What is Holistic Living?

When you think of holistic living, you may conjure up thoughts of consuming “green juice”, using herbs to heal ailments or improve nutrition, creating natural beauty products out of resources made in nature, or some form of complementary medicine such as acupuncture.

Although those things definitely fit into the scope of living holistically, they are a small part of what it means to live a holistic lifestyle.

Holistic living is a philosophy that requires an understanding that all parts of the body, or self, are interconnected and should be considered when taking care of one’s complete health and wellness.

Moreover, on a more basic and common level of understanding what it means to live holistically, it simply means living your life in balance with your mind, body, soul, (and I always like to include heart as well.)

There is no specific way to live holistically, but, one important aspect of doing so consists of living in tune with nature and using natural products, elements, and food, etc., keeping your thoughts and emotions as positively open and healthy as possible – and doing it all collectively as a way to heal or maintain health, wellness and well-being.

I hope this post gives you at least a hint or an idea of what it means to live a holistic lifestyle. Stay tuned for a few ideas on ways to live a holistic lifestyle.

Until the next post…

Thank you for reading.

Take care,

Carol

Why I Began Living a Holistic Lifestyle

Why I Began Living a Holistic Lifestyle

Grief really took a lot out of me. I didn’t expect it to, but it had a negative impact on my health. This was despite the fact that I did my best to eat healthy, exercise, get adequate rest and go hiking often.

To be honest, I was really taken aback and quite surprised at how draining grief can be. It’s funny how we never expect ourselves to ever experience certain things. I guess you could say that grief “caught me off guard.” I believed that I was handling my grief well, but a year later discovered that I was doing just the opposite when I had a health scare and had to go to the hospital to find out why I was having breathing and heart issues. That is when I knew that I had to make a change.

“Honor the physical temple that houses you by eating healthfully, exercising, listening to your body’s needs, and treating it with dignity and love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Grief affects you emotionally, but it can also put a strain on you physiologically and physically and take a toll on your whole body. Oftentimes you’ll feel as though what you’re feeling is just basic tiredness, but for me it wasn’t just tiredness. I just wanted to feel like myself again. So, I took the leap to take my health power back (so to speak).

One way that I did just that was to begin living a holistic lifestyle that included changing the way that I eat, sleep, rest, think about myself and others, exercise, live and basically just care for my whole self.

Since I made that lifestyle change I have been able to lose weight, (without even trying to), reduce bodily aches and pains, reverse 2 chronic health conditions, gain increased energy throughout the day, manage stress better, become more calm and mindful in all aspects of my life, improve the way that my body feels and the way that I approach and think about life.

Living a holistic life is not a diet or a fad. If done, it should become a way of life if one is to reap the rewards of the benefits that it offers.

I’ll talk more about what a holistic lifestyle is this week, but I just wanted to share my “Why?” with you for now, and how excited I am about the changes that I’ve made.

I can tell you that I love that it’s not just about food, or just about exercise, or just about spirituality. What drew me to it is how this lifestyle cares for all parts of you. I also love it’s connection to living in harmony with nature. I am glad that I stumbled across this new lifestyle and I can’t wait to share more about it with you.

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine, our medicine should be our food.”

– Hippocrates

Have you made any lifestyle changes lately? I would love to hear your story in the comments section below.

Or, if you’d feel more comfortable discussing privately…shoot me an email.

Happy Halloween! If you are celebrating the day, have fun and be safe.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care,

Carol

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

Hello Everyone and Happy Thursday! I just returned home from a slightly extended, (and much needed), trip to one of my favorite places to visit in Southern California – Joshua Tree National Park.

It was exciting, relaxing and wonderful as usual – this was my third time visiting this national park.

I missed not going last year, tremendously, because I was deep in the throes of overcoming grief, and I didn’t realize exactly just how much I missed the desert until I was finally able to once again step foot onto the coppery, tawny hued hot sand and dirt of the very beautiful Mojave-Colorado desert inspired landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. You really have to visit this part of the earth to truly appreciate just how welcoming it is.

To back track a little bit, I didn’t go last year because it just didn’t feel right. I even made reservations twice last year, and cancelled them just as soon as I made them. So, I know deep down I wanted to go badly, but my need to hibernate at home and learn how to live without my youngest child was so much stronger. Sometimes I think that my son may have even had a hand in my not going because I was no where near ready to enjoy myself – as one should when on vacation.

My last visit was just a few months before my son’s death, so as you can probably imagine, this trip brought back so many memories of when he was still physically in my life.

This year though, I was more prepared for the adventures and physical exertion required for such a trip; as well as the opportunity to release some really heavy internal turmoil and manifest a hint of personally relevant rehabilitation. The desert offers many opportunities for reflection and healing and my heart and mind are now in a good place – a place of equanimity.

This trip was quite different from my previous trips to Joshua Tree National Park in that it was less about reaching a specific peak, enduring a strenuous trail, or taking a lot of pictures so that I could post them to Instagram. In fact, for the first time ever while traveling, I gave extra attention to avoiding my smartphone while away. I wanted to make sure that I would be fully immersed in my trip, and that required me to be fully present in every moment so that I could obtain the most from my experience with nature, and the culture of the area, while there. Trust me, it was by no means easy, and I was tempted to get on my phone a few times to post photos on social media and to create a post here on Salubrity and Soul, but I didn’t and I am glad that I was able to keep my promise to myself and to ensuring that I would be able to have the best possible connection to my trip experience.

I did take a few photos eventually though, because I had to have something to remind me of my trip besides the Joshua Tree t-shirt that I bought. I just made sure that capturing photos from my trip just so that I could let everyone know what I was up to at the moment was not my main focus – or a focus at all.

This trip was was less about physical activity and more about becoming one with nature, more specifically, the desert – and and allowing it to teach me about surviving, overcoming, adjusting to harsh conditions and thriving while in that state.

I love being in the desert and I figured if anything was going to propel me to another level of healing in my bereavement it would be within the lessons learned from watching the example of resilience from the delicate but oh-so-mighty desert.

One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of plant life and wildlife at Joshua Tree National Park this year. It was obviously more green and more bright with colors from a variety of plant species that were dormant during my last visits – (and my 2017 visit was pretty exciting as far as seeing color and running into fauna was concerned, so that should give you a little hint to the eye-catching changes that left me in awe.) I concluded that my increased sightings of lizards, birds, insects, desert rats and rabbits were the result of the increased plant life which undoubtedly was the result of the fact that the desert had received quite a bit of rain earlier this year. This part of my trip was something that I enjoyed witnessing as it made my trip even more pleasurable and in a lot of ways – more spiritual.

Joshua Tree National Park emits such a deep, raw energy within its boundaries that I would describe as being very cleansing. Maybe it has something to do with it being a high desert, or maybe it is because when you are out there it is almost as though you are visiting another planet, or because the desert holds a great deal of “fire energy”, or perhaps it is due to it being a vast land once inhabited by ancient natives and still feels like it.

Whatever the reason, many people, myself included, love to visit this desert public land for the visual aesthetics, the physical activity offerings and the spiritually stimulating opportunities.

Had I decided to go last year, I know that I would not have enjoyed myself as much. It would have been a very solemn and mentally draining trip and I don’t believe that I would have been able to even entertain the thought of going out for a hike each day; or try new restaurants in the area like I was able to while on this trip. It feels very good to be able to open up myself up to new experiences once again – and in a place that fills me with so much joy and peacefulness.

Have you ever gone on vacation only to return home feeling as though you now need a vacation from your vacation? I have, but that never happens to me after visiting Joshua Tree.

I am grateful for every moment of mindfulness along the trails that I hiked and every awe-inspiring view that captured my attention and my heart. The connection that I receive with every visit here never fails me. This time is no different. Right now I feel transformed, invigorated and inspired to share the lessons of resilience that I learned from the desert.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time,

Take care + be well

Take Care + Be Well

Take Care + Be Well

Hello and “Happy Friday” everyone! Let’s talk about wellness today! The title of this post will be familiar to those of you who have been following Salubrity and Soul for a while. Those are the words that I usually end each post with because I wanted to remind you, my readers, to be gentle with yourselves when facing difficult times, and to remember to take care of yourselves every day since those are probably two of the many, different and best ways to live a happy and fulfilling life no matter what.

I am curious? What do you think of when you hear the word “wellness?” If you are like me, then you might instantly get an image in your mind like the one featured in the header picture of this post of someone in a yoga pose. Or, maybe you’ll imagine someone wearing a facial mask, or getting a massage. There are so many images that come to mind for me for the word “wellness”, truthfully, and my favorite of all time, (which may seem a little strange), is the word “balance.” – Yes, that is correct, I said the “word” balance – only in my mind the word balance is in great big bold type lettering. Strange, right?

I think the word “balance” became synonymous with wellness for me when I took a health and wellness course in college and learned that in order for wellness to take effect the whole body should be in a state of equilibrium. The body may be well, but what if the mind isn’t? And – vice verse? This also reminds me of how dieting is less effective when the focus is placed solely on eating the right foods, but not exercising. And – vice verse. Which leads me to ask the question, “can we consider ourselves well if we only focus on one area or type of health and wellness?

“Wellness is both the quality and state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. It is also an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating disease. ”

Interestingly enough though, it will never be enough to just drink our green juice and do yoga. Or getting our regular medical check ups and taking our vitamins and minerals; or getting enough sleep and following the latest series of wellness fads.

No matter what, the mind will always be another aspect of wellness if we want to work on being as completely well as possible. Those other things I mentioned in the previous paragraph are important, but what about conditions such as grief or depression? How is wellness connected to those types of conditions?

Well, it’s as simple as this… It’s all about being able to adapt. Even if we are not able to adapt right away or immediately. The important thing is to just be able to do it at all. Because without being able to apply adjusting to life challenges the likelihood for change becomes slim and can result in stagnation.

Life changes all of the time and throughout our lives. So too, must we adjust to those changes. It’s the inability to adapt that will set the foundation for illness instead of wellness.

This can be somewhat of a slippery slope though, because you don’t want to be someone who shuts down emotionally and simply flows with nonchalant ease through every one of life’s difficult and challenging moments without allowing yourself to fully process what you’re experiencing during those difficult moments. Can it really be healthy to just push our true feelings way down deep inside of us and then plant an everlasting, (but inauthentic), smile on our faces – for any reason? How can that be healthy? You still want to and need to acknowledge, feel for and care about the people and things that mean a lot to you. – Just remember to adapt – when it’s time to.

However, we should also want to be committed to our lifelong growth and development. We should also be striving for equilibrium between the body and the mind since that is probably the best way to prepare ourselves to be in a state that will support our ability to have both the mental and physical strength to handle anything. Taking care of our mental health as well as our physical health – that is what wellness is – and taking care of just our physical health will not always contribute positively to our mental health. They are not always synonymous. Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments section.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well

Breaking Away

Breaking Away

I have a confession to make. I jumped the gun. About a month ago, I became so overwhelmed, (or should I say that I allowed myself to become so overwhelmed), that I almost gave up. I almost gave up on Salubrity and Soul. Yes, that would have been a terrible thing to do! Especially since (as anyone who has followed my story knows), I waited so long to start it. But, what’s even worse than that is I kept feeling that I would be letting not only myself down, but my son down as well.

So instead of giving up, I decided to just take a nice long break and get back to everything once I feel better prepared to add blogging; and all of the added social connecting that comes with it.

I wrote about “unplugging” once before in my blog post 10 Things A Digital Detox Can Do For You”, but for some reason this time I needed more than a little digital detox. I was burned out and needed something a little more serious. What I needed was a sabbatical – a blogger’s sabbatical. Which is not a real term to my knowledge, but I think it has a nice little ring to it – don’t you?

“Rest is not idle, is not wasteful. Sometimes rest is the most productive thing you can do for body and soul.”

– Erica Layne

I cannot deny that the holidays, memorial event planning, awareness projects, work, overcoming the surprises acknowledged after finally gaining closure after losing my son over a year ago and an unexpected health concern all took a huge toll on me. The writing was on the wall and all I had to do was make a decision. Was I going to try to control and conceal it? Or was I going to take my well-being into my own hands and handle it in a healthy way? The healthy route, obviously, attracted me more.

“Self-care isn’t always manicures, bubble baths & eating healthy food. Sometimes it’s forcing yourself to get out of bed take a shower and participate in life again.”

– Meredith Marple

I knew that there was really only one thing to do, which was to bring everything that I was doing to a grinding halt, and just immerse myself in a sea of self-care. What’s more healthy and wellness minded than that? To notice the signs of burnout and potential additional bereavement issues and then heed to them. To care for yourself when you need to.

There is no shame felt here. Just gratitude and grace. There is no guilt here either. Just a sizable amount of self-love and a sense of contentment. Knowing that in all of my struggles suffering and vulnerability, I still have the faith and courage to keep moving forward – even if that also means that I have to slow down a little bit as well.

On the humorous side, one great thing about this “sabbatical” is that I didn’t have to obtain permission to take it. My only requirement was to seek inspiration, offer myself patience with regard to writing, and to rest and take really good care of myself. Which I did by doing a lot of meditating, a lot of healing baths, nature walking, journaling and changing some of my eating habits.

“Be you, love you, All ways, always.”

Alexandra Elle

While the payoff for taking this “sabbatical” is that I have been able to apply greater focus on enhancing my skills and creativity, assess my needs for engagement and productivity; but in a much less frantic manner. That is a complete win-win in my eyes.

Taking a break isn’t a weakness. Neither is taking as many breaks as you need – especially when you are in the process of healing. It may be the only thing standing between your failure and your success; and at least a break will energize you a little better than any attempt to just continue pushing on through.

Until the next post,

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well.

Carol

Food + Family + Friendship and The Ties That Bind

Food + Family + Friendship and The Ties That Bind

Have you ever noticed how meals, when shared with others, can make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside and create a sense of community? Throughout our human history sharing meals is one thing that has always brought people together. Over the holidays I was reminded of how it is one thing that has also always sustained us through good and bad times alike.

It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, or what food is being served; there is something special about “breaking bread” with others and sharing a moment of gratitude for just being able to have such a moment in our lives – all while satiating and nourishing our bodies, (and minds), as is the case with delicious food that either reminds us of good times with those we have lost; or stirs and excites the senses as we share thoughts, smiles and laughter at the dinner table.

Although a good meal sustains us by providing us with the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, you have to admit that we also, generally, have a love of how a simple taste or smell can bring a great big smile to our faces; or even take us back down memory lane – and if you love to cook like I do – then I’ll bet that you, too, have also had the pleasure of watching someone’s face light up from a meal that you cooked. These are smiles created by meals that were made with full hearts and love; and sometimes those smiles are created by the connection created from just being a part of something that warms the heart. A meaningful togetherness. What a truly beautiful aspect of life that is.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo

Welcoming 2019

Welcoming 2019

Happy New Year! December was an engrossing month for me. Not just because of Christmas or because the spirit and activities of the holidays were in full effect, but because in addition to all of that loveliness I had the opportunity to experience a few things that brought me just a bit more added holiday cheer, profound happiness and joy.

For starters, I received exciting news that one of my children had plans to get married and I also received news regarding my son’s accident which helped me to gain some closure with regard to the details of his accident and eventual passing. Both of these occurrences were blessings and really helped to make an otherwise stress laden, but truly wonderful and exciting month a much more rewarding experience overall. In fact, those were the best Christmas gifts that I could have ever received…but, enough about my December. I hope that you had a great Christmas and were able to enjoy the holidays with those you hold dear to you… and for my fellow grievers, I hope that you know that your loved one(s) were with you sharing every moment of the beauty of the holidays with you.

“There are 365 days in a year and you will meet all the colours of life throughout the year: The blue, the black, the pink… Only blue is not a life only pink is not a life, only black is not a life! Life is all the colours!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Now that 2018 has passed I know many of us have made resolutions for the new year. Some of which will be successful throughout the year; and some that will probably fall to the wayside in about three months or so. Just remember that the good thing about new year’s resolutions is that you can always begin again if yours did not work out this time; but if you can stick with yours for the remainder of the year (and possibly thereafter), even better and think about how wonderful that feeling of accomplishment will feel!

The reason why I mentioned the possibility of not fulfilling a resolution is because, in all honesty, it is a common reality. We can promote positivity and motivation tactics until the sun falls from the sky, but the truth is that sometimes sticking to our resolutions can be difficult, not just for the bereaved, but it can happen to anyone and for any reason. Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to start something no matter how much we may want to do it and that does’t mean that that person is a failure or lazy, it just means that maybe there is something else that might need to be that person’s central focus at the moment. What I know is that if someone wants something bad enough, they will do everything in their power to try to achieve it – in such an instance the question is never “why not?”, but “when?” and the answer to that is always when they are ready. So “Cheers!” to the new year and to success in all of our resolution endeavors!

“Another chapter in our lives has begun and as our thoughts all turn to improving ourselves we ought to remember that this book holds 365 pages and only we are responsible for what is written on those pages, so let’s all make sure that our books are worth writing, reading and publishing. “

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post,

Blessings!

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol