Les Mills Body Pump Instructor, run multiple races, and is a proud Wellness Advocate for DoTERRA essential oils.  Want to learn more? Click here!

 

Interested in running, but have no idea where to start?

Check out Run Your Race, a virtual group coaching program designed to support new runners as they begin their running practice!  Click here to learn more!

Thriving on the Road

How to live out of your car and thrive while you're doing it!

 
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I travel a lot.  My performing jobs take me all over the place for a few months at a time, and during that time, I love to explore the surrounding areas.  On top of that, I love taking trips just to see new places, and between contracts is the perfect time to do that!  Just this year, I will visit over 25 states, and that's without adding any more trips, which is inevitably going to happen.  Needless to say, I've figured out quite a few inexpensive tricks to keep me healthy, happy, and fit while traveling.  

One of my most recent trips was around the southeast/southwest states to see new places and people that I love!  This fell during my half-marathon training time, so I knew I would have an added challenge of incorporating my training runs into my trip.  I was fortunate to have family, friends, and friends of friends to crash with for the majority of the trip, but there were a few nights I was on my own.  I read the travel blogs, asked some of my adventurous friends, gathered the information there is to know for living out of your car, and then I hit the road. 

Where do you sleep?

So there are a few options for sleeping in your car while traveling, my favorite being Wal-Mart parking lots.  Find a 24-hour Wal-Mart location, park about halfway back in a well-lit area, use their bathrooms, and get whatever you need from inside- it’s secure, and with the exception of some noisy parking lot sounds, it’s pretty peaceful.  It’s always best to make sure there are no signs saying “No Overnight Cars,” as some Wal-Marts may be an exception, particularly in touristy areas.  I didn’t come across this on my trip, but I know that it’s a thing.  There were signs, however that said, “No Overnight Trucks.”  Other options for places to sleep are truck stops and the emergency wings of large hospitals.  If you use a truck stop, it’s advised to just stay out of the way of the truckers and be as inconspicuous as possible- no need to advertise that you’re there.  As for the hospitals, people sleep in their cars overnight there all of the time- it doesn’t seem like it would be an issue. 

 
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Anyway, all of this goes to say that I chose Wal-Mart parking lots during my trip.  My first night was rough- I tried to get cozy in the back with a couple of quilts and a pillow, and that was pretty uncomfortable.  Honda Fits just aren’t that roomy!  Not to mention, it was chilly at the beginning of March, even in Mississippi.  The next night, I shifted up to my reclined passenger seat and the weather was a bit warmer.  The third night, I slept like a rock after I bought a sleeping bag, set myself up in the passenger seat, and passed out.  I’ve read other blogs that suggest different set-ups with sleeping mats and lots of pillows, but for my purposes, this works out really well. 

Oh, and privacy.  My Fit is great on gas, but it's not exactly the most private vehicle.  So I got crafty and cut up a black sheet, sewed it into window-sized shapes, and created some makeshift curtains.  People sleep in their cars without curtains fairly often, but as a woman traveling alone, I preferred to have a little more privacy.

Showering:

I found a lot of creative options here!  So the first time I ended up using a free guest pass at a Planet Fitness in Baton Rouge, LA – this worked out great, because I was due for a long training run and they have showers with endless hot water.  I actually will likely get a black card membership with PF for my next road trip, which allows me access to any of their location, their hydro-massage beds, and other perks.  It’s great to toss in a workout on the road or just take a hot shower and get ready for the day!  I also went to a state park in Lockhart, TX, where they had campground showers, and with the $3 admission fee to the park, they were willing to let me use their facilities as well.  I won’t say it was “luxurious,” but it definitely got the job done.  It’s funny how much you savor a hot shower when you’re on the road. 

Other blogs suggest finding local community or recreation centers and purchasing a day-pass.  Those normally are $3-7 depending on where you are, and they often have swimming pools, open gymnasiums, studio rooms, and a good assortment of workout equipment.  Or just a shower ;)  I believe you can pay to use the showers at truck stops, but my understanding is that it runs around $15-20 each time.  It’s much more cost efficient to use a fitness center. 

Eating (well) on a budget:

 
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Y’all.  Grocery stores are your BEST FRIEND.  Skip the fast food joints and head to the produce section or hot food bar at a Kroger/Ingles/Food Lion/whatever you are near.  Some of my favorite combinations for different meals are:

  • Breakfast:  Banana and yogurt, boiled eggs, apples, Larabars, rxBars, or other combinations of fruit and protein
  • Lunch/Dinner:  Hit that grocery store salad bar (Whole Foods is an even better treat if you’re near a big city!), pick up some grocery store sushi, a good-quality freezer meal like Evol, Luvo, Amy’s, or Annie’s, or a hot food bar combination

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t occasionally enjoy a sit-down meal at a local restaurant, but if you’re traveling on a budget and taking a long trip, grocery stores are the way to go. 

If you do decide to go the fast food route, avoid the highly processed, greasy options as much as possible.  That's not a good combination with long periods of sitting in a vehicle.  Most restaurants will allow you to modify what you’re ordering, so take advantage of that.  For example, at Taco Bell, you can order your meal “Fresco-style,” which replaces mayo-based sauces, cheeses, reduced-fat sour cream, and guacamole with fresh pico de gallo.  You’d be surprised how little you notice the difference flavor-wise, but you’re saving your body a lot of unhealthy food-processing by making these small changes. 

Fitness on the Go:

I touched on it above just a little bit, but there are a lot of cheap or free ways to get in a workout while you’re traveling.  Sitting for extended periods of time can really take a toll on your body.  Have you ever driven all day and felt exhausted that night?  Even though we aren’t using our physical bodies to do work, we are constantly engaged mentally with our driving.  Some easy ways to shake it off and work it out are to:

  • Take advantage of rest areas.  Often rest stops will have a small walking path or grassy area for travelers to enjoy.  Jog a few laps around the walking path, stretch it out, or even do a small body-weight workout while you take a break from the road.  It’s important to keep moving to avoid fatigue, heart issues, and overall discomfort. 
  • Find a local park!  Even if you’re just passing through a town, pull over and look up the closest walking park.  These will often have circuit workouts (you know, those weird modern art statues that they put out that oddly look like gym equipment? Use those).  You also may find that these parks have historical monuments within them, so you can connect more to the place you are passing through.  Win-win!
  • Find a yoga studio where you are.  Drop-in classes are often available, and if you’re parked for a few days, they sometimes have a new guest special, which might be a week of unlimited classes at a low rate.  I did this in Fayetteville when I was on a Children’s Theatre tour in the area for a little over a week- it’s the perfect way to care for your body and mind while on the road. 
  • Get creative!  Run around a new city (look up safe running paths, sight-seeing routes, etc), bring a dumbbell with you, find a staircase and do some body-weight exercises and steps. 
 
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These are only a few ways you can incorporate fitness into your road trip.  I get it, it’s really easy to convince yourself that getting sweaty isn’t worth it, because then you have to find a shower, and you’re already tired from driving, etc, etc.  I promise you, I’ve never regretted a workout, and I doubt you will either.  If you want to value your fitness, make it a priority! 

You’ll also find that you’re at the gas pump pretty often if you’re traveling a good distance.  Make a ritual that you complete while you’re filling up the tank.  Instead of going for the soda fountain, do some squats and lunges, or even some gentle stretching.  Then if you still want something, grab a seltzer or some fresh fruit. 

It’s all about developing good habits to move out the bad.  If you can focus on creating a new, positive lifestyle, then you don’t have to face the monster of eliminating those bad habits.  By focusing on the positive, they will overshadow the negative, and eventually your lifestyle will start to look much healthier without that sacrificial mindset.  More on that later ;)

Are you a road tripper?  What have you found to be your most challenging obstacle?  What tricks have you developed to make road life even more enjoyable?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

With love to you wild hearts,

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<3 Holly

Ready, Set, ...Hold!

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Let me get real with you.  Fear and I go way back.  I deal with him on the reg.  I'm in my own process of shifting my relationship with Fear to a positive light, instead of operating under the false pretense that he controls my life.  As the Disney movie "Inside Out" will tell you, he's actually not a bad guy.  It's all about the amount of power you give to him. 

I have seen many places in my life when I have laid all the groundwork for a new venture, checked my boxes, crossed my t's, dotted my i's, etc, etc.  You put in so much thought and planning and dreaming for what is going to be AWESOME and EPIC and exactly how you want to move forward.  You get to the very edge of the cliff, and you freeze.  The next step is action, and you can't move.  All of the what if's come pouring in.  What if I am inconsistent?  What if I come off wrong?  What if I can't live up to others' expectations?  What if I can't live up to my own expectations? What if I jump off this cliff and realize halfway down, that I don't have wings, I can't fly!  That's going to hurt.  

Then comes frustration with self- you DID all of this work!  You have your "why," you have the knowledge, you have the vision- jumping off is the only way to move forward from here.  So JUST DO IT.  And then, I'm like, "Yeah, rad, but all of the things that could go wrong are just very present in my head right now, and I want to take a second/week/month/year... You know, maybe where I was before wasn't so bad.  I could just go back to that and be 'fine,' right?"  

Sound familiar?  First things first, let's back up to those fun little "what if's." 

What if I am inconsistent?  Is it possible to consider that inconsistency is completely natural?  Think about the weather, because that's nature: We have four seasons.  At least we do here in TN, feel free to insert your own hemisphere's weather patterns here.  The general pattern of these seasons remains the same.  As of right now, summer is hotter than winter, spring and fall bring about a shift in our plants and wildlife, and Santa Claus comes around the winter solstice.  The general structure is there, but no two years look exactly the same.  The weather is inconsistent, yet it is completely natural.  If we aren't questioning our approach and trying new things, then we are fighting the natural course of action.  So is it possible then, to consider inconsistency as a positive approach?  Keeping things fresh and unpredictable is much more interesting than a constant repetition.  Obviously there are aspects of our lives and careers where consistency is important.  An example being if you are a *brain surgeon, you may not want to take an entirely different approach each time you operate.  Generally speaking though, when it comes to how we approach our careers, relationships, life decisions, and forward movement, a variety of approaches is a great way to keep ourselves in the game.  If you choose to view what you consider "inconsistency" as a positive thing, it will become one.  If you view it negatively, it will become that.  

*If you're a brain surgeon, and you're reading my blog, give me a shout-out @wildheartedwellness, because that's rad.

What if I come off wrong?  Well, it's all about intentions and perception.  First of all, unless you are a certified mind-reader (doesn't exist), then you have no idea how exactly you are being perceived.  

So stop listening to your inner critic who likes to believe s/he is an all-knowing guru.  S/he isn't.  What you do know is the intention you are setting as you go about your business.  If you say something with the intention of offending someone, you absolutely will.   If you are focused on the fear of offending someone, that intention has been set- trust me, it's worth putting in the time and space to sort this out before acting.  Bring this back around to your "why."  If you don't have a solid, positive reason for saying what you are about to say, I can guarantee it doesn't need to be said.  However, if you are approaching someone out of love, with every positive intention, you have to trust that THAT is what will read.  And you are not responsible for others' perception of you or what you have to say.  You are responsible for the intention you set behind it. 

What if I can't live up to other peoples' expectations?  A: No one is that focused on you, they're all focused on themselves.  This is a good thing!  B: If someone is for some reason focused on you, it's not your problem!  Yay!  If they are stalking you, get a restraining order.  Not yay, but fixable.  

What if I can't live up to my own expectations?  Then you're entirely in control of resetting those expectations, or even better, eliminating them.  You don't read the last page of the book before starting it, do you?  Actually, I knew a kid in middle school who did that, but that was just weird and didn't benefit her at all.  The more we can learn to release our own expectations of self and enjoy the journey (#tbt New Year’s Revolution blog), the more surprises and opportunities will open up to us.  

I don't have wings!  Well, the cliff thing is a metaphor.  If you're considering jumping off an actual cliff outside of the context of well-planned cliff-diving, I urge you to reconsider.  The truth is, we aren't fairies or any sort of winged creature.  We are humans desiring to move forward because the alternative is stagnancy.  This is not meant to be confused with allowing time for processing or development.  These are important steps in a process.  What I am referring to is the conscious choice to sit still without any intention of flowing again.  The choice to jump off of this metaphorical cliff is going to include an amount of risk, be it finances, ego, relationships, or status.  But allow me to repeat myself: the alternative is stagnancy.  

Here's another way to look at it.  Let's enter an imaginary planet where every book gets hard to read at chapter six.  You pick up a book, you invest the time in reading the first five chapters, and you realize that yet again, chapter six is uninviting and challenging.  You have two options.  You can put down the book and pick up another, knowing that once you hit the end of chapter five, you're going to run into the same exact issue, OR you can take a deep breath, turn the page, and read into the feared chapter six of the book you have already invested in.  It may turn out that it's not so bad after all.  I personally see that one completed novel is far more valuable than many unfinished stories.  Do you? 

Trust me, I'm still in the baby stages when it comes to applying these beliefs.  And that's okay.  I will be a work in progress until the day I leave this world, and whether you choose to believe it or not, so will you.  If we can embrace that and take time to see ourselves every step of the way, I believe we will be just fine <3

Stay wild!

Holly

New Year's Revolution

Hello Wild Hearts,

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As we approach the new year, it's likely that we will hear about many different New Year's resolutions, be bombarded with "shoulds," and experience some level of pressure that comes with the western world turning another year older.

Resolving to improve ourselves is never a bad thing, but when we do so, we often forget one of the most important aspects of leading a happy, prosperous life: treating ourselves with love and kindness.

I'm the first to admit that I struggle with this.  I've set big goals, thrown myself at them with all that I have, and found myself drained and unsatisfied by the time I reach them, and that's assuming that I start with enough initial thrust to get that far.  Often in these cases, I find myself at about the halfway point ready to give up and frustrated with either my body, my drive, my capabilities, etc.  Does this sound familiar?  What if there is an easier way?  A way that's kinder to you...

 

Imagine a mountain-top that you want nothing more than to reach.  You see two paths to get there- one is a nearly vertical cliff with jagged edges and a rocky stormy ocean at the bottom, while the other is a gentle grade, winding, soft dirt path with beautiful views and many areas to stop and rest your legs along the way.  It may seem like the most direct route is straight up, but the chance of you making it without crashing down into the waves is not great.  Meanwhile, the other path might initially look longer because of the length of the path, but consider the peace and fresh air your can enjoy along the way.

  

With the exception of a couple of you trained rock-climbers, I think it's safe to assume the gentle, winding path is what most of us would choose in this situation.  Might I suggest that as we move into our new year, whatever that may hold for us, we try to look at our goals in this light?  Find the path that is kind to you.  This may mean allowing for space with our goals- often we want immediate gratification, and that's what society sells us every day.  I suggest we start a New Year's Revolution and stand up to that message, saying that we will meet our goals at the pace that ultimately serves us, and we will enjoy the views and gentle grade as we rise to reach that mountain-top.

And when we finally do make it up there, and we look over the other side, we may find that we have arrived sooner than those plugging away at the rock wall.

Small steps will get you there sooner than you think loves,

<3 Holly

 

Curious about how to transform your New Year's Resolutions into a New Year's Revolution?  To begin a conversation, reach out to wildheartedwellness@gmail.com!

The Cons of Being a Wallflower (Sorry!)

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We all have our favorite commercial scents.  Mine is Vanilla Bean Noel, which is everywhere this time of the year.  So why don't we want our rooms to smell like that?

Well, unfortunately many of the chemicals in our plug-in and aerosol air fresheners are actually toxic.  Many of them contain phthalates, which have been linked to a number of birth defects, abnormalities, and hormonal disorders.  They can also cause trouble for people with asthma or other breathing conditions.

It can feel like it's impossible to get away from today's processed, chemical-laden world- so much so that it almost feels easier to turn a blind eye and give up, assuming that whatever happens is going to happen.  But there ARE ways to improve your livelihood through small changes that you make for your own and your family's well-being.  You don't have to turn your home upside down in an overnight attempt to make everything safe- just find one thing that you can shift this week.  Maybe it's unplugging a wallflower and finding a safer, natural way of freshening your home.

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Diffusing essential oils is my number one suggestion as an air freshener alternative.  Not only are you creating a pleasant-smelling atmosphere, but you are also adding health benefits to the air.  It's important to use potent and pure oils, which will last longer and have stronger effects.  There are many fun and creative diffuser recipes for different occasions!

For non-EO related options, try running some lemon slices through your kitchen disposal or keeping a bowl of roasted coffee beans on the counter.  Also, make sure you're taking your trash out routinely and maintaining a clean living space.  Bad smells come from somewhere... take care of the source! 

If you're stuck on ideas, head over to the Wild-Hearted Wellness Facebook Page for tips, diffuser recipes, and more healthy advice.

 

As always, stay wild, stay well, and breathe deeply (unless you're near a wallflower).  It's the small steps that will get you where you want to be <3

How to Thrive as an "Adult Beginner"

Does the label "adult beginner" sound like an oxymoron to you?  Somewhere along the way, I got it into my head being a beginner was only for children.  As an adult, I was either allowed to be excellent at something, or I could have no claim to it at all.  Is it possible that by shifting our mindset around the concept of being a "beginner," we can actually begin a much larger shift in our lives?  I really think it is!  I would venture to guess that I'm not the only person who has struggled with this kind of icky perfectionism mindset.  There is a pattern of people hitting a certain stage in their lives, often young adulthood, when they simply stop attempting to learn new things.  The phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is simply not true, but so many yield to this philosophy as an excuse to settle for what they already know.

 

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"You have to take baby steps...

...before you can fly"

I cannot tell you how many headaches I could have avoided in my performing career if I simply would have allowed myself to be a beginner.  Taking appropriate-level dance classes, singing songs within one's healthy range, and beginning with the basics in acting method classes are all choices that create a strong foundation for a performer.  They are also choices that I haven't always made.  What I thought was admirably pushing myself toward my goals was actually wearing away at my confidence.  Trust me, the first time you walk into a ballet class at the Joffrey Ballet school that's about two levels higher than you should actually be taking, you'll understand.  You don't want to be the girl clinging to the barre because she is terrified of the adagio.  However, if you allow yourself to start from the beginner class and work your way up, you'll find that you don't struggle nearly as much as before, and you will also realize that there are countless people at every level of learning.  You aren't alone, and you're not behind!  You are where you are.  Have love and grace for each stage of the process <3

My wise and wonderful friend Brooke recently told me a beautiful analogy that went a little like this:  Think of a precious baby learning to walk.  They start by crawling, then pulling themselves up and toddling around with the support of people who already know how to walk.  They might fall down more than they like, but no one is going to scold them for that!  No one will ridicule them for not knowing how to do something they've never done before.  They're going to smile, pick them up, and help them on their way.  Now imagine that this is the way we all are whenever we start something new, whether we're 6 months old or 60 years old.  We're all learning how to walk, and if we can show ourselves and others the same love we show to those sweet, little babies, then there is no doubt that we will soon be strolling along with the best of them.

I think one of the greatest things about life is that there is ALWAYS something new to learn!  If we can't embrace that fact, then we are going to spend our entire lives living through the eyes of our earliest years.  Instead, think of how beautiful would it be if we could continue to add layers upon layers of learning throughout our entire lives!  I would challenge you to pick something, anything you have ever desired to explore or know more about, and begin.  Start from the earliest stages of learning and have so much grace for your precious self.

 

"You can learn new things at any point in your life if you're willing to be a beginner.  If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you." - Barbara Sher: career/lifestyle coach and speaker

The whole world opens up to you.  Now isn't that worth trying?

With love, kindness, and grace,

Holly

 

Setting a Morning Ritual

"The morning is a gift
a box tightly wound
whose melody rings
with each morning sound

The morning is gentle
an artist's first muse
her colors pastel
with soft, yellow hues

The pure morning star
gives her tender farewells
until the eve comes
and with stories she swells

she's seen kings and riches
and she's seen plagues and war
her heartlight- it flashes!
Yet to silence, she swore

From when time began
to when it will end
the sky's brightest star
will her messages send

To one who might spare
an hour of rest
to turn their gaze upward
with heart to invest

The morning sends love as she soon fades away
the product of night passing into the day"

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Last moon cycle (a little over a month ago), I set the intention of "re-claiming my mornings."  To me that means that the time from when I wake up to the time I dive into my day's activities is sacred.  I can look back on my life and see those times that I have had a morning ritual in place and how greatly it impacted my overall well-being, compared to the rest of the time when I would wake up just in time to get ready and go.

The word "ritual" is thought-provoking, isn't it?  For some, it may be a trigger, for others it may simply be another word in their vocabulary.

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For this conversation, I am using the third definition: a series of actions of type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.  A morning ritual can certainly contain religious qualities.  Maybe it resonates with you to read a passage of scripture or spend time in prayer.  If so, that's wonderful- include that into your own personal practice!

I'll share what my morning ritual looks like:

I wake up at 6:15 am and go through my initial bathroom routine (brush teeth, put in contacts, wash face).  Then I put together my essential oil veggie capsule (currently Oregano, Zendochrine, and On Guard) and take it with about a liter of water (wellness tip: start your system off with more water than you initially think to take in, it'll thank you and run much smoother throughout the day).  Then I make a cup of tea, put on my warm clothes, and I go for a meditative, prayerful morning walk.  When I re-enter the house, my ritual is complete.  From that time forward, I begin whatever work it is that I need to do.  I do my best to avoid looking at my cell phone or any screens before I get to this point.

This summer, I took an online class with the The WILD Woman Project on How to Create Meaningful Personal Rituals (for everyday life).  In this course, you learn about tuning into the qualities you want to cultivate, using symbolic items and gestures, when and where you can set a ritual in place, and actions and activities that when incorporated, can add to your spiritual and overall wellness.  Part of my learning from this class is that a ritual can be as simple as the way you get out of bed or make a cup of coffee in the morning, or it can be as detailed as a full morning routine.  I highly encourage you to look into this class if you are inspired to learn more.

Now it's your turn.  Take a moment to think about your mornings.  How do you wake up?  If you find the morning time to be stressful and rushed, I strongly encourage you to go to bed an hour or so earlier and reclaim that time in the morning.  If you consider yourself a night owl and not a "morning person," you might surprise yourself with your ability to adjust and re-train your habits.  If you find that you struggle getting to sleep, check out my blog on restfulness for some tips on keying down at night.

Next, brainstorm about what kind of ritual you think would serve you best.  Maybe you already have some sort of routine in place.  If you were to re-label that routine with a more sacred title like "ritual," how might that shift your approach?

For example, instead of simply going through the motions of brushing your teeth and washing your face, you could take that time in front of the mirror to truly look at and see yourself.  Tape some affirmations around your bathroom and read through them while you brush your teeth.  Thank your skin for it's strength and endurance while you wash it.  Ask yourself what you need or want for the day.  Remember to keep it positive- you are setting yourself up for the kind of day you want to have.  Ultimately, you are your most constant companion.  Wouldn't you want him/her to be happy?

Everyone is different, so every morning ritual will be as well.  As you consider yours and give life to it, I would love to hear about it.  Feel free to comment or reach out to let me know and share your discoveries and ideas!

Stay wild <3

Holly

EO-ducate yoself: Clove Edition

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Mmmm, it's getting colder out each day,

and the smells of the holiday season are becoming more and more present <3 

Clove essential oil is a pleasant smelling reminder of those chilly celebrations we hold so dear.  But did you know just how effective clove oil is when it comes to our wellness?  Clove oil has powerful antioxidant qualities, supports the cardiovascular system, and helps keep our teeth and gums healthy.

How to use it:
I take about 2 oz. of water and place one drop of DoTERRA Clove Oil in it, stir it up, then use like mouthwash.  It has a similar effect to mouthwash, but without the chemicals and strong mint aftertaste.  A friend of mine did this trick when he had an abscess on his gums, and it was super effective in speeding up the recovery and healing process.

You can take it in a veggie capsule to benefit from it's antioxidant properties, or diffuse it for a festive, air-cleansing scent.  Clove oil is also found in On Guard, the popular protective blend that boosts immunity, smells like Christmas, and is a powerful natural cleansing agent.

Do you have any uses for Clove oil or cloves?  I'd love to hear about them!  Comment and share your thoughts!

Stay wild <3

 

Clove oil is just one of many powerful tools used to take a natural approach to our wellness.  Are you interested in incorporating natural wellness into your lifestyle?  If so, feel free to click here for more information on scheduling a free natural wellness consultation or workshop.  There's a world of support just waiting to help you get started on a path to a healthier, natural way of living.  All you have to do is reach out!

Get Those Zzz's

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We spend a large portion of our lives sleeping...

or at least we should.

Sometimes it can be really difficult to key down and get quality rest for the next day. I know that when left unattended, my mind often likes to take this time to run through every actual and possible scenario that has, is, and ever will play out. It's so fun, except that it's really not at all.  Making sure we get the proper amount of rest is crucial to living to our highest potential.

So how can we improve our sleep patterns?  Well, here are a few small steps you can take in order to improve your sleep life:

  • Lose the screens.  An hour before you go to bed, put your phone on the charger and send out your last texts. Screens are super stimulating to our eyes and brains, and it's difficult to shift from the world of social media to sleep in a short amount of time. Take that last hour of your day and do something for you! Read a book, journal, give yourself a facial, or listen to some calming music. If your phone is still going to distract you, I suggest putting it on silent. That way you aren't tempted to look at that one last cat video your BFF posts on your wall.
  • Acknowledge your mind's racing thoughts, then send them on their way. Much like meditating, the more you do this, the easier it will become. When you are ready to fall asleep, consciously focus on the darkness behind your closed eyes. By keeping your breathing steady and focusing solely on the insides of your eyelids, you are much more likely to slip into that REM cycle.  Avoiding caffeine later in the day can really help with a racing mind as well.
  • Come up with a ritual! Next week, I will be posting about morning rituals, but for now consider coming up with a gentle routine that you do as you go to sleep. It can be as simple as drinking a glass of herbal tea, the way you brush your teeth and wash your face, or meditating on your favorite poem or scripture.
  • Do you have an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom?  You might consider getting one specifically for the place you shut down at night. Oils like Lavender, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, and Cedarwood are all incredibly calming and can naturally improve your sleep habits. My favorite blend is called Serenity - the calming blend. I use it nightly in my diffuser, along with the Serenity Restful Complex (an all-natural sleep aide from DoTERRA) for the nights when I need a little extra help.
  • Apply your oils to the bottoms of your feet.  Fun fact: the soles of our feet are like gateways to our internal bodies.  By massaging lavender oil or the serenity blend into the soles of your feet, you are covering a wide range of reflexology points within the body.  Plus, who doesn't love a foot massage?  I often apply lavender and Zendochrine (a detoxifying blend) to my feet before going to bed.
  • Consider setting a consistent bedtime and morning rise-time.  When your body is in the habit of falling asleep and waking up at the same time, it is much more likely to be getting quality rest.  You would be surprised at how easily you can "jet-lag" your body simply by switching up your sleep patterns on a day-to-day basis.  It might be hard to get up early when you want to sleep in on the weekends, but you might want to give consistency a try.  Besides, you can accomplish a lot in the morning hours when you have time to yourself ;)

These are just a few tips to get you started on your journey to dream-land.  Do you have any night-time rituals or habits that help you sleep?  What do you consider to be the most helpful to you? Comment or message me to let me know!

Sleep tight, wild child!

<3

For more information on the DoTERRA Serenity Blend, Restful Complex, Petal Diffuser, and any other oils mentioned in this post, shoot me a message via this contact form or visit my Wellness Advocate site.