Give yourself permission to take a long, hot bath or shower. Go big with all the extras — salt scrubs, bath bombs, candles, essential oils, but please, no music. I want you to recharge and take your time. Get your head straight, stay calm, and connect with your intuition. Music can distract you from listening. The exception could be listening to solfeggio frequency music, which is calming and meditative.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.
As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Krysia Hepatica.
Krysia Hepatica is the founder of the self-care brand Luxe Odette. She created the brand after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and intuitively knew she needed to nurture herself by increasing her self-care. The results were beyond what she imagined. Hepatica is committed to helping others increase their self-care, too, in meaningful ways. Her blog focuses on the importance of self-love, uniting with your Higher Self, and connecting with the planet by living sustainably. She also offers ethically-sourced self-care items for sale in her shop.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?
Thank you, Ming. I am thrilled to be included.
Yes, I would love to. I was working in marketing and public relations at a start-up in 2015 when I was diagnosed with MS. This, incidentally, was when I first became acquainted with Arianna Huffington’s work and her mission to reframe wellness in the work-place, and so, of course, I kept up with all of her work about the importance of sleep during this time.
I really needed all the support I could get physically, mentally, and emotionally. I knew instinctively I would have to secure my own future; I was a divorced mother of two teenagers finally breaking into my field, and all of a sudden, my body was faced with limitations I wasn’t used to.
Luxe Odette began as a way for me to make peace with my damaged body while also planting seeds for a future business. I had very much identified as an outdoorist. Rock climbing was one hobby I had to let go of. I mentioned earlier I instinctively knew I needed to focus on my self-care, but I didn’t know anything about it. So, I founded a self-care blog and started applying more face masks, and eating healthier food, but I also started to spend more alone time with myself, which is when I made real progress.
- I spent hours in quiet solitude meditating, or at least just being still if I couldn’t quiet my mind.
- I started taking Yin Yoga, a gentle practice done on a mat in a seated position. I spent what felt like days in Pigeon Pose, trying to forgive myself for my new physical limitations. My days of participating in Vinyasa were gone because of my loss of balance and coordination.
- I stopped listening to NPR in the car and opted for silence instead.
- I spent as much time as I could outdoors, even if it only meant having lunch alfresco because of work life demands.
- I paused more. I stopped overscheduling myself.
- I purposefully cultivated gratitude like it was my job.
And then one day, or what felt like one day, I realized something was different. I was different. My perception had changed. It was like, suddenly everything made sense and I shifted into a state of happiness. I was out of duality — meaning, other people’s behaviors no longer triggered me. Looking back, I see how these behaviors helped shift me into a new greater, self-love I didn’t know existed.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful to so many, my parents and children especially. There have been so many friends who have stuck by, and some who definitely did not. But that’s okay. Part of the journey to becoming authentic is letting go of the people and situations not serving you. I am grateful for all who have crossed my path.
One story of how a friend helped me does stand out. In 2017 there was a very powerful eclipse. My friend Donna called me out of blue that morning and asked if I wanted to go watch it. There were going to be telescopes set up at the University of Michigan for spectators.
After the event, we decided to walk a short distance to buy a bubble drink. This was before I used a cane to walk with and thought I could handle the 10-minute walk without a problem. While walking back to campus, I started to become unstable. I felt frustrated with everything and started to complain.
I’ll never forget what happened next.
Donna said, “What is the positive that came out of your MS diagnosis?”
I was dumbfounded.
I had nothing. But what was more disturbing to me was that I prided myself on being a positive person, on being grateful. Yet, I failed to know immediately what the silver lining was in the biggest event that had ever happened to me — my MS.
After a second, I regained my composure and thought about her question. Yes, of course, there was a big silver lining I wasn’t seeing: the fact that I was diagnosed when my kids were teenagers and not little ones. Little children require so much chasing after, which was out of my current skill set. Since that day, I have found many more, but that was the first time I radically accepted my physical self.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I feel like my whole first year was filled with humorous mistakes! And I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way. You have to start somewhere and for me, it was trying to imitate what I saw on Instagram. I tried to grow my brand by trying to be like everyone else, and that really wasn’t serving anyone. It didn’t allow me to feel creative or happy and it didn’t resonate with anyone else.
The standard advice is “be authentic” and “be yourself” when starting a brand. But the trouble with that is we are more than our likes and dislikes. We are more than our outward persona. This is what self-love taught me. It’s not only okay to be different, it’s mandatory. But I don’t mean different just for the sake of being different, either. Being authentic means going within and trusting your intuition — that inner voice just waiting for you to finally listen.
Beginning my blog with a marketing and PR background, I wanted to find a shortcut to growing it, so I spent a lot of time in various “like pods,” where users liked each other’s content. That was probably the biggest waste of my time. It sounds good in theory, but all of the users were so unique and different, I made only a few real connections in exchange for some meaningless vanity likes. My number of likes has gone down, but now, they are from accounts who are actually interested in my voice, so I don’t mind at all.
As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
You have to believe in yourself like never before. You have to be your own support team, for a long time. And then an even longer time. Probably longer than you can imagine. It seems like you receive support in the beginning from friends and family, but eventually, this dwindles. You have to commit to yourself and show up every day. Sometimes this means taking a digital break and showing compassion for your needs. But to succeed, you need to be able to trust yourself completely and tune out the noise so you can listen to your inner voice.
Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?
I have found a great niche on Instagram of like-minded people I am so grateful for. My favorite pro-tip for finding new followers is to follow people who engage with someone in your community whose content you align with. This is the best way I have found to achieve real growth. It’s how I found some of my most loyal community members — unlike the IG pods I mentioned earlier!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.
You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)
Salt scrub and pedicures are two musts!
Salt scrub clears your aura, detoxifies your skin, and exfoliates away dead skin cells. It’s part of my daily practice. I like to make my own from Epsom salt, sweet almond oil, and essential oils according to my mood or the season. Right now, my favorite is a DIY version of Thieves essential oil. This formula is believed to have been used by grave robbers who handled corpses infected with the Black Plague and it protected them from being infected.
I also encourage clients to treat themselves to a pedicure for a few reasons:
1. Your feet are a mini to the macro and how they look can reflect the state of your overall health.
2. It’s a simple way to connect with your physical body and show your feet some love.
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
1. I gave up drinking coffee and replaced it with tea last year for health reasons. I am currently sharing a space with my college-aged daughter while we are under a Covid-19 lockdown in Michigan. Something I really enjoy is having an electric tea kettle set up in my room so I can enjoy my first cup in my quiet space and sip from my bed. It’s a lovely routine.
2. My personal meditation practice is something very important to me. Every morning after my tea, I choose an Oracle card and reflect on the message I receive from it. Then, I meditate on how I can manifest the message into my life.
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
As I mentioned, I am writing this during the Covid-19 pandemic from my home where I have been self-quarantined for two weeks, so my list will be of the most basic activities that are helping me.
To feel beautiful, I have to feel happy. If I curl my hair and apply makeup when I am down, it helps lift my mood, but for me, the effect is not lasting. The practices below help me to feel happy, and also beautiful, because the prettiest people I know are the happiest, too.
1. Give yourself permission to take a long, hot bath or shower. Go big with all the extras — salt scrubs, bath bombs, candles, essential oils, but please, no music. I want you to recharge and take your time. Get your head straight, stay calm, and connect with your intuition. Music can distract you from listening. The exception could be listening to solfeggio frequency music, which is calming and meditative.
2. Connect with nature. Some of the prettiest pictures of me have been taken outside while climbing a rock face. Spending time outside is so vital for your wellness and happiness. Who doesn’t look prettier with a sun-kissed cheek and beachy, windblown hair? Lately, my look is muddy Hunter boots, but I will take it.
3. Face masks! This is a simple way you can treat your skin that fits anyone’s budget. You can even make your own out of whole foods, like avocado or honey. I always follow up with toner and a rich facial cream. This has been a fun, shared practice with my daughter.
Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
I read “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho when I was twenty and it impacted me. I reread it in my forties, and it was like it was brand new to me. It really does hold a lot of wisdom.
Even though my path took me down a different road, I have got to give a shout-out to Gary Vaynerchuk. His podcasts were so inspirational to me in the early days. They really motivated me to think bigger, try harder, and just keep crushing. When your cheerleaders have disappeared and you aren’t ready to just be your own cheerleader, call in Gary Vee.
Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?
The one self-care practice I can’t get enough of is skin brushing. Skin brushing is done before your daily bath or shower and it removes all of the dead skin cells from your skin. It also stimulates your lymphatic system and helps remove toxins from your lymph system. Always brush toward your heart, and use a natural bristle brush because they are more gentle to your skin. I don’t have any tattoos but I bet skin brushing would brighten up your ink.
As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I am so glad you asked! It is my current mission to modify the rules of the English language to eradicate the hyphen between “self” and “love”/”care” because it tells your brain that care and love for yourself is the exception, not the norm.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
I would be honored to meet Gwyneth Paltrow. Goop is such an inspiration to me and her ability to stand in her truth even if it is at odds with popular opinion is admirable.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you for your time!