Healthy Body Healthy Mind

Healthy Body Healthy Mind

I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic and often times with addiction comes other mental health issues or illnesses, for Skylar he has anxiety. We are currently in year three of his sobriety, when I met him he was 8 years sober and filled with piss and vinegar and over time his anxiety grew and his disease reared its ugly head. Long story short (I’ll share the long story soon) he went to rehab and came home with super high anxiety - they drastically decreased his medication, little things would trigger him, lots of frustration and struggles that first year for both of us.

Over the last three years we have utilized many tools to help with the anxiety and I say we because we support each other and sometimes these changes take a team. Skylar has utilized: medication, traditional therapy, holistic therapy, meditation & spirituality, essential oils, recovery meetings, steams, exercise and rest. Sometime all of these things combined create a great week, other times it doesn’t matter home much self care he did, he still felt the anxiety heavily. For me, I didn’t truly understand anxiety till after we had our son and I experienced an anxiety attack myself and then my care and compassion for those that live with this daily grew. The panic, overwhelm and fear controlling your mind and all while your physical body is having a reaction all of its own, you’re tense, in pain, itchy, twitchy…

This past winter was rough on our family, Skylar’s anxiety/depression was some of the highest i’ve ever seen and I felt like I was treading water to keep us all together. Olie was a busy one year old, I was going stir crazy. Lacking my usual motivation and excitement for life I hit the essential oils hard (citrus oils are a game changer), I made sure I never stayed home more then one full day and I did my best to keep our home up and I too felt foggy, withdrawn and drained. The winter has finally said good-bye and both Skylar and I are both on the way to feeling back to our good old selves, we aren’t there yet and definitely don’t want to feel the way we felt this winter next year.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say “Gut health is mental health” and is it ever true, when we eat bad (like we did this past winter) we start to feel tired, withdrawn, lazy, lack motivation…. not to mention how our body feel (Skylar has a lot of body pain, which his doctors attribute to his anxiety). We like to think we eat well, but we fell off the wagon in that regard and then fell some more, but that has changed!

Over the past few weeks, we have started moving more as the snow melts and the days have gotten longer our energy has changed, we have gradually started eating cleaner and cleaner and now Skylar wants to eat a whole food vegetable based diet (basically mostly vegetarian). I have been taking my vitamins, probiotics and digestive enzymes regularly and have started to see a big difference in our energy, attitude, mindset and skin. This will be a big change for my husband, being an addict often means extremes, in the past changing his eating meant living at the gym, eating only chicken, rice and carrot (i’m serious) (oat meal for breakfast), or eating healthy and then getting a "cheat” meant pop, candy and chips till you’d feel like crap or feel guilty and shameful. This change is going to be a team effort, I love to workout but often put it off to take care of my family (mom guilt) and for me eating healthy is fun, eating when I’m stressed or sad or bored is also “fun”.

Here is what i’ve planned:
- Plan our meals together - I have been using Plan to Eat - its a great tool for meal prep, ideas and shopping
- Journal - when I fell emotional and want to eat
- Gym membership - I found out our city gym has free child care with a membership - AMAZING
- Daily walk with Olie - I always feel better after a walk.
- Eat whole grain vegetable based diet.
- Don’t drink more because its nice out - Yes I do drink even though my husband doesn’t (I’ll write about this too)
- Take my vitamins regularly - This is what I use and highly suggest - Life Long Vitality - to purchase go here
- Support - talk about it, ask for recipes, connect with friends for fitness dates and share my journey on social media. I started an awesome community years ago on Facebook - feel free to join.
- Drink more water - I love adding essential oils to my water and find it helps a lot, my latest favourite is Green Mandarin
- Watch health propaganda documentaries - this sounds silly, but they remind me of the benefits of eating healthy, my favourite one is Forks Over Knives - its on Netflix

If you have suggestions to sticking to a healthy lifestyle or want to connect comment below or join our online community. And if you want to start a healthy habits journey with vitamins and essential oils let me know.

Seasonal Allergies - Kick them in the butt without feeling like crap

Seasonal Allergies - Tips to kick them in the butt without feeling like crap

No matter what is causing your seasonal allergies : Pollen, dust, mold, insect, animal dander… They become incredibly irritating and can drastically impact your day to day living.

Long and short of seasonal allergies:
When our immune system comes into contact with allergens our body goes into overdrive, for some people they have the ability to deal with the allergen without to much discomfort, but for others the allergens cause more inflammation and then the allergies can cause blocked and runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, headaches and an impaired sense of smell, but for some people, allergies can lead to inflammation and shortness of breath.

Essential Oils & Allergies
For myself, when I take an over the counter I get to feel better but am exhausted in the process.
As mentioned above, inflammation is a big deal and essential oils can flight inflammation in your body while also helping to boost your immune system, fight infections and other bacteria. When you begin to use essential oils they will help relieve your symptoms right away, BUT using them regularly will help your body to naturally be able to fight threats (environmental or bacterial…), meaning you can be proactive with your health when you use them regularly.

Here are my top oils to use in allergy season:
Lemon Lavender & Peppermint
These three oils are a game changer for anyone who suffers from occasional or regular allergies.
Lemon: Helps the lymphatic system drain and supports respiratory recovery
Lavender: Calms the body while reduces inflammation
Peppermint: Opens airways, relieves scratchy throat

Diffuse 2 drops of each oil throughout the day.

Ingest (DoTERRA oil) - 2 drops of each oil in the morning in either a veggie caps or a small shotglass with water or a spoon of honey.

Rollerball (allergy relief on the go: 10-12 drops of each oil in a 10ml rollerball, top with fractionated coconut oil

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Other great oils & blends to help with allergies:
Easy Air - Breathe in to to reduce inflammation and congestion
Eucalyptus - Breathe in to to reduce inflammation and congestion
Basil - Use topically on bug bits

What I think About Selling A Product Through Direct Sales

What I think About Selling A Product Through Direct Sales

Over the years I’ve sold different things, from popcorn to Vespa scooters to high-end coffee equipment to the everyday cup of joe in my very own café and the commonality between all of them was that I loved what I sold.

Today I sell quality essential oils from a company I have come to truly respect and admire. DōTERRA is one of those companies that strive to provide a product that is both useful but also has impact on the entire product life cycle, from the people who harvest, the distillers, the Wellness Advocates and even the plants themselves. I love this product! Everyday I find a new use for an oil for myself or my family, everyday I am grateful that I have them in my tool kit of life resources and everyday I am proud to sell this product.

People often scoff at direct selling companies because of their payment structure “You can’t make money” they say “It’s a scheme” they say, but as a person who has owned a few businesses over the last 10 years I think these statements are funny. Funny because if you talk to a business owner you will learn they work their butts off sometimes 16 hours a day (I did when I owned my café) they will joke that they are getting paid pennies an hour. The initial investment into their business was likely very high and sometimes even though they worked extremely hard their business was not successful.

In the direct selling model, you connect with people who you resonate with and who resonate with you, they become your customer and business partners and you help to educate, support and service them. In this model, if you work hard and build a clientele you will make a CONSISTENT income. I emphasize consistent, because you need to build the clientele first and do the work to BE consistent – so if you work hard for a week or even five and then you drop of the planet for 3 months and wonder why you aren’t making any money… think about it, you wouldn’t expect your brick and mortar business to thrive if that’s how you ran it. Over time, your clients become regular purchasers; you can possibly work less hours (while staying consistent) you will begin to have your income that supports you without having to work at the same intensity.

Now you say “But it isn’t REALLY your own business, you are selling someone else’s product”. To you I say this: there are two way to sell someone else’s product, the first is to own a store that buys products either directly from the manufacture or from a distribution company in this case I would be selling someone else’s product WHILE being bound to a brick an mortar location with high overhead and little ability to have freedom to travel, parent, have another job… and with the HIGH likelihood of failure (96% of small businesses in Canada fail in their first year). The other time you sell someone else’s product is when you are either an employee /sales rep, in which case you make relationships, educate customers, support them and if you change the company you work for you have to start all over again, your territory could shrink, the business could go under and all the hard work you did is for not.

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And lets be real, business isn’t for everyone (that stat from earlier shows that a lot of people aren’t cut out for it), it is perfectly ok to want to go to a job you love and do amazing at it, come home and create art, cook, play sports or watch Big Brother but for others, being in business come naturally, it’s a calling and they get excited about it like you might about knitting or basketball.
For me, I know the work can be hard sometimes, I’m out of my comfort zone more lately they I ever have been in the past, but knowing I am helping people with a product that can support their different issues all and I get to make an income to support many family and build a foundation for our future.

So here is the long and short of it:
I sell a product I LOVE, I get to do so from wherever I want, I can work crazy hard or slow and steady, I get to build beautiful relationships and make an income doing so.
Some people “recruit” hard, I like to build relationships and find those customers who want to turn their love of oils into a business, work with them to create a pace that fits their life, all while doing it consistently. Direct sales is about connection and relationships.

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10 Tips to a Healthy Sleep Routine

Sleep Routine

  1. Sleep Schedule 
    Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time daily
    Doing so will help to regulate the body’s internal clock. 

  2. Practice a Bedtime Ritual / Wind down
    Do the activity of choice away from bright lights
    Examples: Read a book, take a bath, be creative, journal…

  3. Avoid Naps

  4. Exercise Daily 
    Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
    Exercise anytime, but not at the expense of sleep.
    Walking is great, either first thing in the morning or after dinner, try and avoid exercising too close to bedtime.

  5. Evaluate your room
    Keep it cool – 60 -67 Fahrenheit (16 - 19 Celsius)
    Free from disturbing noise
    Free from light – Sleep masks work great
    Consider your partners sleeping habits
    Consider using blackout curtains, eyeshades, earplugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.

  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress & pillow
    Mattress life expectancy – 9- 10 years (Changing our mattress was a game changer)

  7. Use bright lights
    To help manage your circadian rhythms avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check (try a SAD light during the day).
    Keep your phone OUT of the bedroom

  8. Avoid Alcohol, cigarettes & heavy meals in the evening: 
    Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep
    Large meals can be hard on the digestive system and can make your bodywork hard, rather then resting and healing the body

  9. Your Bed is not for work
    Avoid working, watching TV and computers in the bed
    Use the bed for sleeping & sex
    If you associate a certain activity or item with anxiety about sleep remove it from the room.

  10. Meditate / Gratitude
    Begin a meditation and gratitude practice, start with 3 minutes of meditation and gradually add more time, use an app in the beginning or take a class. 
    Waking up and going to bed thinking/writing out things you are grateful for will help put your mind and body at easy, on bad days being grateful for sight might be all you can come up with, other days the gratitude’s might flow. 

    BONUS TIP!!!

  11. Essential oils
    Essential oils have healing and relaxation benefits, try applying oils to your feet, temples, forehead, back of neck, shoulders and under noise. Applying some oils to your chest can help with breathing. 
    If you have trouble staying asleep add a carrier oil to slow the absorption into your system, this will help with staying asleep. 

    Essential Oils for sleep: Lavender, Cedarwood, Serenity, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile
    Essential Oils to help with nightmares: Juniper Berry, cyrpess, eucalyptus, wild orange, Balance
    Essential Oils to help with sleepwalking: Vetiver, Serenity, Lavender, Balance, Peace
    Essential Oils to help with restless legs: Basil, cypress, geranium, Aromatouch, Peace, Deepblue, Pasttense
    Essential Oils to help with snoring: douglas fir, eucalyptus, FENNEL (on the big toe), Breathe, Purify,
    Essential Oils to help with jet lag (overtired); Arbovitae, basil, grapefruit,lemon, rosemary
    Essential Oils to help with jet lag (can’t go to sleep): basil, cedarwood, frankincense, Peace, vetiver, Console

    From my experience trying to implement all of these right away just doesn’t work, try one or two for a week, then keep adding.

Copaiba

Copaiba
CBD oil vs BCP oil

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Copaiba Oil essential oil has become a huge hit, its been selling out and its getting lots of hype... but why? In this post i'm going to share with you the basics of the science behind the oil, compare it to CBD oil and talk about my top uses for it. So here we go...

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Copaiba is a derived from Brazil’s copaiba tree, there are a variety of species including Copaifera officinalis, Copaifera langsdorffii, and Copaifera reticulata. DoTERRA's copaiba is a blend of all three create a synergistic blend. By drilling holes into the trunk of the tree, resin is extracted and essential oil is created through a steam distillation process, similar to frankincense.

Copaiba interacts with the Ednocannabinoid system (which was discovered in the 1980's) specifically the CB2 receptor.
This system helps manage emotional tension, inflammation, and other physiological responses to different types of stress and pressure.
The CB1 receptor works with the brain and central nervous system and the CB2 with the endocrine and immune systems.

Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids produced by plants.

Endocannabinoids are the cannabinoids produced within the body of humans and animals.

Synthetic Cannabinoids are the cannabinoids produced in a laboratory.

Lots of plants contain cannabinoids, but not all cannabinoids reach or unlock the receptors you might be in need of reaching.

Plants that contain cannabinoids:
Black Pepper
Echinacea
Helichrysum
Black Truffles


 

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CBD (Cannabidiol) derived from cannabis or hemp, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) derived from cannabis & BCP (beta-caryphyllene) derived from many plants.

Copaiba interacts directly with the CB2 receptor and therefore helps to support our endocrine & immune systems naturally. Our endocrine system is important because of the hormones, when our hormones are not balanced our bodies can be drastically impacted and when our immune system is weakened our bodies can't fight disease and illness.

Here are some health benefits:
1. Anti-Inflammatory & Pain relief
BCP can increase natural endorphins and reduce inflammation. It has been found to help relieve chronic pain and neuropathy, reduce muscle spasms and muscle pain, can also be applied topically and locally to areas of pain.

2. Anti-Cancer
Copaiba possesses both anti-proliferative properties and anti-tumoural effects. The anti-proliferative properties of copaiba means that it helps prevent the spread of cells, particularly those that are cancerous, into surrounding tissue. A study published in the Dental Research Journal in 2015 found that copaiba was able to kill MCF-7 breast cancer cells better than doxorubicin, a much-utilized chemotherapy drug for breast cancer.

4. Improves Skin Conditions
Copaiba oleoresin, reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with chronic psoriasis & helps with acne reduction.

Other areas of note (as lots of reseach is still underway) is Oral health, auto-immune health, infection and more.

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To recap, BCP oil has a higher concentration that interact with your endocrine and immune system. BCP does not have any phycoactive affects and is pure, from a trusted source. Additionally, using essential oil over CBD will be significately less expensive because you will need to use let of it.

Sleep... or Lack of.

Sleep has never been a problem for me; when I was young I told my parents and anyone who would listen that I NEVER slept. Still to this day I am made fun of my old family friends and relatives who remember me waking from a nap and saying "I wasn't sleeping, I was tricking you." or "I never sleep, my eye are just resting." My mother remembers when I came home from high school and said i was going for a nap, she almost hit the floor. 

I learnt the importance of sleep the last few months of grade twelve. I was busy with a job at a movie theatre (late nights), in at least two plays and had to have a full social life. I hit the wall in May, I thought I had the flu, but rather it was mono and I was out for the count, 3 weeks to be exact. 

That experience, made me undeniably aware of the power we have in our health and how some people don't have that power. I remember thinking "If this is was chronic fatigue syndrome or cancer treatment feels, I don't know if I'd last" for three weeks I only had enough energy to walk about 10 feet before needing to lay on the floor where it was cool after I got better I became hyper aware of my body a scratch in the throat or a stomach ache, I rested, took vitamins and changed my diet. Today I am grateful that I don't get sick often, I know how to better pace myself (as a go getter this is always challenging). 

When I married, I was reminded how challenging health can be for some people. My husband has a few conditions and none of them do well without getting a good sleep. Sleep is so natural, refreshing and rejuvenating... if you can fall asleep. Me head on the pillow, out like a light. Skylar, head on the pillow... 20-40 minutes he'll get to sleep, never deep, often wakes up and wakes feeling underwhelmed with the quality. 

We have implemented so of the common sleep routine suggestions and they have helped:
- No phones in the bedroom - We bought an alarm clock and now awake to the radio.
- Essential oils - Each of us use different oils on our body, but we diffuse lavender or cedarwood.
- Meditation - Skylar is a great meditator he will regularly spend 10-20mins before bed meditating in our zen room. Meditation for me looks a bit different, I use guided meditations often about gratitude or kindness. 
- Cool room - I LOVE sleeping with the window open and the breeze blowing, it is recommended to 60-67 degrees F or 15.5-20 degrees C.

For more tips and tricks, let's connect on or off line. 

Quality over Quantity

Life can be overwhelming when it feels like we are living in a hamster wheel. Go to work, clean house, make food, go to the gym, do this and do that and when the day is done, we look back at the end of the day and wonder what we got to do for ourselves. 

When working on living a balanced life this feeling can take over and become a depressing thought, taking the time to ensure that you do something kind for yourself daily is important.

Over the last few weeks in our house we have seen a big shift in time… and how it feels like we don’t have enough of it. We long for a day at home to putts, read a book and drink coffee for hours. When your family is on the go, it isn’t that you don’t want to do the things that are being done or wish you were somewhere else, the problem is we have so many choices and live such complex full lives and everything takes time.

So, this week I want to encourage you to PLAN quality time with yourself, your friends and your family. Often planning this time feels contrived or like we are overly complicating life when you schedule in a date night or play games with kids or stay home and putter around the house, but there is a big difference between quantity and quality. I know for myself, having breakfast with my husband isn’t quality time, I’m a morning person and he isn’t, in all actuality we are only share space and not connecting in the morning. Having quality time be it an evening walk or a long hot bath give our bodies and mind a moment to relax. Enjoy

Mental Illness Isn't A Character From A Film

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health, mine, my families, my ancestors, my friends and I’ve come up with one main observation, everyone has dealt with mental health issues.

Sometime you watch a film and you hear about a clinical diagnosis, “bipolar” “personality disorder” “addict” and the character on the show is how you learn about that diagnosis, the problem is that more often then not it is either a joke (silly exaggeration of truth) or its dark (a cruel depiction of an illness that has a huge spectrum).

This post is to act as a reminder that we are all people.

A diagnosis does not define a person, just like a person living with diabetes or cancer shouldn’t be defined by their illness. When I sit and talk to my friends that have lived through being suicidal moment and who work hard daily to be healthy and happy, I think to myself“Where would they be if people treated them like the characters in movies?”. And I think how blessed I am that they are open to sharing their story with me, because to be vulnerable and host about the struggle of their illness in a world that can be so judgmental and lacking in patience is so brave.

To stay in a healthy headspace can take a lot of work, here is a list I’ve collect from many people who live with mental health issues: 

  • Time with nature
  • Time with animals
  • Meditation
  • Fitness (some need calming like yoga others need to run or do HITT)
  • Friend/Family time
  • Quiet time
  • Essential oils
  • A Bath
  • More Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Therapy
  • 12 Step meetings
  • A job that is solitary
  • A job that is around people
  • Special diet (lots take out gluten, sugar & dairy)

Take time to understand a illness more before you assume they are like a character in a movie or a stereotype. Give a friend a call if you haven’t heard from them, sometimes the best way to help someone having a bad day is to be there and listen.

The First Blog Post

The idea of sharing my journey is tricky, because I (Sarah) am not the only one on the journey. My family and my friends have as many ups and downs as I have and sharing my truth I often will have to do so while exploring and understanding theirs.

This first post is going to be just about me… and maybe a cat or two. 

Sharing my truth… that is a statement that sounds so new age and millennial that it almost makes me want to hit the back space, but the fact is that is just what I’m going to be doing.  I am a 33, married to my husband Skylar and parent to a step daughter and two cats. I’m a chubby, loud, creative, excitable and motivated person on a good day and chubby and excitable every other. 

I created Connect to Wellness years before I knew I needed it only knowing that I knew that connection was an important part of life.

A brief synopsis of my life:
Great family! Middle child. First job was at a movie theatre where I made life long friends. Second job was at a Vespa shop where I fell in love with everything Italian. Third Job Owner of a cute café (Luzzara). Fourth job selling fancy espresso machines & coffee (where I met my husband – he was a customer). Now: My Mother & I run Makers & Mentors – creative workshops. My husband and I DJ weddings and I share my passion of essential oils & community with everyone.

f you look closely, very closely you will see I keep moving, stay busy, have a project and for a long time this was my normal. Spend the day moving, planning, executing and the evening exhausted and in front of the television. When Skylar and I moved in together life began to change… QUICKLY. 

When you begin living and sharing a life with someone they become your mirror, you are made aware of your bad habits, quirks, strengths and successes, these lesson usually come at the wrong moments and are not fun. The problem is growth and personal development are hard, painful and at times really uncomfortable, life in general is a work in progress and has its ups and downs. Connect to Wellness is a community that is here to become support, motivate and encourage a connect life, lived well.

What do I mean by “a connect life, lived well” I mean, we try and sometimes we fall and it is a lot easier to get up when we have a tribe cheering us on. I mean, growth can hurt, but hearing someone else’s story can inspire us to keep doing the work. I mean, just living can be tough (stress, mental illness, addiction, disease) knowing that we have a community to lean on and tools in our tool kit to help us keep moving in a health, kind, soulful way can be the difference from an ok day and a really bad day. 

Over the next few months you will learn more about my journey - co-dependence, stress, weight gain, weight loss, family struggles, marriage, essential oils and so much more. I hope you will join me and share your story and your truth.