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At Casa de Suna, we value mental health every day of the year.

However, during this festive season and in celebration of the holidays, our focus remains on the well-being of our readers. So, we’ve consulted an expert to ensure you have all the resources you need to maintain a positive mindset and enjoy the celebrations, no matter what the holidays bring.

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Michelle Velan, founder of mental health platform Wondersource, who will be regularly sharing tips with our readers. We spoke to Michelle to find out what motivated her to found Wondersource, what’s next for the platform, and what readers can do right now to feel calmer.

Michelle Velan Wondersource Founder

Question 01

How did Wondersource come about?

Before Wondersource, I was working in high-stress startup roles. Typically, I’m quite a good sleeper, but I came down with a terrible bout of insomnia. I practice Transcendental Meditation, and I am typically quite mindful about my well-being and I could tell there was something more to it. I’d describe the way I felt as “wi-ti”–wired, but tired.

I started to dig deep in order to figure out what was going on, which is how I came across Functional Medicine. Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease and helping people optimise their health. that focuses on getting to the root cause of health issues, instead of treating the symptoms.

So, I found a practitioner, who ran some tests on me and informed me that my cortisol (the stress hormone) was completely off-balance. I had been doing things I thought were healthy that were actually raising my stress levels and leaving me totally imbalanced.

My practitioner put me on a protocol which emphasized slowing down. Gentle movement instead of high-intensity workout classes, spending time in nature, focusing on gut health. Within 10 days, I was sleeping through the night.

So, long story short: that experience taught me that there’s so much about our health that we don’t learn in school. For example, we don’t learn about the power of acknowledging our emotions as they come up and labelling them or how to manage stress through tools like breathwork, meditation or tapping for instance.

Mental health and physical health aren’t discussed in tandem enough. Too often, when you’re dealing with anxiety, you’re told to go to a therapist (which, by the way, is an amazing tool and highly useful for many people), but lots of people are also served by going deeper or using other modalities like somatic work to help process emotions and stored trauma.

I created Wondersource in order to help bridge that gap. If I could manage myself and get out of fight-or-flight mode in my day-to-day life, I knew others could, too.

Question 02

What did the process of starting Wondersource look like? There’s a bit of irony in founding a mental health startup – because being a founder is so stressful!

Well, there’s something to be said for the fact that, often, burnout is caused by not listening to your intuition. My intuition was telling me to channel my passion for supporting people with their mental health into something real, and that gave me the push I needed to move forward. For many people it could be ignoring your intuition to set boundaries or to give yourself more time for rest and things they enjoy.

I launched Wondersource as a B2C marketplace: people could go online and connect with mindfulness coaches, business coaches, and functional medicine practitioners.

Question 03

What does Wondersource look like today?

We shifted our business to focus on corporate offerings, meaning we help employees and teams. Why? Employees are stressed out, and we wanted to create a valuable and accessible way for employees and teams to manage their mental health.

We offer education, group coaching, and master classes led by psychology professionals, functional medicine practitioners and coaches. We also do executive coaching with managers on leadership and stress management and facilitate workshops, both one-offs and packages.

We’re also working on revamping our website to make it a comprehensive resource featuring guided meditations, tapping, yoga, and more.

Question 04

What are some things that everyone should be doing for their mental health?

Don’t be afraid to ask yourself empowering questions regularly. I love asking myself how I can take the pressure off myself and make each day fun. I also think it’s crucial to retrain your brain to look at everything from a lens of gratitude.

I’ve also meditated for 20 years. I’m in charge of my day when I meditate, as opposed to feeling like I’m trying to keep up. I also love tapping, or EFT, which helps you let go of the limiting beliefs that hold you back from being your best self.

And, of course, prioritize sleep: it’s the key component for mental health.

Question 05

What are some things a stressed-out reader can do right now, no matter where they are?

Everyone is different, so it’s important to experiment, but here are a few things you can do pretty much anywhere:

  1. 4-7-8 breathwork. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds. Repeat five times, three times a day or as often as you like as it will benefit for your system. This is called diaphragmatic breathing and it’s been scientifically proven to relax the body.
  2. Put on music and dance for a few minutes before an important meeting. It’ll loosen you up!
    Go for a walk in nature, even if the walk is 5 minutes, and “nature” is a patch of grass near your apartment. Everything counts!

Question 06

How can people learn more about Wondersource?

We’re in the process of rebranding but stay tuned for the new site! Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates, check out our resource library, and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn to learn about our events, which are open to the public.

Did you follow any of Michelle’s mental health tips? If so, tag us on social media using #casadesuna

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