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!

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!


Mental and Emotional Wellness Through Breathing Prayer #WellnessWednesday

woman yoga breathing relaxation wellness

Mental and Emotional Wellness through Breathing Prayer

In our fast-paced, media-driven society, it is increasingly unusual for most of us to be still. It is even more uncommon for us to spend even a few moments in stillness focussing on our breathing. Unless you regularly practice yoga, chances are you very rarely consciously stop and consider the pace and depth of your breath. The truth is, though, that stopping for a few short minutes each day to do focusses breathing can actually change the brain and improve your mental and emotional wellness! (See links below for the article from Science Daily on the subject of how deep breathing has been shown to change the brain. It’s fascinating!)

I have seen the affects of focussed breathing, specifically breathing prayer, this month while participating in the Revelation Wellness “Heir to the Crown Challenge.” Each day part of the challenge involves setting a timer for 3-5 minutes, sitting still and closing your eyes, then breathing deeply while praying/meditating on a repeated phrase. Each day has a different focus surrounding the overall theme of our identity in Christ as daughters of the King. For example, one of my favorites this week has been this:

Inhale– “God fights for me,”

Exhale– “so I can be still.”

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Exodus 14:14

As I have practiced this breathing prayer daily for the past 10 days, I have noticed my breathing more at other times, especially when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Remembering to slow down and take a few deep breaths, especially while praying over the current situation, helps me to think more clearly and respond in a more positive way to whatever is upsetting me. I have also been noticing myself making better food choices overall. In the podcast linked below, Revelation Wellness founder Alisa Keeton talks about how focussed breathing activates the part of the brain in control of appetite. I wouldn’t normally associate the breath with the appetite, so this connection is quite intriguing!

Have you ever tried breathing prayer, or even just simply noticing your breath for a set period of time? If so, I would love to hear about how it affected your health and well-being! If you have not tried this practice, I would encourage you to give it a go for a few weeks and see what positive changes it makes in your life!

Links:

Revelation Wellness Podcast – #302 A Simple Way to Keep “The Weight” Off

Science Daily – “The Yogi masters were right — meditation and breathing exercises can sharpen your mind”


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!