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Women In Wellness: Gardith Edouard Of Affirm Candle On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Your story has power; share it. My own healing started when I began to talk about my trauma with others. I often felt that I was the only one suffering while others were living their best life. Everyone is a trauma victim; it’s our response to trauma that makes us different.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gardith Edouard.

Gardith is a scientist and teacher located in Philadelphia, PA. She created Affirm Candle to raise awareness about trauma, mental health, and holistic healing methods in her community. All of her products are vegan, cruelty-free, and Earth-honoring as she uses recyclable materials and makes most of her materials herself.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I am trained as a scientist and teacher. However, all of the knowledge that I have proved to be futile in 2010 when I experienced immense loss and trauma. That year, I lost my best friend and 4 members of my family died in the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti. As a result, I was diagnosed with PTSD and really had to take ownership of my own healing. Little did I know that as a Black woman, I am predisposed to developing PTSD because all Black people retained the trauma from the Transatlantic slave trade in our DNA. Throughout my healing journey, I’ve learned a lot of information and skills. Western medicine did little in helping to heal my trauma. Thus, I had to turn to naturopathy and other forms of holistic medicine throughout my journey. I am grateful that I am finally at a place where I get to share the resources that have helped me heal with the rest of the world. Aromatherapy is one of them.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

I currently teach biology at a high school in Philadelphia. I’ve taught meditation to adults but didn’t really think about teaching it to my students. However, one day, I decided that instead of detention after school, we would meditate instead. After detention, one of my students went home and told a parent I ‘hypnotized’ him so he would never misbehave again. He enjoyed and benefited from meditation so much that he thought he’d been hypnotized. I had to explain to the parent that I am an actual meditation teacher and I use aromatherapy and meditation to help kids. I work with some of the most challenging students according to our society’s norms and standards. The teachable moment for me is that our students, our kids need healing too. What might be perceived as a child misbehaving could simply be a child who needs a reset. We need to find a way to include our kids in our healing trauma discourses.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My biggest mistake was assuming that my reach would simply be local. I have folks ordering my products from all over the world! What I’ve learned from this experience is to never sell yourself short. When you have a good product, be confident and take risks.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Every human being on this planet has experienced trauma. What differs between individuals is the way they respond to trauma. Trauma can lead to anxiety, memory loss, physical pain, depression, and much more. The point is if we don’t practice self-care and begin to heal, our bodies will eventually show the negative effects of our traumas. I want to normalize talking about traumas so that we can heal from them. I’ve tried a lot of resources and spent a lot of money on healing myself. What was shocking to me is that I could’ve healed on my own if I were given the right tools earlier on in life. When it comes to healing trauma, the little things make a huge difference. For example, infusing aromatherapy into my day would immediately change my mindset and mood. Coupling aromatherapy with affirmations daily has been a game-changer for me. I no longer have trouble sleeping and now know how to listen to my body for when I need a reset. Meditation, aromatherapy, and affirmations, are all free resources that do indeed heal trauma.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Meditation: Science shows that meditation not only slows aging but literally helps decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, mind-wandering, etc. People benefit from the positive effects of meditation 3 years post meditating. Meditation has been proven to even help our body’s cells who are showing signs of cancer to commit suicide, known as apoptosis.
  2. Aromatherapy: Essential oils are undervalued in western society. Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts in the form of essential oils to promote health and well-being. Aromatherapy enhances both physical and emotional health.
  3. Affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements that you say to yourself over and over again. Just as physical exercise improves our physical health, mental exercises in the form of affirmations improve our mental health and well-being. In addition, the law of manifestation tells us that what we think, say, and put out into the universe can in fact become our reality. Practicing self-love in the form of affirmations is therefore worthwhile from every angle you look at it.
  4. Locus of control: Your locus of control is your perception of the causes of the events that have taken place in your life. Research shows that one’s perception of their locus of control can either be external; believing that other forces control your destiny, or internal; believing that you shape your own destiny. People with a high internal locus of control, as opposed to an external locus of control, are less likely to conform to society’s ideals and expectations of them. These individuals are happier, manifest exactly what they perceive for their lives, and are highly self-aware and successful. It’s commonplace to often want to please others and succumb to their expectations of us. However, focus more on what YOU can do in manifesting what YOU want for YOUR life. If something is not within your internal locus of control, let it go…
  5. Physical activity: We live in a society where ‘working and hustling’ are revered as opposed to relaxing and making time to reset and heal. Few people take time to take in the gifts that the Universe has granted us in the form of the Earth. Everything you need to heal both physically and mentally is within your reach. Nature walks and breathing in fresh air is as healing if not more than pharmaceutical drugs. Physics tells us that it’s very hard to stop a body that’s already in motion. If the only thing you can do for yourself in one day is a 15-minute walk or bike ride, then do it! Your body and brain will thank you!

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would impose 15 minutes a day of mandatory meditation using either aromatherapy or sound therapy on every human being. 15 minutes a day of meditation not only benefits our mental health but our physical health as well. The data for this is very compelling.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Your story has power; share it. My own healing started when I began to talk about my trauma with others. I often felt that I was the only one suffering while others were living their best life. Everyone is a trauma victim; it’s our response to trauma that makes us different.
  2. Healing is both your right and your responsibility. Some folks spend a lot of time on their traumas without looking for solutions. I want us to of course spend time sharing our trauma stories. However, the bulk of that discourse needs to focus on healing practices. When you shift the discourse to healing, you are claiming back your power and taking your story into your hands.
  3. Your trauma is not your fault. Everyone is a trauma victim. This world has both good and bad people. Sometimes, the worst things happen to the best people. You weren’t singled out and targeted to be victimized. That’s why is very important to focus on healing and reclaiming your power.
  4. Mindfulness works. Wherever you are in your healing journey, talk to a therapist, and practice meditation, and other mindfulness techniques. Trauma literally silences part of our brain that only meditation and mindfulness can revive.
  5. An apple and candle a day will definitely keep the doctors away. When in doubt, eat healthily and exercise. Food plays a big role in our brain’s responses to stress and trauma. Exercise literally helps us release happy hormones. We live in a society that constantly exposes us to trauma and triggers our unfavorable memories. Healing and mindfulness thus need to be inserted into our daily lives. Carve out at least 30 minutes for just you and your body. You more than earned it!

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is dearest to me as I have been both patient and provider. In my own community, there is so much shame about mental illness which has prevented many folks from talking about it. Even seeking help is taboo. My goal is to de-stigmatize mental health conversations in my community and this country. I have chosen to be transparent about my own struggles, story, and healing with the hope of motivating more people to come forward, share their experiences, and begin their own healing.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can find me on the following platforms:

www.affirmcandle.com

Instagram

Facebook

Tiktok

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Thank you for the opportunity!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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