How to Cut Caffeine & Sugar So That You Feel Alive & Thrive

How to Cut Caffeine & Sugar So That You Feel Alive & Thrive
Do you wake up in the morning feeling energized and alive? If you answer “no” to that, you’re not alone. SO many people are leading busy lives during the day and not getting enough restful sleep at night, and feel like they are dragging during the day. I know I was a few years ago.

If you are stressed-out and sleep-deprived, it is likely that you are turning to refined sugars and caffeine to get through the day. The problem is not your morning cup of coffee or enjoying the taste... the problem is when the resulting blood sugar crash leads to an afternoon coffee or sugar craving and then another, and another, and another...

Once the cycle has started, it’s very difficult to achieve a state of balance until it's broken. When the body’s natural energy rhythms are off, these issues can pop up: raging food cravings, weakened immune system, increased inflammation in the body, weight issues, difficulty with restful sleep, and more.

In order to proactively care for your body, soul, and mind, it is important to break the cycle. Some people can quit caffeine and sugar cold turkey. Most people struggle with that, though. Since sugar and caffeine are addictive, withdrawals are common, usually in the form of headaches and fatigue. Gradually reduce the amount you’re consuming AND find a replacement that will truly fuel your body's need for energy. Often we also become attached to the routine, so it is important to find something else that can be just as emotionally satisfying. I have LOTS of great healthful fuel ideas in 
Abundant Life Community.

It's not that you have to go the rest of your life without birthday cake or an occasional cappuccino. These foods are meant to be enjoyed in very occasional moderation. If daily indulgences begin to take their toll on energy levels, take simple steps to regain control and reconnect with feeling naturally alert and energized all day long. It's 100% doable!! But it starts with belief, mindset, and practical action steps. Having a cheerleader can be SO beneficial along the way, too. I'm starting a natural energy challenge mid-April if you would like practical steps, a mentor to walk you through it, and the determination to complete what you start! Contact me if you're interested, and I'll ask you a few basic questions to ensure that this challenge is right for you.




What is normal?

A mindset. Normal for everyone is a bit different.

Does everyone else get up in the morning and immediately let the pup outside? No, but that's my normal.

Does everyone else spend 1-2 hours per day talking with people about wellness goals, in service to others, to help them fulfill their dreams of feeling well preventatively? No, but it's my normal.

Does everyone eat fresh cucumbers for lunch during the summer, grow 5 kinds of mint while gardening organically, and drink chocolate or orange mint tea in the winter? No, but it's my normal.

Did everyone go to a private K-12 school growing up? No, but that's my normal.

Does everyone sing 5-8 hrs per day for FUN and get to pass that joy and skill on to adults and kids alike? No, but it's my joyful normal.

Does everyone sleep 7-8 hours per night? For most, that's a sad no, but it's my normal now! It definitely didn't used to be.

Does everyone go to church every Sunday? No, but that's my normal.

Does everyone work for themselves as their own "boss"? No, but it's becoming my normal.

Does everyone eat Einkorn instead of modern grain? No, but it's becoming our normal.

Does everyone play strategy board games often the way Gabe & I do? No, but we enjoy it, and it's our normal.

Does everyone believe the same things about God or humanity? No, but we each have a normal.

Our normal is governed by our underlying beliefs and mindset. Our normal is fundamentally governed by what we believe about ourselves -- who we are, what we say to ourselves.

Do you tell yourself:
I am anxious.
I am tired.
I am broke.
I am hurt.
I am in pain.
I am stuck.
I am stressed.
I am broken.
I am a sinner.
I am hopeless.
I am incapable of _______ (something that hasn't happened yet that you are dreaming of).

I have to work this job.
I have to marry this person.
I have to live here.

OR, do you tell yourself:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am blessed to be a blessing.
I am at peace.
I am serving others.
I am connected in community.
I am made new.
I am growing.
I am a sharer of my talents and knowledge.
I am healed.
I am a saint who sometimes still sins.
I am hope-filled.
I am already _________ (fill in the blank with a goal that God sees as done, but to me is "not yet").

I can change my mind.
I can develop new preferences.
I can be authentically ME.

How can you move towards a new normal, if you're telling yourself the former things? How can I help you on the journey of saying the latter things to yourself?

Love you, dear friends. 🥰

3 Non-Musical Ways to Maximize Potential and Increase Confidence

Do you struggle with performance anxiety or mindset and confidence? You are not alone. Sometimes addressing non-musical things can really help the issue at hand, speaking from a teacher and performer lens.

Here are a few non-musical ways to help you (or your child) experience success in addressing performance anxiety or general confidence and anxiety. Read on to the end to get a free recipe for my concentration and focus blend.

1. Encourage a Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset is not a new concept, but it is especially important when tackling difficult tasks or subjects. Studies show that if people believe they can do something, even if it is difficult and they may not get it right away, they learn it better, retain it longer, and stick with the hard task longer if they have a growth mindset.

Encourage your inner self to use phrases such as "Mistakes help me grow." or "My intelligence can be developed." or "I keep trying and never give up!" instead of "I'm not good at it." or "I give up easily.'

2. Get Good Sleep

“Daytime thinking is a building process, whereas nighttime thinking is a sorting process.”

― Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health 

Did you know that people with sleep issues are often misdiagnosed with attention or learning issues? This is because our brains make sense of and sort our experiences at nighttime from during the daytime. When we don't get enough good sleep at night, our brain isn't able to "download" and synthesize what we took in from the previous day. So maybe you did a lot of great learning and made progress the day before, but if you didn't sleep well or long enough, that learning may be lost. There are so many other reasons sleep is vital to health and wellness and learning! Read a scholarly example here.

Set a bedtime routine and stick to it! If you need ideas, I shared 11 tried and true ways to get better sleep here that can be adapted very well for anyone, including kids.

3. Strengthen Left- and Right-Brain Connections

Do you enjoy some activities that are completely unrelated to performing? Of course you do! There are many studies that show certain activities (like purposeful cross-body movement) strengthen the pathways in the brain between the two hemispheres. What does this have to do with performing? Well, music often requires that these pathways be strong. When practicing using these pathways, it's like exercising a muscle and will get stronger with use. The stronger you build a muscle, the stronger you feel when something heavy comes along that you have to pick up. By building strong pathways with something different -- like movement -- you can come back to it feeling stronger, like it is a bit less heavy than last time.

In the
 middle of a moment of anxiety or performing (or perhaps even right before it!), do 
this active listening + movement piece to activate those multiple areas of the brain.

"I Can Do This!" Focus & Concentration Roller Blend

10 drops Peppermint essential oil

10 drops Frankincense essential oil

15 drops Lemon essential oil

15 drops Stress Away essential oil

Add these essential oils to a 10 ml roller bottle and fill with carrier oil. 

Roll on wrists, collar bone, bottom of feet, or the back of neck before tackling a difficult task.

Need more ideas for grounding, calming, and uplifting options?

It is very important to know that not all essential oils are created equal...

You can’t just go out to a big box store (or anywhere online) and trust that you’re getting the good stuff. Lucky for you, I’ve got a source I trust – want to know more? Click the button in the top corner to contact me.

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All things I love and use, of course!

How I Personally Dealt With TMJD Naturally

How I Personally Dealt With TMJD Naturally

Jaw issues can be a tricky thing... Many people (specialists included) don't know exactly what causes it, and for different people there can be different root issues or things that exacerbate it.

I personally believe that the body is inter-connected. We were made to be holistic beings and to care for our body, mind, spirit, and heart as whole beings!

So with that in mind, it took much trial and error for me, but with some changes to lifestyle and positive natural additions, I'm finally in a place of being physically well, emotionally well, relationally well, and spiritually well. There's always room for more growth, but I feel better than I have ever being on this wellness journey of discovery and progress.

5 Things That Have Impacted My TMJ For the Better

1. We cut out all sugar & caffeine, most dairy (esp. husband for his IBS), and most processed foods. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. And einkorn for grain mostly. Part of our diet change also included some supplements that support joint health and overall wellness including energywhich has even helped my hair and nails grow longer and thicker and be less brittle. Who knew? More positives, I guess when you're going for naturally supporting the body. 

2. We also see a specialized chiropractor, and utilize something that helps us stay in alignment longer. I wear a custom splint on top at night so I slide instead of clench, though I personally think that mostly just protects my teeth than stops clenching.

3. Working on mindset and run-away emotions, as well as balancing hormones. I used to be a really anxious person, worrying about every little thing and blowing smaller worries out of proportion. If I went to a dr for that, maybe I would have been diagnosed, maybe not. But I have consciously worked REALLY hard to help myself focus on affirmations (truths rather than lies) to help me when I feel like it's harder than it should be.

4. Supplement where the body is deficient. This one may seem obvious, but I don't think it is! This includes joints, gut health, and ear/detoxing issues such as tinnitus. We live in a world that is broken, and with bodies that don't always do as they're supposed to -- but it wasn't meant to be this way! By providing our bodies high quality, bioavailable options to support where our bodies are lacking, we can live full lives more as we were created to. I've been able to do that very well, but the body takes TIME to heal. (This process can take months of consistency, so be patient. It didn't get "messed up" in a day, so it won't get "fixed" in a day either.)

5. Get good sleep. Sleep is foundational for so much of our health and wellness.

Curious about the specific things that have worked for me in each of these categories? Check out some of the links above, for starters, or check out the TMJ Strong course. I don't believe there's a one-size-fits-all for health & wellness, but I'm happy to be someone you can bounce ideas off of while on this natural wellness journey, or a listening ear to see what I can do to help you thrive rather than barely survive. I wish I'd had someone like that when I first started this journey. Happy to be that for you if you need it! I pray wellness and relief and abundance for you, friend. Be Blessed.

How I Chose My Chiropractor as an HSP With TMJD

How I Chose My Chiropractor as an HSP With TMJD
There are SO many chiropractors in the world... SO MANY.

How to choose?!

As a highly sensitive person with TMJD, I really had to take a good, hard look at what I needed from a chiropractor and what my goals were before being able to find someone that would fit my needs and help me achieve my goals.

My goals at the time were: more better sleep, less TMJD discomfort and more range of motion, less anxious thoughts and emotional swings, and stability in health and wellness. And I am reaching all of those goals through the choice I made -- yay!

1) What is their philosophy of wellness and health? Are they going to keep you coming back because they want to keep you, or have you come back at certain check-points or as needed? Do they also offer different nutritional supplements or support? Is that something you want as part of what they offer?

2) What is their actual method(s) of practice? My chiro is a part of NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractors Association) and practice a specific technique that is gentle, non-manipulative to the body, and focuses on specifically the atlas (V1) with the focal idea that most issues stem from there. If the main nerve of our spine is being pinched due to misalignment, many other issues (like TMJD, IBS, aches, etc) result. But each person is different, so the issues can be different. Once that is in alignment, the rest of the body can heal itself in its time usually. This was SO important to me because I'm really sensitive, so "twisting, cracking, and popping" my body was just not gonna happen. I'd been to one of those chiros as a kid and HATED the experience. I'd literally feel like crying in fear/dread.... yep, not happening. Very grateful to find NUCCA!

3) Do they listen and educate? Or do they just adjust and move on without taking time to care? Example: my husband has a rib that once in a while comes out of place and rotates. After adjusting his atlas, our chiro will sometimes gently adjust his wonky rib if needed, but only if it's not doing it's job. He normally doesn't do those things, but a rib out of wack isn't always going to find its way back to staying in alignment without a gentle nudge (literally, haha).

4) Do they adjust automatically if you come in, or just when you need it? Since my chiro is a NUCCA doc, he only adjusts me if I'm actually out of alignment. He has specific ways to tell if my body is in alignment or not, and he does not adjust me if my body does not need it. This allows a more natural body healing process to stay in place rather than outside forces (literally) interrupting that process. My NUCCA doc also charges half as much if he doesn't need to adjust, which is nice! Saving money but still checking on my alignment if I think I might be out.

Interested in NUCCA? They have a website where you can look up a NUCCA doc to find one near you. Their website is found here.

I'm no expert and no doctor, but this has rocked my world, and I hope can help you too, friends. TMJD can be addressed naturally.

I also have a little secret, a "chiropractic assistant" that helps me stay in alignment longer because it supports my body's skeletal and muscular systems in doing their job properly. Learn more about that here!

5 Reasons Sleep is Foundational for Wellness

Sleeping well is very important to whole-body wellness. We all know that getting enough sleep feels good, but how else does it affect our bodies, our minds, and our emotions?

5 Reasons Sleep is Foundational for Wellness

1. Quality sleep optimizes immune system function.
Conversely, loss of sleep or poor quality sleep has been shown to leave us not only more susceptible to illnesses, but also impairs our recovery time when we do get sick. Our immune system thrives on good sleep.

2. Quality sleep optimizes emotional health.
Most people know that less sleep or poor sleep affects their mood. It often makes them more irritable, cranky, moody, or prone to other emotional/mental issues like anxiety, depression, and toxic stress. Toxic stress has been a big point of public health concern and research in recent years as well, showing that when we are constantly in a place of toxic stress, we don't function well and this can also become cyclical (affecting our quality of sleep just as quality of sleep affects our stress levels).

3. Quality sleep optimizes the body's cognitive growth.
Sleep deprivation studies have shown that cognitive processing steeply declines when loss of sleep occurs. This is important for all, but especially for the young such as children in school, college students, and young mothers... but it's also important for elderly people as they start to experience effects of aging.

4. Quality sleep aids in memory.
There are still many unknowns regarding the connection between sleep and memory, but if we think of all experiences happening during the day, and experiences being processed by our mind and body at night, it makes more sense why we would be able to remember things better if we slept well; our body could process the experience and store the memories more effectively.

5. Quality sleep is an important part of maintaining (or losing) weight.
Our body's way of processing food is dramatically altered by the quality and length of our sleep. This is partly to do with our decision-making about what food to eat when we're fully rested versus when we're sleep deprived, but it also has to do with our body's regulation of metabolism and how it physically processes our food. Our gut does a LOT of work overnight (which is why a good probiotic is often recommended to be taken at night), and by not sleeping enough or well, we cut short the work it was doing to keep us in an optimal weight range.

So you can see, sleep is VERY important. It is a foundational element to so many aspects of our wellness and health! What are you doing to help yourself sleep better and longer?

Need 11 tried & true tips for better natural sleep with zero side effects? You've come to the right place.

Get my sleep tips here. :)