Reiki master, essential oil educator, suburban mom and self-proclaimed self-care guru Stacey Sexton (aka @halfhealthymom on Instagram) knew there needed to be a new conversation around the entire picture of what wellness encompasses, and she also wanted to see more women empowering each other in that space. So, she started the conversation herself.
Having recently launched the podcast Talking Shift With Stacey on iTunes and Google Play, she’s shaking things up on the wellness scene with topics that haven’t been talked about as much as some of the others, topics outside of just exercise and food. With her guests she’s discussing topics like CBD, spiritual health and sobriety.
Count us in for this conversation. Get inspired by the Louisiana-born beauty’s honesty around her struggle to feel her best after becoming a new mom and battling a number of serious health issues, and her path to more focus on her spiritual health as part of the healing process, as we talk shift with Stacey in this interview…
WHAT DOES YOUR INSTAGRAM NAME, @HALFHEALTHYMOM MEAN?
Half healthy mom really captures the beginning of this whole shift within me. I was cleaning up my health, and focusing a bit more on the physical aspect. But even then, I wanted to show that I was not going to preach perfection, but instead show how approachable making small changes can be. I had no idea the transformation would leak into other areas of my life, but I still maintain that if I can do it, so can everyone else. This healthier, lighter, brighter path is meant to be for each of us. And isn’t it amazing to look back and see how it got started?
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR OWN WELLNESS JOURNEY. WHAT DREW YOU TO MINDFULNESS AND AWARENESS ALONG WITH MAKING HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE CHOICES?
When I sit back and reflect, I really begin this story with my early 20’s because I did a lot of common things, but none of which were healthy or setting my mind and body up for success. I drank excessively, survived off of very little sleep, fueled up on caffeine even though it made me shake and I had anxiety that snowballed into debilitating episodes over the years. There are tons of other things to rattle off, but the reality is I was numbing myself out emotionally and physically for years. Although on paper life looked great, I was quietly suffering in a lot of ways. Ultimately, my body decided to speak up and I suffered from a number of issues: shingles (yes, at 26), colitis, numerous viral infections and two anxiety attacks that manifested differently but both of which landed me in the ER.
A few years later after becoming pregnant, hitting a real low with anxiety and anger, and a diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, I finally became motivated to make some lifestyle adjustments. Life pushed me into a corner, but I was also ready to make changes. I almost hate that it took years of being unhealthy and unhappy, but in hindsight it was all divine timing. I slowly made changes: I integrated more whole foods versus processed junk foods, drank less alcohol, ditched caffeine and started exercising. I felt better, had a clearer mind and more energy, embraced essential oils, took up meditation (finally) and decided I felt amazing, and it all just kept going from there.
Life was snowballing again, but in a very positive way. Almost four years later, I’m grateful for the lessons I lived in my 20’s, but especially amazed that my wakeup call happened so young and I have many more years to keep going on this path of better living.
HOW HAS BEING A MOM CHANGED YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE REALLY MEANS?
Motherhood literally brought me to my knees. I remember thinking that life and my health would instantly improve when baby girl arrived, but in fact, my body was struggling before getting pregnant, so my hormones, liver and adrenals were just an absolute mess by the time she was born. While my initial decision to take control of my well being came from motherhood, now I’d say it’s given me the huge honor of being able to SHOW the next generation how to take care of themselves. From the start.
How incredible that my daughter does breathwork to calm down and both my kids get to experience the beautiful benefits of essential oils and other natural remedies! Their wellness toolkit is already so robust, and now I only hope to see more families and children have access to this information and these resources as well. We mama’s have the hardest gig, but also the best gig.
YOU’RE A SOUTHERNER, TRANSPLANTED TO AN AREA OUTSIDE OF THE SOUTH. HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR BELIEF SYSTEMS AROUND HEALTH AND WELLNESS, AND HAVE THOSE BELIEFS CHANGED SINCE LEAVING THE SOUTH?
Oh Louisiana, I still miss you! I grew up in a small town outside of New Orleans, then I attended Auburn University in Alabama where I met my husband, so we have very strong southern roots. Food is obviously such a big centerpiece in a lot of areas, but in the South, eating is a ritual. My high school had red beans and rice on Mondays, homemade gumbo every Thursday and fried catfish on Fridays. We have our own subculture down there and there’s just a magic about southern Louisiana that’s undeniable. Now, did I personally pick up a ton of healthy habits growing up? No really, ha! But I sure do have incredible memories crowding around newspaper-lined tables, peeling shrimp and crawfish with friends, family and even strangers. Food was celebrated and broke barriers between people. It’s hard not to be happy when that’s taking place.
I’ve lived in the DC area for almost a decade, but I visit Alabama a few times each year to visit family (unfortunately family moved out of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina), and I can tell that things are changing for the better with healthier options being more available. Processed and pre-packaged foods are still, I think, a big hurdle. The beloved ingredients and recipes of quick-meal options of previous generations are held onto tightly because tradition is everything. And I so honor and respect that. But I think there is room for more balance, more education of real food versus scary chemical ingredients, and more support to the brands, stores and restaurants that are making healthier options accessible. The South has some of the best souls out there, and I love getting to see the more wellness-conscious movement continue to spread down there.
YOU’VE JUST STARTED YOUR OWN PODCAST, TALKING SHIFT WITH STACEY. TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SHARED, WHO YOU’RE TRYING TO REACH WITH THIS PODCAST AND WHY…
We’re a few episodes in with Talking Shift with Stacey and it’s been the most fun to start down this path. This space is for talking about the wellness movement and how it’s opening women up to even bigger and better within themselves. From my own personal experience plus now working with other women in the wellness world, I know for a fact that when we uplevel our physical health, it allows us the capacity for greater spiritual expansion. Declutter your body, and your mind wakes up. So many of us are changing and evolving and elevating in ways that we sometimes didn’t expect, and that’s where I hope this podcast comes in and serves the most. I don’t want women to feel like they’re alone on their journey, wherever that may be. So whether that’s talking about nutrition, holistic tools, energy work, more New Age theories or sharing personal stories, the podcast is going to capture a good bit of this physical and spiritual shake up going on.
And as someone who loves podcasts herself, I wanted to champion new voices in this space, too. Sometimes I feel like I’m hearing the same (albeit fabulous) people doing the podcast circuit, but these changes, this shift, is happening within all of us. And we absolutely need to bring more women to the table to discuss it all.
CAN YOU REMEMBER AT WHAT POINT YOU FELT LIKE THINGS SHIFTED IN YOUR JOURNEY, WHEN YOU BEGAN TO WAKE UP OR FEEL MORE CONNECTED TO YOUR SOUL?
When I decided to reclaim my health after my daughter was born, I actually had no idea how far in the weeds I was until I started to feel better. I started waking up with natural energy, not fighting migraines every day, no explosive outbursts and just finally feeling like me. Something so simple as reconnecting and maybe even relearning who you are is an intimate but powerful experience. I’d say that was the ultimate side benefit to me making healthier choices for my body, and then it opened me up to more experiences. I remember being adamantly against meditation for year.
Can’t do it. Nope, not sitting in silence. Sounds boring. My mind can’t be still.
Once I released the idea that I needed to be Buddha right off the bat, I gave in. Surrendered. Then shockingly discovered I loved it! Now, there’s no looking back. For those also resisting, I can’t recommend enough starting with Headspace App or Insight Timer or Aura. But also realizing that talking a walk out in nature, enjoying a bath or even washing the dishes can be forms of meditation! It’s just an opportunity for me to make space for me.
It’s also a time for me to connect more with God, Angels and my grandmother specifically. She passed away at the exact moment my daughter was born (who is named in honor of her), but it’s often when I turn inward a bit that she starts chatting with me. All of this represents another level of shifting for me; the real waking up, connecting to myself and making sense of the world around me. My experience has showed me that the most profound changes can often come from the most simple adjustments. And for me that was remaining open and also going inward.
YOU’VE SAID THAT YOU FEEL THAT WOMEN ARE SPEARHEADING THE WELLNESS MOVEMENT HAPPENING NOW…CAN YOU TALK A BIT ABOUT THAT?
Well, I truly believe this! When I look at authors, podcasts, bloggers, public speakers and wellness products, I see so many kick ass women standing behind those brands leading the charge. As women, it’s not only in our DNA to know how to nurture and help others heal, but we are endlessly creative. We are the creators out of the genders; we hold life within us and give birth, even in ways outside of having children. So I know it’s natural for us to lead the charge in making things better while also allowing space for larger conversations to take place within this wellness realm. We’ve always had it within us to do this great work, but I think the world is really needing a dose of feminine medicine, so we’re rising up.
WHAT ARE YOUR DAILY NON-NEGOTIABLES WHEN IT COMES TO FEELING YOUR BEST BODY, MIND AND SOUL?
My checklist, if you will:
- Essential oils
- CBD (I love Soul Addict)
- Kundalini mantras playlist…that slowly morphs into some dancing tunes (we like to start zen then crank up the fun)
When I put high vibrational things in my body, on my body and surround myself with positive energy, it’s going to be a damn good day. I’m usually a bit cranky and more likely to lose my patience if I don’t prioritize the tools that speak to my soul. The best part is that utilizing them never takes long! Turning on the tunes literally takes seconds. I swipe on ClaryCalm ( a blend by doTERRA) to balance my hormones, apply peppermint on my scalp, fill up the diffuser and all of that takes about 30-45 seconds. Then I add some CBD to my matcha. In under five minutes I’ve literally transformed the outcome of my day.
Plus, my kids get the side benefits of the mantras and diffusing the oils. “Ong Namo” by Snatam Kaur and some calming oils in the diffuser means mama gets to enjoy her matcha HOT!
WHAT’S THE ONE SELF-CARE RITUAL YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Besides the morning must-haves above, I love myself a dreamy bath. As cliche as it might be to some, I feel like a new woman when I slow down and soak in some himalayan salt and essential oils. I’ll turn on a podcast, set the phone aside and it’s the best kind of soul food. I love slowing down and savoring something so simple as a bath.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO LIVE AND FEEL YOUR BEST?
Understanding that it’s part of my legacy. I’ve heard it commonly told that we’re most remembered not by what we did, but by how we made others feel. It gives me chills just thinking about that for a minute.
WHAT DOES LIVING YOUR TRUTH MEAN TO YOU?
It means I unapologetically do what makes me feel good. It’s so simple, but I get it, we can get to a point in life where we feel like we don’t have that power. For years, I felt sucked up in the inertia of life. But more recently, I’ve really gotten to know who I am and what fuels me, so I honor that. For me, that’s having fun. I need to laugh, cut up, explore, feed my eternal learning spirit and also have deep meaningful conversation with kindred souls.
For those who want the quantifiable “woo”, in astrology, I’m a Sagittarius Sun, Scorpio Rising and Capricorn Moon. In Human Design, I’m a Generator. In Energy Profiling, I’m a 1-3.
So I make space for these things because it’s literally the soul contract I signed before taking this gig, so my job on this earth is to fill myself up with absolute joy. How freeing it is to know yourself and then to decide, “this is how I’m going to live.”