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Cultured Guru is an Educational Health & Wellness Brand and a Fermentation Company. Created and Operated by Microbiologist Kaitlynn Fenley and Photographer Jon Scott Chachere II.

A Trip to the Smoky Mountains | Rest is Vital for a Healthy Life | Self Care and the Importance of Rest

A Trip to the Smoky Mountains | Rest is Vital for a Healthy Life | Self Care and the Importance of Rest

Self Care and the Importance of Rest

In 2018 exhaustion is a sign of merit. We see friends we haven’t seen in months and when asked how we are doing we say: tired, exhausted, drained from work… as if these things are merit badges…states of being to brag about because they mean we are working harder than other people. Now you should note that there are many times when family and close friends ask how I am doing and I respond “exhausted, I need a break.” and that’s okay. It’s refreshing to be honest about how I feel. I would never tell people I love a generic response like “I’m good” if I’m not actually doing well.

I’m a competitive person by nature. I love a good challenge and competition. Even in the gym I get competitive with people I don’t even know… I like to see if I can cycle longer and faster than strangers next to me, to see if I can throw my body weight around doing more bench hops than the freshmen girls. I love to be challenged in tasks. However, this competitive attitude of mine has at times led to unhealthy mental states. I’ve had to seriously buckle down to unlearn the comparison style of competition. There are things in this world that should not be compared and should not be a competition. Here are some examples that I’ve noticed, especially on social media: Comparing traumatic experiences, comparing career paths, comparing exhaustion and comparing over-working yourself. You get the picture. The comparison culture we live in has led to unhealthy practices to one-up each other in any area possible…even if it means being wildly unhealthy for your mind and body. Being exhausted and continuing to work is not something to brag about, even if it means that you’ve had to put in more work time than your peers. Life does not need to be a competition.

What we should be doing with friends and peers is having rest competitions. Let’s see who can self care the most by taking breaks every time your brain and body sends you a sign that you need one. Let’s collaborate with each other on how to be mentally enriched, instead of competing with each other on who works the hardest.

This all may seem like a rambling tangent, but here is the point: it’s okay to work hard, it’s okay to be tired and to talk about it. It’s okay to have periods in your life when you literally cannot take a break. Just don’t let these things be signs of merit in your life. Don’t let exhaustion be the thing that you compete with your peers about…

…Because rest is vital for a healthy and thriving life.

It’s so hard for Jon and I to put down our work and leave town, but I’m so glad we did. Rest rejuvenates the mind and body in beautiful ways. During periods of rest you have time to think, time to breathe, and time to remember the “why” of your life. You also have time to decompress and let go of stress.

Stress takes a toll on your health. Long periods of stress can cause gut microbiome and digestive imbalances, sink imbalances and rashes, and mental instability. The longer you remain stressed, the worse the outcomes are. So don’t be afraid to take a break! Sleep when you need to sleep, eat when you need to eat. Taking a break doesn’t make you any less successful!

a trip to the smoky mountains

We had a particularly stressful year. Luckily we plan to take a trip every November, usually on Black Friday. It’s our very first established tradition together, and we’ve been doing this for 4 years now. We rather escape to nature and give thanks for our life… instead of worrying about holiday sales. Anyways, 2018 has been filled with blessings and joy amongst all of the stress… even the stress itself was a blessing. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be stressed out about our very own business… We still needed a mental health break though, and that’s okay. The perfect way to decompress and practice gratitude was a short trip to a little cabin in the forests of the Smoky Mountains!

It was so foggy and rained the whole time we were there, but WOW! It was beautiful!

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We stayed at this adorable Airbnb called the Little Green Cabin. It was definitely the perfect place to be cuddled up inside reading all day (when we weren't playing around with photography outside between breaks in the rain). The cabin was so aesthetically pleasing that I really didn’t mind being inside 90% of the time. Even our little pup Emjay had a blast just hanging out with us!

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On our last night there, it snowed! We got a little worried about the roads being frozen, but the next morning the beautiful sun came out. When I thought this cabin couldn’t get any prettier…it did. 

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I realized that I hadn’t read a good book just for fun in almost a year.

I realized how much I adore (and how much I miss) creating with Jon. We thrive when we are taking photos together and coming up with ideas for fun pictures to take in the future.

I realized that I missed cooking and creating new recipes for fun. We had been moving at a million miles a minute for 6 months, and that didn’t leave much time for creativity with food… and creativity with food is the best part of food!

I, of course, still started the day with lots of lemon water and green tea. Then there were these delicious breakfast bowls we created… and we are still making them in the mornings at home because they were SO yummy.

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Rest not only revitalizes you physically, but also mentally. We always feel refreshed and ready to conquer our goals when we return from a vacation. This is especially true for the vacation we just took, and we are so excited to get back to work doing what we love!

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