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6 Simple Self Care Practices You Can Start Now

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.
photo of person holding cup
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  • 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.
Self care
  • 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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Aromatherapy for healing the Mind and Body

two clear glass bottles with liquids

 

Aroma is very powerful. We all have certain scents that bring back memories or evoke certain thoughts and feelings. It’s no wonder, then, that for thousands of years people have used scents to evoke a physical response and to heal. Strong evidence was found to link aromatherapy to many ancient traditions. Though aromatic oils have been used to treat and cure various ailments and conditions for centuries, the formal study on their properties only started in 1928.

What is Aromatherapy?

In its simplest form, aromatherapy is the use of scent, usually in the form of essential plant oils for therapeutic purposes. The essential oils are normally used to relieve a person from stress and a variety of stress-related conditions. They are also used for promoting a person’s general well being and invigorating the body and psyche.

How does it work?

Aromatherapy works by inducing our olfactory nerve cells with aromatic oils, which then carries the message to our limbic system in the brain. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for controlling memory and emotions.

Aromatherapy is concerned in the workings of both our physical and emotional selves. Physically, aromatherapy helps in relieving specific conditions by stimulating our nervous, immune and circulatory systems. In emotions, however, they work by evoking pleasant memories and uplifting our mood.

Although the medical community is not in agreement over whether aromatherapy in itself is instrumental to healing various medical conditions, the idea of recovery through aromatherapy is widely accepted. Think of eucalyptus for easing cold symptoms, minty or peppery salves for soothing achy muscles and lavender, rose or frankincense for relieving stress.

How are essential oils made? 

Essential oils are derived from the distillation of the parts of a plant. They can come from the leaves, roots, flowers, stems or bark. They hold the true essence of the plants from which they originally came in high concentration. Though termed as oil, essential oils normally do not have all of the real properties of oil. It is important to note that, like oil, essential oils do not dilute in water. Their high concentration means that they should not be ingested or used without properly diluting them in a carrier oil first.  

clear glass bottles on white surface
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How are essential oils used?

Essential oils are used in a variety of methods. A few are through inhalation, by blending them with a carrier oil and adding them to bathwater, or by the application of the diluted oil on the body.

You should only use pure essential oils for aromatherapy. You want to look for 100% essential oils, not fragrance oils when choosing oils for aromatherapy. Be aware, though that labels like “therapeutic grade” do not have a standardized meaning, nor are essential oils FDA approved.

Commonly Used Oils in Aromatherapy

Carrier (base) oils

The following is a list of the most common oils used in aromatherapy. First are the common carrier oils (also known as vegetable oils or base oils).

  • Almond, Sweet
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Avocado
  • Borage
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut
  • Grapeseed
  • Jojoba
  • Olive
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter (carrier)
  • Sunflower

Essential Oils

Next are some of the most commonly used essential oils. Everyone has their own preference, so expect some variation depending on the practitioner. 

  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet Orange
  • Tea Tree
selective focus of essential oil bottles
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Essential Oils to Avoid

Below are some essential oils that are not recommended to use in aromatherapy. This is especially true if you are not supervised by a professional, licensed aromatherapist. This is not an extensive list, so please, know your essential oil before using it. Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated. Just because something is safe as a food does not mean it is safe as an essential oil.

  • Almond, Bitter
  • Arnica
  • Birch, Sweet
  • Broom, Spanish
  • Calamus
  • Camphor
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Onion
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Sassafras
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

Aromatherapy at Work 

You’ll find aromatherapists in a variety of work environments including in private practice, natural health clinics, health clubs, spas and holistic medical practices, among others.

While there is limited formal research on aromatherapy, therapists and physicians often prescribe aromatic essential oils for a range of complaints. These include colds and flus, insomnia, sinusitis, migraines, digestive problems and muscle pains. Most people are familiar with using lavender for insomnia or peppermint and eucalyptus for congestion. While I’ve probably said this about a million times by now, essential oils should never be taken orally. They should also be diluted in a carrier oil and used sparingly at first until you know how you react to them.

Aromatherapy for You

If you’re interested in learning more to begin using aromatherapy yourself, check out my 9 Tips For Aromatherapy Beginners

If you’d like to read some of the research on the medicinal use of essential oils, here are a few articles for you:

The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work?

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New Self Care Content Coming

flat lay photo of alternative medicines

Good morning! I hope everyone who celebrates had a happy holiday weekend, and to everyone else, I hope your weekend was also awesome.

Between children, cancer treatment and just life in general, things have been pretty hectic. I’ve often complained that I feel like I took better care of myself before I was diagnosed. My diet has definitely suffered, and too much of my spare time lately is spent “doom scrolling”.

There’s nothing wrong with comfort food and relaxing with whatever form of entertainment for a while, but I feel like it’s time to start focusing on getting myself healthy beyond fighting breast cancer. I have two Kadcyla treatments remaining (yay!). That will conclude my “active” cancer treatment. I still have years of estrogen-blocking medicine, but a pill a day is very different that multiple doctors appointments in a month, or week, and chemo fatigue. I am totally looking forward to it, but also worry that, without the constant business of treatment, I will be left feeling a little, “what now?”

To help me focus on my health, and give me some direction to all my new free time, I want to focus not just on diet, but things like aromatherapy, herbalism, yoga, meditation and journaling. These are all things I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past but have gotten put aside in all the chaos.

green leafed plant beside clear glass mg
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To keep me focused, I will be sharing some of that information here, both as informative articles and candid posts about my personal experiences. There will still be plenty of crafty tips and tutorials, because creating is something that I have to do. (Remembering to photograph the process and actually post about it is something I need to work on, lol.)

If you subscribe and would rather not get the new content, let me know and I will figure out how to organize my mailing list so that everyone gets the content they want. 🙂

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