How Susan Spreads Joy from Within: an Inspiring Self-Care Journey

Susan Wambsganss is a Texas native who epitomizes the power of self-centered wellness. Her self-care routine and rituals have helped her to be the best version of herself, which she knows are a gift to her family and the world around her.

Susan hopes that her family emulates this and knows they have to find their happiness first in order to help others. She tries to live a life that can be an example of putting yourself first as they key to spreading joy to those around you.

"Spreading joy is not really things you do or say, but the way and the intention behind what you do and what you say. It’s about living your life well and demonstrating to others how you can live your life well. I'm hoping to show by example. You can't spread happiness to other people if you're not happy yourself. I start with myself and create that joy in myself, and then I give it to the people around me. My hope is, of course, that they, in turn, give it to somebody else."

Horse in stable near woman sitting against fence

On Being an Unbridled Woman

Susan believes that being an Unbridled Woman is the process of deconstructing the walls that have been built, and peeling back layers to rediscover her true self. "It's the freedom to be me. Not the me that people want to see or think I am, but the authentic me who I am really at my core."

She shared with us one of her favorite quotes by Emily McDowell, that truly explains this journey of self re-discovery:

"Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. Finding yourself is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you."

"Self-care is also taking the time to take care of myself and explore who I am underneath all of those layers built up over the last sixty-seven years now." Susan explains. "It's doing belief work with Elisabeth Kristof's Brain-Based Wellness Group, it's going to an Unbridled Retreat. It's also, you know, taking a nice warm bath at night or doing whatever rituals or meditation, anything that feeds you and allows you to process stress.

One of the things I love about both the Unbridled approach and the Brain-Based Wellness Group is the practice of Somatic Meditation. It's all about moving stress and moving those beliefs, moving all that stuff through your body because everything that happens to you lives inside of you. So that's what my self-care has looked like for me over the last several years. I'm getting much better at it than I used to be because, frankly, I sucked at it for a really long time."

Susan Wambsganss sitting in the sun, smiling with her elbow on her knee

On Practicing Self-Care

"The first step in self-care is believing that you are worth caring for. It means doing what you need to do and not just surviving but thriving.

So to make sure that I take care of myself now, I carve out times for both my workout and self-care rituals. And for me, that means putting them on my calendar and I plan around them just like I do any other appointment or event.

Self-care to me also means learning to say no and constructing those boundaries. It's taken me a long time to realize that 'No.' is a complete sentence. You don't owe anyone an explanation. If they want something from you and you say, no, that should suffice."

Jihi Living with Susan

Jihi is an important staple of Susan’s self-care routine. After struggling for nearly 20 years with insomnia, Reverie has become a fundamental part of her nightly ritual.

"I'm a chronic insomniac, and have been for almost 20 years — ever since I first went into pre-menopause," Susan explains. "At one point I went two years of getting two hours of sleep a night or less, and I was exhausted. My doctor ran some tests, and when I came back, she said, "I don't know how you're getting out of bed. You're on the verge of total adrenal failure.

So, I've spent a lot of time and effort trying different things. I don't like prescription sleep medications, I don't want to just knock myself out."

Turns out, Reverie was the missing piece to help her finally get the rest she needed.

"It's a three-legged stool. I was doing my neurology drills at night, and doing my nightly ritual, which was helping, but Reverie was the last piece I needed because I had not been able to find anything that really worked for me for the long term. It just felt like the right amount of everything to help me relax. I don't want to knock myself out. I don't want to have a hangover in the morning. It's really a game-changer for me."

However, Reverie is not the only Jihi product that has made its way into Susan’s nightly ritual. Merrimint is also an important tool to help her relax and get the sleep she needs.

A really close second for me is the Merrimint. It's also part of my nighttime ritual. When Jihi finally restocked just recently, I ordered four of them! I rub it on my neck and my shoulders, and it helps me relax. I'm a very active person and always have been, and I have the body aches and pains that go along with it."

Susan resting on rocks

Susan's advice for those of us who are struggling to find our joy:

"I would encourage people to start with baby steps. You need to find some kind of practice that works for you, that helps you to de-stress, whether it’s meditating, yoga, or going for a walk in nature. What it boils down to is that some form of self-care is necessary. If you're not content, you can't find some way to deal with the stress in your life, it affects everything you do and everyone around you.

I've been around for a few years at this point, and I absolutely believe we each have the ability to make or break someone else's day with a smile or a frown. So that's how I try to spread joy. I'm just trying to be the best version of myself so that I have that to give to the people around me."

We're inspired by Susan's discipline in her pursuit of self-care, and how well she exemplifies that that self-care is a gift for those she loves. Her radical self-love and dedication to commit to the practices that work for her make her glow from the inside out. We are so grateful to have her on the Jihi journey with us.


Photo Credits:

Equine therapy with Unbridled Retreats for Women / all other pictures taken by Brie during a Brain-Based Wellness brainstorm