Mental Health Awareness Month: Cling to Hope

I didn’t expect this blog post to be so difficult to write. I knew I wanted to write about Mental Health Awareness, but I didn’t know how to approach this article… and not because I feel like I don’t have a voice in this battle. I know I have a voice, a story, and a passion about mental health… but how on earth do I put words to the ache in my heart?

I fought depression on and off from 11 years old to 28 years old. I am only 31 years old. I struggled with anorexia in middle school, late in college, and then briefly after having my second child. Depression has been a part of my life more often than not. Depression is what stole my childhood. Depression is what stole my motherhood for the first 4 years of it. Depression stole my identity for so long. I believed the lies it fed me for far too long. The lies of You’re not good enough. You’re not worthy of (Fill in the blank/literally anything other than pain). You’re not loved.

Y’all I went so long believing these lies were true. It wasn’t until I was about 26 years old and in counseling while I was recounting my thoughts out loud to my counselor. Specific thoughts I had when I debated with the idea of suicide… My counselor was able to help me realize that those thoughts were some dark lies. Many have said suicide is a selfish decision, and I understand that perspective. I also understand the perspective of the one with suicidial ideations… you’ve convinced yourself this is the most selfless thing you can do for your family. You’ve convinced yourself that they are better off without you, that you’re easily replaceable, and that you truly don’t matter. You’ve convinced yourself that the lies are true. **Please note: If you are thinking about suicide, I urge you to stay. Stop listening to the lies in your head. Know that you are LOVED. You matter. You have purpose. Go get professional help.**

This month, and every month, I stand with those of you affected by mental illness: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, you name it. I stand with you, I will fight for you, and I will pray endlessly that you hear God’s truth, and not lies.

Even though I had studied for years about psychology and have a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, it took my husband to convince me to get help. I was in such a dark place after we had our third child… I went to counseling, I took Zoloft for a while, I continued studying and found Dr. Caroline Leaf’s work from my counselor’s suggestion. (If toxic thoughts are running your life, I highly recommend her book Switch on your Brain). Before we got pregnant with Sarah, while working with my doctor, I weaned off of Zoloft. I started using some holistic measures in place of it (and still do), and after having my fourth baby I didn’t struggled with postpartum depression. I don’t know if you can appreciate the magnitude of that sentence… for the first time in YEARS I didn’t have to battle my mind while caring for my children. Sure, I still dealt with those raging hormones the first couple of months, but I felt the JOY of motherhood that I had only heard about from other moms. To this day I don’t have to take Zoloft, and I no longer have to fight the daily fight to chose life and not death. 

I want to provide hope. If you’ve been struggling with mental illness for months, years, or decades… there is hope. I know, please trust me I know, sometimes it feels helpless. I have many memories of crying out to God begging him to just take it away. I am incredibly thankful He provided me with a solution for my body and emotions.  I want to encourage you to continue to seek help and healing. Reach out to your loved ones. Know that you are loved, wanted, valued. Go to counseling. Provide your body with solid nutrition, exercise and supplements. Feed your mind with positive thoughts and emotions. Surround yourself with loving people and influences. Believe in healing. Cling to hope.

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doTERRA May 2018 Promos

Just like that May is upon us. Is anyone else spring cleaning right now? We are working on deep cleaning our home, and decluttering before school gets out. doTERRA has some amazing specials going on this month that can help support your family’s health, and can offer some awesome natural cleaning products too!

Product of the Month (POM): Did you know that doTERRA offers a FREE Product of the Month, every single month? All you have to do is place a qualifying Loyalty Rewards order, and this product will automatically be added to your cart. No promo code needed.

This month only you can get a bottle of doTERRA’s Rosemary essential oil for free with your LRP. This is an essential oil I keep in my kitchen with my spices! You can use Rosemary aromatically, internally, and topically. It’s great to diffuse to clear up congestion and sinuses. I actually have it diffusing in my home right now! I also like to rub a drop on my chest before working out to open up my airways and help me breathe clearly. 

Rosemary is also great for supporting a healthy digestive system, and a healthy respiratory system. Rosemary is also great to use right now, because it helps you maintain your focus and keep you alert and focused. It’s perfect to use during finals! 

Highlighted Product: doTERRA also offers a product at 10% off every month. This month is their OnGuard Cleaner Concentrate. Incorporating doTERRA’s all natural and chemical free cleaners are a great way to take care of the environment in your home. Many typical cleaners you find at the grocery store are filled with yucky toxins and chemicals. Ditch those cleaners, and go for doTERRA’s OnGuard Cleaner Concentrate. It’s super affordable, and the bottle with last you a long time!  

For those of you interested in learning more about the effects of household cleaners, I recommend watching The Human Experiment on Netflix. It’s extremely eye opening, and informative. 

May 200PV Promo: This doesn’t happen every month, so you want to make sure to jump on this sort of deal while you can. This month only, if you order 200PV worth of products, doTERRA will send you FOUR free products this month: OnGuard Sanitizing Mist, OnGuard essential oil, Wild Orange essential oil, and OnGuard Toothpaste. Y’all, I use all four of these products every day in my home. I definitely took advantage of this promotion and stocked up on our essentials!

Bonus from ME!

Just to sweeten the deal, here is what I have to offer when you choose to start your doTERRA journey with me:

  • Welcome gift (personalized roller bottles, recipes, and other oily goodies)
  • Private access to my team’s Facebook group (a wealth of oil knowledge)
  • Free Wellness Consultation (a chance to really dive deep into your health goals)
  • Continued Support (to answer your questions in real time from a real person— ME!)

Simply go to mydoterra.com/amandagerber and click “Join & Save” to get started.

Which one of these promos are you taking advantage of this month? Share below in the comments!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Chasing My Dreams: Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk Along the Way

Two weeks ago, I met Gary Vaynerchuk. Now, I’m blogging about this for a couple of reasons: 1. I want to remember this experience for all eternity. 2. I want to challenge y’all to go out and fight for your dreams. They are worth it. You are worth it.

In order to document this experience, I need to take you back to April. The night of April 15, 2017. I had a dream I was sitting in a business meeting with Gary. Now I don’t remember details, because right as this dream began, I was woken up by a kicked from my 4 year old who is notorious for crawling in bed with us.

So, I thought that was kinda weird, but started getting ready for Easter service at church. I’m applying my mascara when I hear Gary offer his 30 Pitches giveaway. Basically, he offered 30 people to come to New York, pitch their business to him within a 30 second time frame, and he would provide you with feedback.

Now a lot of thoughts went through my head: I should really post about Jesus on my feed and not Gary Vaynerchuk… There’s no way I’m going to get chosen… He’s gonna have thousands of people apply… Will I even be able to afford to fly there if I did get chosen? Whatever. Screw it, I’m gonna go for it.

So I entered the contest. And then I got chosen. And then I freaked out. And then I found cheap flights (thanks SouthWest!). And then I left my 4 kids and went to New York City for the first time in my life. And then I freaked out again. And then I went to VaynerMedia. And then I freaked out again, but only on the inside while I tried playing cool on the outside. But what do I know about being cool? I spend my days with my 4 little kids, so my version of cool is singing all the lyrics to Moana. Whatever. My kids think I’m cool. I got this. Breathe.

I get to VaynerMedia, and mingled amongst the other business owners. There was such an interesting crowd: from social media consultants, to coffee roasters, a volleyball coach, and luxury soap creator. We made our way to a conference room, shaking DRock’s hand and chatting with Tyler while we waited.

 (Tyler is super tall, y’all!)

Gary called us back one by one to give him our pitch. So there I went: a stay at home mom from Texas with a heart for natural healthcare and big dreams. I gave him my 30 second pitch that roughly went like this:

“So, I’m a stay at home mom to 4 kids 6 years old and under, and today I’m pitching to you my side hustle. I’m a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and what I do is educate about natural and holistic health, and I point people in the right direction as to what essential oils would be best for them and their family. Then I help them learn how to use the product correctly, and reach their health goals.”

To which Gary responded: “Great.”

Then: LONG. AWKWARD. PAUSE.

Me: “That’s my pitch.”

Gary: “Ok, so what are you wanting from me?” Panic set in. I wasn’t prepared for this. I just thought he would spit out advice. So I responded by telling him I was just looking for advice.

He starts telling me I already know things he is going to say (which is true for anyone that’s been listening to his content for longer than a week): patience is key (which is funny because I was planning on wearing his Patience is Key shirt, but changed my mind last minute). He talked about collaborating with more people, contacting 5-10-20 more people at night when I’d rather be sleeping, and he also mentioned trying out Anchor, and providing a daily podcast highlighting a different product each day. (By the way, my Anchor station is up and running, you should check it out). You can also find my podcast on iTunes. Just search “Amanda Gerber” and you’ll see my podcast!

We ended with a book signing and selfie. It was quick meeting, and I’ve gotten some really crazy looks when people found out I flew to NYC for a 3 minute meeting… But it was so much more than a 3 minute meeting. Not only did I meet Gary, but I got to brush shoulders with others on his team, and the culture that’s in that building is truly inspiring.

One of my favorite parts about the day was the friendships I made with the other business owners in the room. We stayed and chatted for hours, sharing stories and dreams. I told many about our desire to grow our doTERRA business to a full time income, and my family’s desire to give to our community in big and powerful ways to further the kingdom of God.

To top off the day, after a group of us went out for pizza, we walked across the street to take a photo across the street in front of graffiti wall. The words along the wall read “and maybe I had a dream about you…” I couldn’t have been more thrilled. We took a group photo, and I had a take a photo by that caption, because that’s how it all started. With a dream. I’m still chasing and working towards my dream, now go chase yours!

I’d love to encourage you as you work towards your dreams. What are some of your dreams and goals?

Super Ordinary Wednesday

Some days my Instagram feed looks like I live in a fairytale land where all things run smoothly and life is wonderful. Honestly, some days I feel like I’m in a fairytale land. Some days life does run smoothly, all my to-dos get crossed. I spend some time connecting and reaching out to people in my doTERRA business, my kids eat their veggies, and I rock out a YouTube video like a boss. Some days I truly feel like Super Man… or Super Woman, I guess. You get the picture.

But other days… other days are just… an ordinary day. It’s those freakin’ ordinary days that get you. At least the ordinary days get me. My personality is very much achievement driven, and if I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything in a day, my mood can easily go from Life is awesome! to I’m the worst human being on the planet. I know, it’s totally irrational, but I’m working on it, and luckily, I don’t have these days very often…But I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that today is one of those days.

My 2 year old, Isaac, learned how to climb out of his crib, so nap time becomes the most unproductive and frustrating 2 hours of my life. My 4 year old, Tim, won’t go to bed so I’m snapping at the whole family, my kitchen never got cleaned because I’m just tired from constantly having at least 1 child on me, and my laundry has taken over my favorite spot on the couch. (I thought if I put it there it would motivate me more to fold it. It didn’t. Now I just regret that decision.) I did absolutely nothing for my doTERRA business, and it’s one of those days when my husband and I pass like ships in the night, so adult conversation was minimal… Unless you count the times I talked back to Gary Vaynerchuk while watching his YouTube videos while nursing baby Sarah. And I feel like a failure in every aspect of my life… I know, so dramatic!

    So. Much. Laundry.

That is not the day to scroll your Instagram feed and stalk moms you admire. Not today when your house is a mess, you haven’t blogged in over a week, and you discovered caterpillars are feasting on your arugula. It’s okay to admire people and their talents and abilities, but probably not on days you feel like crap. Because that just feeds the feelings of crappiness (someone help a girl out. How the heck do you spell crappy-ness? My computer doesn’t know what to do with that word.). On days you feel like crap you should turn off your social media and text a friend. Someone who can remind you that you’re not a failure in life… you just had an unproductive day.

I mean, kinda. It wasn’t too unproductive. I fed my kids real food, remembered to pick Noah up from school, and I made a few phone calls. It wasn’t the worst day in the world. Seriously as I’m typing this I’m already starting to feel better about life. New thought: When you feel like you’ve failed at your day, make a list of the positive things you did. I’ll start with mine:

How I Rocked This Ordinary Wednesday

  1. Got up at 5:15am to read Scripture and pray.
  2. Went to yoga at 6:00am.
  3. Did some gardening with the kids this morning.
  4. We ate a healthy breakfast and lunch.
  5. Picked up Noah on time… Well, only 5 minutes late.
  6. We ate a healthy dinner.
  7. Contacted some doTERRA friends.
  8. I kept all 4 kids alive.

I feel better already. My outlook on my day has shifted. Ok, seriously, DO THIS next time you feel like you didn’t accomplish enough. You’ve done more than you realize. Remember, even Superman wasn’t Superman all the time. Sometimes he was just Clark Kent. And that’s okay. And remember, that comparison game is kryptonite.

Come on, share some success you’ve been having during the ordinary days! What have you accomplished today?

Simplify Food Choices: The End or the Beginning?

I had multiple people ask me why I gave myself a clean eating challenge. My main goal was and is this: for my health, and for my family’s health. I didn’t do it to lose weight or fit in a certain dress size. I didn’t do it with hopes to fit back in my pre-kids jeans (those days are long gone. A 30 year old who has had 4 kids does not need to be in a size 0 blue jeans). I did this for my health, and from there flowed different objectives I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth. Many times I felt like a hypocrite (as I should) because I would deny my kids ice cream, but then bust out a pint when they went to bed. I noticed there were times I just drifted towards the pantry, not even because I was hungry, but just to see if something caught my eye… almost like I was treating food like entertainment. I realized I wanted to change my mindset about food: I want food to be enjoyable, but I also want it to serve a purpose. I want food to fuel and heal my body.

I wanted to create better habits. I mentioned in the beginning, so much of what goes in my mouth does so out of habit. What I also realized was so much of what I make is also habit. I’d like to think of myself as a pretty healthy person, but I have to admit I got a little lazy when it comes to preparing lunches. Most days when I pack my kids’ lunch it’s a peanut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit. Not terrible, but not amazing. I realized I need to work on lunch, and plan on buying a few containers that would be conducive for them to take veggies and hummus to school instead of relying on breads to fill them up. Please help! What are some of your favorite containers for your kid’s lunch box?

So, the results… Do I feel better? Sure, but I can’t say I notice a drastic difference. Now, this could be because I ate healthy about 70% of the time, or maybe I need to do this for 90 days or longer to notice a huge shift. But, I do feel better. It’s easier for me to wake up in the mornings (mostly) when my alarm goes off at 5:00AM (another habit I’m starting). I’m also pooping more. I go about twice a day without any effort, so that’s nice. I did lose about 4 pounds, also nice. I’m convinced I’m still addicted to sugar and bread because I still think about both often. Although, I don’t miss dairy… which is kind of funny because I used to tell myself I think I could easily go vegan if I didn’t have to give up cheese.  

What’s next for me in my food journey? I honestly am not sure. I’m doing more research, which mainly means watching a ton of YouTube videos (my favorites right now are Kris Carr and Dr. Axe which is kinda funny because they have 2 different views) and Netflix documentaries (Hungry for Change and Food Matters will rock your world) while I’m washing dishes and doing laundry. I do think I’ll be vegan one day. I’ve already made small steps in that direction, and I think that’s how it will happen: one small step after another instead of stopping all animal products cold turkey (I had to add that pun in there!).

Ok, I need some feedback while I’m still on the fence about where to go from here. What’s your food philosophy? Why did you choose your path?

Simplify: Books and Toys

books-and-toys

As a mom of 4 kids, we have a plethora of books and toys. I decided that would be the next place to start purging. I began with my own book collection. I didn’t attach a number to them, and I probably never will, but I did tell myself this: If I never went back and picked up the book again, don’t keep it. I had 10 books left by the time I was done. And y’all, I’m a reader. I’ve always loved to read. So, previously, I would hang on to books I thought were okay or books by famous authors that I thought maybe I’d appreciate later. Not anymore! I had also been hanging on to books from my psychology program that I’d never gone back to read. I only kept 1 of my psychology books, and again it was one I enjoyed reading. I said goodbye to Freud, Skinner, and behavioral therapy, and I kept Jung. I filled up an entire plastic tub of books. It was pretty liberating.

As far as my kids’ books, I decided to leave room for 2 bookshelves of books. On the top shelf we have books for the “older” boys, and on the bottom we have board books. It still looks like quite a bit, but I know in a couple of years those board books will be gone. I currently have a large box filled with kids books. I’m wondering what the best option would be now. Should I sell them? Or donate them? I’d like to donate them, but I haven’t done much research on that. If anyone has any insights on this, please comment below and share your knowledge!

My boys had so many toys they forgot about half of the toys they did have in their room. My goal was just to keep enough toys where I could see them all. I got all their toys out of boxes, put their favorite ones on the shelf, and got rid of what couldn’t fit. Also, I did put some of the noise making toys in the garage sale, because there’s only so much this mom can take. Bulky items like Halloween costumes that they still play with, we put in clear plastic bins on the floor in their closets. Then they can see them and easily get to them when they decide they want to turn into a dragon, giraffe or Paw Patrol character.

If I’m being honest, my boys still have what seems to be an insane amount of toys. Against their bedroom walls are bins of Legos, Mega Blocks, wooden blocks, alphabet blocks, and squishy cloth blocks. I really don’t think they need that many blocks. I could probably do another sweep in their room and come out with more stuff, but for now I’m done. Mainly because this purge has taken up a lot of my time these past couple of weeks!

We did have a garage sale, which is an adventure in and of itself, but I’ll post more on that later! In the meantime, live simply and contently my friends!

I must know: What tips can you share with parents on how to decide what toys to keep or what toys to toss?