My Favorite Essential Oils for Sleep

Are you looking for a natural sleep aid? In addition to numerous other health benefits, essential oils provide calming, soothing and stabilizing effects to your body that will help you to get all of the sleep that you need!

 

Clary Sage

The linalool and linalyl acetate in Clary Sage will provide feelings of calmness after a long day. In the Middle Ages, Clary Sage was used to soothe the skin.

This essential oil smells alluring and intoxicating. When I open a bottle of Clary Sage, I feel like I am being transported to a world of captivating beauty, similar to the world created by Monet, in his painting, “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny.” After diffusing Clary Sage in the living room, I discovered that it puts me into a sleepy trance!

 

Vetiver

Vetiver contains isovalencenol and khusimol which help to stabilize emotions. With its slightly sweet and enticing herbal scent, this thick essential oil is often used in perfumes. Tranquility in a bottle!

 

Cedarwood

Cedarwood contains cedrol and alpha-Cedrene which provide soothing benefits. Cedrol will also help to stabilize your mood. You can find Cedarwood in the biblical books of Leviticus and Numbers.

When I open a bottle of Cedarwood, it’s easy to imagine that I am under the stars and tall Red Cedar trees. The woody scent provides feelings of peace.

 

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang contains carophyllene and germacrene-d which is a soothing chemical combination. Ylang Ylang has been used in perfumes (it has been called “The Perfume Tree”), weddings and religious ceremonies for centuries.

The floral scent of Ylang Ylang is sweet and uplifting. One whiff of it makes me feel happier and more relaxed. Ylang Ylang is like a healing balm for crazy emotions!

 

What are your favorite natural sleep aids?

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Let’s Talk About Disease Prevention…Have You Had Your Cancer Today?

“Have you had your cancer today?” This is what my pathophysiology teacher asked us when he was teaching us about cancer. He was trying to make the point that our bodies are constantly exposed to carcinogens all around us. It’s true that we are regularly exposed to toxins that cause disease. However, the empowering news is that positive physical, emotional and spiritual health changes can oftentimes prevent cancer and other diseases. You can improve your health and prevent disease with some of the ideas listed below!

  1. Pray without ceasing.
  2. Read the Bible.
  3. Call a friend when you need emotional support.
  4. Eliminate one unhealthy food from your diet.
  5. Switch to natural cleaning/personal care products.
  6. Talk to a counselor about your relationship problems.
  7. Find a work-out buddy or health accountability partner.
  8. Do CrossFit.
  9. Join a gym.
  10. Read an inspirational book.
  11. Get a massage.
  12. Make healthy smoothies.
  13. Add one healthy food to your diet.
  14. Buy grass-fed beef instead of conventional beef.
  15. Memorize encouraging Bible verses.
  16. Forgive the mistakes of yourself and others.
  17. Listen to soothing music.
  18. Buy organic dairy instead of conventional dairy.
  19. Use pure essential oils to support your health.
  20. Add a multivitamin or healthy supplement to your diet.
  21. Add Epsom salts to your bath.
  22. Go for a 20-minute walk.
  23. Run in a 5k race.
  24. Run in a Warrior Dash race.
  25. Join a fun Meetup group.
  26. Open a window for at least 15 minutes everyday.
  27. Add more vegetables to your diet.
  28. Add more nuts and seeds to your diet.
  29. Drink green tea.
  30. Eat more avocados.
  31. Eliminate soda pop from your diet.
  32. Fast from social media for a week.
  33. Watch less TV.
  34. Travel to a sunny vacation spot.
  35. Do yoga.
  36. Turn off the notifications on your phone.
  37. Create a vision board to help you achieve your dreams/goals.
  38. Find one natural remedy and integrate it into your health routine.
  39. Visit a trusted integrative practitioner.
  40. Take a break from negativity and violence in the media.
  41. Start a new hobby.
  42. Tackle a new project.
  43. Join a Bible study at church.
  44. Devise a plan for financial freedom.
  45. Minimize your contact with toxic people.
  46. Adopt a pet.
  47. Volunteer your time for a worthy cause.
  48. De-clutter your bedroom and donate things you don’t need.
  49. Add kale to your diet.
  50. Make a list of enjoyable activities and do them on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis.
  51. Practice hospitality.
  52. Get your vitamin D level checked regularly and supplement as needed.
  53. Cook with organic butter and coconut oil instead of canola oil.
  54. Buy a non-toxic mattress.
  55. Buy organic pillows.
  56. Switch to safe cookware.
  57. Take a daily probiotic.
  58. Cook dinner instead of buying fast food.
  59. Stop adding extra salt to your food.
  60. Add blueberries to your smoothie.
  61. Eat desserts weekly instead of daily.
  62. See a financial advisor to help lessen stress from financial difficulties.
  63. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
  64. Rejoice in the Lord.
  65. When you have a negative thought, do the following. Stop the negative thought. Reject the negative thought. Replace the negative thought with a Bible verse or with a positive thought.
  66. Drink more water.
  67. Reduce trips to fast food restaurants.
  68. Take Revive Our Hearts’ 30-Day Gratitude Challenge.
  69. Switch to whole-food, non-GMO supplements.
  70. Shop at healthy grocery stores.
  71. Be generous with your time and talents.
  72. Set healthy boundaries.
  73. Trust in God.
  74. Visit a chiropractor.
  75. Cleanse your body with essential oils.
  76. Ask for help.
  77. Reject pride and be humble.
  78. Practice the Sabbath/take a day of rest.
  79. Take a nap.
  80. Learn to be content.
  81. Be kind to yourself and others.
  82. Start a gratitude journal.
  83. Spend time outdoors.
  84. Join a sports team.
  85. Be thankful.

Are you trying to improve your health? Don’t stress about making multiple changes all at once. Even the smallest change can make a positive difference!

 

Frankincense is King

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

As a child, I knew that frankincense was given to baby Jesus, but I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t really give it a second thought until I received my first box of essential oils in the mail. I was really excited to break open each bottle. When I picked up the frankincense, I thought, “This one was given to baby Jesus. It will smell good for sure!”

Unfortunately, it didn’t really smell that good to me. In fact, it smelled kind of odd to me.

A few weeks later, I put the bottle away. I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and many smells made me really nauseous.

After a few months, when the nausea went away, I decided to give the oils another shot. One person advised me to put two drops of frankincense into my facial moisturizer. So I did. Wow! If the skin on my face could talk, it would’ve said, “What was that?! That felt amazing!” I also used coconut oil and frankincense on my baby when he had irritated, oozing skin around his ears. It worked like a charm. I also discovered that frankincense combined with lavender, melaleuca and coconut oil made an effective “Owie Spray” that smelled like fresh flowers.

I now know why frankincense was given to baby Jesus and why it is called “The King of Oils.” I encourage you to go on PubMed and read about all the new research being done on frankincense. It is a powerful, yet gentle oil that rejuvenates the skin and helps to lessen skin imperfections. Also, two drops under the tongue or on the roof of your mouth will support your immune, nervous and digestive systems (please note that oral and internal use is not recommended with every essential oil brand).

Looking for a natural health and beauty boost? Try the King of Oils! As always, for the sake of your health, choose pure essential oils of the highest quality.

Toxic House

Did you know that a lot of cosmetics and household products contain toxic chemicals that are harmful for your health? Because many of the products in the U.S. are not regulated, you and I need to do a little bit of research on our own. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes this easier for us! I love to use their Skin Deep database to find safe products for my family. If you haven’t visited EWG’s site yet, go ahead and take a look around. If you find that the products in your home are toxic, I would advise you to get them out of your house! Toxic chemicals escape into the air even when the bottle is closed. When I started buying safer products for our home in 2010, it felt great to know that my money was no longer being spent on products that would harm our health. I recently started to make my own personal care and cleaning products. It’s so much fun!

Have you already switched to safer household products? How did you feel after you made the switch?

14 Tips for a Natural Birth

The births of my three beautiful children were very different from the traditional American birth experiences that you see in the movies. For starters, as opposed to just the allowance of ice chips, I was permitted to eat food and drink any kind of beverage while I was in labor. In contrast to the traditional supine position on the hospital bed, I labored in any position that was most comfortable for me. My first two babies were born in a tub of water, no interventions were needed and I did not take any medication. My third baby was born while I was in a hands and knees position on the hospital bed.

For this particular post, I will not go into the research and the reasons why I believe that a natural birth is beneficial for babies. You might not want a natural birth, and that’s okay! For those that are interested, I hope that these 14 tips will empower you to have the birthing experience that you desire!

  1. Interview your provider. Try to find a compassionate provider that will help you have the birth that you desire.
  2. Educate yourself. Read birthing books by Ina May Gaskin and watch “The Business of Being Born.”
  3. Eat well. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about foods to eat and foods to avoid.
  4. Take a full, daily dose of supplements (prenatal multivitamin, DHA and probiotic). Ensure that your supplements are high-quality and do not contain GMOs. (See your healthcare provider for guidance.)
  5. Exercise. Research shows that exercise is great for mom and baby. Prenatal yoga was wonderful for my morning sickness. (See your healthcare provider for guidance.)
  6. Encourage your partner’s involvement. My husband attended Bradley classes with me and was ready and willing to make some tough decisions with me during the birth of our third child.
  7. Hire a doula. A doula can be a very helpful and calming person that can act as another advocate for you in the hospital.
  8. Take a local Bradley class. This 12-week class will prepare you very well for a natural birth. The class will teach you about the birthing process, nutrition, prenatal exercises, relaxation techniques, birthing techniques, postpartum information, etc. Most couples that take this class have natural births.
  9. Write a birth plan. With your partner, talk about what the perfect birth looks like to both of you. Write down your plan and discuss your plan with your provider.
  10. Labor at home for as long as you can. If possible, do not go to the hospital or birthing center until you and your provider agree that it is an optimal time to go. It is more comfortable to labor at home. If possible, opt for a home birth!
  11. Play some soothing music. In my third trimester, my husband uploaded some relaxing Hawaiian music into his phone and played it during birth.
  12. Practice and use relaxation techniques. During labor, it really helped me to close my eyes and visualize myself on the beach with my family.
  13. Count during contractions! The discomfort of a contraction peaks at approximately 30 seconds and lasts for approximately 60 seconds. When my contractions started to get stronger, I started to count the seconds. Every time I reached 30 seconds, I felt encouraged because I knew that the worst part of the contraction was likely over. This helped tremendously!
  14. Don’t expend unnecessary energy. When it is time to push the baby out, remember that your body automatically does some of the work on its own. Therefore, don’t think that you have to push so hard that your eyes pop out. When the time comes, follow your provider’s instruction.

No matter what happens during your birth experience, I hope that you will enjoy your new, precious baby blessing! What does your ideal birth look like?