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  • Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    When you think of essential oils, what comes to mind?

    A massage, maybe? Aromatherapy? When a friend first introduced me to oils, I had no idea how much they would change my life. I was simply looking for a way to go more "natural" when it came to the many products I was using. To simplify. 

    What I discovered was a whole new way to take care of myself, my family (and friends!), and our home. They are soothing, cleansing, calming, supportive, energizing, protective, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit -- and beyond. Their uses are seemingly endless. You will be amazed at the power of pure, exceptionally high quality essential oils.

    But for now, I'd like to introduce you to just a few: My top five must-have essential oils for home and beauty! They are: Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, a special blend of protective oils I love, and Frankincense.

    LEMON

    Lemon essential oil is a little bottle of joy! All of the citrus oils are! (I love Grapefruit and Orange, too!)

    Pop open the top, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Immediately, you begin to feel uplifted. It naturally promotes positivity and cognitive ability, and it's also wonderful for both beauty and keeping your home sparkling clean. A couple simple tips:

    • HOME: Make your own multipurpose spray cleaner! Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Need to freshen the air? Pop some Lemon in the diffuser, or make your own "Fresh Air" spray with just a simple glass spray bottle, water, and 15 drops of Lemon. (A few drops in a bowl of baking soda is super effective, too!) Bonus: Lemon essential oil is amazing for removing all things sticky, from glue to gum and even permanent marker!
    • BEAUTY: Try just 1 drop of Lemon essential oil in a big glass of water. (Stir it in to mix evenly.) It naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion. And healthy digestion equals glowing skin - plus a whole host of other benefits! It also helps to ward off free radicals with its antioxidant properties, so drink up!

    LAVENDER

    Lavender essential oils is widely used and touted for its calming and relaxing qualities. Who couldn't use a little more of that?

    These days, with our crazy schedules and the unfortunate glorification of busy, one of the best things we most need to do for ourselves (and the people we love) is slow down. And that can be tough! Find comfort and ease in Lavender. 

    • HOME: Diffuse 3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil at bedtime to help slow things down and get ready for a restful night of sleep. Have guests coming? Go fancy on them and spritz a bit of Lavender water (mix 2 oz. of water and 10 drops of Lavender in a spray bottle) on their pillows and in their rooms. Smells aaahmazing and will ease the tensions of the day. 
    • BEAUTY: Lavender is soothing to the skin. Whether we're talking daily beauty routine (add a drop to your moisturizer for glowing skin) or a homemade after-sun balm (the absolute best thing you can use for too much sun), Lavender's got ya covered, helping skin to recover quickly. My first (and a classic favorite) combination for an all-natural deodorant that really works(!) also calls for Lavender. Dare you to give it a try - and experience how well it works for yourself.

    MELALEUCA

    Also known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca essential oil is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. But it's also incredible for helping to freshen and purify the air. It's seemingly limitless applications have earned it the nickname of "the gentle giant". I love it for:

    • HOME: Make your toilet shine with a DIY toilet cleaner combo of 10 drops of Melaleuca, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. Amazing, I tell you! (I like to add 10 drops of Lemon, too!)
    • BEAUTY: Melaleuca promotes a clear, healthy complexion. I used Melaleuca (along with Lavender) in an all-natural after Shave lotion for my husband- that he loves! Try adding a drop to your moisturizer - or even your shampoo!. It also soothes minor skin irritations. And remember: A little goes a long way! I love the combination of Lavender and Melaleuca for any of the minor skin stuff that comes along with summer - especially for the little people in our lives!

    MAKE YOUR OWN PROTECTIVE BLEND

    The gorgeous "protective" blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils is a powerful, natural, and effective combo for immune support. It smells like Fall and Winter to me - spicy, warm, energizing, uplifting, and soothing - but it's wonderful year-round.

    • HOME: It's safe to use on countertops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to cleanse the atmosphere by diffusing. Make your own cleanser, hand wash, air freshener, laundry detergent. I love knowing that the products I'm using in my home are non-toxic and health-supportive. Taking out the trash? Give the inside of your trashcan a spray with a simple mix of water + this blend of oils (10 drops of the blend in 2 oz. of water) combo! (I use that same spray for an on-the-go hand cleanser, too!)
    • BEAUTY: This blend is also wonderful for purifying the skin while promoting healthy circulation. Try a drop, massaged into the bottoms of your feet, each night before bed. I also love it for oral health! I use it in my toothpaste, add a drop to water to make mouthwash, and add a drop to a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil for oil pulling. 

    FRANKINCENSE

    I can't wrap up my top 5 without mentioning my favorite oil of all: Frankincense. Royal, resin, and woody, Frankincense is considered the King of Oils. Why? Among other things, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system. It promotes cellular health, reduces the appearance of blemishes, rejuvenates skin, and promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness. Heavy hitter, right? 

    • HOME: Frankincense smells intoxicatingly wonderful - and uplifts the mood. Diffuse 3-5 drops of Frankincense (I love it with Orange, too) in your home to promote ease and emotional balance. If you meditate (it will change your life), try starting your practice with a drop of Frankincense in the palms of your hands, slowly inhaled over a few deep breaths. Or: Rub 1 drop of Frankincence under your nose and massage into the base of your skull. 
    • BEAUTY: Nourish your skin this summer (and year-round) with Frankincense. It promotes youthful, radiant looking skin and slows the signs of aging. This is the main oil I use on my skin, and I use it every single day! A drop in a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or sesame) massaged into your skin (or even along with your moisturizer) is fantastic. Try a DIY clay facial mask! Talk about self-care. Smells and feels amazing!

     
    Have I piqued your interest? One thing that's absolutely crucial when it comes to oils (and most things in life!) is QUALITY - and that you're using only the highest quality of oils (pure therapeutic grade, sourced indeigenously, thorough testing) in your homes and on your bodies. 
    It's truly become a passion of mine to support people in learning how to properly use essential oils and incorporate them into their daily lives. So if YOU'd like to learn more about my favorite essential oils and try them for yourself, check out the Essential Oils section of my website - or reach out to me here. I love hearing from you!

    [Originally published on the beautiful Lenore Design!]
  • How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    A few weeks ago, I sent my top five tips for transitioning to cleaner eating to the fine folks over at Jule's Wellness, an awesome Canadian wellness company on a mission to help you feel healthy, strong, and more conscientious in your life. (Love their stuff! I've got my eye on their monthly subscription box!)

    Eating "clean" isn't nearly as complicated as you might think, but with all the different points of view and diets out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused! I know I used to be. 

    It took getting sick (asthma, IBS, allergies, acid reflux, relentless colds), taking a bunch of meds that didn't work, and feeling hopeless, for me to finally find my way.

    And I'm still learning every day! But that's, I'm quite confident, how it's supposed to be.

    The secret?

    There really is no one-size-fits-all diet. Not in my book, anyway. We are all individuals with unique bodies and needs, so it only makes sense that we would need to take a similar approach when it comes to food!

    Here, I'm breaking the whole "eating clean" thing down into five simple steps. Start where you are, and remember: It's not a race. It's a journey.

    The idea here is to do a little better all the time.

    1 - EDUCATE YOURSELF

    I have a Bachelor's in Secondary Education, a Master's in Science, and 5+ years working as a Trauma/Emergency Department registered nurse, and I still had to go back to school to figure all this stuff out!

    Your story, surely, will be different from mine. And I'm not saying you need to do everything I did! But in some form or another, you're going to need to begin to dig a little deeper and explore a little further than what you've always heard about health and wellness. (Hint: Counting calories, buying non-fat, and opting for "magic pills" will not be getting you to where you want to be, my friends. At least not in any lasting way.)

    For me, it all started with the documentary Forks Over Knives. (You might like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead or GMO OMG!) From there, I devoured book after book on the subject of food as medicine. A few early favorites were The Omnivore's Dilemma, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole, and UnDiet. If you haven't read these yet, I assure you they will shed new light on old "truths". 

    Having experienced what felt like was my own "health miracle", I craved expert guidance, to deepen my understanding of nutrition. And I felt a very clear calling to help others begin to take back their health, too.

    I enrolled in T. Colin Campbell's Plant-Based Nutrition course, followed by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which truly expanded my vision of health (so much more than food!) and taught me the concept of bioindividuality, that what works wonders for one person might not be what's best for another. It was throughout my time at IIN that my vision of health and wellness (and happiness!) began to take shape. 

    If you're anything like me, you'll find that what makes you feel happiest and healthiest may (and likely should!) change over time. Be gentle with yourself as you explore and, ultimately, discover what works best for you. Consider hiring a coach to help you along the way. There is truly something extremely powerful about having a loving, supportive, empowering person in your corner, especially when you're taking on big changes like these.

    2 - THROW AWAY THE CRAP

    As soon as you start re-educating yourself, you'll likely begin to feel like there's a lot in your fridge and pantry (and perhaps hiding under the bed or some other secret stash location?) that simply must go!

    Warning: This could be a little painful. You may want to enlist the help of a supportive friend (maybe after watching one of those awesome documentaries together!), family member, or coach. 

    But, I promise you, this is a critical and crucial part of getting you feeling amazing again!

    You must must must get rid of the bad if you wish to bring on the good. (And I know you do!) If it hurts too much to throw it away, consider donation. Remember: The longer you keep it around, the longer it will take for you to get healthy again! This is something you're going to want to go "all in" on.

    CRAP: I mentioned earlier than I'm of the belief that what's best for me might not be best for you. That being said, my experience and education has taught me that there are a few key offenders that seem to cause a lot of trouble for people. If only for a while, I urge you to consider removing things like dairy, gluten, and processed sugar/sweeteners. Processed anything, really, should go!

    What you want left over is, quite simply, real food. (Not the creations of the food "industry", not those long ingredient lists of unrecognizable items, and definitely not those "fake" and "imitation" animal products laden with processed soy, sodium, and other questionables.)

    3 - REPLACE IT WITH THE GOOD STUFF

    Hint: Good stuff = Real food.

    And here's where it gets fun again! (And the produce department of the grocery store becomes your new best friend!)

    Think seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible.

    Wary about spending more on organics? This little video on The Organic Effect will inspire you to choose "cleaner" options. I also love the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, which help you choose the cleanest options while also being budget-conscious.

    Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is another great tip! (Allows you to skip the a bunch of the processed stuff in the middle sections.)

    A couple of my favorite rules of thumb from Michael Pollan (and your great-grandma) that I like to use are: (1) Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And I also love Rule No. 19 from his fabulous book Food Rules: (2) If it's a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.

    Beyond these, if you're eating animals, please be mindful of their source, what they were fed, and how they were raised. Always look for words like pastured, organic, and non-GMO. If you'd like to learn more about conscious "clean" farming, check out the work of Joel Salatin.

    And if you're looking for another all-around excellent guide to help you identify the crap (and get rid of it), check out Meghan Telpner's down-to-earth and inspiring take-back-your-life book UnDiet. You will love it!

    4 - EAT THE GOOD STUFF

    And make it delicious!

    After throwing together random "plants" for a year or so, I realized I should probably actually learn how to cook! As much as I'd always loved food, I'd never really felt comfortable in the kitchen - until I found Meghan Telpner and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

    Mind = Blown!

    I learned that health-supportive, nourishing, healing food can (and must!) taste mouth-wateringly delicious. And I learned that even I could make amazing food! (This shocked me, I tell ya!)

    I started by just watching her free videos, reading her blogs, and experimenting with some of her recipes, which are - to this day - some of my favorites to recommend to clients, friends, and family!

    If you're not used to cooking with a lot of plants and doing it in a way that is nourishing and healing to the body, just do what I did and start trying out a bunch of different recipes - until you find the ones you looove!

    Over time, as you practice and play and experiment in the kitchen, you'll develop a natural intuition about food and ingredients, and you'll begin to find it easier and easier to throw together something that's both delicious and nutritious for you and your family.

    I've got a bunch of recipes here! A couple other favorites (I have so many) are Rachel's Nourishing Kitchen, Green Kitchen Stories, and Sondi Bruner. Oh - and definitely take some time to browse through all the awesomeness in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition's Top 50 Clean Food Blogs!

    5 - REPEAT (WITH FRIENDS!)

    And there you have it! Educate yourself (lots of great books, documentaries, and classes out there to explore), get rid of the bad (seek support if you need it), bring in the good (lots of plants, think seasonal, local, and organic), make it delicious, and eat it - with friends!

    That's how you transition to cleaner eating. In a nutshell. 

    But the learning doesn't stop there, and there are certainly going to be ups and downs as you find your way. So, I'd like to say a word about your support system. 

    Finding a group of supportive, encouraging, like-minded folks will do wonders for your health, both mental and physical! If you can't find one you love, join mine!

    Making changes to the way you eat isn't always easy. You're going to need to have someone(s) to turn to when you looking for an answer to What the heck do I do with rainbow chard?, or your husband isn't exactly thrilled about your newfound plantiful ways, or you just want something sweet to eat, for God's sake! - but you don't know which ingredients are best.

    Why? Because this is the important stuff. This whole "figuring out what to eat" thing will keep you living and thriving and loving life for a very long time. It's completely changed my life, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you!

    YOUR TURN NOW

    Now it's your turn to share!

    Where are you in this whole process? Wherever you are, I hope you've found something useful here. What's been your biggest takeaway, and where would you like more support?

  • Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    There are times, sometimes, when I look back on my life and can see how everything that's happened has brought me to where I am.

    All the people I've met, people I've loved, people I've traveled with and worked beside.
    People I've lost. People I've let down. People I've hurt.
    And everything (and everyone) in between.
    All the ups and downs and tears and fears and fights and disappointment.
    All the laughter, love, and joy.

    Has brought me here now. Has taught me something.
    Has molded and created the person you see before you. 

    In tiny moments of flashes of light, I see that it has only been through the careful and consistent decision to follow my heart and do what feels right that I've begun to grow into the person I was meant to be.

    Somewhere along the line, something happens to people. We get a glimpse of our own mortality. Or someone else's.

    And we begin to see, to grasp, to feel in our bones - that there is only so much time we have here. So much space to fill. 

    And suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Nothing -- except the urgent, frantic, burning, bleeding, overwhelming need to love absolutely everything and everyone in our lives.

    And to accept nothing less than the right people, the right work, and the right adventures.

    To spend our time doing ONLY the things that really mean something. Or, at least, to do things differently now, savoring each moment: The soapy water in the sink, the colors in the produce section at the market, and the beautiful ritual of oil on your skin after a shower.

    To be held, to breathe it all in, to hold each other a little longer. To linger. And connect. And love MORE. (And more. And more.)

    To feel the sun on your skin, the earth beneath your feet, the rain on your tongue.

    To buy flowers, to cook from scratch, to breathe, to snuggle, to sing, to dance, to PLAY.

    Big or small, everything else (the fear, the pain, the anguish, the confusion, the overanalyzing, the anger, the perfectionism, the doing-too-much, the self-neglect, the self-doubt, the resentment, and all the wasted time and energy) must go.

    Because there is, at long last, no space for it here.

    Not anymore. And not ever again.

    As much as we can help it!

    Because life, it turns out, is far far FAR too short.

    Blink - and it's gone.
    In the meantime, I plan to make it count.

    Every single gorgeous second of it.

  • Delicata What?

    Delicata What?

    Hey Loves!

    It's been far too long since we've connected here. Time to nip that in the bud! I've missed you!

    How are you? How's life going for you? 

    The last few months have been a bit of a wild (and awesome) ride for me. I've been TA-ing for the most wonderful Culinary Nutrition Expert program, teaching people how to use essential oils to improve their (and their families') lives, and working on a very cool group coaching program!! (Definitely keep an eye out for that one - because I'll be sharing all the details very soon!)

    Lots of good things! And lots to be grateful for. 

    But in the midst of a lot of professional goodness, I found that my self-care routine had been taking a bit of a back seat. (Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.) I know I'm not the only one who struggles with maintaining self-care and work-life balance! 

    It's an ongoing thing. Life is always gonna be busy, right? Things are always gonna happen.

    So what are we gonna do about that? Well, I've decided that I've got to stop putting myself last. And you know what's kind of awesome and amazing?

    I'm finding that my relationships, my body, and my business will ALL benefit from my re-commitment to self-care.

    You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    AmIright? So from here on out - and I'm putting it out into the interwebs for all of you to hear...and hold me accountable - I'm recommitting to doing what I need to do in order to love and respect myself AND be able to serve all of you best

    Let's start with food! Today, I've got a delicious delicata squash salad for you. It's seasonal, simple, and so delicious. If you haven't had delicata squash before, then you need to try this. It's a personal fave, inspired by a recipe a dear friend of mine sent me last year! Ready? Here we go:

    Super Simple Delicata Salad

    Ingredients:
    1 delicata squash
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO (or coconut oil)
    1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
    Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Leafy greens Enough to fill a plate. (I used mesclun and spinach.)
    1/4 cup of walnuts (roughly chopped)
    1 tablespoon of dried cranberries

    For salad dressing:
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Instructions:

    • Wash squash and slice it in half long-ways. Scoop out the seeds. 
    • Slice squash into half-medallions (as pictured) and place in a medium-size bowl.
    • Add EVOO, maple syrup, and sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Toss to combine/lightly coat.
    • Place on parchment paper-lined cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
    • Place greens on plate, and sprinkle walnuts and cranberries on top.
    • In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients together.
    • When squash is finished baking, add it to the top of your salad. The warmth of the squash will warm your salad just the right amount, making it a nice salad for cold weather.
    • Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!

    Let me know what you think! And take me up on this self-care challenge: Do at least one thing today to take care of yourself. What will it be? You are so worth it, my friend. XO

    Love,
    Katie

  • Feels So Right Today

    Feels So Right Today

    The rain is seriously coming down in our neck of the woods.

    All day. Non-stop. But it feels right, somehow.

    As I wrote on my Facbook page this morning: 

    Sometimes a rainy day just seems so fitting. A gentle, welcome, washing away. In-between time. The past is the past, but still lingers. And the future lies just ahead, a glimmer of gold, sparkling on the horizon. If you're lucky, you're somewhere safe and warm, and you're beginning to feel the joy, the hope, the thrill, even - of the promise of tomorrow. Of new beginnings. Light a candle, brew some tea, burn some incense. Write, read, sing, rest, stretch, reflect. Create. Dream. Envision. Take a moment to let the awareness of what is good in your life set in. And another to begin to let a new story unfold. Our time here is only so long. Let's do it right.

    What is it you want to do? To feel? To experience? To leave behind in this lifetime? 

    And what is one simple thing you can do today - to start moving in that direction? 

    This is one of my favorite conversations to have with people. It helps uncover what really matters, what keeps us from achieving our goals, and what we can do to start growing into the vision we have for ourselves.

    I am here to listen, and to help you find your way. Please don't hesitate to reach out

    Sending so much love your way, today and always.

    Katie
    XO

  • Morning Pages

    Morning Pages

    Cold, rainy, gray day. 

    So what'd I do? I made myself a cup of turmeric tea, threw an acorn squash in the oven, lit a bunch of candles, and pulled out my journal. 

    Morning pages. It's something I discovered in nutrition school. Sit and write. Pen to paper. (Before I check my cell phone or open my laptop.) 

    First, whatever comes to mind - how I'm feeling, what I'm obsessing over, what I want, what I need, what's good and bad.

    Next, gratitudes. Three things. Today I wrote: 

    • a warm, dry, loving home
    • time and space to create
    • this right now; light and love and excitement
    I keep it simple. After that there may be more to get out. Or maybe not. I keep it simple. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes.
     
    This simple practice keeps me grounded and grateful, but also dreaming and creative. Do you do your own morning pages? Or have a special morning ritual of some sort? Share with me in the comments below! I'd love to hear about it.

    Katie
    XO 
  • RADICAL SELF-CARE

    RADICAL SELF-CARE

    Radical Self-Care

    Too often, taking really good care of ourselves (in the same way we would lovingly take care of a newborn, a child, an aging parent, or a loved one fallen ill) is pushed aside with excuses of time, money, or the crazy idea that taking time for self-care is selfish.

    Develop easy self-care habits: People get so wrapped up in their busy lives that they forget to take care of themselves. This can be something as simple as a relaxing bath and as nice as a day at the spa. ― Joshua Rosenthal

    We put our own health at the bottom of our long list of priorities: raising a family, planning events, pursuing a career. Or we're too tired - and we spend our downtime on social media or in front of the television.

    This is all fine and good for a little while. Our bodies are powerful, miraculous machines that work tirelessly to keep us in balance. But eventually, our late nights, endless stress, and general self-abuse catch up with us. We feel like crap. Depressed and unable to keep up, our energy and enthusiasm drained.  

    The result? We can't enjoy the things we love, appreciate the things we have, or pursue our dreams.

    Something must be done.
    And that thing is called radical self-care.

    Self-care is just what you think it is: taking care of one's self. We do it every day: shower, brush our teeth, put food in our bellies. 

    But radical self-care is taking basic self-care a giant leap further. It is the quietly bold act of putting your health and your quality of life first. And it is in doing so that we are able to face (and overcome) the major challenges and stressors of life - and to live with greater balance and resilience.

    [Radical self care is...] acting on the premise that your need for sleep, time out, socializing with your friends, and exercising is JUST as important as getting the kids to soccer practice, doing laundry, and going to work. ― Aimee Gallo

    Here are some of my (easy, reliable, and) favorite ways to practice radical self care all day long:

    Start the day off right. Treat your body to cleansing, calming, energizing foods in the morning. A breakfast of fresh fruit and tea. Warm lemon water with cayenne. Maybe a green juice. And a little bit (even five or ten minutes) of you-time: to sit and calmly enjoy your meal. Take some slow, deep breaths, in your nose and out your mouth. Maybe swap the talk radio station for some soothing Pandora music on your way to work. (Often my ride to work is my morning me-time, and I treat it as such.) Consider starting your day with meditation. There's still time to start this one.

    Food as self care. What you choose to eat is a form of self-care. Choose foods that contribute to health - not disease. Whole, plant-based foods are the superheroes of nutrition, and summer is an easy time to eat this way. Experiment with new recipes and ingredients. Use spices to season and add flavor. Ditch the junk food, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. Eat less meat, dairy, and sugar, and consume less coffee, alcohol, and tobacco. Pay attention to your body. How do you feel when you eat more of the good and less of the bad?

    Get it all out. When your mind is clogged with things to do and you feel like you're going a little cray-cray, it might be time for a mental purge. The good folks at zenhabits have put together an excellent list of 15 Can't-Miss Ways to Declutter Your Mind. Pick one and try it today.

    Throughout the day. Check in with yourself throughout the day. How's your breathing? When was the last time you took a deep breath, fully filling your chest and body with oxygen? If work is driving you mad, take a mini-break. Get outside - or at least out of the immediate environment. A change of scenery helps you focus on other things. Listen to your favorite song on your phone. Or take a quiet walk. It helps to break up the day with something more peaceful and positive. Another trick I use at work is humming. It brings me back to calm and helps me stay focused. GPS for the Soul, Insight Timer, and Relax Life are all great {free!} apps that help me through the overwhelm.

                     

    Disconnect. And reconnect. Take time to disconnect from the phone, computer, or television - and reconnect with family and friends. When my husband and I eat dinner, we put our iPhones out of reach. It's impossible to build meaningful relationships with people if you're constantly looking at your phone instead of actually looking at them and paying attention to the words coming out of their mouths. Be present and engaged. Your relationships will improve dramatically. 

    Evening self-care. A shower is an excellent opportunity for self care. Try a delicious-smelling body scrub. Dry skin brushing. Experiment with essential oils. Light a candle. After, while your muscles are still warm, treat yourself to an ayurvedic self massage. Check out this link for a how-to demonstration. On cold nights - or for sore muscles - fill a hot water bottle with hot water and take it to bed with you. It's comforting, warming, and healing. Old school - but super cool.

    Gratitude. Start a gratitude practice. (A good excuse to buy an awesome new journal!) Not buying it? Check out all these reasons why it's good to live gratefully. Starting a nightly gratitude practice is also comforting, and therefore a great exercise in self care. Instead of letting the worries and stress of the day (or day to come) cloud your minds - and keep you from a peaceful slumber - try writing down three things for which your grateful every night before bed. 

    How do you practice radical self-care?
    Which idea are you most excited to try?
    Leave a note in the comments below and let me know what you think.

  • TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

    TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

    This morning the sun was shining. I wanted to get up, enjoy the morning, take advantage of the day.

    But I couldn't. I was tired. Feeling low on energy. Needing a break. Needing to sleep.

    We've been traveling a lot lately. And work has been a killer. St. Louis two weekends ago. Smoky Mountains the week before. Upstate New York a few days ago. And next week: Southeast Asia. Hospitals, family, friends, road trips, and airports have drained me.

    In a good way. Of course. 

    Time has flown by. In between all this goodness, while I should have been resting, I was working on my website, listening to lectures, and trying to write. I wanted to submit an original piece for a new publication. One I was so excited to have the chance to be a part of. 

    But something was wrong.

    Every time I sat down to write, I fell asleep. 

    Beautiful places, wonderful weather, and ridiculously generous people. It's a lot to be thankful for. Overwhelmingly so. So much to write about. But nothing left to fuel my creative juices.

    Now I'm in recovery mode. I'm focusing on the moment. The present. The now. One thing at a time.

    My brain was fried. I missed the deadline. And I was sad. Super bummed.

    But for now, I know what I need to do.

    Sleep. Drink water. Make green breakfast smoothies. Do yoga. Be with my people. Echinacea, B-12, Ashwagandha. Probiotics. Get my immunity, energy, adrenals, and gut in order. Stop, literally, and smell the flowers. Listen to my favorite music. Appreciate everything. Stay grateful and grounded. Quality over quanitity, right?

    There are so many ways to recover from stress and overwhelm. Sometimes its from a crazy day at work. Sometimes terrible news. Sometimes it's just too much of a good thing - a pretty great problem to have, I must say. I am so grateful.

    Over the next few months, I'll be traveling, graduating from Nutrition School, and working - in the hospital and on my health counseling biz. I can't wait! But I'm keeping a list of all the things that will help me along the way - how I can practice extreme self-care to keep my mind, body, and spirit happy and healthy. 

    What's on your list? Share your favorite and best suggestions below. Let's do this together. XO