The 7 Products You Need in Your Natural Skin Care Routine

The skin on our face is typically the most exposed part of our body. Harsh winter air, UV rays, and the natural processes of aging can damage skin and slow down cell renewal.

But there’s still hope! You can ensure that your skin is getting the nourishment and protection that it needs by incorporating these natural products into your skin care regimen.

1. The Right Cleanser

Washing away the day’s impurities is essential to your skin’s health. Leaving behind any grime and dead skin on your face can lead to breakouts and further skin damage.

Choosing a cleanser, though, is no easy task! You’ll want to find a product that is effective enough to wash away impurities, but not so harsh that it strips away all of your skin’s natural moisture and oils.

Sensitive Facial Cleanser by Acure Organics
Sensitive Facial Cleanser with Argan Oil and Probiotics

The Sensitive Facial Cleanser from Acure offers a hydrating, soothing solution for even the most sensitive skin types.

Probiotics, enriching argan oil, and omega fatty acids make this cleanser a gentle but seriously nourishing solution.

“It’s the perfect mix between a gel and a cream cleanser,” says one Acure customer, “[it] doesn’t leave skin with a residue and removes every bit of makeup, even smudge-resistant liquid liner and mascara. Very gentle and soothing, doesn’t leave my skin sensitized or raw afterwards. This is definitely a new staple in my face care routine!”¹

“The facial cleanser doesn’t leave skin with a residue and removes every bit of makeup, even smudge-resistant liquid liner and mascara.”

2. A Gentle Toner

Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner by Acure Organics
Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner

Some might not consider this step of facial care to be entirely necessary, but we’re big fans of toners.

Applying a toner after you cleanse helps to balance out skin tone and soothes any irritation.

The Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner from Acure restores balance in your skin, and removes any excess oil from your face, without overdrying it.

3. Moisturizers

Moisturizers are a no-brainer. They deliver vitamins and nutrients, and lock in hydration for your skin, keeping it healthy and nourished. Who wouldn’t want that for their skin?

Picking the right moisturizer can be a chore, though — there are a lot of different options, and finding the right one for your skin’s needs means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Oil Control Facial Moisturizer by Acure Organics
Oil Control Facial Moisturizer with Lilac Stem Cell

Acure’s Oil Control Moisturizer does just what it says. Combat oily skin and help prevent future breakouts by applying after you wash and tone. The moisturizer contains Lilac Stem Cells, which help to reduce acne lesions and protect against more irritation. The Chlorella Growth Factor renews damaged skin cells, and improves your skin’s tone and texture.

Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream by Acure Organics
Day Cream with Gotu Kola Stem Cell

To support cell renewal and skin elasticity, try Acure’s Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream. It goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly, and protects your skin from free radicals and environmental damage.

4. Night Creams

Night Cream by Acure Organics
Night Cream with Argan Stem Cell + 2% CGF

Our bodies undergo repair while we sleep, and we can help boost this restorative process by using products that benefit cell renewal and deliver extra hydration.

Acure’s Night Cream contains Moroccan Argan Oil, which moisturizes and feeds your skin. Chlorella Growth Factor strengthens the elastin fibers and collagen in your skin, so you’ll wake up looking refreshed (even if you’re not feeling it).

5. Masks and Scrubs

These kinds of products should not typically be used on a daily basis, but including them once or twice a week in your routine will help boost the effectiveness of your existing regimen.

Brightening Facial Scrub by Acure Organics
Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub

Revive dull skin with this Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub. It’s great for ALL skin types, and incorporating this into your weekly routine will leave skin feeling fresh, bright, and new.

“I’ve never used a scrub that made my face feel so good after using this one. It’s very effective, and strikes the perfect balance between working and still being gentle. I use this everyday before I use my cleanser,” said one Acure customer.²

“I’ve never used a scrub that made my face feel so good after using this one…I use this everyday before I use my cleanser.”

6. Facial Oils

It seems counter-intuitive to use oil on our skin – doesn’t oil encourage breakouts or unwanted shine?

Marula Oil by Acure Organics
Marula Oil for All Skin Types

But treating the face with oil provides your skin with the vitamins and nutrients that it needs, without stripping away any of your skin’s moisture.

Acure’s Marula Oil treatment uses 100% pure wildcrafted marula oil. Widely known for its anti-aging properties, marula oil is often referred to as a “miracle oil” for its extremely potent moisturizing and nourishing agents. Even better – it’s great for all skin types!

Your Ideal Facial Care Routine

Now more than ever, there is an overwhelming array of beauty products available for your facial care routine. Finding what works best for your skin type and its specific needs – and keeping your regimen consistent – will help to ensure that you maintain healthy skin and a fresh, happy face.

Acure Ultimate Natural Skin Care Collection

You can purchase the entire collection of natural skin care products from Acure here!

¹http://www.acureorganics.com/product-p/047.htm

²http://www.acureorganics.com/Brightening-Facial-Scrub-p/012.htm

Stories of Hope: Microlending through Milaap

We’re grateful at Soap Hope — for our customers, of course, but for our mission partners, as well.

These partners are addressing some of our planet’s biggest issues like poverty and access to education, and they share in our vision of creating impact through bigger innovations.

We’ve previously highlighted what our nonprofit partner, Milaap, has accomplished through their distinctive approach to microlending.

Milaap was founded by three entrepreneurs in 2010 — friends with a vision “to change people’s concept of giving and make it a personal, transparent, and sustainable process.”

Their program and platform are unique — when you give you Milaap, you’re able to choose from a list of eligible borrowers, categorized by their needs and loan requirements. Borrowers receive 100% of the funds, and when the loan is paid back, those repayments accumulate in your Milaap account as credits. You can withdraw your money or re-lend the funds to other Milaap borrowers.

It’s an easy and engaging way to lend money to the causes you care about most: ending poverty, supporting education, or (if you’re like us here at Soap Hope) helping women who want brighter futures.

Supporting Small Business

Vanraj Mahila Mandal is a small collective of industrious women from Dahod in Gujarat, India (pictured above). These women are all running their own small businesses in order to support their families.

Parvati (pictured in the middle) leads the group. She’s a 35 year old woman and runs a petty shop in Dahod, selling items like sugar, rice, and tea to the community. Other women in the collective own similar businesses, selling groceries and other household products, or offering services like sewing.

The loan from Milaap has given Parvati the means to  add inventory in her shop and expand her business. Funding from Milaap ensures a better standard of living for these women and their families, and ultimately the communities they live in.

Supporting Real Impact

By partnering with organizations like Milaap, Soap Hope creates more impact with our profits.

We believe that businesses everywhere can create this kind of change in the world, and the support of our Soap Hope customers ensures that we facilitate bigger change.

Want to learn more about our Soap Hope mission? Visit our Mission page here. 

 

 

//Photo credit: Milaap

IN THE NEWS: President Obama signs act banning microbeads

2016 is off to a great start for consumers.

On December 28, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.

The law will effectively ban “the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads.”

Several states have already banned the production and use of microbeads in products, with Illinois being the first state (in 2014) to roll out legislation that prohibits the materials.

Several other states have followed suit. California lawmakers approved a bill in September of 2015, which includes the ban of any biodegradable microbeads. Roberta Larson, executive director of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, spoke on the importance of enacting these laws.

“Plastic microbeads can pass through some wastewater treatment plants and make their way into the environment, where they can be harmful to marine life,” she said. “Controlling these microbeads at their source is simply good public policy.”

Soap Hope founder, Salah Boukadoum, wrote about the dangers of microbeads here on our Good Life blog, back in 2014:

“These plastic beads do not break down. Marine creatures eat the microbeads, which ultimately end up in our food. They cannot be removed from the environment.

Microbeads are getting even more attention lately because they have been found lodged in the gums of many people who are using Crest toothpaste. No one knows how much damage they are causing to the very teeth that were supposed to benefit from the product.

Manufacturers of these products are fully aware of the harm they are doing to humans and to nature – but they put profits above all else and use them anyway.”

We’re excited to see that lawmakers and leaders are taking action to improve our environment and health, and prevent businesses from such destructive practices.

The bill signed by the President would require manufacturers to stop using microbeads by Jan. 1, 2018. You can read the public statement here. 

 

(Header image credit: Wikipedia)

Ingredients We Love: Seaweed

Maybe you’ve only encountered seaweed in your favorite sushi restaurant or washed up on the beach, but seaweed has also been an ingredient in skin care throughout history.

A Bit of Background

Across every continent, seaweed has been used in a number of ways to promote health and cure ailments.

Source: Wiki Commons
Source: Wiki Commons

In Ireland, for instance, farmers collected seaweed to use as fertilizer for their crops, as early as 1200 AD. Ancient Hawaiians used seaweed for food, medicine, and in their tribal ceremonies.

The Japanese have used seaweed in their diet for centuries, as well, and recent research shows that using kelp in traditional dishes might contribute to the lower rate of cancer in Japanese women.

“Brown kelp seaweed makes up more than 10 percent of the Japanese diet,” said Christine Skibola, assistant research toxicologist at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “Soy has gotten most of the attention, but our study suggests that kelp may also contribute to these reduced cancer rates among Japanese women.”

Seaweed: Vegetables for Your Skin

Ocean-Fresh Whole Seaweed Detox Bath from Seaweed Bath Co.
Ocean-Fresh Whole Seaweed Detox Bath

The nutrients that seaweed provides can benefit our diet, but those same nutrients will also do wonders for your skin.

Seaweeds contain vitamins A, C, and E, and are full of minerals that our bodies love, like iron, potassium, and zinc.

Using seaweed directly on the skin has some amazing detoxifying effects — many spas use seaweed wraps to help diminish the appearance of cellulite and rejuvenate skin.

There are several varieties of seaweed, and can be grouped by color.

Brown algaes include kelp, kombu, and nori. This kind of seaweed is detoxifying and can help reduce cellulite.

Green algaes include wakame. Green algaes are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, and they assist in stimulating collagen production.

Blue-green algaes like spirulina contain amino acids and stimulate cellular metabolism.

Red algaes and white algaes are both known for their soothing properties.

Using Seaweed in Your Own Skin Care Regimen

If you’d like to incorporate seaweed into your beauty routine, there are a number of ways you can include it.

Using seaweed in a facial mask will help to detoxify skin, ease irritation, and moisturize dry skin.

Seaweed has long been praised for its effectiveness in getting rid of cellulite — many spas will offer full body wraps to minimize the appearance of dimpled skin.

Products with seaweed are also especially helpful in treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It’s a natural source of omega-3 fats, which nourish and hydrate, along with amino acids, which help to soothe flaking skin.

Here are a few of our favorite Soap Hope brands that use seaweed!

 

5 Reasons to Start a Meditation Practice Today

We can all take some time to slow down and breathe, as we’ve suggested a few times here on the Good Life blog.

We tend to glorify the idea of staying busy and being on-the-go.

watch steering wheelResearch and science, however, are suggesting that the levels of stress and anxiety that we consider “normal” can have some pretty unwanted and sometimes dangerous long term effects.

“In primary care, stress-related illnesses are known drivers of healthcare resource utilization in the US,” states a recent study. “Healthcare expenditures attributable to stress-related disorders, such as, depression and anxiety, were over 80 billion dollars/year in 2012.”

Meditation isn’t a cure-all for our health issues, but there is growing evidence that dedicating more time to mindfulness and relaxation can make significant improvements in overall well-being.

1. Lower blood pressure

The American Heart Association recently wrote that a regular meditation practice can lead to lower blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Meditation provides a technique for reducing stress,” says Dr. Richard A. Stein, professor of medicine and director of the exercise and nutrition program at New York University’s Center for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.

When we experience stress, adrenaline is released — it’s our body’s natural alarm system, when we’re provoked in some way. You might know this as the “fight or flight” response.

Living in this constant state of alarm, however, can have adverse effects.

“When we were cavemen, that adrenaline helped us be ready if a tiger was going to attack,” Dr. Stein said. “Today, all the tigers are in our heads.”

Making the time to meditate regularly has shown promising results for those suffering with cardiovascular issues.

In a 2012 study, “African-Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die compared with African-Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years.”

2. Better memory

In a recent study at University of California, Santa Barbara, participants who underwent a two-week mindfulness course showed improvement in their reading comprehension and their “working memory capacity.”

asian-863318_640“Improvements in performance following mindfulness training were mediated by reduced mind wandering among participants who were prone to distraction at pretesting,” states the study.

“Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with wide-reaching consequences.”

3. Functional connectivity in the brain

Establishing a meditation practice as a regular part of your routine can actually change how your brain works.

In one study, “participants with more meditation experience exhibited increased connectivity within attentional networks, as well as between attentional regions and medial frontal regions [of the brain]. These neural relationships may be involved in the development of cognitive skills, such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction, that are often reported with meditation practice.”

To sum up: practice makes perfect. Training your brain to focus and to avoid getting fully distracted (as one does during meditation) are both skills that can be improved on, and even used outside of a meditation practice.

4. Treatment of depression

A recent research study tested the effects that meditation has on depression, compared with the effects of medication on the condition. The study found that “mindfulness meditation may rival antidepressants in easing the symptoms of depression.”

woman-506120_640“Also relevant for physicians and patients is that there is no known major harm from meditating, and meditation doesn’t come with any known side effects,” said Dr. Madhav Goyal of Johns Hopkins. “One can also practice meditation along with other treatments one is already receiving.”

It’s not entirely clear how meditation helps depression, but studies have shown that a mindfulness practice like meditation reduces activity in both the amygdala (the stress center of the brain), as well as the brain’s “default mode network.”

5. Better grades, happier students (and teachers)

Students at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco were considered “largely out of control, frequently fighting in the corridors, scrawling graffiti on the walls and cursing their teachers.

studyIn 2007, the school implemented their “Quiet Time” program, and it’s something they’re still practicing today.

Twice a day, students settle into 10 minutes of quiet reflection. A gong sounds, and the students at Visitacion Valley sit still and try to clear their minds. (Yeah, middle school kids. Sitting still.)

Since 2007, other schools in the area have adopted Quiet Time.

“On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn’t exist, and the gap is even bigger in math,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

And the program isn’t just helping the students. “Teachers report they’re less emotionally exhausted and more resilient.”

Getting started

Okay, so where do you start, if you’re new to meditation?

We don’t all have to be monks or live in a pastoral setting, in order to practice or benefit from meditation.

lay down“Find what works for you,” says Dr. Stein from NYU. “Maybe it’s just listening to your favorite music while you walk at a moderate pace.”

And thankfully, you don’t need anything but your brain and your breath to meditate. There are a number of mobile apps and video tutorials on meditation, so you might look around to find something that makes sense for your own meditative needs.

I’ve listed a few helpful online guides below, as well.

What other ways do you practice mindfulness? Do you have a meditation practice? Feel free to comment below!

Meditation Resources:

How to Meditate

A Guide to Meditation for the Rest of Us

How to Get Started with Meditation

————————————————————–

Need some relaxing inspiration? Here are a few of our favorite Soap Hope items!

 

IN THE NEWS: Legislation introduced to modernize food labeling

In a public release, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), with Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) announced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2015.

The Food Labeling Modernization Act approaches food labeling reform in a comprehensive manner, addressing front-of-package labeling, misleading health claims, and requiring updates to the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient list,” states the release.

The Act will address a number of revisions to laws that “have been unchanged since the 1990s.”

cart-15507_640“By empowering consumers with accurate, truthful, and concise information, this legislation will enable them to make healthier choices, and outsmart deceptive pitches and promotions,” said Senator Blumenthal.

An overhaul of the food labeling process is an important step towards providing U.S. consumers with healthier food choices, and ultimately addressing what has been referred to as the “obesity epidemic” here in the States.

“Healthy eating is especially critical to combating the growing epidemic of childhood obesity,” states Congressman Palone, “which has nearly tripled in the past 30 years and is one of the most serious public health problems in this country.”

Here at Soap Hope, we offer products for the body and home, but understand that what we feed our bodies has a serious impact on not only our skin, but overall health. Knowing what makes up the food that we’re eating empowers us to make better decisions about what food we purchase.

“Food labels should inform — not mislead — consumers as they grocery shop,” said William Wallace, Policy Analyst for Consumers Union. “Consumers deserve labeling that is simple, straightforward, and meaningful, so they can easily compare products and make healthy choices for their families.”

You can read the entirety of the Food Labeling Modernization Act here

Our Love Affair with Lavender

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Cabo San Lucas. I stayed at a nice resort, and while a tourist trap like Cabo isn’t my favorite place in the world, I loved it — the resort was secluded and had such a tranquil, luxurious ambiance.

But one feature I remembered most was that it smelled AMAZING. The whole resort smelled phenomenal — softly floral, uplifting, and clean.

I found out that the hotel used essential oils that they sprayed throughout the entire resort, and the main component of the aroma was lavender.

Thus began my love affair with the lavender plant. I started researching and buying lotions and sprays that contained lavender, because the scent was so fresh and soft — and it seemed to clear away the cobwebs in my head when I used them.

Which makes sense. The word “lavender” comes from the Latin “lavare,” meaning “to wash.”

Lavender: A Longtime Favorite

igw0108.t5 (1)
Indigo Wild’s Lavender Zum Mist

Lavender has long been praised for its medicinal attributes, as early as the first century. The Greeks and Romans both used lavender in their herbal baths, to ease sore muscles and help with tension.

Lavender has earned the nickname of “herb of love,” and it’s considered an aphrodisiac because of its ability to both stimulate blood flow and promote calmness.

The plant has been used for centuries in the culinary arts, as well, and is used in a variety of dishes as a spice rub, or in sweets and desserts. (It’s also quite lovely in a number of different cocktails.)

We’re big fans of lavender here at Soap Hope, not only for its gorgeous aroma, but because it’s naturally capable of healing skin conditions and protecting your skin.

Here are a few ways we love using lavender!

1. Say goodbye to bugs!

Lavender oil can be used to prevent insect bites – spraying the skin with a mix of the oil and water will help to ward off mosquitoes, for instance, who avoid the smell. But if you do get bitten, lavender is also an anti-inflammatory, and will help to prevent swelling and further irritation.

2. Pain be gone!

head-650878_1920Lavender is often used in massage therapy, to help relieve sore muscles, sprains, and joint pain. Using lavender in aromatherapy has been proven to reduce the experience of pain in postoperative procedures.

3. No need to stress.

bgr0070.t5
Badger Balm’s Stress Soother

The calming properties of lavender have been lauded for ages, and there’s science to back it up, too. A recent study tested the aromatherapeutic effects of lavender oil on patients reporting insomnia due to stress, and the results showed “a significant improvement in sleep quality after intervention.”

4. Get things moving!

Lavender can help improve blood circulation AND it aids in digestion. Essentially, this plant is great at making sure all of our systems are running smoothly and properly.

It’s no wonder, then, that we have a wide selection of soaps and lotions and products that contain lavender here at Soap Hope. It’s one of our favorite plants!

What are some ways you love using lavender?

 

Brands We Love: Indigo Wild


“Any more natural and you’d be naked.” (Indigo Wild)

Irreverent, provocative, tongue-in-cheek. Call them what you’d like, but the folks at Indigo Wild have genuine personality.

“You can’t appeal to everyone,” explains Indigo Wild owner and president, Emily Voth, about their company’s “wild” culture.

Their Zum Bar soaps have been on Soap Hope shelves since we first started, and Indigo Wild’s collection of quality, natural skin care is still one of our top selling brands.

It’s a pleasure to work with individuals and companies that are so passionate about the work that they do, and if you’re familiar with Indigo Wild, you’ll know that the same passion extends to the products they create.

Indigo Wild: A Passion for Natural

Emily had been working in the corporate world for several years when she started to recognize how disenchanted she felt with her career.

“I wanted to do something I cared about,” says Emily. “I’d been working in that environment for so long, but I looked up at one point and just thought, ‘Is this it?'”

She’d cultivated an interest for aromatherapy and herb gardening, and her yoga instructor suggested turning one of her passions into more of a business.

“So I started sneaking my lunch into the library, researching everything I could; I started testing and making soaps, and gave those to my friends to try out,” she said.

Her husband helped her out (he designed the Indigo Wild logo on a napkin) and they prepared to set up shop at her local farmers market. Her soap bars were a huge hit.

“We sold out of everything,” she said.

She gave herself six months to get the business going, and did freelance work to help generate an income. Not the easiest route to take, but Emily couldn’t give up the idea. “I had to start something where I felt more like myself.”

But that’s just where things began.

Building a Culture that Cares

This kind of tenacious, self-motivated spirit has carried through Indigo Wild’s overall company culture, as well.

tina-production“It takes a special kind of person to work here. You can’t teach passion or train people to be motivated,” says Emily.

 

And it’s the company’s authenticity and passion for creating such quality products that has brought them so much success.

Building a culture where the employees are not only allowed, but encouraged, to fly their freak flags has helped to establish Indigo Wild as a nationally recognized natural brand. They’ve been recognized in numerous publications, like InStyle and Rachael Ray’s Everyday.

A Recipe for Success

Indigo Wild natural goat's milk soap
The ever-popular Frankincense and Myrrh Bar by Indigo Wild

Indigo Wild’s bar soaps use goat’s milk — which is why they have the adorable goat on all of their bars and products.

Goat’s milk is naturally moisturizing, pH balanced for skin and hair, and full of vitamins that our skin craves.

Combining such wholesome ingredients with aromatherapeutic essential oils makes the Zum soap bar popular with our Soap Hope customers — and it’s now carried in stores all over the U.S. (and Canada!).

Indigo Wild is also dedicated to several worthy causes, including a local dog rescue group and programs that support breast cancer survivors.

It’s that sort of commitment to product and making an impact that makes us proud to carry Indigo Wild here at Soap Hope.

 

Here are a few of our favorite Indigo Wild products!

 

 

Image credit: Indigo Wild

Self-Care: The Importance of Taking Care of Number One

(Written by guest author Sarah Galla of The Nourished Seedling.)

I was on empty – diapers, that is.

My youngest was now using the spare diaper I kept hidden in the car – the one only to be used in emergency situations. I had to drop off my oldest at school, get to the store and then get back home to a playdate with friends that were coming over within the hour.

Scrambling out the door, I took a last sip of my water. However, in my haste, it slipped from my hand, shattering all over the floor. As I jumped in surprise, my purse fell off of my shoulder, spilling all over the floor.

After frantically cleaning the glass up, then washing the floor, I stepped on a remaining shard, crying out in pain. Meanwhile, my kiddos were starting to bicker with each other, waiting by the front door, mostly out of a nervous apprehension while their mom was pretty much losing it.

It was nothing huge, but it made me pause.

These little people, whether I like it or not, are picking up on my energy, my anxiety, almost as if my racing thoughts were pouring out of my head and seeping into their little bodies.

It Made Me Pause

black-and-white-person-woman-girlAt this point, I was more upset at myself for letting the little things get the best of me than actually anything related to the mess that lay before me. I was irritable, tired, and, overall, just disappointed in myself because I felt I was failing at life.

I was supposed to do it all, be it all, have it all together. But I wasn’t, and didn’t.

Here I was, the designated grown-up, covered in water, limping with a chard of glass in my foot, contents of my purse (still) all over the floor and tears threatening to fall. Six beautiful big eyes looked back at me, shining of innocence and glaring uncertainty.

This was the moment – my opportune moment. I could continue to be angry, sad, frustrated and wallow in self-pity. Or, I could walk the walk and be the person I wanted my girls to see.

So, I sat – in the middle of the mess. They all looked at me, incredulously. I took them all in my arms and hugged them. And then, with some kid-interpretations here and there, I went on to explain about self-care, and why I was the example of how important it is to care for ourselves.

Why We Put Our Mask On First

We often give and give until we have nothing left to give. We give to our jobs, to our families, to our children, to our friends, but what about to ourselves? Not fancy clothes or expensive material items. No, I’m talking about something much harder and more precious to give – our time and attention. Without self-care, our bodies, our souls wither from the lack of nourishment.

Are we eating right, getting enough sleep, addressing our feelings of anger, sadness, and resentment? Or are we sweeping these underneath the rug, storing them away, promising ourselves we will get to them when we have time?

No one for sure knows what is going on in our heads at any given time. No one for sure knows exactly what is going on in our life at any given time.

However, there is one person that is aware, one person that can change the course or put on the brakes – and that person is us. Often we overlook the importance of how we think and feel, and just keep propelling forward, resolving that we will take time as soon as some ambiguous goal is attained.

However, there is a reason the standing rule of securing our mask before that of anyone else’s is still a standing rule. If we cannot function, how can we expect to help others function? If we start focusing on the desires of everyone and everything outside of ourselves, without regard to our own needs, we lose our bearings, our internal compass that not only guides us, but truly helps us thrive.

Checking In With Ourselves

I was so focused on trying to do all of these tasks and fulfill requests with speed, that I didn’t take the time to check in with myself. I didn’t notice I hadn’t consumed anything but coffee. I didn’t notice I had not taken at least one deep breath since I woke up.

Even more important to me, is that I didn’t notice how my frantic, yet robotic movements, profoundly impacted the feelings of serenity of myself and those around me.

Often times, it takes crippling body aches, emotional breakdowns, or even a great loss to see firsthand the importance of self-care.

However, when we take the time to assess our needs along with our realistic capabilities, and then ensuring these needs are met on a regular basis, we can head off many catastrophes and feelings of despair.

In fact, we become more accountable, more responsible, so not only can others know they can rely on us, we know that we can count on ourselves.

 


SGalla_profile2Sarah Galla, M.S., R.Y.T., is the creator, recipe developer, photographer and writer behind The Nourished Seedling. As a mother of three amazing kiddos, she is an advocate the importance of real food and mindful eating, and that no matter how hard the storm, to always look for the rainbow after the rain. Sarah is also a Soap Hope Ambassador of Hope!

The Soap Hope Team: Meet Rachel

Written by Craig Tiritilli, cofounder of Soap Hope. 

Startups aren’t easy.

Rachel Winstead knows. She’s seen more than her fair share of them.

Before Soap Hope, Rachel was editor of Launch DFW, an online publication that focuses on technology startups in the North Texas area. She discovered her love for writing and building communities through her involvement there.

Before Launch DFW, her early career took her through corporate America and other large organizations with posts in mortgage banking firms and educational institutions. Those less-than-fulfilling experiences helped her realize that she needed to be part of something with a focus on making a real and lasting difference in the world.

A chance meeting with Soap Hope cofounder, Salah Boukadoum, set in motion a career change that would land her in a spot where she could do just that.

Rachel is in charge of what Soap Hope says to the world. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, the Good Life Blog (you get the picture), Rachel is the one doing the talking.

Her natural love for communicating and bringing people together make her ideal for giving a voice to the company. Her formal education in English doesn’t hurt, either.

When asked why she decided to join Soap Hope, Rachel says that the diverse team was a big factor. “The variety of perspectives here is surprising and really positive. Everyone is very different, but somehow it works – it made it easy for me to fit in here at Soap Hope,” says Rachel.

In describing her impression of the company, Rachel says, “Soap Hope is an intense environment. I’ve never worked with a group of people that push harder to accomplish everything they do in a day. At the same time, my coworkers make this such a rewarding and fun place to work. And, of course, there’s our mission of alleviating poverty and empowering women — it’s always top of mind.”

Rachel (middle) with two of her siblings, before her Soap Hope days.
Rachel (middle) with two of her siblings, before her Soap Hope days.

Rachel’s dad was in the army,  and her family moved often when she was growing up — so often that she attended three different high schools. Moving around did help her to develop close bonds with her younger sister and two younger brothers. She thinks that the moving around and being the oldest influenced her to be a nurturing person and natural conflict resolver.

Ironically, Rachel is a bit of an introvert. After spending her day writing, posting, blogging, and talking with lots of Soap Hope supporters, she prefers quiet time. Away from the office she can be found hanging with close friends, attempting to run, or reading.

“After a day of total outward focus, I need to recharge with more personal activities,” says Rachel.

In addition to her regular social media and communication activities, Rachel has a lot on her plate. She’s the go-to person whenever an opinion on a customer facing event or item is needed (which, by the way, happens several times a day).

Rachel is also in charge of the company’s Ambassador Program. In that role she recruits, trains and motivates the people that help spread the word about Soap Hope.

It takes a special kind of person to thrive in a startup filled with people building a business and changing the world — which is why Rachel is a perfect fit.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT RACHEL:

Favorite color: Green
Earliest memory: Living through a tornado
Favorite food: Ice cream, always.
Favorite book: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Here are a few of Rachel’s favorite products at Soap Hope!

 

 

Header image credit: Emmanuel Lopez (edited for size by us)