2017 - The Life You Love

How to Easily Improve Your Holistic Wellness this Fall

This post contains affiliate links.

At this point, people are back in school and transitioning to their fall clothing. Most of us have already posed with several pumpkin spice lattes. Is there a better time to refocus your energy on your health than when you're already refocusing your energy and transitioning into a new season? I don't think so. Each season is not just its own timespan, but also a time of preparation and transition. Right now, we're layering cardigans on our short-sleeve tees and trading out our pineapple decor for our pumpkins. While we're focusing on our clothing and our home decor, we need to spend some time focusing on our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Here is a short list of ways that you can specifically think about your mind, body, and spirit and make improvements as needed. I'll probably add to these as I think of more tips and tricks, so be sure to save this post and check back!


  • Enroll in a free online class. Fall is back-to-school time. If you aren't going back to school, you can still learn. Search for free online courses and take a class just because you want to. You can find these with Google or Pinterest.
  • Pick up a classic book or a spooky story.  Kindle actually has a lot of free classic books that you can download on any device that has a Kindle app. You can also read Kindle books online. If you like being scared, even better! Grab a classic, horror novel like Frankenstein or a modern bestseller like It.
  • Invest in yourself. If you've been debating whether or not you should finally invest in a certification course or social media scheduling software, now is the time to do it. Not only does it feel like we're all going back to school, but right now we feel like we're at the beginning of another cycle. And people love to start new projects at the beginning, like a new moon, a new year, or a new month.
  • Do all of the fall activities that you want to do. Imagine how you'll feel when you go to a football game, host a bonfire (with s'mores, obviously), pick apples or watch all of your favorite Halloween movies.


  • Jumpstart your skin care routine. After summer, your skin is probably a little damaged from being in the sun even if you wore sunscreen or didn't spend a ton of time just lying out in the sun. Now is a good time to find the best skin care products for you because it's right before winter comes and sucks the moisture out of the air.
  • Brisk outdoor walks and indoor interval exercises. More and more research has come out that suggests that interval exercises are great ways to lose weight and improve your health. If you can get outside and go for a walk in the cool, breezy air, do it! Low humidity and cool breezes make for the perfect walk, jog, or run.
  • Two words: essential oils. Essential oils have their own healing and health benefits. For example, fir needle essential oils are linked to increased metabolism and easier breathing. If you love essential oils more for their scents than their benefits, that's fine too! Here are some essential oil blend recipes that will make sure your house smells like fall.
  • Dress for the weather. Y'all, being happy with your physical appearance is part of holistic wellness. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you look even better. It's a fun little cycle. Style your favorite sweaters, boots, and scarves. And maybe even go buy that vest that you've been eyeing for months.
  • Stock up on medicine and tissues. We all know that cold and flu season is on the horizon. Make sure you have the medicine and supplies that you need before you're stuck in bed. There's nothing worse than having to go to the drug store when you feel like crap.


  • Take a hike. Connecting to nature can improve your overall sense of connection with the world around you and it's a very grounding experience. Use mindfulness and your five senses to truly experience your surroundings.
  • Celebrate the holidays. Fall has two major holidays celebrated in the US: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Celebrating these holidays are a great way to feel connected to your community, friends, family, culture, and even history. Plus, it's a great excuse to decorate the house!
  • Start a spiritual journal. This isn't necessarily season-specific or limited to fall, but I recently discovered the concept of a spiritual journal and I'm absolutely here for it. HERE IS A LINK that explains what a spiritual journal is and what you should include in your journal.
  • Spread the love. Whether you decide to volunteer at a soup kitchen, participate in a 5k that benefits a worthy cause, or just send holiday cards to your friends, share your love and your gifts with people. Make people feel loved and important.


6 wonderful fall essential oil blends you need to try

This post contains referral links, which means I may receive a little compensation if you purchase an item through my links - at no extra cost to you! This post is not sponsored by Eden's Garden.

Essential oil blends are my sh*t. Seriously. I use essential oils in my diffuser all the time. Sometimes I just throw a bunch of citrus essential oils in my diffuser because they are the best smelling essential oils ever, but most of the time I actually follow essential oil blend recipes so I can get the most benefits possible.  I could go on and on about the benefits of essential oils, but I'm just going to direct you to HUFFPOST. And here's a list of 150 USES FOR ESSENTIAL OILS that EDEN'S GARDEN put together.  They also send THIS LIST in their packages when you purchase from them.

3 Years with Nexplanon - An Honest Review

Nexplanon is a brand of implant birth control, meaning it's inserted into your arm.  It's a quick, simple procedure that can be done by your primary care provider or gynecologist, depending on whether or not they're trained to do so.  Once the Nexplanon implant is inserted, you're protected from pregnancy for up to 3-4 years.  After the 3-4 years, your doctor removes the insert by cutting a small slit in your arm and pulling it out.  I had a lot of questions about the implant birth control and thought other women might as well.  I recently had my first implant removed and my second inserted, so I feel that I can offer some information from the beginning to the end.

Have any questions about Nexplanon, the implant birth control? I'd love to share my experience with you!  On my blog, you'll find a few questions that I had before I got my Nexplanon (the first time - I'm on round 2!) and the answers that I've discovered over the past 3 years.  Check it out!

does Nexplanon hurt?

Yes and no.  I experienced no pain when the implant was inserted the first time.  When it was removed, I experienced quite a bit of discomfort and pain.  If I'm being honest, I strongly considered not getting it reinserted because I couldn't stand the idea of going through the process again.  Don't let that scare you off, though.  Even though it was uncomfortable and a bit painful, there were no complications, the entire procedure still only took a few minutes, and my removal was apparently pretty unusual.  My doctor said it's usually a pretty quick and relatively painless procedure.

Today's Unsolicited Advice: How to Love Yourself

This post is sponsored and inspired by Tobi. I received the dresses below in exchange for a feature on my blog and my honest opinion.

dress c/o Tobi | boots from Target (similar here)

"I don't remember the last time that I had a truly negative thought about myself."  When those words fell out of my mouth - words that I didn't expect - my entire body and soul smiled.  And it's true.  Sure, I make the occasional comment about my thighs or feeling dumb, but I don't mean it and I correct it almost immediately.  I've worked really f*cking hard to love myself and it's not always easy.  We live in a society that would prefer that you engage in self-deprecation and downplay your successes, skills, and positive emotions.

But you deserve to shout from the rooftops how much you love yourself and how f*cking amazing you truly are.


September 2017 Goals + Affirmations

Better late than never, am I right?  I mean, it's not my fault that September started before I was ready!  I always go back and forth about posting goals posts because whenever I'm writing it, a bunch of annoying thoughts run through my head...

"Does anyone even care?"
"Does anyone even read these posts?"
"Am I even going to come back to this post?"
"Shit, do I even have any goals?"
"What if I just post a picture of Bodie?"

Needless to say, I just went for the post this time and decided that if I forget about it or no one reads it, I just don't keep doing it.  Or I do.  We'll see if I even notice when October shows up. 😂

Since I'm a huge fan of holistic living, I decided that I would focus on one goal in each chosen area of my holistic health.  I've also decided that my goals will only be attainable during this month, realistic for me to reach, and positive.  That means I'm not going to say that I'll run a marathon for my physical health goal and I also won't tell myself that I need to "stop" or "get rid of" something.  They also won't start with "I need to" or "I should."  Instead, I'll use phrases like, "I get to" or "I want to."    I also decided that I would add affirmations to accompany each goal.  Now that I've laid the ground rules, here are my goals and affirmations for September 2017:

how to improve your mood when you're feeling down

This is a sponsored post.  I received a free product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  I did not receive any other form of compensation for this post.

I've openly talked about my personal mental health story on my blog.  I don't think I've been entirely clear about the fact that mood is always variable, even when you feel like you've got your emotions under control.  In the free newsletter I emailed yesterday, I shared a story that explains my most recent episode of feeling downhearted.  I was in low spirits.  I also knew that I wanted to feel better.  The problem is, you don't always know how to feel better.  And when you're upset, it's more difficult to think about or do things that will improve your mood.

tobi, t shirt dresses, day dresses, casual dresses, dresses for work, comfortable dresses, tobi reviews, tobi dresses
dress c/o tobi | utility vest (similar herehere, & here) | ankle boots (similar herehere, & here)

Today, I'm sharing my favorite ways to feel better even when I'm feeling down.  Remember, I'm not your therapist and I'm not offering you any professional guidance.  I'm simply sharing my experiences and the techniques that I use that work for me.  If you need professional mental health and you're experiencing negative emotions that feel like they're more than feeling "blue" or "down," I highly recommend seeking professional help!


One thing I've always been drawn to is personality tests or information about your personality. There's something so fun about learning more about who you are and what your skills, likes, dislikes, and passions might be.  Of course, I think that any personality test - no matter if it's based on psychology or planets - is flawed.  These personality tests were created to explain billions of people.  So like I say with most things - take what you want, leave what you don't want.  Some of it isn't meant for you.  At the very least, these personality tests are great reflection tools.  It really helps you to say, "Oh, I'm totally comfortable in social situations," or "Actually, I hate being the center of attention."  I've put together a small list of free personality tests that will help you learn more about yourself.  The first three are based in psychology while the last three are more woo woo.  Still, they're all fun and I believe there's room for a little bit of both.

The Myers-Briggs personality test is one of the most popular personality tests that I know of. 16Personalities is a free version of this test that tells you plenty of information related to your type. Be as honest with yourself as you can when you answer these questions.


How Home Organization + Cleanliness Affect Your Wellbeing

I grew up with a stay-at-home mom who always kept the house clean.  It was by no means minimalist, but it was tidy and we (almost) always knew where everything was.  When I went to college and no one told me to fold my laundry and put my dishes in the dishwasher, any bit of cleanliness went right out the dirty, streaked window.  And then my depression got the best of me and I was fatigued and apathetic.  I never cleaned and I couldn't have cared less.  Of course, it all just got worse.  The less I cleaned, the less I cared.  And the less I care, the less I cleaned.

Never once did it cross my mind that maybe - just freaking maybe - I could have improved everything else, like my mood and thoughts, by just picking up and cleaning.

Our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors all affect each other.  If we think that we're not good at something, we're not going to get any better at it and we're going to feel pretty lousy.  If we can change that thought, we can actually work to improve and to feel better.  Even if you don't all of a sudden master whatever you were trying to do, you'll still improve and it's a lot better than the alternative of pouting around the house.



This post contains affiliate links.

I did a thing.  I joined a gym.  Anyone who knows me in real life may be a little confused or surprised by this because I'm basically sedentary.  I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had neglected my physical health for years because I just assumed that being naturally skinny meant that I was healthy.  Obviously, I was completely wrong.

So I've changed my idea of healthy and I've decided that I need to make my physical health a priority.  But I don't just use the gym.  There are days when you don't want to drag your ass to the gym.  There are days when you have a little extra energy and want to continue your workout at home.  And of course, there are times when you can't get to the gym because you're swamped or you're out of town.  That's where fitness and health apps come in.  You can find an app for just about anything and you can usually find multiple apps.  Here are 7 of the best, free fitness and health apps that you can download and begin using today.


I've included an audio version of this blog post for your convenience!  Let me know if you prefer the audio or written versions and why.  Thanks!

Raise your hand if you've been told or read somewhere that having routines is super important for you.  Keep your hand up if you actually know why this is true.  Honestly, I would have put my hand down before I decided to actually look at the science behind habits.  Sounds like a snoozefest, am I right?  I hope so because I decided to really hone in on sleep habits and sleep hygiene.

sunrise alarm clock, bedtime routine, sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene includes all of the things that you do throughout the day that affect your sleep.  Exercise, sunlight, caffeine, room temperature, and routines can affect your sleep negatively or positively.  For example, going outside and basking in the sun between 6:00 AM to 8:30 AM can improve your sleep that night.  10 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can also improve your sleep.  Taking long naps or drinking caffeine later in the day can disrupt your sleep.


New Year's Eve is cool and all, but that isn't really the first day of everyone's new year.  It's a way we can collectively celebrate another year around the Sun, but your new year starts on your birthday.  Today is my 24th birthday and the beginning of another new year for me!  Apparently, that means that I want to make a shit ton of lists?  And eat cake, of course.  Everything that I'm suggesting is stuff that can be done anytime, but having one day a year that you remember to do these things can help you actually do them.

what works and what doesn't

You have a lot of things that are worth celebrating, but there's also the possibility that not everything in your life is perfect.  If you aren't happy with your job, promise yourself that you're going to look for and find a new job during the next 365 days.  If you want to practice more yoga each week, look up a studio or find an app that will keep you motivated.  Don't forget to remind yourself what's working, too.  If you stopped eating meat and you found positive changes, keep meat out of your diet.  If you found the secret to hacking the Instagram algorithm, keep hacking it!  What is working is just as important as what isn't working.


Visualization has been popping up everywhere in self-care, manifestation, and goal-setting articles.  Generally, I picture visualization as using your mind to really picture what you want and how you'll feel when you reach your goals.  Sometimes, that's actually difficult to do because you have so much going on in your mind, you're tired or stressed, or maybe your third eye chakra needs some healing.

These 5 Phrases Will Change Your Money Mindset

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a little compensation if you purchase an item through my links - at no extra cost to you! Don't worry, I only share products that I love or think you'll love.

Until very recently, I saw money as a very limiting, necessary evil in my life.  All I knew was that I didn't have enough and I could never keep it in my wallet.  My money was gone before it hit my bank account, but I couldn't tell you where it went.  When I read UNLEASH YOUR INNER MONEY BABE, and manifested $1,000 in just 3 days, I finally learned that money is energy.  Energy is attracted to you by the law of attraction and manifestation, which means you can manifest this energy through the simple principle that "like attracts like."  When you receive this energy by having positive thoughts that confirm your abundance, you have to be appreciative and purposeful.

Here are several simple phrases or keywords that you can change to help you improve your relationship with money:

I've always felt restricted by this word.  It was a piece of paper that told me what I can and cannot do with the money that I earned.  When I wrote "Money Purpose" instead of "Budget," I felt like I was in control with my money.  I wasn't limiting myself.  I was directing my money to the areas that needed it most.  When I gave my money purpose instead of limiting my money, it was a much more pleasant way of assigning uses for my money.


Eating is a Habit and a Mindset

As a little bit of background, I've struggled to take care of my physical health for years.  I didn't drink enough water, eat enough fruits and veggies, exercise, eat on a schedule, or eat enough calories.  Instead, I chugged a lot of coffee and soda, snacked on candy and potato chips, told myself I didn't need to exercise because I was skinny, never ate breakfast, rarely ate lunch, and tended to binge on snacks after dinner.

I convinced myself that I could do anything I wanted to when it came to food and exercise because I was skinny.  And skinny somehow equaled healthy in my mind.  I would literally go days without drinking water or even looking at a vegetable, but it was fine because I liked the number on the scale and I liked how I looked in the mirror.

Recently, I asked my therapist about my eating habits because I was actually feeling pretty concerned with my habits.  That's when she reminded me that eating, just like anything else, really is a habit.  Not only that, but it's totally connected to how you feel and what you think.  We talked about the basics of what we know about habits, such as:

  • It's easier to replace a habit than to completely stop a habit.
  • It takes time to change your habits (a lot of people will tell you 21 days, but there's research that says it can take up to 200ish days!).
  • You will feel uncomfortable while changing your habits because it's abnormal for your body.


What Holistic Living Means to Me

The holistic movement that you find when you Google "holistic living" or "holistic health" seems to suggest that you have to be a paleo vegan and you can't use any manufactured cleaning products.  That kind of shit.  If that's what you're into, you go girl.

I'm not into it.


Benefits of Drinking Tea + My Daily Tea Schedule

Every time I see my psychiatrist or my primary care provider, they tell me to stop drinking so much caffeine.  I'm a little sensitive to it and I probably drink 2-3 cups of coffee per day, but it was negatively affecting my sleep, my anxiety, and even my concentration.  Having jittery energy is not better than having low energy.  I finally gave in and now I'm drinking maybe 4-5 cups of coffee a week and 2-4 teas per day.  I will still chug Starbucks on particularly exhausting days, though!  These aren't the only benefits of drinking tea and they aren't benefits that are only experienced by me.  There has been plenty of research and studies done about the health benefits of tea.  You're bound to find the right tea for you.  I've linked the teas that I mention in my post.  It's part of an affiliate ad for Amazon, which means I do receive a small profit if you purchase through my Amazon affiliate link, at no additional cost to you!  Affiliates help support this blog and my infatuation with tea.

  • Drinking 4 cups of tea help keep your stress hormones in check, which means your skin and bloating also stay in check.
  • Green tea prevents high cholesterol.  They recommend 5 cups a day!
  • Oh, those antioxidants!  They're present in almost all teas and they prevent things like blindness.
  • Tea is an anti-inflammatory drink.  Inflammation is linked to SO many illnesses and diseases, from arthritis to depression to the common cold.
  • It's good for your heart and brain!  It's been linked to reduced risk of stroke, dementia, and cardiovascular disease.  It's also been linked to higher levels of focus, attention, and concentration.
  • It also helps protect against diseases commonly associated with aging, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
  • Less caffeine means less jitteriness and possibility of sleep problems.
  • It's hydrating and if you don't add anything to it, it's usually calorie free!
  • Drinking tea may help prevent a variety of cancers.
  • Green tea can actually act as protection against UV rays!
  • There are a wide variety of teas and flavors, which means there are also a wide variety of benefits.


How to Get Shit Done (When You Really Don't Want To)

Here's the thing: not all of us have endless amounts of energy or motivation or productivity.  And there are days when we can't even bring ourselves to fake it until we make it.  There are people like me who, honestly, have problems with energy, motivation, productivity, procrastination, and following through.  We would much rather relax and stay reserved, but that doesn't mean we don't still want the results that we believe we deserve.  We've got the ideas and we've got the intentions, but nothing ever comes out of them.

Okay, but how do we make that lifestyle work for us?

First, I want you to take a few minutes and answer these questions.  Write this down.  Pen and paper.
  1. On an average day, how much energy do you have?  Use a scale of 1-10 and explain why you chose that number.
  2. Of that energy, how much energy can you devote to things you desire or want to do versus things you have to do?  Use percentages.
  3. On an average day, how much time do you use for things you have to do, things you want to do, and rest?  Use percentages.
  4. How can you best use your energy and time to see results without draining your energy and time?  Write whatever comes to mind, without judgment.


Free Printable Wall Art + Making Graphics on Your Phone

Sweet Kristine, at My Little Box of Tricks, commented on one of my quote posts on Instagram and said that she would love that quote as a printable.  I loved the idea of making some wall art for y'all and jumped right in.  If you'd like to print any of the quotes, just click here and download them from my Google Drive.  I've posted them all below for you to preview, but first I wanted to share the app that I use to create ALL of my graphics for my blog and social media.


PoshVoxBox Review of Over $200 of Free Products + How You Can Get Your VoxBox

I received all of these products from Influenster for free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.  If you're not familiar with Influenster, it's a website for consumer reviews and product discovery.  They send out TONS of boxes with free products and they also offer a lot of virtual boxes that contain coupons.  They also hold a lot of contests so you can win even more free products!  I've been an Influenster member for years and about a year ago I started receiving luxury voxboxes with products from companies like  Estee Lauder, Bite Beauty, and Marc Jacobs.  Of course, I've also received boxes with products from companies like ecotools and L'Oreal, which have been just as amazing!  If you're on Influenster and you're not getting the "big" boxes, make sure you're on there writing reviews, filling out your snaps, and completing the tasks for your boxes.  If you want the products, you gotta put in the effort!  If you're not on Influenster, but you're interested in learning more and receiving free products for review, click this link to sign up!

Now, let me tell you about this amazing box that EVERYONE wanted!  Also, look for the bold and italicized text at the end of each review.  It has information about how you can get these products with discounts, rewards points, and even cash back!  I've linked every product and posted their retail cost.


My Mental Health Story

Just a quick warning: Although my story does not have any specific trigger warnings that I can think of, it may bring up memories or feelings that are difficult to deal with.  If that happens, please stop reading and take care of yourself.  If you feel like you need professional help, please seek it.  I cannot and will not offer you professional services.

I'm sharing my story for several reasons.
  1. The stigma surrounding mental health disorders has to go.  It prevents people from getting help and it makes others feel ashamed for their experiences.
  2. The more that we talk about real mental health experiences, the more we can learn about how to help ourselves and others.
  3. Even though no two stories are the same, I hope that people who have stories that are similar to mine will feel inspired to seek help in their own ways and even reach out for support.
  4. For this blog to focus on mental health and holistic wellness, you have to understand where I'm coming from.
Before you read my experience, though, I want you to remember that it is just that... it's only one person's experience.  This post is not meant to be medical advice and should not be taken as such.


How I Manifested $1,000 In 3 Days + How You Can, Too

Click here to buy the book on Amazon. 
Click here to join the Facebook group, and over 12,000 members, for free!

This post contains affiliate links.  I may receive compensation if you purchase products using my links.  Thank you for supporting The Life You Love!

Before you begin reading, I just wanted to let you know that I also created an audio recording/podcast for this blog post.  It has slightly different wording, but basically the same message.  I just wanted to offer an alternative way to get my message for people who connect better with voices and audio!  Let me know if you read my blog post or listening to the audio.  If you did listen to the audio, please let me know what you think of this new addition!
Manifestation: it seems like a popular buzzword lately! But it's more than just that.  It's a positive mindset that helps you achieve your goals and receive everything your heart desires.  Seriously, it works.  I actually manifested $1,000 in just three days using Unleash Your Inner Money Babe!  Check out my blog post to find the (affiliate) link to the book and find out how you can manifest everything you desire.

what is money manifestation?

The best way that I know to describe it is like praying and asking for help. When you pray, you ask God or your Higher Power for something, you promise that you're willing to work for it, you show how dedicated you are to receiving it, and then you tell God that it's in His hands.  That's how manifesting is, but I believe it comes from the Universe. I'm a spiritualist and I believe EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE in the Universe is connected to each other.  When you set your intentions to manifest something, you are showing the Universe that you truly want what you're manifesting and you truly trust the Universe to take care of you in the way that is best for you.

7 Positive Affirmations for Bloggers

Affirmations come in many forms, both internal and external.  Sometimes you have a positive interaction with someone and it reminds you that you are a friendly person and people like to be around you.  Sometimes you see something that you take as a sign that you're on the right path and the Universe is looking out for you.  Sometimes you simply tell yourself something that positively affirms what you're doing or thinking.  I would argue that positive self-affirmations are the BEST form of affirmation because they don't rely on anyone else, you have control over them, and you can use them at any time and in any situation.

I would say that this quote pretty much covers why we should use affirmations:


4 Reasons Your Beach Vaca is Good For You

As if you even needed another reason to go to the beach..

After a quick weekened trip to Ocean Isle Beach, NC, I was feeling inspired to share some benefits of the beach with y'all.  If you don't have access to the beach, don't stop reading because I have suggestions for you, too!  If you do, you'll just want to go ahead and pack your bags.  Besides the fact that the beach is simply gorgeous, it can be amazing for every area of your holistic health.


Negative ions are freakin' awesome.  You can't sense them, but they're abundant when you're at the beach.  What makes negative ions so amazing is that they can elevate your mood and energy, and decrease your stress.  They can also be beneficial for people with depression with very few - if any - side effects.  Negative ions also increase oxygen levels in your brain, which means you'll feel more awake and aware when you're surrounded by them.  Read this article if you're interested in learning more.

Negative ions are often produced by running water.  That means being by a waterfall or even taking a shower can produce some similar effects! You can also get the benefits of negative ions from a Himalayan salt lamp.  I never turn mine off.

FabFitFun Summer 2017 Box Review + Coupon Code

After seeing a bunch of FabFitFun ads on Pinterest, I finally caved and ordered my first box when I saw their round towels in the spring 2017 box.  I fell in love and ended up getting a year subscription!  I've had a couple people ask me if I actually use what's in the box.  The answer is 100% yes.  It's not the kind of sub box where you're like, "Well, maybe my friend will want this" about one or two items each time.  You will seriously love all of it.

Before I show you the items, I want you to keep in mind that I paid $45.00 for this box and it has a retail value of $287.50.  Okay, ready to see the products?!  Or are you just ready to go get your own?


Some of you may have noticed that I took a pretty long blogging break.  I never intended to do that, but I had fallen out of love with blogging and with everything about it.  I felt like I never found my community of people or my niche.  I felt like no one was reading my blog and I didn't know what to write about.  And I was right.

Anyways, I wanted to share a little bit about what I was doing while I was gone.  To quickly summarize it, I was connecting to my spirituality and working on my mental health.  The first part is going to seem a little strange, so let's talk about mental health first.