Grief as a Pathway to Unbridled Living

Jennifer Aldrich is an Iowa native and a mother of three. Her journey to becoming an Unbridled Woman is filled with loss, grief, and an almost empty nest. She's truly an inspiration for those who are feeling stuck in the cycle of depression and loss.

For those who may be unfamiliar, Unbridled Retreats was founded by Devon Combs. It is a women's wellness retreat aimed at helping women rediscover joy, find clarity, and gain the courage to take their next steps in life. The Unbridled Retreat is devoted to reconnecting women to their authentic selves with the help of horses, nature, and supportive women. Many attendees sign up for Unbridled Retreats because they feel stuck and seek a positive change in their lives. The difference with Jen is she never actually signed up for Unbridled Retreats, or had even heard of it before being signed up.

Jennifer Aldrich in horse stall with pitchfork

Jen's Story

Five years before attending the Unbridled Retreat, Jen describes her life as feeling like "an absolute shit show." She was struggling with intense grief and depression from the loss of her father and a painful and unexpected divorce. She found herself stuck in an endless cycle of depression, and after trying everything to get out of it, she still felt trapped.

Jen's mom saw her deep sadness and how she struggled day-to-day with the pain and loss she had experienced. Finally, after searching for options, her mother found one that included her love of horses; a love that started when she was a child and her father bought her her first horse. Although Jen had been volunteering with horses since her father passed away, she still had not been able to get rid of the dark cloud that hung over her.

When her mother stumbled upon Unbridled Retreats, she immediately purchased a retreat spot for Jen as a gift, telling her firmly "you're going - you need to do this."

Jen could not be more grateful for her mother's insight and intuition, and also believes her father for guiding her towards the retreat. "I think there was some divine intervention from my dad from the sky," she explains. "He had to have looked down like, 'Oh my god, girl, you cannot continue to be this sad. We've got to figure this out for you.'"

This divine intervention came in the form of her not being able to attend the retreat the weekend her mother had initially chosen. She switched to a retreat at Sylvan Dale Ranch in Colorado, a change that was absolutely kismet. By changing to this retreat, she got the chance to connect with our very own Jennifer Beck - the founder of Jihi - and developed strong bonds and friendships with the women in their group.

Jennifer Aldrich in stable with horse

Jen and Jen pairing up was divine intervention. Today, Jen Aldrich is a fantastic brand ambassador for Jihi. She loves the products, and finds them to be an essential part of her self-care routine.

"I happened to get lucky enough to go to a retreat that Jen [Beck] was at, which was so cool, and she gave us little gift bags. So I took it home, and then I just started using Petal Milk, and I was like, Oh wow, this stuff is the real deal. It didn't feel harsh, and my skin glowed up. I was super pleasantly surprised because I've been one to research and try everything for skincare. I was always looking for the best products for wrinkles or sun damage. And then, I started using Jihi's Petal Milk.

I just started using Petal Milk, and I was like, Oh wow, this stuff is the real deal. It didn't feel harsh, and my skin glowed up.

Jennifer Aldrich holding up a bottle of Jihi Petal Milk

I also love Merrimint, which helps with my aches and pains from working four mornings a week at a farm. It's really cooling, it's got a nice smell, and it feels good when you rub it in. My hands were super sore from holding on to a horse poop scoop, so I would come home at night and rub it into my joints, and it made a world of difference."

Self-Care Over the Years

Jen's self-care routine has evolved as her body and needs have evolved. "My self-care has changed over the years. I could go through my self-care routines of my 20s, 30s, 40s, and now 50s. Today, I would say that self-care is about being intentional and trying to be in the now. I can ground myself when stressors arise, versus in my thirties when self-care to me was my three small children and the chance to get away for a day or two for some me-time.

Today, I would say that self-care is about being intentional and trying to be in the now.

Today self-care is about eating healthy, but not being hard on myself. If I eat something that I want to eat, it's about taking care of my body and exercising. It's about drinking enough water, and using Jihi Petal Milk. It's about surrounding myself with people that lift me up and being okay if I have to let go of some relationships that didn't do that, and it's changed a lot, but it's full circle now."

Jennifer Aldrich smiling with horse

Being an Unbridled Woman

"For me personally, being an Unbridled Woman is about finding joy again in my life and trying to hold on to that feeling, the power that came from it, the love, and the learning about myself through other people's eyes and through my own eyes." Jen's next goal is to work with Devon as a Certified Unbridled Retreat Coach. She hopes to bring Unbridled Retreats to Iowa and share the empowering message of Unbridled Retreats and help other women get unstuck.

Jen admits she still struggles with her anxieties, and there are often triggers in her day-to-day life to bring her back to the grief and pain, but she now has the tools and self-care rituals to help her get through those moments. Sounds to us like she's found the keys to self-centered wellness - and we will always be here to support her in her journey.