Hi! There’s a free ebook today in my Freebooksy email that I thought might interest my readers. I haven’t read it yet, but I wanted to share before it’s no longer free. The title is Medicinal Herbs: The Essential Guide to Growing and Using Plants to Promote Healing and Physical Well-Being by Halle Malin. You can get it here: https://amzn.to/3RX2qBj (Note: If you use that link and then make a purchase, I will get a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and helps me to maintain this blog. Thanks!)
Be sure to grab it ASAP. I’m not sure how long it will be free. If you read it, let me know what you think in the comments.
As we let go of the idea of “hustle culture” and embrace a simple, slower lifestyle, the topic of slower morning routines has naturally come up. This doesn’t mean every morning needs to be slow-paced and gentle. The more often you can add it into your life, however, the less stressed and anxious you will feel overall.
Here are some of the many benefits of having a slower morning.
Your Day Starts Calm and Peaceful
One major benefit to having a slower morning is that your day starts so much calmer. When your day starts like this, the rest of the day tends to be stress-free as well. Think about the days when something bad happens right when you wake up. Your alarm didn’t go off and you’re now running late, or you wake up to a sick kid in your bed. Everything is just complete chaos. You feel that stress for the entire day. It feels like when one bad thing happens, all the bad things happen. It’s because your mindset is already in a negative, stressful state.
Imagine how different your day would be if you woke up calmly, happy and relaxed. A slow, intentional morning routine makes all the difference.
Slower Mornings Give You More Energy
Slow mornings actually give you more energy, not less. People often think of them as lazy, but really when you get up slowly and naturally, your body adjusts to the day at a more balanced pace. In turn, your energy picks up naturally as well.
You Prioritize and Focus on What Matters
With a slow morning routine, you don’t have time for 10+ habits anymore. This is actually a good thing, because it allows you to prioritize your habits and only include what is necessary and what benefits you. Chances are, even if you currently have a long morning routine, many those habits aren’t benefitting you as much as you think.
We tend to do what other people are doing, so when we see someone who does yoga in the morning or always drinks matcha tea, we want to do that too. Everyone is unique with different needs, though, so what works for one person, might not work for you. This is why prioritizing tasks during a slow morning routine is so helpful.
Everything You Do is With Intention
Similar to prioritizing your habits, a slow morning allows you to do more things with intention. You know that every step you take in your morning is something you thought a lot about, and know is going to benefit you greatly. It isn’t just mindlessly checking items off a list. You put a lot of thought into each step of your morning routine.
You choose to no longer rush through a dozen tasks every morning. Instead you pick a few of the most important ones, and each one is done with intention.
A Slower Morning Makes You Feel More Productive
People choosing a slower morning often report being more productive. With a more intentional and mindful approach to your morning habits, you increase your focus and energy. This helps you feel ready to take on the day’s tasks. Just like a chaotic morning, an intentional, slow morning’s energy follows you throughout the rest of the day.
If you want to be productive, don’t try to do too much within the first couple minutes of waking up. Give yourself time to wake up, go through some healthy habits, make your bed, have breakfast, and then focus on working.
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Our mornings set the tone for the day. Who hasn’t heard the adage from Benjamin Franklin, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”? The common trend is to do as much as you can in the morning. We’re told to get up at 5:00am, have a smoothie, workout, and fit in hours worth of stuff before our “real” work begins. Instead of a simple, slow morning routine, we’ve been told to squeeze productivity into every second.
Luckily, many people are moving beyond this concept and embracing the beauty of a calm, slow morning routine. It is not a lazy one, it’s a gentle one. A slow, simple routine allows you time to gradually get up, and move at your own pace. It simplifies your routine to just the few most important habits you have.
How do you know it’s time for a slow morning routine? Here are some signs to look out for:
You Always Wake Up Anxious or Stressed
This is probably the biggest and most common sign that you are in need of slowing down in the morning. Waking up already stressed or anxious is a sign of having a lot of stress in your life. But it can also be because your mornings are always so hectic and rushed and stressful, then you are anticipating it from the moment you open your eyes.
There is no better reason than to start slowing down and simplifying your morning routine, to see if it helps with your stress and anxiety. You may notice this is exactly what you needed.
You Dread Getting Out of Bed
Another big sign of needing to adjust or reset your morning routine is when you dread getting out of bed altogether. This might not be just because of the rest of your day, like not wanting to go to work or having responsibilities you aren’t excited about. But really just having an overly chaotic morning. When you notice you just want to stay in bed and keep putting off starting your morning, it is a good sign that you and to make some changes.
Your Mornings Are Always Chaotic
Naturally, if you have chaotic mornings, you should change that. The challenge is that people think this is normal. We all make jokes about how nothing is ready, the kids never want to get dressed, and how we are always hustling. This isn’t a good thing, however, and it doesn’t always have to be the case.
You can have a calmer morning by just adjusting your routine and schedule a little bit. No matter what your lifestyle is like, there are almost always changes to make to have a calmer, slow morning routine.
You Have No Consistent Morning Routine
Some people claim they don’t have a morning routine. What they really mean is that they don’t have a consistent morning routine. Their mornings are so varied and sporadic, they tend to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, not really having a plan or any intentions in place.
If this sounds like you, what you need is consistency. That is exactly what a slow morning routine gives you. It tends to be much calmer and more relaxed, with far fewer habits to go through. Even if your routine just consists of drinking coffee on the porch before getting ready for work, that one little habit is something you can do every single morning. It creates the habit of consistency that you need.
For me, even though I love everyone being home for the summer, it throws my morning routine off. This, in turn, throws my days off. I don’t have a huge morning routine during the school year, but the consistency makes all the difference. With no schedule commitments, I should have more time to get things done. Instead, the lack of consistency makes me less productive overall.
You Feel Like You Have No Time to Yourself
Lastly, if you feel like you have no time for yourself, you definitely need a slow morning routine. This creates the intention that you are doing something just for you, with no distractions and no responsibilities. It includes absolutely anything you want it to include. Maybe that’s something as simple as reading in bed for a few minutes before getting up, having your favorite tea or coffee with no distractions, or meditating. Anything that gives you a bit of peace in your morning.
If this is something you need in your life, keep following for ways to revamp your morning routine and how it will benefit you.
Stress is something that plagues most people these days. Jobs, health, relationships and all the random unexpected surprises can lead to stress. Meditation is one technique often used for stress management. Best of all, it’s free. Meditation techniques help a person achieve a calm state of mind without drugs or relaxation tools and implements. Every step to meditation is done in the mind.
If you’ve never meditated, it can be a bit daunting at first. Here are some steps for a beginner to start with meditation as their stress management strategy.
Find A Quiet Corner To Start Your Meditation.
If you’ve ever stayed awake at night thinking about something that happened years ago, your to do list and why Pluto is no longer a planet and also why is Pluto a dog-dog and Goofy a human-dog, you know that our brains are awesome at creating distractions. The last thing you need when starting a meditation practice is more distraction from the outside. When you close your eyes, your sense of hearing will be twice as good, so almost any noise in your surroundings will make it hard for you to concentrate.
For beginners, it is important to start out in a quiet place in your home where noise is non-existent. (Ha!) While not necessary, you may want some ear plugs, headphones, a fan or other source of white noise, or some suitable meditation music. These can help block out the noise or give your brain somewhere to focus.
Ready Your Position.
It is best for beginners to avoid lying down when practicing meditation. The goal is not to sleep, and it is likely that you will fall asleep if your mind reaches a relaxed state. To stop this from happening, you can start your meditation in a comfortable seated position. This can be on the floor, on a cushion, in a chair, wherever you are most comfortable. It is absolutely not necessary to meditate in the lotus position, unless that is what is most comfortable for you. I know my knees and hips do not tolerate it!
Once you’ve found a comfortable position, make sure that your back is straight and your hands are relaxed on the armrest or on your lap. Do a quick scan of your body and adjust any areas that are likely to cause pain after a few minutes. You’ll also want to relax any areas of tension as much as possible.
Begin Your Meditation With Proper Breathing.
Once you are in a comfortable position, you’ll focus on breathing. Some say to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. To me, that is distracting. I find it better to just breathe through my nose. In my experience, the best way is whatever is most comfortable to you.
I have recently heard that the exhale is the important part for relaxation, so you may want to focus on making the exhale longer than the inhale. What I often do is inhale for a count of four and out for eight. I do that at the beginning of my meditation for about four or five cycles. Then I stop counting and let my body try to continue that rhythm. I know I don’t stay exactly on the 4-8 pattern, but it’s not about perfection. If I start to get distracted, I bring my mind back to focus on my breathing and counting again.
The cool thing about this breathing technique, is you can use it outside of meditation to calm down in a stressful situation. Even if you’ve never meditated before, it will help. Once you associate it with meditation, it will be even more effective.
Focus On Your Mind.
While concentrating on your breathing, eventually your mind will start throwing images at you. These are mostly random- events of the day, future plans, problems and worries, fears and so on. It will be hard to ignore these thoughts and you are not supposed to ignore them. The goal here is to acknowledge these thoughts and then release them. This might sound hard, but, honestly it’s something we do all the time.
Here is a simple example to understand the concept. You know that you have furniture at home- you can see it clearly with your eyes, but you aren’t really concentrating on it. Focusing on the furniture makes you think of its color, its material, how it looks in that part of your home, and more. When you don’t focus on it, the furniture fades into the background.
Likewise, you need to look at these random thoughts in a similarly detached state, seeing them clearly in your head but not focusing your attention on it. Eventually, these random thoughts will stop and you will notice that you‘re already in a blank space in your mind. This is the state you want to achieve during meditation. This blank space is where you can think about a problem or goal and focus on it till you can find a solution. Your “mind palace” for any Sherlock fans.
Remember that meditation is not a one shot deal. It is almost impossible to attain a calm state of mind in just a matter of minutes, especially if it’s your first time. It is important that you keep practicing meditation until you have conditioned your mind to achieve that calm state just by thinking about it.
With this, you have successfully mastered the basics of meditation for your stress management program.
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Between work, home, and family responsibilities, do you often feel that all your time is spent taking care of others? Neglecting self care is easy, especially for moms, but the consequences can be serious. Adding self-care practices to your daily routine can greatly strengthen your health and well-being. It’s like they tell you when flying. You need to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. Otherwise, you won’t be able to help anyone else.
Here are 6 basic self care practices to get started:
Block out time for self-care in your schedule. It’s not enough to occasionally stop your busy lifestyle and take a walk or indulge in a hot bath. Self-care is an ongoing process. Just as you reserve time in your schedule for other appointments, set aside time to take care of yourself, too. It’s important to adopt self-care habits that you can enjoy on a regular basis. They’ll help you avoid burnout, increase your productivity, and allow you to enjoy life.
Enjoy your favorite hobby. Whether you love to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen sew, or paint pictures of sunsets, your favorite hobbies can be part of self-care. Hobbies and activities that you already enjoy are easy to select and put into practice. You just have to find room in your schedule to do them. This is an important step and shows your commitment to self-care.
Make note of the compliments you receive. You can enjoy this self-care practice even as you work or run errands! Start taking notes of the compliments you receive. You can keep them in a journal, diary, or online folder. Your compliment folder can also include emails, notes, thank you cards, and other things that make you smile. This self-care practice can help you fight negative thoughts. Compliments can serve as reminders that you matter, your existence is important, and someone appreciates you. On that same note, find reasons to give genuine compliments to others. It just might make their day, too!
Remove clutter. Whether you decide to declutter your closet or clean out the fridge, removing clutter will uplift you. Clutter can drain you physically and mentally. It can also make you unhappy as you try to move through your day. Eliminate the things that no longer serve you. For example, if you’re keeping clothes in your closet that you hate each time you open the door, replace them with clothes that you love. Since you’re here, you probably sew. 🙂 Old, ill-fitting or clothing that just isn’t your style can be altered or used for the fabric and notions. That way you can eliminate clutter frugally and engage in your hobby.
Do one selfish act. Living selfishly all day isn’t recommended, but doing one thing just for yourself that makes you happy can do wonders. You can enjoy just that one thing without feeling guilty about it! If you struggle with self-care, it’s often because you spend all of your energy and time taking care of others. There’s nothing left in your well for yourself. By taking the time to do one selfish act, such as reading your favorite book or ignoring a boring phone call, you’ll be restoring your own importance.
Check off important health related self-care tasks. This is the most important one of all. Self care on social media is all about the relaxing baths, the books, hobbies, etc. Those things are an important element, but far more important is taking time to have that checkup, go to the dentist, or find a therapist. Take a moment to schedule that appointment that you’ve been putting off. I’m in the US, so I know that access to healthcare isn’t always easy, but there are some resources and low-cost options to explore.
Self-care often takes a backseat to work, family, and other obligations.However, without stopping to take care of your mind and body, you’re at risk of burning out and suffering from serious health issues. Start making time for your self-care practices today!
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With summer right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about how aromatherapy can help when you travel. To have the most fun, to get the most out of the experience, it’s important that you and your loved ones have the means to overcome those little ailments and discomforts that can make the experience range from mildly unpleasant to downright unbearable. How can we include a little ‘trip insurance’ to our already overstuffed luggage? Aromatherapy has an answer with some readily-available essential oils.
Motion sickness, bug bites, digestive difficulties, and general travel weariness, to name a few, are common discomforts experienced when venturing away from home. A small collection of inexpensive essential oils can provide great relief from these amusement-threatening ailments. Treatment with these oils is simple, ranging from inhaling a little oil from a tissue or diffuser, using them in a room spray, diluting them in a carrier oil and using on skin, or to adding to a bath. For stomach ailments, you can even consume the food form of oils. And, thankfully, relief often comes quickly because of the oils’ powerful properties and compatibility with our own bodies.
It begins with the journey
We’ll begin with ‘getting there’. Any trip starts with traveling. By car, boat, plane, or otherwise, motion sickness commonly affects many people, particularly children. This can easily make the ‘traveling’ portion of your experience absolutely no fun. Enter peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint has long been used to calm uneasy stomachs, and is easily used. While it is unsafe to consume essential oils in water or, does this really need to be said, neat (undiluted), peppermint candy contains a safe to consume form of peppermint oil. Peppermint tea is another safe option.
Another well known essential oil for stomach upset is ginger essential oil. A little inhaled from a tissue or well diluted in a carrier oil and rubbed on the abdomen can bring relief. As with peppermint, ginger candy and ginger tea are safe methods to ingest ginger oil. This can help alleviate food-related stomach issues as well.
When traveling by car, peppermint can also be uplifting to the weary driver or passenger, a drop or two placed on tissues in the car or near your seat will release the aroma into your surroundings. Be careful with this oil however, as getting it on sensitive areas of the skin (directly under the nose, and certainly near the eyes) can cause irritation. Tissues with the oil on it should not touch these areas directly. It is also important that any essential oil used in an enclosed space is safe for everyone in the space. Also, please do not use peppermint in lieu of regular breaks and rest.
If you can only choose one…
Lavender for stress
Even traveling for a fun vacation can be stressful. Enter one of the most versatile and well-known essential oils: lavender. Lavender has been called ‘a medicine chest in a bottle’ due to its wide range of effects. The aroma of lavender is uplifting and relaxing, useful for stress in congested airports or crowded highways. Breathing this very safe essential oil is effective for adults and children alike, inhaling drops from a tissue directly, or from one’s placed in your surroundings can help you and your companions be at ease.
Lavender for injuries
Lavender essential oil is also an effective wound-healer because of its anti-inflammatory, mild antibacterial, and skin-regenerative actions. It is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat, however I still recommend diluting it in a carrier oil. I have used it directly in the case of minor burns and bug bites, but please read up on it further before deciding if that usage is safe for you.
Bugs don’t like Aromatherapy
Bug bites are no fun. Lavender essential oil can help repel insects. For a greater effect, try an insect repellent blend composed of equal parts of lavender, and peppermint, and a double-dose of lemongrass essential oil. A drop or more placed on tissue or cloth about your room can keep the insects out of your space; 3 drops of this blend per teaspoon of carrier oil can be regularly applied to the skin, or you may mix a similar amount into any lotion you may have. For areas heavily infested with mosquitos, I still recommend using a repellent with DEET due to the risk for disease, but for general usage I prefer the essential oil blend.
Lavender can also be used alone or in combination with geranium, chamomile, peppermint and eucalyptus oils in relieving the effects of jet lag. Getting out of this weary state as quickly as possible makes any trip more enjoyable. This requires getting yourself and companions in-synch with local time, having good rest at night and perhaps a gentle lift in the mornings and throughout the day.
To get yourself into the swing of local time, relax and be ready for bed with equal parts of lavender and geranium essential oils, chamomile may also be used in place of the geranium, and works especially well for soothing children (if they are irritable for ANY reason). Add a few drops in a carrier oil to a bath or use in a massage oil. For a morning eye-opener, do the same using equal amounts of peppermint and eucalyptus. It is especially important to dilute the peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils in a carrier oil. Otherwise, you may end up irritating sensitive areas of the body. You will find these useful at other times when you need a little clarity and lightening-up.
Eucalyptus aromatherapy on the road
Eucalyptus, the narrow leaf variety is a favorite – has a great range of uses as well. It is most commonly known for relieving congestion, but it can also support circulation, and bring lightness to a travel-weary head.
Eucalyptus oil can be used like peppermint to uplift and invigorate during long intervals in a car. It can be diluted in a carrier oil and added to a cool bath or used diluted on a cold compress in cases of heat exhaustion (accompanied by, of course, copious amounts of water and electrolytes!).
Eucalyptus oil may be blended with geranium as a massage oil (3 drops eucalyptus and 2 drops geranium per tablespoon of carrier oil) to relieve heat cramps. For congestion relief, blend 1 drop eucalyptus, 3 drops lemon, 2 drops thyme, and 2 drops tea tree in a carrier oil and add to a bath. Soak and breathe deeply, or simply add a few drops to a steaming bowl of water and inhale.
These are just a few examples of ways to make your travel experiences more enjoyable with aromatherapy. With a little effort, you can expand your knowledge of these oils, discover further uses, and find other oils that work well for your particular needs.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult with your physician before using anything medicinally.
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I’ve been writing a lot about aromatherapy lately. It’s definitely something I find useful in my daily life, from incense to essential oil roll-ons to relaxing scented bath salts. While you can make a many aromatherapy products yourself, not everyone has the time or wants to invest in the essential oils to do that. Today, I wanted to spotlight the aromatherapy products I have to offer at SubEarthan Cottage.
First are the soy wax melts. Unless otherwise noted, these are made with soy wax and pure essential oils. For safety, I recommend using a lightbulb wax warmer rather than a tealight warmer.
Finally are my soaps. Unfortunately I haven’t had as much time to make soap lately with my chemo treatments. My last Kadcyla infusion is tomorrow though, so hopefully I’ll be back in the soap kitchen soon. Here are the soaps I currently have available.
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