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Selfcare from the viewpoint of a holistic wellness practitioner and metalworker.

blacksmithing anvil with hammer and hot scroll

You’ve probably heard the saying…

“What doesn’t kill your makes you stronger”

While the statement is true in many ways - it is also a very unhealthy and unbalanced outlook when it comes to facing what life might throw at us.

It creates the mindset that - regardless of how many times we get knocked down, we should jump right back up and keep rolling with the punches. There are many similar and equally unhealthy beliefs that you've probably heard and I know were deeply ingrained into me for when the going gets tough...

"pull up your bootstraps"

"put your big girl/boy underwear on"

and heaven forbid if you sit down for a brief moment to rest because...

"if you have time to sit you have time to be working"

It's time to release some of these outdated beliefs around productivity and being tough.

iron pour at Shepherd University
photo credit Steven Welti Photography - Lauren in Blue Helmet in front of furnace.

Recovery time is important!

Bad things do happen to good people.

It's ok to take breaks from being productive or strong.

It's ok to remove toxic situations from our life.

What we need to learn is how to bend like a tree in the wind or find ebb and flow like water. That is why I believe it’s important to share about the process of tempering and how you apply its lessons in your life. Because it is so important to create a sustainable self-care practice to promote our overall well-being.

iron caster
circa 2015 - UWG Art Incend - Lauren being a true Slag Hag

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Fire and Metalworking. Though I’ve had to take a brief break from it for personal reasons, I’m itching to be back in the heat of it. I started working with iron around the age of 13, after years of watching blacksmiths and metal casters from afar. So it’s no wonder the terminology resonates with me - but I think it will make sense to others out there as well - so back to the point…

Tempering is a process used in metalworking that is used to improve the hardness and elasticity of the metal. This is achieved through a process of heating a piece of metal then cooling it down; either by rapidly cooling the hot metal by quenching it in water or by cooling the metal down naturally to room temperature. The process can be dependent upon the metal you are using and what stage of creation you are in but the important thing to remember is - even something that looks strong and durable can be brittle and reach a cracking/breaking point.

Similarly, us humans have a physical and mental breaking point. If metal is worked past its malleable state and is not re-tempered, then cracks start to form and eventually the piece will break or in some cases shatter. This is called work-hardening metal - which has its place but if taken to extremes the integrity of the metal is damaged.

The way a metalworker cools their metal also affects how resilient the metal will be under stress. The same goes for humans as well when we take time for self-care.

Forced cooling by quenching the metal is a temporary fix. Quenching does not create the strongest or most resilient piece of metal. This can be compared to humans who do not prioritize self-care and only take care of our needs sporadically here and there. It might help momentarily but our energy tanks are not refilling completely. When this happens, our resiliency goes down. We reach our breaking point faster than if we had properly set aside time for self-care.

In most cases, metal that is left to return gradually back to the natural room temperature is going to be more resilient than metal that is quenched; meaning it will not reach the breaking point as quickly. In other words, if you’re regularly practicing self-care, you will be more successful in avoiding burnout. If you allow yourself enough time to top-off your energy reserves by taking time for rest and enjoyment, you will be setting yourself up for a happier, more resilient life. All by making your well-being a priority through boundaries and self-care practices.

finger nail polish

For decades, capitalists have brainwashed society into thinking self-care is only expensive pampering sessions and “treating yo’self”. While it is nice to take part in activities like that - they have the same effect as quenching your metal. To truly refill our energy reserves we have to look at the basics of self-care - starting with our most basic needs for survival.

In other words, ask yourself…

  • Are you prioritizing hygiene - bathing, brushing your hair and teeth?

  • What does your daily water intake vs caffeine ratio look like?

  • Have you eaten anything recently and was it nutritious?

  • Have you taken your medications or vitamins?

  • When was the last time you moved - whether just to stretch and walk if you're at work - or to exercise?

  • Have you gone outside recently? fresh air and vitamin D are super important

  • Have you cleaned your living space recently?

  • How are you sleeping? take naps if you need to

  • When’s the last time you did something just for fun or took yourself on a date?

  • When was the last time you spent time with friends or loved ones?

  • What does your finances look like? Boundaries here are super important

You get the idea… then after taking care of your basic needs - you can worry about other self-care activities. The reason I mention finances is because budgets are important - so if you have one stick to it, if not create one, or ask for help. Outside influences will tell you to “invest in yourself” by buying a coaching program, a miracle serum, etc - this is totally ok if you are financially stable and feel aligned with the product or program.

caution cone - beware

However, I recommend taking care of your essential needs first then gauge if you need more assistance. It appalls me, when I see other coaches take advantage of people at their most vulnerable and use mind tricks to convince them that their program or product is going to be a miracle cure for their issues. THERE ARE NO BAND-AID FIXES - sorry, but there’s not - you have to put in the work - long term success doesn’t happen if you expect others to have the answer.

You have the answer - you just have to learn to trust the inner knowing. Remember, "NO" is a complete sentence - stand firm and work on building your confidence. Then when you’re ready to reach out for support make sure you find coaches and businesses with integrity and that truly aligned with you.

Summer in the German countryside at sunset
Hilmsen Germany - 2018

I am no guru or doctor. That is something I am very clear about with my clients. I walk the path alongside you, meet you where you’re at, and provide support as you learn to access your own inner ability to heal and listen to your intuition.

I do this by providing services such as visioning sessions and mentorships, group and individual mindfulness sessions, private integrative healing sessions using energy, sound, and plant medicinals, creating apothecary items to support your journey, and teaching workshops on related topics. When you join me on this journey, we will explore how creativity, mindfulness, and nature can be used as a catalyst for healing and deepening connections with

ourselves and the world around us.

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