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Declutter, Destress and Simplify

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As a naturopathic doctor and a chronic illness patient, I look at all the different factors that can contribute to chronic and autoimmune diseases. A lot of those underlying factors are hormonal and physiological in nature, but another, often overlooked piece of the puzzle to your physical health is your mental and emotional stress levels.

Our modern lives can be so busy and hectic sometimes that the lack of “breathing room” increases our stress and negatively impacts our health and our relationships with others.

The average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching television and that’s without even mentioning time on computers and cellphones!

Just as we have to detox our bodies, we also need to detox our lives of the chronic stressors that are raising blood pressure, blood sugar and wrecking our health.

The truth is that we can’t be the best versions of ourselves if we don’t create calming space in our lives. Restoring balance during our day enables us to breathe again. Here are a few easy tips to help unclutter your life and bring in a much-needed breath of fresh air:

 Force some cellphone-free time

We are constantly connected to our cell phones. Choose a time of day to just step away from the phone even if it’s just for an hour and do something you enjoy.

Take some time before responding

Resist the new cultural norm to be pressured into answering emails and texts right away. They can wait.

Don’t start and end your day with electronics and social media

The amount of times we find ourselves unconsciously, mindlessly checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be alarming. Bookend your day with calming activities like a walk outside or reading a book.

Try having a day when you go electronics-free

Take a weekend off from electronics. Put away the cell phone and tablets, stop watching tv and do something else!
Clean out your closet of clothes that you haven’t worn in at least a year 
If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re probably not going to be needing it any time soon. Purge your closet and make a little extra cash by selling them online or at a consignment store.
Give yourself a social media-free week
Give yourself a social media cleanse and see what you do with your time when you don’t have to check the “Likes” of your witty status updates or extremely flattering selfie. If you like how you feel after one week, maybe you need another!
Leave your work at work
When you’re home, refuel yourself by being present with the ones you love.
Cut down on the time you watch television

When you say you’re “getting behind on your shows” with the same conviction as “I need to get healthy” or “I need to spend more time with my family”, it’s a problem. When the DVR is filled and watching TV becomes another job to keep up with, go on a TV detox. Instead of taking your vacation days to catch up on your shows, try reducing the shows you “need” to watch that are cluttering your life.

Limiting the clutter and noise in your life will release you to live the free life you were meant to live. Breathing room will only come into your life when it is intentionally built into your schedule. Waiting for the day when your less stressed and busy won’t happen on its own.

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Essential Oil Wood Diffuser Necklace

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I love my new essential oil diffuser necklace from DeBellaBoutique on Etsy! It is made of maple wood which works so well for diffusing oils since it can hold them for a very long time. Plus the oils turns the wood a slightly darker color which gives it such a rich, beautiful color. And don’t forget the engraving which is found on both sides of the necklace and says “Be Still & know that He is God”.

It’s cute right?!!  And it’s really good quality too!

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There are some oils that I use daily and I love to have that scent hanging on a necklace so I can smell it all day long.  It’s especially good for those energizing oils!  There are also times when the bugs are so bad where I live that I cannot go anywhere without my Citronella oil or my Purification oil.

There’s lots of options out there for diffuser jewelry but I think you’d really like this one. It’s only $20 and the shipping was super fast and she has lots of other awesome stuff like home decor and other jewelry. So go check out her shop!

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Cure Everything With 10 Essential Oils

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I love essential oils. They have so many uses- for our skin, our health, even cleaning our homes. It can be a little overwhelming with all the choices out there as to what oil to use for which ailment or issue. So I wanted to give you a few basic ones that we should all keep in our medicine cabinets at home. And if you want to read all about oils and how they are made and what their benefits are, go here!

Medicinal

Wintergreen- It has the same chemical properties as aspirin so it’s great as an alternative to all your OTC painkillers due to it’s anesthetic abilities. Put one drop behind your ears, or on your temples, neck or any other part of your body that needs pain relief. However, just like aspirin, it is possible to use too much so take it easy when using this oil.

 

Thyme- Thyme is the unsung superhero. If you feel a virus, cold or flu coming on, put a drop of thyme in a spoonful of honey and dissolve in your mouth. If you catch it early enough, it can stop most bugs.

Eucalyptus- It stimulates the central nervous system to open up your sinuses so if you didn’t use the thyme in time (haha! I have rhyming skills) to stop your illness, try some of this on your chest or in a diffuser. It’s just like Vick’s Vapo Rub without all the chemicals.

Clary Sage- If you’re feeling a little moody, on edge, and generally murderous, put a few drops of this hormone balancing oil into your body lotion or even in a cup of tea. Your peace of mind will thank you.

Citrus oils- Oils like bergamot, mandarin, neroli and sweet orange are all natural antidepressants. And they smell way better than a Xanax ever could and have been shown to be just as effective.

 

Cosmetic

Rose- If you only want to use one thing on your skin, use rose. It’s super expensive but it is soothing and great for sensitive skin. You can use rose water as a toner or add some of the oil to your moisturizer or face mask. It’s a miracle worker. 

Frankincense- Everyone gets zits now and then. Use a drop or two of this oil to clear up scars and blemishes. It’s also anti-aging magic (reduces lines, adds elasticity) and costs a lot less than Botox.

Lavender- Lavender is super relaxing and great in a bath. But if you have irritated skin or acne, you want this balancing oil on your face. It tames combination skin plus it smells great.

Ylang Ylang- If you’re tired of oily skin and hair, use this oil. A few drops in your face cleanser or shampoo will reduce oil.

Jasmine- This one just smells ridiculously good. Add it to lotions, hair care products, and everything. It’s great for dry skin and hair and is a good treatment for eczema.

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DIY Vegan Grapefruit Body Wash

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I recently shared with you all some recipes for a kitchen and bathroom antibacterial spray and laundry detergent. Since so many of you enjoyed those posts, I decided I’d share some more of my DIY projects that I do to save some money.

It was always a challenge for me to find organic body wash that didn’t have chemicals or other ingredients I’m sensitive too. When I finally did find one that I could use, at $9 a bottle that stuff adds up quick! I decided it’s best to make my own. It’s not only much cheaper but I can customize it with different fragrances or oils to fit my skin needs. Plus there’s no honey in it like most recipes so it’s great for my vegan friends!

Ingredients:

1 cup liquid castile soap

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp oil (jojoba, almond, grapeseed, olive, etc)

15 drops eucalyptus oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops grapefruit oil

Directions:

Pour the castile soap, water and oil into a mixing cup and then into an empty soap bottle. Pour in the essential oils, shake and use. Shake before each use.

Tips:

Use any of your favorite essential oils or change up what oil you use depending on the needs of your skin. Jojoba and grapeseed are good for acne prone skin, olive and coconut are great for dry skin. Make it your own!

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Homemade Aromatherapy Candles

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I love aromatherapy using essential oils to help with my mental and physical well being. I burn lots of candles and diffusers throughout my home all day long and even while sleeping (just diffusers at night, no candles!). It can get quite expensive though to buy soy candles so I decided to make my own.

Plus soy candles are a lot healthier for our home environment. It burns clean and doesn’t give off dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that are found in normal paraffin candles. I use cotton or beeswax wicks as well because regular wicks found in most candles contain lead, I don’t want to be breathing that in all day!

They’re super easy to make, you can make any combination of scent you like and you can decorate them or change their colors to match your decor. Plus they’re cheap since you can buy the supplies in bulk on Amazon!

Here’s what you need-

16 oz mason jars

2 1/2 cups soy candle flakes 

6 inch or longer weighted bottom wick

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15-20 drops essential oils

 

Directions-

Heat the soy flakes in a non stick pan on medium heat. Stir to them to avoid sticking or clumping. Once they are liquid, remove from heat and set aside.

Stir in your essential oils.

Wrap the end of the wick around a pencil. Allow the bottom weight to drop to the bottom of the jar and use the stick to hold the wick in place at the top.

How-to-Make-Candles

Slowly pour the soy into the jar and adjust the wick if it moved so that it’s in the center of the jar.

Set it in a cool place where it will have time to harden (about 4 hours). Leave it untouched until it’s completely hard.

When it’s hardened, cut the top of the wick to about 1/4 inch above the candle. It’s now ready to burn!

 

A few tips and tricks-

You can use a few drops of food coloring or add a crayon to the soy when melting it so you can have different color candles.

Add in glitter for an extra sparkly candle.

Add in dried herbs for extra scent and it looks pretty too.

Add a little decorations to the outside of the candles, wrap in burlap, lace or anything else you like.

 

A few of my favorite essential oils to use-

spearmint and peppermint (stimulates the mind and gives a sense of well-being and helps breathing)

eucalyptus and lemon (breathing and purification)

lemongrass and lime (improves mood, helps de-stress)

lavender (calming and relaxing)

orange and lemon (citrus pick me up, invigorating)

 

Give it a try and let me know what your favorite candle scents are!