PLEASE Note: The protocol below is what has worked for me. I recommend that if you have similar symptoms as I mention below that you seek medical attention, but I am sharing the below in the event that you are experiencing the same and there is no medical facilities available to you. I am not a medical doctor and I am merely sharing my experience. I do expect you to do your due diligence and seek medical attention for yourself or your loved ones!
I have been on a natural medicine journey since I was fourteen and I have learned so much over the years,but I have learned so much about the body and healing specifically over the last three years on my healing journey. For those of you that are new to following us, I had life-saving surgery in 2016 and since have become a huge advocate to help save the lives of others. You can read that story here.
Through this process of healing from biotoxins, heavy metals and silicone I have learned a lot and experienced a lot. As a result of my illness, my immune system is impaired and things that never would have bothered me before have become life-threatening to me now. While I walk this journey, I have been sharing this process and what I have learned in an effort to help others with the same illness as well as others that may experience the same thing as a result of other immune system impairing illnesses.
Eye Drops That Nearly Killed Me
As I write this it is Sunday, December 9th, two days prior on Friday our family visited the eye doctor just for a yearly checkup that was WAY overdue and to get the obviously new prescription that was needed – especially for me as I have been unintentionally lengthening my families arms so that I can see! 🙂
They administered the eye drops, first the numbing eye drop. When I started to dab the drops with a tissue and realized they were fluorescent yellow something deep within me twitched. These were to aid the doctor in checking my eyes under the blue light as well as numb the eye so they could administer the second drops to dilate my pupil. . We went about our appointment getting all our eyes checked, glasses picked and then went about our day.
On the way home I experienced quite the headache and suspected it was a result of my pupils being dilated and it was a bright day so I didn’t think much of it. Got home, enjoyed dinner and then I sat and watched a movie with the Mountain Man Jr. As I was watching the movie, I realized that my hands were getting really dry and sore and that my body was beginning to hurt all over as though I might be coming down with something. Being we were at the clinic where there were sick people it was very likely I was coming down with something. I treated myself with essential oils and natural cold remedies as a preventative measure and went to bed.
When I woke on Saturday I realized right away that I was lucky to have woken at all. I woke with a very strong tin taste in my mouth indicating heavy metals and my face and hands were EXTREMELY swollen. Had my hands been any more swollen I would have needed to cut my ring off my hand. That ring normally nearly falls off my hand so I had swelled greatly. I instantly realized that it was not the onset of a cold, but a reaction to the toxins that were in the eye drops.
Now I would like to point out here that in my younger days when the Mountain Boy Jr. was only a couple of days old I had a routine allergy shot that went south. I am guessing because my body was recently stressed with his birth that I had a negative reaction to my weekly allergy shot that I never had a problem with prior, but as a result of that shot I needed an adrenaline shot so I truly KNOW the severity of such a situation, but over the last three years I have also experienced the same situation MANY times and I was able to naturally work through it. Not to mention, I have NO idea how my body will react to anything else that might be administered at the ER including an adrenaline shot! So, I’d like to make it VERY clear that if YOU are experiencing such symptoms, if medical assistance is available, PLEASE do NOT mess around!
What Worked For Me
OK back to this situation, I started treating myself to try to remove the inflammation and fluid by drinking dandelion and milk thistle tea. The dandelion is a diuretic and the milk thistle would help my liver to process all the toxins. I also added nettle and red clover. The nettle will help with allergies and excess histamine in my system and the red clover is an aid in cleaning the blood.
Since my surgery, my body reacts to anything foreign in a very drastic way so something as simple as eating a food with a GMO can be deadly so I only eat if I am 100% sure that the food I am eating is safe. It makes eating a bit overrated, but I would much rather be safe than sorry otherwise I can expect at least a minimum of 4 days down on my back as a result. So since we have experienced this before, I also got out my peppermint, lavender and lemongrass essential oils. Those together, rubbed on the chest also help with extreme allergies and can be used in place of an EpiPen, but I recommend you seek medical help if available to you. We do have an EpiPen available as well as Benadryl, but they are only used as a last resort because we have no idea how my body will react to them. The EpiPen specifically.
I personally avoid taking anything man-made because more often than not, my body will react poorly to it. We have opted not to seek medical attention because if a medical doctor is not familiar with my illness (which most are not) they will start pumping medicine into my body via pill or iv and my body could very well react poorly to those as well causing me to be in a worse condition then when I arrived.
After waking on Saturday, I also took:
1. Milk thistle supplements in addition to the tea
2. Nettle & Quercetin supplements for the allergy or histamine reaction
3. Metallo Clear which is a metal detox to help get the metals out of my system (I have a mutated gene that keeps me from breaking down metals)
4. Activated charcoal which will help bind and absorb the toxins that are now in my guts. I prefer to use liquid bentonite clay and psyllium husk daily, but I had run out. The benefit of taking the bentonite clay and psyllium husk daily is because I am regularly detoxing and it binds the toxins and keeps them from reabsorbing into the body. If the body can not rid the toxins fast enough, additional sickness will occur as a result of reabsorption. It is also a safe-guard for times like this that I am accidently administered something that my body will fight which again would have absorbed it and eliminated the extra days of sickness and struggles. The bentonite clay and psyllium husk are great to take for anyone detoxing and those with Lyme disease to absorb and bind the die off.
5. I also drained my face of fluid and drained my lymphatic system. The drain your lymphatic – I did this video to demonstrate what you need to do first to successfully drain your lymphatic and this is a great video that shows you how to drain your face.
- I also used Magnesium Oil on my neck and chest to loosen those muscle that so badly wanted to tighten.
I incorporate regular, bentonite and coffee enemas into my healing routine and this is something that will help rid the body of the excess toxins quicker as well.
I did ok during the day Saturday, but as we went into the evening I started to wheeze, my tongue and chest were getting heavy and I realized I had a build up of histamine in my body. When you lay flat at night it increases the swelling and reaction so I slept propped up. I avoid taking medication at all costs, but because my symptoms were worsening I needed as many antihistamines in my body as possible so I took a Benadryl. I was also drinking olive leaf, nettle and holy basil tea because they are antihistamines and would help in lowering my histamine levels. I readministered the essential oils as well and was still drinking a LOT of tea and taking quercetin and nettle capsules as well which is a natural form of Benadryl. The Mountain Man also gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom so I asked him to wake me so we could check my condition and readminister whatever might be necessary.
I slept till noon on Sunday which does not happen often, but I was very swollen still. So I knew I had to do additional things to get the fluids out of my system. When this has happened in the past it usually takes a minimum of 5 days to get full relief of the symptoms. I also learned in the past that if my body was swollen to this degree trying to take a hot soak to relax my body is not the best choice under these circumstances because the heat increases the swelling and the histamine reaction.
I did two ionic foot baths to help pull the toxins through the feet. I then rode my exercise bike vigorously for 11 miles to work up a good sweat. When I completed that I was able to remove my ring from my finger and had eliminated some fluid. I also drank over 90 oz of fluid throughout the day. Water Water Water….and tea. I did two harmonic quad foot soaks (more on this later) which will help remove the toxins as well from the body and following those soaks I rode the exercise bike again for 14 miles. I was experiencing great relief at this point, but I was still not out of the woods.
I took a hot shower and then ended the shower with a cold shower/soak. This evening I am starting to feel human. Michael on our Facebook page suggested a homeopathic remedy Belladona which was actually a good recommendation. It works very well with asthma symptoms. It is a supplement that I do have on hand also, but have gotten accustomed to what works best for me and have just stuck with that.
We talk and educate ALL the time on the importance of being prepared in every aspect of our lives and this is a perfect example why it is SO important for us with our location to have a fully stocked herbal pantry and also having the knowledge and resources to know what to use for what and to know your body well enough to be able to read it and accommodate it.
Here are a couple of books I feel you should have in your hardcopy library:
- Be Your Own Doctor
- Natural Remedies Encyclopedia
We are SO careful what we put in and on our bodies and I have to say, I honestly never considered the toxicity of those eye drops. Not everyone’s body is as sensitive as mine, BUT the more you remove toxins from your diet and your homes the more effected by toxins you will become. It is important to remove all this garbage from our systems and it is also important for you to consider the effects of things in the future.
Sunday evening my eyes were just a touch swollen and my hands are almost back to normal. Knowing what to do when things happen is very important. This was a freak incident, but since my surgery freak incidents are common for me so being on alert is important. One of the benefits I have in ensuring my good health is our lifestyle. We know our well water is safe and toxin free, we know where our food comes from, I do not experience the heavy frequency from grid power and my life is what I make it and is influenced by me, not outside things that I cannot control so I am nestled in a safe haven and able to heal myself. There is definitely a time for western medicine, but I choose to practice eastern medicine before turning to something I have lost a LOT of faith in.
Something else I want to mention is that I allow God to guide me. The holy spirit plays a huge role in my ability to self diagnose and the intuneness I experience with my body. It is important that you do not panic in any situation, but stay calm and assess the situation. By choice, I am very open-minded and very intune with the holy spirit which has helped me greatly on my healing journey.
As I stated above, it is important that you seek medical attention for such a situation, but if you are unable to seek medical attention these are some ways that you can aid your body.
Just a little side note. I am posting this on our website on December 27th which is 20 days after this incident and I am still having struggles with my lymphatic system clogging and having to continue heavy metal detoxing as a result of something as simple as eye drops so PLEASE be an advocate for yourself and your family! Also be aware how toxic things are in our world and seek healthier options.
Love and prayers, Tam ♥
#TrayerWilderness #FaithLedPreparedness #EmbraceOffGrid #BreastImplantIllness #BII
Welcome to our homestead. Although you visit our homestead virtually, we want you to feel welcomed and a part of the family.
We treasure our visitors and enjoy being led to share our knowledge, inspiration and offer you encouragement on your daily walk. We enjoy getting to know you and for many of you, your willingness to share too!
So when you visit, no matter if you are listening to a podcast, reading a post or watching a video – our prayer is that your visit here will be memorable, peaceful and that you will walk away with knowledge and encouragement.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Our goal here on our off-grid homestead is to walk a walk that causes others to ask where our hope, faith, and perseverance come from! (1 Peter 3:15)
Living With Intention
2018 became a year we began Living With Intention and in doing so we put our focus on what was the MOST important to us.
What Is Most Important To Us
The 7 most important things on our homestead are what help hold us together, strengthen our bond and enable us to walk the walk…
- Faith & Trust – Our home is lead by God and our focus is heavily on him for everything we do. We choose to walk in faith and be disciples for him. We are not perfect, but we strive to be the best that we can be. We have found spending time in the Word daily and building on our Faith and Trust muscles create a stress-free and worry-free life! I enjoy using Jesus Calling as a go-to devotional and I would be lost without my Inspire Journalling Bible.
- Head Of The House – The Mountain Man is the head of our house. He is our prayerful rock. I do submit to him as I am called to do, but as his helpmeet and willingly as his equal. We walk side by side and work together. This is a subject that causes heated discussions at times because of how it is taught, perceived and unfortunately because of misuse. I, as the woman, am supposed to submit to him (which means in many ways not just in the one that is usually the first to come to mind) and that does not mean abused or that somehow I am a lesser person. He as the head of the household is also supposed to treat me like the church. When these dynamics are put together properly and as they are supposed to be, an amazing relationship is formed and is able to grow! We need to nurture our men into good healthy leaders that walk with confidence, strength and a willingness to protect! Our men are meant to be the leaders of our homes and our protectors. We also, as a team (husband and wife), need to focus on the health of our marriages being supportive of one another and spending quality time with each other. Communication is key! Keeping those homestead fires burning is important!
- Family – Our strong family bond is important to us. We have experienced and walked through a lot of adversity and trials, but through those experiences, our bond has gotten so strong that together we are unstoppable and unbreakable! It is important to build each other up and to help our youth to be strong, independent, faith-led individuals that know how to manage money, and have the skillsets to take care of themselves. Our son is high functioning autistic with Asperger tendencies and he is no exception – our lifestyle has afforded him some great opportunities and we have taught him that the Sky Is The Limit. Austin has overcome 98% of his autism and Asperger tendencies as a result of God’s grace, our persistence and devotion to seeking answers, natural remedies, and our lifestyle.
- Living Debt Free – As many of you know, the last three years have been extremely hard for us financially as a result of my life-saving surgery in 2016 and the healing protocol that I have been on since. We have been fighting against filing bankruptcy all year and are prayerful that we will get out of this mess and be debt-free within the year without having to file. Having goals and plans regarding your future and finances is important and so is doing your due diligence in keeping a working budget and being 100% devoted to not giving up. We use EveryDollar and YNAB as our budgeting solutions and also LOVE following and learning from Dave Ramsey. Prior to my surgery, we were heavily focusing on a debt-free life, but life through us some lemons and we now need to make some lemonade – in other words, we are NOT giving up, we are making the best of our situation and trusting God for an amazing outcome! One of the reasons I feel that a lot of people fail at budgeting is because they have Tithing and Saving on their budget, BUT those two things, out of fear, continue to get pushed to the bottom of the budget. Without tithing we are not honoring God the way we are supposed to – he should ALWAYS be paid FIRST and TRUST ME, he will provide!! Without saving, we don’t have anything to fall back on in emergencies and emergencies WILL happen. So how do you get past this hang up you ask? Great question – you start strengthening your FAITH and TRUST muscles and just DO IT!!
- Health & Our Food/Bounty – We choose to take good care of ourselves. Our body is a temple and we choose to treat it as such. We get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise and are very conscious of not only what we put in our body, but also what we put on our body. Taking care of ourselves is an important aspect of being able to accomplish the things necessary on our homestead – when we are running like a well-oiled machine we are able to accomplish a lot! We choose very carefully what we put in our bodies. Today’s food is poison and it is important for us to do our due diligence and either seek out or grow the best possible food we can put in our bodies. This goes hand in hand with our health. Many of the sicknesses, illnesses, and diseases today are a result of our poor quality food. I have learned first hand how drastically GMO’s can harm the body and result in illness as well as how sensitive our bodies become once we have removed all the garbage. We grow, forage, hunt and harvest from the wild as much as we can and we purchase all non-GMO, organic raw ingredients for our from-scratch diet.
- Serving Others – We are all called to serve and love others. When we take our focus off of ourselves and turn it toward others there is great growth and joy found in this! It is also a matter of the heart when you take time to help and assist others. We enjoy and feel led to be a light to others in whatever way we can!
- Enjoying The Journey – In society today, we could very easily be led to believe that it is meant to be all work and no play, but in order to be the best we can be – we need to take time away to enjoy life. To take this a step further, it wouldn’t even be that we need to step away to enjoy life – what really needs to happen is that we need to slow the pace and Live With Intention. Live life by our terms – not by societies terms. We don’t have to be running at the speed of light and keeping up with the Jones’s – we need to learn to focus on what is most important to us! We must make our most important things in our life non-negotiables on our schedule and we need to guard and protect them. By doing so, you are more likely to enjoy the journey because you are focusing on the things that give you the most joy.
Once our attention is brought to the most important things in our lives and we start to focus on those things, life becomes much sweeter, richer, fuller, and SO rewarding!
So I ask you today, what are the things that are most important to you?
Have you ever considered all that is required Going Through The Seasons? With each season we experience different aspects of mother nature and God’s beauty, but we also experience the unpredictable aspect of mother nature as well. The same is true of the seasons in our lives. So much beauty and blessings in our lives and with each season of life come the hills and valleys.
One of the beautiful things about seasons is they come and they go. They are not permanent and the challenges that they bring depart with them and they leave behind the sweet and sometimes not so sweet memories and lessons learned.
Each season educates us, builds and shapes us and creates warriors in each of us if we allow.
It is important to be prepared for both types of seasons. With each season of the year, we need to be prepared for what mother nature can dish out. Being prepared for these seasons requires thought, tools, labor, and energy.
Season Of The Year
Because we all live in different locations around the globe we all experience different aspects of Mother Nature. First and foremost, it is important to recognize what threats you have from Mother Nature and be prepared for them. Our biggest threat is wildfires.
What You Should Consider When Fire Is A Threat?
Our main necessities such as food, water, shelter and warmth come first and may require you to be proactive in having a good supply at all times. Backup water, a full woodshed, a full food cache and pantry, seasonal clothing, and a roof over your head.
Being prepared for something as simple as a power outage is a great place to start in your preparedness efforts. Sometimes it can be hard to get your spouse or family onboard when it comes to preparedness and a power outage could be a great place to start getting them onboard. Having everything on hand that you need to be comfortable as well as some creature comforts such as a favorite candy bar, toiletries, a movie downloaded to a charged iPad, etc. Once they see the benefits of thinking ahead they may be more apt to support you and join you in your efforts.
Depending on how you live and if you are homesteading with animals, each season may bring on new tasks to care for your animals. Having all the necessary tools and the know-how is important. We have chickens, homestead mouser cats, homestead dogs, had honey bees, meat rabbits, milk goats, and a horse. Each had its own needs seasonally and they depend on us for their care and protection.
If you are gardening, container gardening or have a greenhouse there are things to consider in each season. Your spring and fall planting, harvesting and preserving not to mention all the tasks in between such as planning your garden, purchasing your seeds, preparing your soil, etc.
In the vast location that we share with many predators, it is important to have homestead protection. Each of us not only carry, but have on our person tools to assist us in our day to day chores, but also if we ended up in a pickle of sorts we are able to protect ourselves, light a fire, gain warmth, build a shelter and sustain ourselves. We think of these things and we want you to do the same.
We keep all our homestead equipment maintenanced and ready for whatever season they are needed. Lawn mowers, weedeaters, chainsaws and manual saws, all our manual traditional outdoor tools, etc. Maintaining your equipment will help them to last and they will be on the ready and waiting for their next use.
Each season in our location means carrying different items in our vehicles in the event of a breakdown. We live in a vast location so always having our vehicles well maintenanced and stocked with the appropriate seasonal items adds a great level of comfort and a lot less to think about every time we are out and about. We know when we get in a vehicle that if something happens EVERYTHING we need is onboard.
Seasons Of Life
The seasons of our lives require us to be prepared in thought, tools, labor and energy as well only our arsenal of tools are going to look very different. For me my tools for the seasons of life are my Bible, Bible.com app on my phone, encouraging music, podcasts, inspiring books, movies, and people, strong faithful family and friends and a very deep relationship with God.
Through each season of life, other powerful tools are a deep faith and trust, perseverance and an extreme eye for gratitude. Regardless if we are walking through a valley or climbing a tall mountain, a close relationship with God and seeing daily all that we should be grateful for makes the season so much sweeter. The biggest thing in our arsenal is knowing how to step away into the still quiet places to spend time with God. This still quiet place is the best part of the journey – it allows us to grow closer to God, to hear him speak to us, to gain inspiration and direction and to regroup, be refilled with hope and to grow our faith muscles!
Dealing with the unexpected is stressful and can cause great anxiety which in turn can create poor health. By learning how to be prepared for the seasons of life you will have better health and if you are already healing you will keep from interrupting your healing process by having protocols in place that work for you and your family and will make the process so much more enjoyable and healthy!
Our seasons of life do not need to be dreaded – you can enjoy the journey through the valleys if your perspective and arsenal are aligned!
It is important that we are prepared for both types of seasons.
What are some ways that you have gotten yourself prepared for both types of seasons?
I am sitting here in my robe by the fire, with my coffee and felt compelled to share my thoughts this morning.
There is something so precious and peaceful about a slowly started and peaceful morning. Can you relate to this? I hope so, but my fear is that the majority of the population today starts their morning with such a frenzy – the alarm blares, you quickly spring from bed, with lightning speed either dress or shower, wake the kids, remove the skin from your mouth by quickly inhaling that first cup of hot coffee, grab something quick for the road and race out the door. Oh WOW, just writing that gave me anxiety and stress – I have indeed experienced that in my life, BUT I am so thankful for the life I have created.
We are in a storm of sorts currently so just like you when traveling through the high winds it is not easy, but at the same time, I am able to realize how blessed I am that I have the ability to determine my day and even more so my life. Despite the hard and maybe even the unknown – I know by trusting and having faith there will eventually be a light at the end of the tunnel and I will be a warrior on the other side.
This feeling I am experiencing this morning is reminiscent of my summer vacations visiting my grandparents. I think they too understood the benefits I am experiencing. I just so clearly remember their routine and it puts a smile on my face. Yes, they woke to an alarm (one I never heard), but every day they woke at the same time, started the coffee pot, put the bread in the toaster and pulled out their bibles.
I would not wake to their alarm because I always slept so good in their home. I believe because It was something unfamiliar, a comfortable spot for me. I would awake to the smell of coffee and toast. To this day, that is a distinct smell to me that just gives me such joy and takes me back in time. I don’t know what it was about their coffee or their toast, but it was just such a unique alluring smell. It would allure me out of bed and as I would head downstairs I would always find them both at the kitchen table each with their bible partaking in their daily devotions.
I never really understood the value of that daily peaceful routine and even more so that deep walk with Jesus that they both enjoyed so much until we embrace our off-grid homesteading life. Why? I think because my pace was so great that I missed the simple joys that came with the slow and simple in life and because like many Christians – aside from Sunday church I was afraid of offending someone while speaking my faith so I shared it with a few safe people and the rest of the time I stuffed it! There is something so incredibly freeing to be in the company of people such as my Mountain Man and my son that allows me to be who I am – to be able to wear my heart, soul, and faith on my sleeve and not have to hide! So empowering to be around safe and comfortable people for the first time in my life!
This slow pace is an acquired and evidently needs to be a learned, almost forced pace on our lives. I see so many people fight to slow down and pride themselves like a champion at the speed of light they travel – when if they resigned to the slow and peaceful, their lives would be truly something they could pride themselves with!
My grandparents were referred to by some as bible thumpers and even hypocrites (the only thing I ever really saw them do was from time to time talk about the neighbors or local people)- they made mistakes just like the rest of us, but they were such good people. I strive to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. I am not perfect and I will make mistakes, but if I take on the title of Bible Thumper I will wear that badge proudly. And because of all the miracles I have visibly seen over the last 10 years and feeling and seeing God’s gracious hand on my life and my family, I can no longer hide my joy, my faith and all that I have to celebrate. I have learned that I will more than likely inspire many and actually offend less. I am not shoving Jesus and my faith down people’s throats, but more so sharing my excitement, my faith and the miracles that are happening around me. It is just JOY and extreme FAITH spilling out of me.
I can truly praise and thank my pap for the faith I have today!
His encouraging and wise words were stored in my heart and revisited often throughout my life. Often during some of my greatest struggles – he was there!
So today on this quiet Friday morning – just me, the dogs and my coffee by the fire I feel that God blessed me with those simple joys and fond memories created as a child so that when I was an adult I would remember those times with great appreciation and peace.
We have been stuck on our homestead since Saturday after receiving 20” of wet snow the weekend before and this last weekend receiving another 24” of fresh powdery snow. Our backhoe is down and our backup equipment couldn’t move that volume of snow. We could have chosen to panic – we did have places to be and things that needed to get done, but when these things happen I truly believe we are right where God wants us to be. We are forced to pull into him – trusting and waiting to see what will happen next. It builds on our faith, it causes us to have a closer walk with Jesus, it makes us think about what is most important in our lives and it also causes us to re-evaluate what we are doing in life… It makes us wonder if God is putting us in this current place to show us what he desires for us rather than what we desire for ourselves. Quite profound – yet is it so? I think YES!
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I also believe that amazing things happen in the still, quiet, peaceful moments we allow in our lives. That small voice can be heard and direction can be found.
Do you create those peaceful moments in your life right now?
Do you know the amazing peace that comes from a walk with Jesus?
Well, maybe it is time you should!
PS – My journaling bible is the first bible that has truly made sense to me (those thee’s and thou’s lose me even though I love the authenticity of the King James Version of the Bible). I thoroughly enjoy reading it and being guided through it! This is my favorite Bible app.
Being self-reliant means many things to many people. Usually, a self-reliant lifestyle is associated with some degree of homesteading, living off the land-perhaps even off the grid and providing for yourself and your family with nothing but the skill and strength of your own two hands.
It means being prepared to survive and care for your family in any event, being financially independent and indebted to no one, and taking control of your physical health and wellbeing with natural medicine and the type of physical fitness that comes from long days of hard work.
Indeed self-reliance can be (and often is) all of these things. But there’s one other very important aspect that is rarely talked about, yet it’s the foundation upon which all other important skills are built. It’s our mental health, and it’s perhaps the most powerful weapon we have in our arsenal.
The Importance of Mental Health for Self-Reliance
As a society, we still struggle to talk openly about mental health. For some reason, it’s still a bit of a taboo subject that gets dismissed too often as being little more than new age quackery. But mental health is very real and affects us all just as much as our physical health (sometimes more).
Consider the fact that, according to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. And that’s just depression. There are many more people who live with varying types and degrees of stress, anxiety, trauma and even phobias, all of which take their toll on our mental health and our ability to function optimally in our day-to-day lives.
Now, what does this all have to do with self-reliance, you ask? A lot.
For starters, anyone pursuing a self-reliant lifestyle is probably someone who wants to take control and responsibility for their own wellbeing and not have to rely on others to care for them.
When it comes to physical health, we all know it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat nutritious foods and stay physically fit so as to remain in good health and avoid reliance on doctors and hospitals as much as possible. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise then that this concept applies to mental health as well: In order to maintain good mental health and avoid doctors, drugs, and therapists, we must train our minds just as we do our bodies and feed our brains positive thoughts just as we feed our bodies nutritious foods.
Another reason why it’s so important for homesteaders and others striving for self-reliance to maintain good mental health, quite frankly, is because we’re too busy not to!
For the average homesteader, the to-do list is never-ending. There are gardens to be tended to, meals to be cooked from scratch, wood to be chopped, fires to be stoked, homeschool lessons to be delivered, projects to be completed and livestock to be fed, watered, birthed, harvested and cared for. We need to make sure we are mentally as well as physically fit to handle all of the pressures and demands of this lifestyle before we find we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.
I have personally battled anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and continue to live with moderate anxiety today. I know first-hand how debilitating these types of mental health challenges can be. There have been many days when I’ve struggled to even get out of bed, let alone tackle my to-do list with enthusiasm. I’ve spent years learning techniques to help me cope with and overcome these challenges. But I know well what it’s like to have anxiety creep up and paralyze you, rendering it seemingly impossible to complete even the simplest of tasks.
Homestead life can also be emotionally taxing when dealing with unpleasant realities like slaughtering livestock, losing animals to predators, having crops wiped out by pests and disease and dealing with the many other challenges and heartbreaking losses that can make even the toughest of us question whether it’s all worth it in the end.
Now, not every homesteader is doing or dealing with all of these things (I’m certainly not), but many are, and many others are striving to do as much as possible on their own. Accomplishing all of this hard work requires focus, dedication, determination, diligence, resourcefulness, confidence, and faith, all of which can suffer when we’re in a state of poor mental health.
Finally, there is at least some degree of emergency preparedness that goes hand-in-hand with living a self-reliant lifestyle. When we talk about homesteading and self-sufficiency, we often touch on the importance of being prepared for anything by raising our own food, having a fully-stocked pantry, having a source of off-grid heat, power and water, knowing first aid and having supplies packed and ready to either bug-in or bug-out in the event of a major emergency. But again, we rarely talk about the importance of being mentally prepared.
Imagine disaster strikes and chaos ensues. Now more than ever you need to think clearly and rationally, stay focused and remain calm. It’s also the time when you’re most likely to panic or break down if you’re not prepared and you’ve never practiced how to stay calm in stressful situations.
Thankfully you can train your brain to better be able to handle stress, anxiety and negative emotions. Much like you can train your body to become stronger, so too can you train your mind.
While there are many physical things you can do to support mental wellness (such as exercise, healthy diet, natural medicines and getting enough sleep), I’d like to touch on the emotional, spiritual and mindful techniques you can use to improve your own mental health and overall wellbeing.
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, and I advise you to seek professional medical help if you are experiencing any sort of mental health issues that are affecting your day-to-day life.
These are just a few tools that have helped me to deal with some of the mental health challenges I’ve faced while eliminating my reliance on doctors and prescription drugs. I hope you’ll find them equally useful…
The most effective technique I’ve learned to help deal with stress and anxiety is the practice of mindful breathing. This is a tool I can whip out anywhere, anytime to help me get through some of the most uncomfortable feelings of unease, ranging from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks. And you literally don’t need anything but your own body to put this into practice. Simply take a few slow, deep breaths in and out (as many as you need), and focus your attention on each inhale and exhale.
The mind can only consciously focus on one thought at a time, so focusing your attention on your breathing actually helps to replace any other negative thoughts you may be experiencing.
Also, slow, deep breathing can help to oxygenate the body, which eases nerves and calms your mind and body.
This type of mindful breathing is the first step (and one of the most highly recommended relaxation techniques) when it comes to managing stress and anxiety. This is a really great technique to practice to help you remain calm in an emergency or otherwise stressful and chaotic situation.
I also practice mindfulness regularly by taking time to focus my attention on whatever I’m doing at the present moment. Whether I’m pulling weeds, turning compost, cutting pastry or picking strawberries, I find my mind is most at ease when I’m completely focused on the task at hand.
This practice of being present and mindful is another awesome technique that requires nothing more than your own body and can be applied anywhere at any time. By focusing on the present moment, you block out anxiety about the past and worry about the future and allow more space for positive, calming thoughts to flow. You can practice this at any moment, but I’ve found that doing regular yoga and guided meditations have really helped me to hone this skill.
You can find some great free guided meditations on Youtube or you can gain access to a huge library of resources including dozens of guided meditations, calming music and visuals, and relaxing sleep stories through my favorite new app called Calm. You can sign up for a one-week free trial here and gain access to everything that Calm has to offer. Then you can choose whether to subscribe or cancel your trial but keep access to some of the features for free. I’ve been using this app every night before bed since I discovered it a couple weeks ago and I absolutely love it!
“Keep Calm and Carry On,” and Other Affirmations
Another thing I do to help me through uncomfortable or highly emotional situations is to repeat mantras and affirmations to myself. When I find I’m getting caught up in a negative thought pattern, I try to replace the negative thoughts with positive and reaffirming ones.
One of my personal favorite mantras is “this too shall pass.” I repeat this to myself when I’m engaged in a painful or uncomfortable task, caught up in negative emotions or dealing with anxiety or panic attacks. It reminds me that the pain and discomfort I’m feeling won’t last forever, and I just have to ride the wave and keep on pushing forward until it passes.
Don’t Go It Alone!
In addition to repeating affirmations to yourself, talk to someone you love and trust. Remember, just because we are striving to become more self-reliant doesn’t mean we have to do everything alone. We are still social beings that rely on our relationships with others to survive and thrive in this world. If you are dealing with mental or emotional challenges, find someone you feel comfortable confiding in and get it off your chest.
It’s normal to want to shut yourself away or hide under your blankets alone when you’re feeling down, but it’s much healthier to talk to someone or even just be around loved ones and supportive people. Sharing with others can lessen our own burden while positive feedback and advice can help us to feel better about ourselves and get on with our lives.
Be careful about toxic relationships though! Think carefully about who you can open up to without judgment. Sometimes those closest to us can be the most critical, so talk to someone you know will lift you up instead of bringing you down.
Last but most certainly not least, give yourself over to God.
Knowing that we cannot control everything and relinquishing the need to be able to control every outcome is incredibly liberating; Like a huge weight of responsibility being lifted off your shoulders.
I’ve learned to trust that everything happens for a reason, even if it makes no sense at the time. There are forces beyond our comprehension at work and I believe there is a greater plan for all of us. Relinquishing the need to control that which we have no power over and putting our faith in God allows us to align with the divine path we are meant to be on, which makes us feel more joyful and at ease.
I’ve learned that making time for regular spiritual practice has helped my mental wellbeing immensely. If you are of the Christian faith, this might include attending church regularly, doing daily devotionals and/or keeping a Bible journal. If you consider yourself more spiritual than religious, you might choose to set aside time each day for meditation, yoga or simply being in nature. Basically, the same types of activities you engage in to help you become more mindful will also allow you the time and space you need to open up and connect with your own higher power.
Give Thanks, Every Day
Practicing gratitude is another amazing technique for easing anxiety and depression and filling your heart and soul with joy. We are truly so blessed in so many ways, but it’s easy to forget this and only focus on what is lacking in our lives, which inevitably brings us down.
Keeping a gratitude journal or simply making time each day to count your blessings is enough to calm your mind and lift your mood. If you have air in your lungs, food in your belly, a roof over your head and a family to love, remember that you are already more blessed than many people we share this planet with. Anything extra is truly icing on the cake.
How Self-Reliant Living Can Boost Your Mental Wellness
The best part about living a more self-reliant lifestyle is that it has allowed me the time and space to practice all of these techniques on a regular basis. Living closer to the land has allowed me to have a deeper connection to God and all things.
It is humbling to watch the miracles of nature all around us or to look up at a sky of stars on a summer night and remember how tiny and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. It can really put our perceived problems into perspective.
For me, living more rurally has also helped me to escape a lot of my anxiety that stemmed from living in a big city. The traffic, the faceless crowds of people, the rush and business and hurry of running the rat race every day, going nowhere… I left all of that behind when I moved to the outskirts of a smaller town and started living my homestead dream.
I have more time to be with my family, to do the things I love like cooking and gardening and creating, and to enjoy life’s little miracles, like watching a seed grow into a plant and harvesting the fruits of that plant to feed my family. I’m living a lifestyle I love and living true to myself, my morals and my own higher power. If that isn’t good for the mind, body, and soul then I don’t know what is!
Many people pursue a homesteading lifestyle for the health benefits of eating good, organic food and making healthy, natural products from scratch. But the mental and emotional benefits can be just as rewarding. Take full advantage of them and remember to give thanks every day that you are able to choose this beautiful lifestyle, no matter where you are on your journey.
So remain focused, dedicated, determined, diligent, resourceful and confident. But above all else have faith: Faith in God, faith in yourself, and faith in this incredibly rewarding lifestyle you’ve chosen. The simple life may not always be easy, but I promise it is worth every ounce of energy you put into it. You’ve got this.
I have done more soaking over the last two years than I have my entire life! Mind you, I am not complaining, even though my soaks were part of my healing regimen, what a relaxing addition to my life!
It is important that we take time for ourselves, nurture our bodies and be good to ourselves!
Soaking is a therapeutic way to take care of all three at one time!
Homemade Bath Salt Recipe
1 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
3/4 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup baking soda
3 to 6 drops of essential oils of choice
Place in a pint jar and close with flat and ring.
This is a great recipe to gift to a friend! Place a ribbon around the outside of the jar around the ring or just add a piece of cloth or festive holiday cloth between the flat and ring of your jar to create that special gift!
You can also add coconut oil to your bath to soften your skin while you soak and counteract the drying effects of the salt.
My favorite essential oils for my soaks are Lavender and Lemongrass. Lemongrass is a great oil to help the body detox, but as with any essential oil – less is more. Even though the essential oils do get diluted in the water, very little is necessary to get the full effects of the aromatherapy that you will receive.
NOTE: It is important that you do NOT soak in Epsom salt daily, for weeks on end. Magnesium Sulfate can have ill effects on the body, mainly the mind. As with anything, always use in moderation. Also, so as not to scare anyone from using Epsom salt, I personally soak in Epsom salt roughly once a week or twice a month in addition to my other soaks using different products.
Epsom salt is extremely useful in removing inflammation and pain and I would have been LOST without this recipe for the last two years. It was an essential for me to soak weekly after my deep muscle therapy to help my body relax and to allow it to remove all the toxins.
Enjoy and remember to be good to yourself!
What is your favorite essential oil for soaking?
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