Kelsey Payne loves spending quality time outside with her husband and children. It clears her mind and changes her attitude to get away from the stress of life.
Payne and her husband, Anthony, discovered the 1000 Hours Outside challenge in December 2020 through friends. The online-based, global community encourages families to spend less time in front of a computer and more time together exploring nature.
“Even if we don’t go anywhere, I still send them in the backyard, and it’s like an automatic reset,” says Payne, whose family lives on Fort Bragg. “My husband and I have talked about how we are raising ‘look at the moon’ kids. They find feathers, point out spider webs and get excited about flipping a log to see what’s underneath. It’s important to us for them to be curious and keep a sense of wonder in a world full of instant gratification.”
She says that even 15 minutes makes a difference in their overall well-being.
That kind of holistic approach to health and well-being is based on the idea that being healthy is a matter of mind, body and spirit. To be healthy means to be happy and to take care of physical needs, mental anxiety and emotional worries.
Leslie Pearson brought the same holistic approach when she opened Curate Essentials, an herbal apothecary at 1302 Fort Bragg Road. She wanted to help others take a similar path to health and wellness.
Her shop in Haymount blends herbal teas, concentrated herbal extracts called tinctures, essential oils, balms, salves and massage oils all in an effort to focus on the whole body.
“Our apothecary is all about preventative medicine and overall holistic living,” says Pearson.
She makes natural bath and body products, homemade balms and salves, elderberry syrup — even an elixir for coughs and colds.
“One thing that really sets us apart is we use the herbs from our gardens at the shop or our house and we assemble what I call functional tea blends,” Pearson says. “They are composed of various herbs to remedy whatever is ailing someone. For example, I have female customers who are 40-plus who come in saying they are exhausted and need a restart. What I discovered is they need a lymphatic detox, which helps clean out your system. Then, they can go to energy and stamina teas.”
Pearson also has tea remedies for allergy and cough relief, arthritis, chemotherapy support, fertility infusion, hangover relief, immunity boosts, lactation boosts, stress and anxiety, and virility, among other conditions. She sells teacups, strainers and other accessories you might need, including travel cups, beet root sugar and honey.
She said her functional tea blends can be thought of as medicine to be taken daily.
“Herbs are medicine. And if you think of it like medicine, you have to give it time to make it work. Drink it daily; give it a week to work,” says Pearson.
She has expanded to offer a mommy-and-me line with all-natural approaches to baby care, fertility and lactation. There are homemade soaps, soy wax melts, herbal salt blends and art pieces that line the walls of her shop. The balms and salves are for healing hands, stings, itching and eczema, as well as a sore muscle rub affectionally called the “pain stick.”
“Just in general, our idea is everything you are surrounding yourself with in your home, if it’s healthy and natural and homemade, it puts your health in the direction your body should be headed in. All are custom-made with an herbs-and-oils infusion process. It’s a working apothecary,” says Pearson, who is pursuing a 36-month certification in herbal medicine to learn even more about healing therapies.
Pearson says she and her staff can create custom blends and work with customers to identify products that work for them.
The reset button
At Fayetteville Wellness Center, relief from physical pain and mental stress is about more than the right medication.
The center, which has been open for five years in downtown Fayetteville, specializes in chronic pain and stress relief through therapies such as flotation, massage, extreme cold, compression and a vibrating chair.
“Our services help people live more stress-free and more pain-free. We offer an alternative to pain medication and anti-anxiety medications,” says owner Nicole Littell.
Littell says that floating allows a client to feel relief from pain because the density of the water makes a near-zero-gravity environment that allows muscles to relax, joints to loosen and the spine to create space.
In terms of stress relief, it is a way to almost shortcut into a deep meditative state because the therapy in its purest form is without lights or sound. Littell says the tank is regulated so that the air and water are heated to skin temperature, which allows the client to relax further.
“When you combine the nearest zero-gravity environment with all of the blocked external stimuli, you get a very unique therapy. It is almost like a deep reset button for the body and mind,” says Littell.
Fayetteville Wellness Center also carries self-care items with custom salt scrubs, salt soaks, body butters and muscle rubs.
“We see people from all walks of life, and the one thing that everyone has in common is that they are stressed out and in pain. Often, they put themselves last on their to-do list, and they are always taking care of everyone else instead of themselves,” says Littell.
Dr. Faye Knauss, a clinical and health psychologist with a private practice in Fayetteville, says holistic approaches are popular largely because there is now scientific evidence of how interconnected mind, body and spirit are.
“More specifically for psychology, we know that our emotional health is directly related to our physical health. It is well known that if good health and quality of life are the goals, we must address — and not neglect — all these various aspects of ourselves. We are a whole being with physical, psychological and spiritual aspects all relevant for our quality of life,” says Knauss.
One of the most important benefits of therapy is working toward a greater self by talking about yourself and discovering more about yourself.
“Therapy can be used to resolve past issues that continue to impact one’s life in the present, such as how to deal with trauma or how to manage relationships more effectively,” Knauss says. “We can treat current psychological states like depression or anxiety or simply work to fine-tune aspects of oneself and life in order to enhance well-being.”
For people seeking a therapist, Knauss advises they go with their instincts.
“You have to be comfortable working with the space and the person you are working with,” she says. “It’s a gut thing. You will know if it’s a good fit right away.”
Take it outside
For Kelsey and Anthony Payne, who have lived at Fort Bragg for more than six years, finding favorite areas around Fayetteville to spend time outside with their children is all-important.
The 1000 Hours Outside challenge offers them strategies to “replace screen time with green time.”
“If you want your child to thrive academically, socially, emotionally and physically, you have to build time into your life to spend outdoors,” the challenge website says.
The Paynes, who are originally from Oklahoma, have four children: Finn, 10; Owen, 8; Arlo, 4; and Nora, 2.
The challenge is measured through tracking hours they spend outside with charts and other methods. Noting that the average child spends 1,200 hours a year in front of a computer or TV screen, the challenge encourages each child to spend 1,000 hours a year outdoors.
“I’m very low-tech with our way of tracking,” says Kelsey Payne. “It’s a good old pencil and my planner. I just jot down our hours for the day and add them up at the end of the month. The number of hours is always inspiring, but at the end of some lower-hour months, I am inspired to get more the next month. It’s not anything I stress over.
“My husband and I have always loved the outdoors, and everywhere we have lived we have had outdoor hobbies related to the area. Since moving to Fayetteville area, my husband has taken up fishing again along with mountain bike riding with our older boys,” says Payne.
Other favorite outdoor pursuits include camping and fishing at Jordan Lake; day trips with the boat to Harris Lake County Park in Wake County; Cape Fear Botanical Garden; Carvers Creek State Park; Woodpeckers games; trails at Smith Lake; and pretty much any playground around.
“There have been some months I have created mini-challenges like an hour outside before noon every day or one meal outside every day,” Payne says. “This year, we made some outdoor-specific bucket-list items including a cave visit, playing in the snow and camping 10 nights. We actually started off 2022 by waking up in our tent after spending New Year’s Eve at Smith Lake campgrounds. That was a very fun way to spend New Year’s Eve and something I probably would not have thought about without the 1000 Hours Outside challenge.”
Payne says she has noticed that her attitude improves the more her family spends time outside.
“When we are outside, we are in nature and nature is natural. I notice attitude changes in myself along with my kids when we are outdoors. … I can think clearly. I often meal-plan or write to-do lists outside while the kids are playing. They are young kids with lots of energy, and they are able to release it in a healthy way.
“We sleep better the more time we spend outside. We exercise a lot together as a family — even though the kids just think we are having fun.”