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Bianca Elliott: a conversation on mental health, healing and mindfulness

Bianca Elliott: a conversation on mental health, healing and mindfulness

This week, we got to chat with Bianca about dealing with anxiety, mindfulness and the difficulties of healing. Make sure to check out her wellness account!

JL: Let’s start with your personal journey and your story of how you found your calling as a healer.

BE: I struggled with anxiety for most of my life. As a toddler I’d scream anxiously from my bedroom at night, working myself into a flurry of panicked tears on a regular basis. Even sleep wasn’t a reprieve for me, as I was plagued by night terrors into my teens. 

After my parents divorced when I was in elementary school, I started exploring the many self-help and spiritual books in my mom’s library. Mom also introduced me and my sister to meditation. Crystals were commonplace in our home, and any physical ailments we had were given affirmations from Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life.  

Mom’s divorce had been her catalyst for self-discovery, and it had also been the portal to mine. Growing up around a mom who was actively healing herself taught me that we all have the power — and responsibility — to heal ourselves. 

And still, even with all those resources in front of me, I had lessons I needed to learn the hard way. 

In middle school, I struggled with social anxiety, which led to depression. I felt ashamed of all the ways I perceived myself to be different from others, including my quiet nature and high sensitivity. I loathed that I couldn’t relax around others because I was petrified of being judged. 

By the time I was in university, I was so desperate to control and shape myself into the person I thought I should be that I developed an eating disorder that made me sick on every level — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I kicked my soul out of my body and turned myself into a walking calculator. I became addicted to inputs and outputs, and the obsession over my body left me numb. Tuned out. Empty.

The road to healing was long, hard, and the most rewarding journey of my life. 

Recovery is complicated and nuanced, but my biggest takeaway was this: we cannot become healthy, strong, and fully alive until we love, accept, and value ourselves — our whole selves, shadows and all.

My 20s and early 30s brimmed with opportunities to practice self-love, self-acceptance, and spiritual discovery through wonderful times and heartbreaking ones. My greatest teachers turned out to be my romantic partners, as my sense of lovability and worthiness was at the root of the healing I still needed to do.

While we ultimately need to do our own healing, there are endless tools, resources, experts, and healing medicines that can support us in our journey to loving wholeness. Many of my favourites are spiritual in nature, including Reiki, chakra healing, tarot and oracle cards, meditation, channeling through writing, and asking the Universe for signs. 

I believe our struggles cultivate our empathy, and in retrospect, I know that everything hard I went through transformed me into the compassionate healer I am today. By no means do I think my lessons are over, and I’m sure I still have lots to learn the hard way, but I’m no longer afraid of the hard stuff. I’m no longer afraid because I trust myself completely. I have fallen repeatedly and risen each time. As a result, I know I am strong, resilient, and capable of healing. I know I can get through anything with love, patience, and kindness. And now I want others to find that knowing within themselves, too. 

JL: Thank you so much for sharing that! When it comes to finding calm and grounding, what do you practice?

BE: Part of my introverted nature means that I find peace in being alone. My personal fast-track to calm is going to a quiet place with a journal, a candle, some calming essential oils (I love Velvet by Vitruvi), a few crystals, and writing until I feel clear, peaceful, “awake,” and confident.

JL: I love that! Can you talk to us about crystals and the different powers they exude?

BE: I have a big crystal collection and love them all. I believe they have spiritual healing properties, but whether you believe that or not, setting intentions with crystals has benefits for even the greatest skeptics. 

A few years ago, on a day when I needed a particularly high dose of courage, I put a smooth, red Carnelian in my pocket. Every time I started to chicken out of speaking my truth, I put my hand in my pocket, touched the stone, and said the words anyway. Did the stone really give me bravery, or did it just serve to remind me of the bravery that was already within myself? More importantly, does it matter?

Some of my favourite crystals: 

Amethyst – For relaxation, calm, peaceful sleep, and enhancing intuition

Clear Quartz – To cleanse, heal, set intentions, and boost the energy of other stones

Smokey Quartz – For grounding, absorbing negative energies, and shifting to positivity 

Rose Quartz – For self-love, harmony, and opening the heart 

Labradorite – For intuition, empathic protection, and accessing higher consciousness 

Fluorite – For confidence, grounding, and to enhance learning 

Sunstone – To relieve stress, increase confidence, and access the light within

Tiger’s Eye – For luck and manifesting dreams

JL: What types of healing practices do you do at home?

BE: I practice Reiki, read oracle and tarot cards, meditate, work with moon cycles (releasing on the full moon, and manifesting with the new moon), vision board, walk barefoot outdoors (earthing), forest bathe, work with crystals, and communicate with the Universe, spirit guides, and my own inner wisdom/soul through writing.

JL: I love that you incorporate those practices in your home. Can you walk us through your morning routine?

BE: My mornings are best when I immediately take alone-time to “freewrite” or read something soulful. That’s not always easy since my husband is usually up before dawn and my youngest step-daughter is an early riser too, but I do my best to find quiet, slow, and meaningful me-time before the responsibilities of the day kick in. 

As a new stepmom, I used to have a lot of guilt around taking time for myself, but I’ve now realized that taking solo time charges my spiritual battery and allows me to show up with much more patience, love, compassion, and playfulness. Giving myself that time first thing in the morning has been not only an essential gift to myself, but to my family, too.

JL: I can’t agree with you more on the time needed to fill your own cup up. It’s also quite challenging for everyone right now.What is the energy you’re feeling in the world right now? How has this shifted since the beginning of 2020?

BE: The whole world has been shaken up by COVID-19. I also believe millions of people are being shaken awake. 

I believe that in times of discomfort, we have a choice: we can try to escape our feelings by tuning out with distractions (alcohol, social media, TV, etc.), or dive straight into them and use them as a gateway to our truth. Right now, we’re seeing people do both, and I believe that those who are leaning into their deepest depths are becoming exponentially more conscious, compassionate, and kind.

Another big energy I’ve been feeling relates to our interconnectedness. No matter what country you’re in, what your age or gender or political views, no matter your socioeconomic status, you have been impacted by COVID-19. Obviously there is still a huge disparity in how different groups are affected, but it is making us aware of our precious humanness. 

Far away from where I am writing this in California, on the other side of our planet, a microscopic virus sent a ripple through the world. What started with one person has now spread to touch, directly or indirectly, every single person on Earth. This coronavirus has been a great equalizer, and also a tangible representation of our interconnectedness. 

It reminds me how much each of us matters, and that one person truly can touch the whole world. Unfortunately, in this instance, we see a more negative example of that, but imagine the positive ripples each one of us might be capable of. 

JL: Thanks for sharing that. What do you prescribe to our community when it comes to bringing in positive energy in their own homes?

BE: Right now, after weeks of staying home, many of us are feeling stagnant, stuck, or even claustrophobic. 

An easy way to help break up those feelings is to allow fresh air to circulate through your home. Opening all your windows at least once a day is an easy cleansing practice. It lets fresh air in, and stagnant air out. 

Another way to cleanse the air in your home is by diffusing essential oils. I’m drawn to fresh and woodsy scents that help me feel connected to the outdoors. I also love scents that remind me of the peaceful temples in Bali. My go-to essential oil combos are Vitruvi’s Lavender + Rosemary, Grapefruit + Spruce, and Eucalyptus + Cedarwood. For spiritual rituals, I diffuse Frankincense or burn Woodlot’s Palo Santo. 

Crystals are another great way to bring positive energy into your home. If you’re just starting out with crystals, I suggest going to a crystal shop and taking time to browse and notice what you’re drawn to, and then looking up their meaning. Since we can’t go to shops at the moment, you could try an online tool like the Crystal Test by Energy Muse to see what you’re intuitively drawn to. 

JL: Thank you!