My first good habit is surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good. After all, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so if you’re hanging with five highly successful, fun-loving, kind and good-energy beings, they will collectively empower you to be the same.
Many ancient traditions around the world believe ‘wellbeing’ or ‘bienestar’ is a state of harmony within ourselves and our world, where we are in balance mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandy Critides. She has become a go-to resource for thousands of people seeking mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. You could say she’s an entrepreneur, but she’s so much more than that. Sandy is a health & wellness coach, a mindset coach, a business coach and a small business owner who has propelled forward in a few short years to be among the top 1% in the network marketing company Arbonne International. She is an avid practitioner of having a Miracle Morning Routine (meditation, gratitude, visualization, affirmations, reading, getting outdoors, etc.) and has coached people to find their own version of wellbeing through this practice, among others. She is also a published author of the #1 journal for network marketing professionals and a co-host of the Podcast “Getting Magnetic with Sandy & Wade” with her husband.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My childhood backstory…wow. I was the first born to a couple who had a one night stand on July 6, 1988. Thank goodness they decided to start a life together and 9 months later on April 17, 1989 I was born! After that, 11 months later my sister was born (we’re Irish twins) and our little brother followed nine years later. We grew up in Laguna Niguel, California in a beautiful neighborhood and had a very privileged childhood. My mom stayed home with us and my dad worked really hard and was an incredible provider; he was an executive for a big health insurance company. Our childhood was magical and full of love. It was also a very real struggle at times due to my mom’s severe manic depression, bipolar disorder and alcoholism.
At 31, I am still processing a lot of the hurt I witnessed as a little girl, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I believe our mess can become our message, and I know the foundation to my success in entrepreneurship has so much to do with the things I have overcome.
I also have a fun fact about my childhood: my husband Wade and I were baby best friends. Our parents were family friends and we were born just three weeks apart. We have many pictures and videos of us together as little ones in diapers. Incredible story how we reunited more than 20 years later in our adult life. It proves to me that things that are meant to be will always come full circle!
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in helping others? We’d love to hear the story.
Wow! This question is great…I have two answers.
First, unexpectedly losing my mom nearly eight years ago taught me a major life lesson: I am not promised tomorrow and things can change in an instant. Her untimely death taught me that legacy matters, so I dedicated my purpose to living every day to make her proud — no more time to be wasted doing things that don’t fuel me, give me passion, or make myself and the world a better place. After losing her, I ended a five-year relationship that wasn’t going anywhere, I quit my corporate job and I jumped head first into my journey of being the CEO of my own life via small business ownership.
Second, my dad has been my biggest role model and mentor, and he’s the person I look up to professionally. He is the strongest person I know — so loyal, honest, a great listener, an incredible leader and very well spoken. He’s pretty funny too! I grew up watching him positively impact so many people’s lives, and that inspired me to do the same. I always knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps in terms of helping others, and creating a big ripple effect of positivity. But, I knew the corporate health insurance route wasn’t for me.
As imperfect as my upbringing was I’m eternally grateful for my parents, Jim and Julia Elliott, because their guidance made me who I am today.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, that’s an easy one. That person is Haley Duncan. We met August 2018, yet I feel like I’ve known her my whole life — she’s like the older sister I never had and her guidance was invaluable.
She has many years of experience as a network marketing professional and when I started my business, she held my hand and taught me everything she knew. She got me hooked on reading, exposed me to the law of attraction, taught me so much about self-growth, personal development, an abundant mindset, affirmations, gratitude, the importance of having a Miracle Morning Routine, and so much more!
I’ll never forget my first coaching call with her, she knew I was miserable in my real estate job and I wanted to transition out of it. At the time, I thought it would take years to be able to walk away — but I was thinking small!
She asked me “how much money do you want to make a month in this side hustle business?” My answer was “200 dollars a month” she smiled and said “I thought you hated your job? Let me reword that…how much do you need to make in this side hustle to walk away from your job completely?” I shyly answered — I felt very vulnerable to share! — “If I could make 8,000 dollars a month, I would walk away” and her answer was “Great! Pick a date you want to achieve that by, we’ll create an action plan and work backwards from it to make it happen!”
She said it with such conviction that I completely believed her and gave it my ALL! I dove in with not one toe, not two toes…but both feet. I gave myself eight months to achieve that wild goal, and FOUR months later that dream became reality and I walked away from real estate.
She is amazing, everyone needs a Haley Duncan in their life! Since then, she has turned into a dear friend and active business partner in a couple of other businesses we have.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of pursuing your passion? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
One of my most awkward memories I can remember in the course of pursing my passion was a time my sweet neighbor offered to host a healthy happy hour on my behalf. She said she knew her friends and family would be very interested to learn more about healthy living, so we penciled in the date weeks ahead she prepared the guest list.
As fate would have it, everyone bailed last minute! She felt bad so she invited neighbors at the 11th hour, but told them it was a “wine night.” Inevitably, when they walked in and saw my Guide to Healthy Living set up complete with pamphlets and info guides, they were totally turned off.
I could feel the shift in energy and did the shortest — and probably worst — presentation of all time. It was a nightmare. The whole thing lasted maybe 40 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.
I overheard many whispers and comments like “is she trying to sell us something?” and “ I just came for the wine.” I was mortified. I learned that not everyone is going to understand or be supportive of your passion, but when your why for doing something is big enough, you can overcome even the most uncomfortable of situations.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Oh yes! My favorite life lesson quote is “nothing changes, if nothing changes” because I’ve seen it play out in my life and the lives of those I coach many times. It’s such a simple concept!
Anytime I have not been happy with where I am in life, or I have desperately wanted a change in my life, I have latched onto the reminder that I simply need to pivot and take the first step in the right direction.
When it comes to change, we can’t obsess over how it will happen. We need to trust the process and cling tight to the unwavering faith that everything will work out. We all must own the fact that we individually have the power to completely change our life. It is really gratifying! And that quote sums it up for me!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
One of the most interesting and exciting projects I’m working on right now with my husband is our new podcast Getting Magnetic with Sandy & Wade.
It launched on Nov. 4, 2020 and features two new episodes a week. We have been busy but excited about coming up with the content, finding and planning for special guests, and keep up with marketing it! It’s a fun creative outlet.
For years, we have had thousands of people ask us to create a platform where we candidly talk about life, love, marriage, business, sex, finances, share tangible experiences and stories of our health coaching journey. It’s an incredible feeling to receive this type of feedback and know that the life we live — the coaching we provide — is in such high demand by others seeking a more meaningful life.
And so far, we’ve had outstanding feedback from our listeners! We have had hundreds of notes from people sharing how our messages have impacted their life and helped them! We’re just getting started — we have a big vision for this to become a top podcast on Apple’s “New and Noteworthy” soon!
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In my writing, I talk about cultivating wellbeing habits in our lives, in order to be strong, vibrant and powerful co-creators of a better society. What we create is a reflection of how we think and feel. When we get back to a state of wellbeing and begin to create from that place, the outside world will reflect this state of wellbeing. Let’s dive deeper into this together. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
Absolutely! My first good habit is surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good. After all, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so if you’re hanging with five highly successful, fun-loving, kind and good-energy beings, they will collectively empower you to be the same.
My second good habit is reading personal development books. The world is full of so many amazing experiences and learnings that others have gone through. I believe we can learn something from each of them and apply it to our own lives. At a minimum, reading these books are a constant reminder to keep pursuing a life that you’re passionate about.
And my third good habit is get organized!! Our physical space is a reflection of our state of mind. I know for me when my office or home is organized, I feel more productive and mentally prepared for the day. In a clean physical space, we can also achieve a clean mental space that allows for full creatively and mental performance.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
For the last few years, I used a guided mediation through the app Calm — I think is a great place to start if you’re new to meditation. And they have so many different options! Over the past six months, I’ve transitioned into listening to calming music without words and just focusing on my breathing. I’ve also discovered a new favorite meditation on YouTube — it’s Gabby Bernstein’s “Positive Energy Meditation.”
I believe meditating in the morning shortly after walking up is the best time of day to get your mind right and set you up with a clear head.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
Three good habits that have led to both to my optimum physical wellbeing, and that of other I coach, is eating clean, regular walks and practicing yoga.
First, you may have heard from various experts and resources that your “you are what you eat” or that our physical wellbeing is driven mostly by what we eat. This is why eating clean is a key component to optimum wellbeing. So many people forget that the food we put into our body has a direct impact on our mood, energy level, aches and pains, and more. We have to also remember that our bodies were not designed to process “fake” things. So if it can’t process it, where does it go? It gets stored. Think of the toxins and other yucky stuff just stored in your body!
The best thing you can do is eat whole foods, and then listen to your body. Also note that gluten and dairy are some of the most inflammatory foods. And what thousands of people don’t realize is a portion of their weight gain is driven by simply bloat. Keep in mind that there are a lot of foods that my body may react negatively to that don’t bother yours. We have to listen to our bodies and better feed it with the foods it can easily take and convert in order to fuel a happy, healthy and balanced body. I’ve coached people through some incredible health transformations. And the best part is — you don’t have to sacrifice good-tasting food!
Next, is take regular walks. We live by the coast, so we always walk the beach, our neighborhood or through a park. Walking really does impact (almost) your entire body. And if you activate your arms too, you’re totally covered! The best thing to do is focus on and feel each of your sections of muscles working. Tighten your stomach, flex your glutes, find a slight incline to work your calves and ankles, keep your chest up and shoulders back and feel your lats move as your arms move. And move with purpose! A stroll is great for relaxation and peace, but if you want to maintain your physical wellbeing, the best thing you can do is give your body a walk with some enthusiasm.
And lastly, practice yoga. I got into yoga about five years ago, and the most interesting thing happened — each time I laid on the floor in Savasana at the end of class, I would start crying. Warm tears rolled down my cheeks — and not sad tears, but cleansing healing tears. I wanted to explore this sensation more and deepen my yoga practice so I decided to sign up for a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. That nine-week experience was truly life changing. This is such an incredible way to both retain your flexibility — or get it back — and listen to your body’s needs. I highly recommend anyone who wants to become more spiritual and deeply connected with their physical body to practice regularly or go through a yoga teacher training course!
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are some great ways to begin to integrate it into our lives?
This is my favorite topic! But first a story — I have had quite a transformation with my health over the last three years and a big part of it was centered around healthy eating. This transformation is the foundation of my business and a key driver in my entrepreneurial success.
I thought I was healthy before, but I realize now that I really didn’t have a clue. Funny how that works out. For years, I struggled with severe anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, digestion issues, bloating, eczema, unidentifiable rashes and other physical side effects. Pro tip: these things are not normal!
I decided to go to the holistic route and figure out what was going on. I got professional guidance and it was the beginning of a new me. I realized so many of my issues could be solved through prioritizing my gut health. So that’s exactly what I did.
It all started for me August of 2018. The main thing was going more plant based and cutting out empty carbs like bread, chips and meaningless snacks that had zero nutritional value. I also stopped eating late at night for comfort or out of boredom, and stopped pouring myself a glass or two of wine every night. I got a health coach and began with eliminating foods that are inflammatory, addictive, allergenic and acidic from my regular diet for a strict 30 days to give myself a reset. I cut out dairy, soy, gluten, coffee, alcohol, corn, potatoes, vinegar, peanuts, bad oils and artificial sweeteners. From there (after the 30 days) I slowly introduced things back in one by one and adopted what I call a 80–20 lifestyle where 80% of the time I was making clean choices and 20% of the time I was allowing myself to have a treat.
I learned that I am absolutely lactose intolerant and cannot eat gluten. I also learned that when I consume soy I get really bad body odor for a day or two after (TMI?! You’ll learn I always keep it real!). All of these were really interesting discoveries.
My biggest advice to someone wanting to be healthier is to focus on eating whole foods — aka not man-made foods or “food-like substances” like Doritos, Gushers, Lunchables, white bread, etc. Focus on colorful plants, lots of greens, healthy fats like avocados and nut butters, and quality sources of protein. I recommend eating organic, pasture raised and grass fed whenever you can.
Don’t think of organic as “more expensive.” Your health is an INVESTMENT, not an EXPENSE. I recommend drinking a gallon of water a day. I could go on and on about water and the importance of drinking high quality water. We drink 9.5 PH Living Water from our Kangen water machine and I highly recommend it. I have a very knowledgeable friend if you need a resource.
One of the biggest learning curves through this whole process was learning how to read nutrition labels and which ingredients to always stay away from. Even things that seem innocent or harmless like canola oil or vegetable oil are inflammatory. I sought gluten free and vegan labels, and was pleasantly surprised to find vegan ice creams and cream cheese that are delicious!
Once I absorbed all of this information, I made it a habit to not eat after 7 p.m. and intermittently fast 2–3 times per week — meaning, I would not have my first meal of the day until about 12 or 14 hours after dinner the night before. Men’s bodies can typically go a little longer than women’s so therefore I’d recommend fasting 16 hours 2–3 times a week.
Also, a lot of this is about a mindset shift. Think of changing a “cheat day” to a “treat day.” My own health transformation was the starting point to launching my health and wellness business. It’s one of my greatest passions to show people how to fuel their body with foods that nourish and benefit them. It’s really rewarding to see people have a complete physical, mental and spiritual awakening from learning how to get healthy from the inside — gut health is everything! If you want to learn more, check out www.sandyandwade.com
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
The three good habits for optimum emotional wellbeing I have to share are truly some of my favorite daily activities. First, listen to music every day. Music is such a healing source of energy for our souls that lets us mentally escape and enjoy.
Next is write handwritten thank you and “thinking of you” cards to loved ones regularly. Tell them why you love them and how they’ve impacted your life. How nice to get something in the mail other than a bill, right? Be that light for your family and friends, and get in the healthy habit of writing notes for no apparent reason. Regularly celebrating the positivity in your life will help keep your spirits up and that goodness will come back to you!
Lastly, get the therapist / journal it out / phone the friend / whatever it is, talk about the things on your heart openly and freely. It’s healing to get it out and to not keep things bottled up. Get in the habit of being more open, and although being expressive can make you feel very vulnerable, it can also greatly contribute to an overall positive emotional wellbeing.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellbeing? We’d love to hear it.
Ahhh I love smiling! I’m no scientist, though I believe smiling is not only a mood booster, but can help your body release endorphins and happy hormones — meaning, it definitely has the power to improve your overall wellbeing. Smiling is such a beautiful universal language we can share with people all around the world, regardless of what language we speak. I’ve traveled a lot in my life and always admired how — no matter what country I’m in — if I smile at someone, it’s always been well received and usually returned. How good does it feel to smile at a stranger and get a smile back!? I think the world would be a better place if we all start smiling at each other more!
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
This is another favorite focus of mine. I teach all my clients to first, meditate daily. If mediation is not your jam, then seek quiet time whether it’s for silence, devotion, prayer, remembrance, or anything that suits you. It doesn’t matter the topic as long as you can focus on it for 5–20 minutes each morning — it is crucial.
Second, keep a gratitude journal. I recommend writing a paragraph or so each day to celebrate your own life. It’s important to do this in complete thoughts and sentences instead of jotting down bullet notes and lists. I recommend free flowing because it not only makes it easier, but captures your entire thought.
Lastly, practice affirmations daily. I coach each of my clients to speak love over yourself and I literally mean SPEAK them out loud. Every single morning I have a series of “I am” statements I came up with that make me feel empowered. It feels funny at first, but you’ll appreciate it afterwards. This is how I do it — I get into a power stance in front of my mirror and I say them with feeling and emotion. Some samples are “I am grateful for where I am,” and “I am using my gifts every day,” and “I am attracting happy people into my life and business,” and “I am building a lasting legacy for future generations to come,” and “I am walking in my purpose,” and “I am a wonderful wife to Wadeo” and “I am the ordinary girl that decided to go for it.” You can hear more about this on episode 4 on our podcast Getting Magnetic with Sandy & Wade called “Own Your Morning, Own Your Day, Own Your Life!”
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate overall wellbeing?
I think being in nature is extremely healing and essential to our overall wellbeing. It’s very grounding to take your shoes off and have your feet feel the earth beneath you. I believe feeling your feet connect with the soil and breathing in fresh air is truly cleansing. I teach that whenever you’re in an “off” mindset or feeling like you need answers, you can get outside, do a beach walk if you live near the coast or watch the sunset — it always gives me a good reset. I believe Mother Nature is always a good idea.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My mission is to empower and inspire others to believe in themselves and go for their dreams, whatever those may be!
I am grateful to say I already have created a decent-sized movement as a network marketing professional. The best part is I’m only a couple years in so I’m just getting started! And I will humbly continue on this path because I know there’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’m excited about that.
I am purposeful about showing others how to step into their greatness via my business. My “yes” to prioritizing my health back in August 2018 has already inspired tens of thousands of people to make a change too. Once I had the shift in my health and mindset, PASSION TOOK OVER and I decided to go ALL IN on the business to teach others how to do what I did. I am eternally thankful I was introduced to network marketing and this business model because I don’t know another way an ordinary girl like me could have had such an extraordinary impact.
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, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Wow there are so many people I admire and would love to have a private meal with! My gut answer is Glennon Doyle, because her book “Untamed” moved me. Reading it I felt like we could be real great friends too. I actually have a picture of her on my vision board, because I been manifesting the chance to have her and her wife Abby over for dinner soon 🙂
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I would LOVE to connect! Instagram is probably the best way to stay in touch. My handle is @sandyclaus7, I welcome a message from anyone! We can also connect on our website www.sandyandwade.com. Another easy way to follow us in on our podcast Getting Magnetic with Sandy & Wadeon Apple Podcasts.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.