Wellness Wednesday: Reporting on the Luddite Experiment

At the beginning of October, I began what I intended to be only a month-long break from social media. You can read about that in my original post on “Joining the Luddite Experiment.” Now that it is nearly the end of November, I thought I should report on how that experiment has been going, because, as you may have guessed, I have not really gone back to Facebook or Instagram yet.

I have checked a couple of things on Facebook in the last week, namely the Close Reads Podcast group to find out when we start reading The Great Gatsby (this week!) and a local homeschool group to see if there are any exciting field trips scheduled in December that we don’t want to miss (nope). But otherwise, I have been perfectly happy to be off social media and plan to continue to stay away for the remainder of the year.

So what have I been doing with all that time I had been spending scrolling through feeds? Well, I find myself spending more time doing things offline that are important to me, like reading and knitting and journalling. I am less distracted or worried about what so-and-so out there in the world might be doing and more content to just live my little life right here with my family. I have enjoyed having local friends over for a homeschool mom’s book club, and I have reconnected with other AmblesideOnline parents on the AO Forum. I also have been enjoying more time spent in devotional reading and prayer in the mornings.

So, overall, I have to say that this time away from the hubbub of the virtual social scene has been exactly what I hoped it would be, and I don’t have any plans to go back any time soon. Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, I am looking forward to more cozy, contented days cultivating relationships with my family and local friends and doing what I love without worrying so much about what “everyone else” might be doing. My emotional and mental health have truly improved over the last two months, and that alone is reason enough for me to continue in this Luddite Experiment.


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!


Wellness Wednesday: Thanksgiving is Good for You!

Yes, I know that a lot of our more traditional Thanksgiving meals here in the U.S. are not what we think of as “health food.” We have to be careful to make good food choices when we come to the holiday table. But that isn’t the reason I am saying that Thanksgiving is good for you. I am talking about the health benefits of gratitude.

When we choose to cultivate a grateful attitude, we not only put ourselves in a more positive mental state. Certainly thinking of focussing on our blessings is beneficial to our emotional health. We think more clearly about the things we have to be thankful for instead of those that tend to bring us down. I believe we all would acknowledge that if we struggle with negative emotions, one way to improve our outlook is to intentionally set aside time to practice gratitude.

But did you know that having an “attitude of gratitude” can also be good for your physical health? According to an article in Psychology Today, that is the case!

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people…grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health.

Another interesting study cited in the same Psychology Today article found that people who practice gratitude sleep better, especially when people write down a few things for which they are thankful before going to bed. Even more fascinating are some studies mentioned in a Greater Good Magazine article, in which researchers found a connection between heart health and cultivating gratitude.

I don’t know about you, but knowing that God has made our minds, emotions and bodies to work in such an interconnected way…well, it makes me truly grateful for His wonderful design. And I am definitely rebooting my habit of recording reasons for gratitude in my prayer journal, not just because I want good health, but because the Lord deserves to receive the praise.

So, this Thanksgiving, don’t just choose to eat health when possible. Choose to truly give thanks for all the blessings you’ve been given. And start on a habit of gratitude today!


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!


Wellness Wednesday: Seven Wholesome Soups and Stews

As I sit down to write today’s Wellness Wednesday post, a cold drizzle is falling outside. The leaves are almost all down from the trees, and we have had several gray, cloudy days in a row. The crisp but sunny September and October days are over, it seems, and a more wintery feel is moving in with November’s arrival.

This being the case, soups and stews are showing up on my weekly meal plan more often! My family can’t eat canned soups, since many contain gluten, MSG and other additives that give us various health issues. But healthy, wholesome soups recipes abound on the internet, and they are often very simple to make, especially with the help of the slow cooker or Instant Pot!

Here is a round-up of seven tried and true recipes for soups and stews that have become family favorites in our house. I usually serve the soups with a side of gluten-free biscuits and a green salad, and we always have gluten-free cornbread with butter and honey alongside the chili soups.

Seven Wholesome Soups and Stews

Photo credit: Lulu the Baker

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder from Lulu the Baker: This yummy soup is on the menu tonight!

Photo credit: Nom Nom Paleo

Simple Egg Drop Soup from Nom Nom Paleo: Egg Drop Soup is great as a side with stir fry and/or fried rice.

Photo credit: Well Plated

Instant Pot Lentil Soup from Well Plated: There is just something so comforting about a hearty lentil soup.

Photo credit: Gimme Some Oven

The BEST Butternut Squash Soup from Gimme Some Oven: This truly is one of the best butternut soup recipes I have tried!

Black Bean Chicken Chili by Crystal Miller: This chili recipe doesn’t have a photo, but it is a staple in my menu plan all year round!

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Chili Soup from Better Homes and Gardens: This is another tried and true staple chili recipe in our home, easy to make on the stove, in the slow cooker and in the Instant Pot!

Clam Chowder by Crystal Miller: We just added Crystal’s delicious clam chowder recipe to our line-up this fall, and it was a winner!

Now it’s your turn! I’d love for you to share your favorite soup recipe that our family can try this fall and winter! Or tell me which of the above recipes you want to try.


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!

Wellness Wednesday: Mental Margin

As you know if you’ve been following the blog for the past month or two, I started taking a break from Facebook and Instagram at the beginning of October. During this time away from social media, I have been thinking about the concept of margin and how I spend my time. I think we all know that leaving some white space on our calendar is important so that we can rest and recharge. But how much do we leave ourselves with some time and space for mental margin? What does that even look like?

For me, creating mental margin means intentionally taking time away from media of all kinds: internet, music, tv, even books and audio books. This time can look a lot of different ways, but the important thing is to have as little input as possible. The purpose of creating this mental white space is to give my brain a rest, to allow myself to process all the stimuli from my days and to let my mind sort things out. The mind has an amazing capacity for absorbing information, but if we don’t give it some input-free time, we are overtaxing that capacity. Everyone’s brain needs a break from time to time.

Now, before you start picturing me going into an empty room and staring at the wall for an hour, let me tell you that is not what this looks like at all. My mental margin time actually can involve physical activity. It can look like going for a walk, alone and without music or a podcast, of course, just letting my mind wander while my body does the same. I may be knitting something monotonous that doesn’t require anything but a repetitive motion of my hands and very little active thought on my part. It may be coloring a picture and letting the colors fall where they may while my mind organizes all the random thoughts I have about my day. I could even be washing dishes or folding laundry, as long as I am in relative quiet so that I can process my thoughts instead of trying to fill every spare second with noise.

After a few weeks of purposefully adding these small spaces of margin throughout my day, I feel more mental clarity and focus. I can tell when I am trying to just distract myself instead of quiet my mind. My creativity is coming back, and I am more aware of when I need to take a mental break. Of course, I have a lot of room for improvement, but I am seeing how practicing mental margin is beneficial.

How about you? Do you make time for quiet and mental margin in your day? I would love to hear your strategies for making this a priority. Or, if you haven’t tried giving yourself real mental rest each day, please share what you plan to do to change that.


And now it’s your turn! I want to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!

Making Small Changes for Health #WellnessWednesday

In a departure from my usual Wellness Wednesday posts, today I’m just sharing a short list of a few small, simple changes I have made in pursuing better health. Whether it’s choosing more whole foods, reducing toxins in skin care or getting better sleep, making a baby step towards healthier choices is always an improvement! Some of the changes I mention have been easier than others to make into habit, but each one has made a positive impact on my health in some way. What small healthy choices have you made to improve your wellness? Please share them in the comments or in your own link-up post!

  1. Making my own yogurt using the Instant Pot. We always have thick, homemade, plain yogurt on hand. I culture it for 24 hours to reduce as much of the lactose as possible. The great thing about making our own yogurt at home is that it is more affordable than store-bought, and I always know exactly what went into it.
  2. Switching to natural deodorant. The ingredients in conventional deodorants are scary! I have tried making my own deodorant. It didn’t work. I have also tried another natural brand available in big box stores, but it caused irritation and didn’t really work well. Right now I’m loving Native brand’s sensitive formula because it has not bothered my skin at all and has kept odor at bay for over 24 hours without reapplying. (If you use my referral link to order some of your own, you and I will both get a free travel size tube. Very handy for putting in your purse or taking on a trip!)
  3. Leaving my phone in another room at night, rather than keeping it on my nightstand. Not only am I not distracted by any random notifications that may pop up in the night, but I am also no longer tempted to look at my phone when I am having trouble falling asleep. For an alarm, I use my FitBit Charge2 alarm to wake me. It’s more gentle for me, and it doesn’t bother my husband when I have to get up earlier than he does. He also uses his FitBit to wake, and I love that since he usually is the first one up these days
  4. Focussed breathing for 3-5 minutes daily as discussed in last week’s post.
  5. Making lacto-fermented vegetables. This is a new change we’ve made, and I will admit that we still have some work to make eating fermented veggies a daily habit. But it took me years just to work up the gumption to try making lacto-ferments, and when I did, I found it very simple! And the great success is that even my kids like the dilly carrots. The healthy bacteria in these veggies are so good for the gut, so we are going to keep working on adding them to our regular diet!

And now it’s your turn! I want to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!