Tag Archives: relax

Natural Ways to Fall Asleep

Sleeping is incredibly important to our health and to those around us. I’m not a morning person, but I’m even worse if I don’t get good sleep. After having a baby sleep is even more important. So I had to reset how I approach sleep. That’s really something to think about. We train ourselves to eat healthily, workout, but many may not think about the benefits of creating a healthy sleep workout or routine.

Here are the basic rules we recommend adding to your routine to create a strong foundation (adjust as needed – we are all different):

  • No caffeine after 4PM
  • Limit alcohol intake 2 hours prior to bed
  • Avoid screens an hour before bed (this is absolute)
  • Eliminate light entirely (try blackout blinds or sleep masks)
  • Regular exercise (3-5 days per week, but not late in the evening)
  • Dim the lights in the house (think about screens, and atmosphere lighting)

Now add a few of these to the menu for the perfect sleep routine:

Essential oils

Breathing in essential oils has been proven to provide benefits, but did you know it can help you sleep? The use of essential oils for medicinal purposes has an ancient history, going back to early Egyptian, Chinese, and Roman societies. Ever hear of the Hippocratic Oath? That’s the ethical pledge taken by physicians for centuries (now, often taken by students upon graduation from medical school). It’s named for Greek physician, Hippocrates, who studied the effects of essential oils and was a proponent of their healing, health-promoting properties.

Researchers have found that a blend of sleep-promoting essential oils worked more effectively to improve both sleep quality and quality of life than acupressure.

We recommend Lavender, Jasmine, or Sandalwood to get you feeling sleepy and relaxed. We love

Batting your eyes

Have you heard of the asleep paradox? One University of Glasgow study found that if you try to stay awake, your brain will actually make you fall asleep. So I’ve found it very helpful to lay down and drift my eyes open and shut telling myself to stay awake, my body response is to fight me trying to keep my eyes open and I fall asleep. Give it a try, it may just work!

Meditating the mind

Meditating apps are abundant, meditating on your to-do list, your day, whatever helps you. There are even meditating options just for sleep. Just clearing your mind helps you find sleep an easier dance partner. I meditate by writing down the most pressing things on my mind so that my brain can relax and know that it doesn’t have to worry. I also like to mix this with a diffuser of essential oil blends into the bedroom. Try this Diffusers Delight Collection.

Supplements to induce sleep

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep and awake cycles. and this supplement can be taken for those who really need help balancing those cycles. We love this in lozenge form from Nature’s Way.  Melatonin, not your thing? Check out these Bach Original Flower Essences Sleep Melts that harness the power of White Chestnut to help the mind relax and easy into sleep.

Drinking a warm beverage

Drinking a cup of hot water with lemon or a cup of tea (sans caffeine) can do wonders for the body to put it in a sleepy state. The warm beverage has an effect that makes some relaxed to welcome sleep. We recommend trying Mighty Leaf’s Chamomile Citrus Blossom Herbal Tea or Pukka’s Night Time Herbal Tea.

Breathing exercises to calm the body

Lying in a comfortable position in bed, follow this sequence about five or six times:

  1. Breathe in for 4 seconds
  2. Hold breath for 7 seconds
  3. Slowly breathe out for 8 seconds

White-noise app to drown out the noise-pollution

When my daughter was born we used a white-noise machine for her and it was so soothing. So we turned up her monitor a little louder in our room and it really started to help us. You can download an app on your phone to play white-noise or rainstorms. Having this to drown out external noises like traffic or city noises works wonders.

 

Mint Foot Scrub and Soak: Reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with too much on my plate you’ll find me each night doing a foot scrub and soak. I’ve seen such great benefits from doing it and it has become my therapy. Plus it is super easy to do and doesn’t take much time. As the holiday season starts to approach I find myself doing this more and more.

Foot scrubs are a great way to relax your whole body and get the benefits of foot care. If you don’t have time to take a bath you can pretty much get the same benefits by doing a foot scrub and soak. You don’t need a tub, so it’s very convenient to do anytime and anywhere.

Every time I do a scrub and soak, my S&S (think R&R), I feel a difference in just 20 minutes of soaking my feet! I notice I feel less stressed and more relaxed. The nights when I do this, my sleep is vastly improved. I get to sleep easier and don’t wake up as often in the middle of the night.

What you need

  •  Large container of any kind big enough to soak your feed in.
  • Your favorite foot scrub (I opt for Deep Steep’s Candy Mint Therapeutic Foot Scrub)
  • Warm water (not too hot)

If you want you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. I like Lavender. Lavender gives a soothing and calming effect which aids in relaxation. Great if you do this around bedtime.

You could also add a few tablespoons of baking soda to help with detoxification and this will also soften your skin.

Steps

  • Add your essential oils and baking soda (if you choose) to a tub of warm water.
  • Find a relaxing area to do the soak because you need to do it for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • Take the foot scrub and rub it into your clean feed, massaging and paying special attention to any trigger areas.

Place your feet in the tub and relax!

Self-Care For Your Number One

Caring for the most Important Person in Your Life; Yourself!

Self-care is extremely important because if you aren’t cared for, how can you care and do for those around you properly. Self-care is all about slowing down, and I don’t have time for that. I’m too busy trying to find my place in the world to pay attention to myself. With a husband, baby, and career finding time for myself seems almost impossible, but it’s something that I owe those around me. I know this sounds a bit “self-centered” but let me explain.

Self-care is supposed to help you balance your life. Working hard is necessary for a fulfilling life, but taking breaks at the right time is too. Run too hard and you’ll exhaust yourself. If you’ve ever seen anyone burned out, overly tired or resentful, they may have overworked themselves without allowing the breaks they so desperately need to recenter.

The thing about self-care is that the best way to do it is to design it around your schedule – build it in. So, I’m going to list some of my favorite techniques, few things I have enjoyed trying. Remember, this is to help you relax and improve yourself. Little incremental shifts towards more self-care will really create balance. It doesn’t have to be big things; the little ones add up. You’ll need to play around to see what works for you.

Relaxing Bath

Take a soak. Slow down, run a hot bath, drop in some bath salts, and just breathe. Personally, I love Aura Cacia Lavender Foam Bath or SoapCreek’s Butter Bombs. Use this as a time to meditate and unwind. Don’t think about what’s gone wrong, or what you need to get done. Just exist. It’s okay to just exist. Put on some music if your mind is too noisy, or maybe listen to a podcast that reads stories, or even crack open a good book with a glass of wine or a beer if that’s your fancy.

Watching

People-watching, nature watching, or cloud watching. Go to your favorite spot outside and simply watch. You can also hit up a cool, nook of a coffee shop that you’ve been meaning to try out. Inspect the way leaves blow, how someone moves when they talk to another, how clouds morph into different shapes. Literally, slow down to smell the roses. The world is so amazing when you slow down enough to take notice.

Say “No”

I feel like as we grow up our opinion on the word “no” inverts. Children love to say “no.” Meanwhile, many adults have forgotten how, because saying “no” implies selfishness or weakness or not capable. However, it can be healthy to say “no.” If you say “yes” too much, you may find yourself floundering. Exercise your right to say “no.” If you don’t feel like doing something (and it isn’t important) then just say “no.” If you need an excuse, say you are full on commitments currently and to give the best you need to balance. You can also say you have an appointment, that appointment is with yourself.

Socialize

We are social creatures by nature. So, you might feel a bit of a rush after talking to a stranger. It’s good for your mind and soul to make tiny connections with those around you. If you’re shy, start by just saying “hi” to a coworker you normally don’t talk to. Greet people you see, but don’t typically interact with. If strangers are still a bit daunting, try interacting more with your friends. Ask them for help and see how they react or have a compliment session where you tell each other what you like about the other.

Treat Yourself as a Friend

You live with yourself before you live with anybody else. So treat that person with a bit of dignity. Tell yourself that it’s okay. Look for the positives about yourself. If something happens, don’t judge it as yourself. Pretend that thing is happening to your best friend. You wouldn’t call them pathetic, would you? Take some time for yourself; plan an outing with just you, take yourself on a date, buy a little treat for yourself. Don’t feel guilty. You have to show you that you love yourself!

My take: I feel like this one is the most important on this list. I spend too much time judging myself for not being perfect. I’ve found that when I forgive myself, tell myself everything’s okay, I’m much less stressed. I need to work on being a better friend to myself.

Luxurious Soaks Aren’t Just For Winter

Let’s face it – it is hot this summer. While the pool, lake, or beach are great ways to cool off, they come with their own set of problems. So before you think that home spa soaks are only for the winter, think again! I can’t wait to get home and sink into a bath before bed every night. For me, the perfect luxurious soak is best served in summer.

Your summer soak isn’t surrounding yourself with candles and having warm water envelope you. While in the winter this is nice for the summer this won’t suffice. Summer soaks allow for some much needed time alone and cooling off. With a few little tweaks, your regular bathing routine could become your summer soaking in the tub routine. Here’s how to create your perfect refuge from the heat.

Use Cool Water (obviously!)

It’s hot out, so the common sense thing is to use cool water. Immerse yourself in cool water will provide the instant relief from the heat and lower your core body temperature. When it feels like a million degrees this is going to make you feel like a million bucks! It’s the most effective way to cool yourself off. So sink in and soak it up.

Cool Down With the Right Products

You know when you chew gum that is minty fresh and you inhale and feel that icy refreshing air? You can get that same feeling all over your body when using mint or eucalyptus products in your bath. We call it the cool factor, just add some salts to the bath and increase your summer soak. Make sure to pick items that have actual mint or eucalyptus oil, not synthetic toxins or fragrances to get the cooling effect. We love Zum Tub’s Mint Bath Salts or EO’s Eucalyptus & Arnica Bath Salt Soak. These products are packed with minty-fresh vibes.

Mix Up a Refreshing, Hydrating Beverage

Move over wine for bath time, this is the season of beer and cocktails in the tub! But really if you are looking to hydrate, stick with water, tea, and other nourishing beverages. Since you sweat when your body releases heat, you’ll need some extra liquids in the ole’ system to keep you feeling fine. Infused water is a great way to create a spa-like atmosphere. Think berries, pineapple, and grapefruit. So refreshing!

Actually, Relax in the Tub

Part of a great soak is being patient in the tub. You can’t just hop in for 10 minutes and jump out. Find something that gives you at least 30 minutes to relax and take in the work you’ve put into creating this self-care time for you! Grab a book or your kindle. Take in a meditation TedTALK or podcast. Put the laptop on the counter and take in the latest show you’ve been wanting to catch up on. This is your time – enjoy it!

Treat Summer Skin

Finally, what’s the point of a bath without a little pampering? After spending time in the summer heat or air conditioning, which does nothing to condition your skin you need to take care of that beautiful skin. This is a great time to throw on a mask, give your body a good scrub, and refresh yourself.

After being in the sun your hair has taken a toll. We recommend using a hair mask with Marula Oil like Andalou Naturals Exotic Marula Oil Silky Smooth Hair Mask. At the same time slather on a heaping portion of their Argan and Mint Lip Balm. To top it all off put on an Instant Brighten & Tighten Hydro Serum Mask. Now you’re covered from chin to head. If you want to scrub off all that dead damaged skin, try Deep Steep’s Sugar Scrub, my favorite scent is the Grapefruit Bergamot, but they have a variety of scents.

Say hello to your summer bath routine!

4 Ways to Destress

Tip 1: Journal

One of my favorite exercises to de-stress that I do on the regular is to write a list or journal my concerns. Worries download from my brain and on to paper in order to clear my head, which helps me gain an alternative perspective. It keeps me from ruminating on them too long. Plus, it’s fun to look back and see how those pieces led me to where I am now and how they played a necessary part in my journey. Check out these great decomposition journals!

Tip 2: Monitor your Sugar and Caffeine Intake

Put down the sugar and caffeine! Seriously. It only adds to a spike in blood sugar, inflammation in the gut and overstimulation of the adrenal glands, not to mention contributing to foggy brain, short temper, and more cravings the next day.

Tip 3: Learn to Appreciate

Another action happens just before I fall asleep. I think of 10 things from the day that made me feel grateful. They can be as simple as a butterfly that flew past when I was walking to the car, a new client conversation that inspired me, a compassionate driver that let me in when traffic was jammed, or how yummy my tea tasted that morning. It is amazing how it can lull you to sleep and help you wake up in the morning with a more positive, calm state. The trick is to only list things that happened that day. Amazingly, you start to become more present with the little pleasures in your everyday life, even if it’s a stressful life…pretty fun!

Tip 4: Acupressure Points

When all else fails, I take 1 minute for a deep breath, close my eyes, and press the tips of my index and thumb together. This is utilizing the power of acupressure points to create a wave of calm that I feel move through my body and mind. Sounds too simple but it’s effective and easy to fit in. Even if you’re in a meeting, you can press your fingertips together under the table with nobody noticing. Don’t close your eyes though…that would just be awkward!