Just Breathe…

breathe

Living on Canada’s west coast surrounded by trees, I was more concerned about daughter’s year-round hay fever and the air quality in my home. I thought about outdoor air quality in the abstract, but never about how it directly affected me or my family. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives.

This past summer was a wake-up call.  “Summer 2017 has been B.C’s  worst wildfire season on record, & as of Sept 28, more than 100 fires are still burning.”  Many communities have been impacted, like Williams Lake, 100 Mile House & the Elephant Hill fire, near Cache Creek & Ashcroft. The smoke affected the air quality near the fires but it also affected air quality in different areas throughout the province.  One day this past summer, I was outside in the middle of the afternoon, everything was hazy, the air felt thick, & it was hard to breathe.

I have never thought much about breathing other than if I had a chest cold or sinus congestion. From the moment of our birth, our body’s  “autonomic nervous system” controls our breathing; we don’t even have to think about it. Adults breathe anywhere from 12-20 times per minute. If you do the math, (which I did), that adds up to 17,280 – 28,800 breaths per day (depending on your fitness and/or stress levels). While we can’t-do a lot about outdoor pollution personally (well other than voting in governments that have strong environmental protection plans, writing letters/ petitions to your MP or MLA, and recycling! Sorry that was just a little rant), we can do something about the air quality in our homes.

Things you can do:

  • Get rid of chemical cleaners, laundry detergents, fabric refreshers, and Synthetic Room Sprays/ Plugins.
  • Avoid using Incense & candles with synthetic fragrances, or at least limit their use and get some ventilation into the room. (I am finding that these 2 things really bother me.)
  • Go more natural with your Personal Body Care Products. There are a lot of products available, but educate yourself & read the labels to find the best ones. (No one in my house is allowed to use a certain type of Body Spray because it affects my breathing.)
  • Air out your home frequently. Many manufactured items in your home will continue to off-gas to some extent. Older homes were drafty so this wasn’t as much of a problem, but newer homes are more airtight so it is important to open some windows periodically, especially during the winter months.
  • Consider getting some plants in your home. NASA calls plants part of “Nature’s Life Support System”. Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, English Ivy & Weeping Fig plants are a few to consider; they are fairly hardy & are thought to help with air quality due to the photosynthesis process.

And you can also use Aromatherapy in your home. When using essential oils, cheaper isn’t better, quality is. It is important that you find a reputable supplier that sell pure, hopefully, organic &  unadulterated oils; that your suppliers know where their oils come from & they share all the important information with you. (And if someone wants to sell you “100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils, know that this is a registered trademark of the company. There is no organization that oversees the quality of essential oils.) At a minimum you need to know:

Continue reading “Just Breathe…”

Working towards Gratitude…

With the New Year, there are lots of blogs about releasing negative patterns and feeling canstockphoto19853169Gratitude all over the internet.  Everywhere you look on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, there are well-meaning yogis, life or fitness coaches who #hashtag about gratitude. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but what if all of this gratitude stuff isn’t resonating with you right now?  Before you dismiss me as being all negative, let me explain…

If you have been going thru a transition, whether by your own choice or not, it can bring up a lot of different feelings and some of these may be the ones that No One Wants to Talk About…THE NEGATIVE ONES!!!! (Cue the music here).

Positive or Negative, feelings are just that, feelings. I find that it is better if you don’t attach judgment to them. Repressed feelings can keep you stuck in the past and prone to repeat old patterns. Some will repress their feelings in the name of positive thinking. This can make it hard to move forward, to embrace passion in your life, as well as feeling GRATITUDE. I agree with author Christiane Northrup, who says “With spiritual practices becoming very popular, so too is the practice of taking a “spiritual bypass” to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.” 

Painful feelings can actually be a gift in disguise. They are often clues that give you insight into what is going on in your life. If you are feeling resentment, maybe you are constantly putting everyone else’s  needs ahead of your own. If you are feeling restless, it may be time to make a change. Sometimes you can have mixed feelings about an event; this is okay too. It is possible to be happy and sad at the same time.

Taking the time to honor your feelings is an important part of self-care. Sometimes an interaction or an event can trigger a feeling; when this happens, take a moment, and do what you need to do to help yourself feel and possibly understand where the feeling is coming from. Sometimes when we feel pain, we shut ourselves down to try to cope. All this does is lock the pain inside us. Take time to find tools that work for you. These tools are helpful as you move thru a painful time and can help you start the process of healing. Continue reading “Working towards Gratitude…”

Blue Christmas & Essential Oils

 

canstockphoto4430859With the Holiday Season fast approaching, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of getting everything done; Being so busy, that you haven’t even thought about how you are feeling.
Some people really enjoy the holidays, while others find that the season isn’t so “Merry” and they are just trying to Make it thru December. It is important to be kind to yourself, allow yourself to feel your emotions, and most of all, not to judge them.

Self-care is essential at this busy time of year.
You may need a few strategies as you navigate this special, but sometimes stressful holiday season. A few things to try are:

  • lighten or create some flexibility in your schedule to allow for some down or alone time, so you can relax, unwind & breathe…
  • Only do things that are meaningful to you
  • Saying No when you need to
  • find yourself a support system, someone you can talk to, like a friend, a family member or maybe a qualified counselor or therapist
  • find small ways to make yourself feel nurtured, take a nap, light a candle, put on some music (Or not)
  •  maybe diffuse some essential oils.

Essential Oils have many different properties. Some are uplifting while other essential oils are more calming. Try diffusing some of the following essential oils if you are feeling:

Anger: try Clary Sage, Cedarwood, Lemon, Lavender, Patchouli, Rosemary or Spruce.

Anxiety: try  Cedarwood, Frankincense, Fir, Geranium, Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Pine or Sweet Basil.

Depression: try Bergamot, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Frankincense, Grapefruit,  Juniper Berry or Lavender.

Grief: try Bergamot, Cypress, Frankincense, Hyssop, Lemon, Neroli, Rose or Tangerine.

Irritability: try Clary Sage, Chamomile (Roman), Frankincense, Lemongrass or Sweet Orange.

Sadness: try Bergamot, Cypress, Geranium, Jasmine, Sweet Marjoram, or Rose.

This year I am taking my own advice, and I am adjusting my schedule to make time for some things that I “WANT” to do. I am:

  • making time for friends (There is always time for tea or lunch).
  • limiting extra shifts at work, (Sounds simple, right? Not if you are a recovering people pleaser).
  • Getting some extra rest.
  • Taking some time off from Aromatherapy. (My nose needs a break)

And I’ll be snuggling with my cat, Gambitt, on the couch, drinking Chai Tea and watching 12321547_10153772217379346_4659375759824016249_nsome of my favorite Christmas shows, like  “Elf” or “The 12 days of Krampas”  from Season 3 of Grimm or maybe “Pageantry” from Season 1 of Picket Fences.

But mostly, I will continue to try to find the balance & keep making the small changes as I move forward. It is the small changes that we make, that can make the most difference in how we are feeling…

Wishing you many moments of Self-Care & an Aromatic Holiday Season…   

My Blog is for information only & is not meant to diagnose or replace medical advice. Essential oils should not be ingested & always need to be diluted before topical use.

  • If you are wanting to diffuse Hyssop, try the Decumbens Variety
  • If you think that you may be suffering from depression or anxiety, please consider seeing a medical professional.

References:

  • Battaglia Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition,  The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
  • http://www.westcoastaromatherapy.com

Blue Christmas tree:   canstockphoto.com/marish

Small Magics & Essential Oils…

First Posted October 2016

This is what Rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place – Elizabeth Gilbert….                                                                 

The wheel of the year continues to turn, and in our busy world, many have lost touch with the small magics in life. We need to take a moment, take a breath, observe a perfect canstockphoto16014219tulip in April or the geese flying south in October. These small moments become our daily reflection or our daily rituals.

Humans have been doing rituals for thousands of years. Whether it is in a temple or in the forest, it could be honoring God, the Goddess or Mother Earth, it’s still a ritual. Taking time to connect to your own inner wisdom and belief system helps to make sense of what is happening in our lives. It can be something as simple as lighting a candle.

Essential oils have been used in rituals and ceremonies for close to 6000 years by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Persians. They have been used to celebrate love, fertility, the changing seasons as well as honoring the dead. 

You too can use essential oils in your daily rituals. You may want to: 

-Add Essential oils to a ceremonial bath before starting a ritual or meditation. (Use milk or a carrier oil to properly dilute them first)

-Make a space clearing spray to cleanse and bless a new home, or to clear the energies in your room before shamanic journeying, meditation or doing yoga.

-Diffusing essential oils when you are setting your intentions, during meditation or prayers. (Using a candle diffuser would work for the ambiance as well as diffusing the essential oil).

-Make an anointing oil. A blend diluted with Jojoba oil could be used for your body or for anointing candles for your altar when doing a ritual to honor the changing seasons or a special moment in your life…

When using essential oils for spiritual practices it is still important to check the contraindications. Essential Oils have many different properties; some you may want to consider:

canstockphoto4680461Honoring our Ancestors: Essential Oil: Cypress, Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood.

Mediumship/ Connection to Afterlife: Essential oil: Cedarwood, Cypress, Fir, Myrrh, Myrtle, Oak Moss, Patchouli, Rosemary, Sage, Yarrow. Candle Color: Purple,

Connection to the Angelic Realm: Essential oil: Angelica, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Sweet Basil. Candle Color: White or Lavender

Spirit Guides: Essential Oil: Lemon, Mugwort, Sage, Sandalwood.

Elemental Magic: Essential Oil: Geranium, Lavender, Palmarosa, Rosemary.

Dream Work: Essential Oil: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Orange, Rose, Ylang Ylang. Candle Color: Blue.

Psychic Abilities:

canstockphoto1274262Clairvoyance: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Birch, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary Spruce. Candle Color: White & Yellow

Clairaudience: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Grapefruit, Star Anise
Intuition: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Birch, Chamomile, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemongrass, Pine, Rosemary, Yarrow, Ylang Ylang. Candle Color: Lavender, Purple & Brown.

Divination: Using Pendulums, Tarot Cards & Crystal Balls: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Frankincense, Lemon, Patchouli, Thyme.
Candle Color: Violet or Gold

 

Continue reading “Small Magics & Essential Oils…”

Balance or Burnout?

Balance is not Something you Find, It’s something that you Create
– Jana Kingsford

life bal 2We now know that to improve our well-being, we need to nurture the whole person: the physical, the emotional, as well as the spiritual body. As we navigate our busy lives, we need to pay attention to the messages that our bodies are trying to tell us. Those headaches, upset stomachs or sleepless nights may be a clue that our lives are out of balance. If you are chronically stressed, whether from work, family commitments or school, the constant grind can wear you down, and it could lead to burnout.

The Symptoms of Burnout are:

  • Chronic tiredness or fatigue (Not feeling rested after a nights sleep).
  • Emotional Exhaustion
  • Attitude Changes
  • Lacking Motivation

I know that I have said it before, but making time in your day self-care will go a long way to helping with chronic stress and burnout. Some things that you may want to try:

  • Slow down! Rest & relax as much as you can. Try to make adjustments in your schedule that allow you some flexibility as well as some free time in your day. If you just finished a big project at work or at school, take the time you need to regroup.
  • Take a moment & take Breath…
  • Set boundaries. When it comes to your health, sometimes you need to say No.
  • Get the support “you” need from your friends and family. Now is not the time to isolate yourself.
  • Do something for fun, get in touch with your inner child. (There is a reason that adult coloring books are so popular)

And of course, you can use essential oils. Simply put, the sense of smell is the only one of the five senses that is linked directly to the limbic portion of the brain, which controls our emotions, as well as how our body responds to stress. So nurture yourself & enjoy the versatility of essential oils; explore all their different properties.

Ways to Use Essential Oils:
Inhalation is an easy way to use essential oil. Try a personal inhaler or take 1 or 2 inhalations from the bottle of essential oil or diffuser blend. (There is a NASA-funded study where 25 participants in a driving scenario said that they lowered their feelings of fatigue and anxiety after smelling Peppermint.) You can also try Bergamot, Sweet Basil, Geranium, Grapefruit or Lemon…

Aromatherapy Massage:  Adding essential oils to your massage oil is a soothing way to canstockphoto1080634improves circulation, helps with any pain or discomfort, as well as any stress that you are holding in your body. Because you are applying massage oil to a large area of your body it is best to use a  1% dilution. or 6 drops of your choice of essential oils to 30 ml of carrier oil. Pick 2 or 3 of your favorites like Lavender, Frankincense, Marjoram, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Cedarwood, Vetiver or Patchouli essential oil.  (If the massage oil irritates your skin, discontinue use.)

Diffusing: Add some uplifting & balancing essential oils to your diffuser, try Bergamot, Basil, Cedarwood, Lemon, Orange, Palmarosa, Rosemary and/or Spruce to name a few.

Take the time for some self-examination. Look at your habits, what is your schedule like? Try to make time for a walk, or maybe disconnect from the internet after dinner a few times this week. Disconnecting, in this case, is a good thing.  But I think the best thing that we can do for ourselves is to let go of the need to be perfect. Having such high standards for ourselves adds to our daily stress. Remember to be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else in your life. And as always take baby steps…

My Blog is for information only & is not meant to replace medical advice. 
Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.

References

  • Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd ed. Brisbane: International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2004. Print.
  • Davis, Patricia,  Aromatherapy: An A-Z. London: Vermilion, 2005. Print.
  •  Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. London: Thorsons, 2002. Print. 
  •  Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood, and Emotion. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1996. Print. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them
http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/aromatherapy_for_burn_out
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/preventing-burnout.htm
http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/natural-remedies/aromatherapy-reduced-burnout-and-stress
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/massage/a/aromatherapy.htm
http://www.suzannebovenizer.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils/the-limbic-system