Now that we’re spending so much time at home it’s even more important to enhance our surroundings, because they effect our mood, so “keeping it positive” should extend to our home!
It’s easy to create a joyful, positive environment for you and your family. For a quick, dynamic, and inexpensive change, try a new accent color… or for the more adventurous, a whole new color scheme! Bright colors add excitement and can bring a smile to your face in an instant. Paint an old chair or table and suddenly it seems new!
Arrange items so that you are regularly surprised and delighted! Put an aromatherapy candle in the front hall closet, so that every time you hang your coat, you are greeted with your favorite scent. Display scarves, purses, and belts so that you can quickly choose the best for your outfit, but also, so that you can enjoy them every day.
Finally, “lighten up”! Open the drapes, blinds, shutters and let the light in. Enjoy the stress relieving benefits of natural light and health benefits of vitamin D. Then purge what you’re not using anymore, studies show that clutter increases stress levels. Remember, if you haven’t used it in 6 months… let someone else… it’s a win-win, and a nice way to start the new year 🙂
I love the Holidays! But there can be a lot of added stress… especially this year. Give yourself an added layer of protection for the Holidays by taking full advantage of Essential Oils. I use orange essential oil, a known stress reliever and mood enhancer in this recipe. It not only punches up the flavor, it leaves an uplifting citrus aroma in the air for all to enjoy.
Cranberry Orange Bread
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt 1/4 cup oil
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1-2 drops orange essential oil
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl stir together dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, measure out the oil and orange juice, add egg and stir. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry mixture, stir just to combine, add zest, chopped cranberries and essential oil, fold gently. To avoid tough bread do not over stir, just combine to moisten. Grease bottom of pans only. Bake in loaf pan 8 1/2″ x 4″ or divide into 2 smaller loaf pans. Bake 45 minutes and check with a toothpick (can take up to 60 minutes). Cool slightly and tip out of pan onto cooling rack to cool completely.
During Covid I’ve taken the time to indulge in a few “self help” exercises. One of my favorites is developing a list of things I want to do… personally, professionally, spiritually… or whatever. You might call it “goal setting”… or a “bucket list”… it’s a quick and easy way to keep your life moving forward in a healthy and robust way. It’s not a new idea, just one that we need to be reminded of from time to time.
Years ago, I was reminded of it at a book signing (yes, I’m a nerd and love a good book signing) for “2Do Before I Die”, by Michael Ogden and Chris Day. I had recently lost my husband to cancer and was looking for something to help guide me through the obvious pitfalls and lend purpose to this new unanticipated life of mine.
The book is a sort of “self help” book. The authors documented life changing experiences as examples of what is possible and ask a series of thought provoking questions to start you on your personal journey. At the end of the book, there are a few blank pages for you to enter your own personalized “2 do List”. It might help to think of your “List” in categories:
Explore – Some place you’d love to visit, hike, live?
Challenge – Break a habit, get fit, skydive?
Give – Volunteer at a charity, mentor a child?
Roots – Look up an old friend, trace your ancestory?
Legacy – Continue a family tradition, build something that lasts?
Work – Change careers, teach?
Love – Fall in love, throw a surprise party for a friend?
Express – Paint on canvas, write, stage a play?
Learn – Learn to fly a plane, dance, or cook a meal?
If you’ve faced death, you realize how permanent it is, and how important it is to “live your best life” now. So during this very difficult time, I picked up “2Do Before I Die” and reviewed my “List”. I found that I accomplished some things, discarded a few, and now I’m adding new “things to do”. It’s a living document, so changes with me… and the process gives me a much needed lift and injection of positive action! My hope is that you’ll create your own list and enjoy the process!
Not just a fashion statement… sunglasses protect your eyes! The skin around your eyes is some of the thinnest, allowing UVA and UVB rays to damage your cornea, lens, and more. Look for “broad spectrum coverage” when purchasing your next pair to help protect against cancer and vision loss. Enjoy the limelight and the sunlight, in your movie star sunglasses… the bigger the better!
3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil or lemon oil
Directions: Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container. Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel. Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it!
It’s July and flowers are in full bloom. We love to look at them… enjoy their fragrance… we fill our homes with them… and give them to friends and family when they’re sick. Somehow they just seem to make us feel better. We could leave it at that and it would be enough. But they can do so much more to improve our health and emotional well being if we harness their essence, according to the International Flower Essence Society.
The practice of bottling a flower’s essence was first discovered in the 1930’s, England, by Dr. Bach. It gently restores the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecision which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole… allowing peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself.
Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz recommend Rescue Remedy (a blend by Bachflower.com) that is a blend of five flower remedies. The mix was created by Dr. Bach to deal with emergencies and crises. It can be used to help us get through any stressful situations, from last-minute exam or interview nerves, to the aftermath of an accident or bad news. Rescue Remedy helps us keep calm, so that we can relax and focus.
Selma Hayek mentioned in InStyle magazine that she uses Rescue Pastilles to help with crazy busy days, to keep her calm. Emma Watson says about Rescue Remedy, “a few drops under my tonque before I go out calms me down. It’s in my makeup bag all the time.” Van Morrison ordered Rescue Remedy before his performance in Texas, 2010.
There are 38 remedies… here are some of the most common:
Used for: Addiction, unhappy, anxiety, insomnia
Indicators: Fears and worries of unknown origin.
Used for: Depression overwhelmed by responsibilities, despondent, exhausted Indicators: Very capable people who temporarily feel overwhelmed and depressed, there is too much to do and you don’t feel that you can do it all.
Holly Used for: Envy, jealousy, hate, insecurity, suspicious, aggressive, needs compassion Indicators: When you need to overcome the feeling of hate, envy and jealousy.
Used for: Weariness, bores, tired, needs strength, overworked, procrastination, doubting own abilities Indicators: For weariness: mental rather that physical,
the “Monday morning” feeling with a sense of staleness and lack of variety in life.
Impatiens Used for: Impatience, irritated, nervy, frustration, fidgety, accident-prone, hasty Indicators: Suitable for people who are easily irritated and impatient. They speak and think quickly, and are energetic, but tense.
Very often we lose site of how important our emotional health is… hopefully this brings it to the forefront. And if there is a natural way to help revitalize and balance our emotional health, I much prefer it to disguising the symptoms with medication.
Karen Masters, Life Coach and owner of Artful Living Boutique can be reached at email@example.com
Unfortunately too many of us today are juggling too many things and cramming them into increasingly tighter schedules. Immune systems are compromised, good eating habits have all but disappeared, and sleeping patterns disrupted. But before you give in to living with stress…
Here are some successful, and easy, stress relievers…
Reading. Turn off technology – phones, television, computers, ipads (after you’ve read this) – technology is full of “noise”, images , bright colors, that help to raise stress levels. Instead curl up with a good book or favorite magazine. It will help ease anxiety by increasing serotonin, giving you a sense of well being and relaxation.
Alone Time. This may sound anti-social, but it will actually help you be more attentive and “in the moment” at social gatherings. Take a day or two to catch up on rest and “alone time”. Stay home or take a retreat to a nature reserve or nearby town. Find time away from your family and friends. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them! Everyone needs time separate from others to keep a healthy mindset. If you can’t leave, try taking just 10 minutes to “recharge your brain”. Lay down, close your eyes, and think of a place that relaxes you (ocean, field) or if you can, think about absolutely nothing. Relax every muscle from head to toe.
Aromatherapy. Help your whole family relax with lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils and candles. Oils can be diffused into the air or dabbed directly on the skin (usually the back of the neck or sole of the foot). Add a drop of peppermint to your cafe mocha in the morning for a little lift. Spray your pillow with lavender in the evening to ensure a restful sleep. Place all natural aromatherapy candles throughout the house for a subtle scent that keeps your home smelling peaceful.
Music. Listen to calming music. Slow, with repetitive phrasing and no vocals. Music with binaural beats will produce higher levels of alpha waves in your brain, which help you to relax.
Karen Masters, Life Coach and owner of Artful Living Boutique can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
Candles make a great addition to any living space. They smell good and add a relaxing ambiance. But not all candles are good for you or the environment. We believe soy candles are the best, and here’s why…
Candles are not cheap. Save yourself some cash and buy soy candles. They are proven to last 30-50% longer than a non-soy candle because soy wax burns at a lower temperature.
Better for the Earth
Soy candles are biodegradable and made from a renewable resource. Many non-soy candles are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, and hurt the environment when they are thrown away.
Non-soy candles are often made with carcinogens that enter the air when they are burned. Also, soy based candles won’t bother people with allergies because the scent is made from all natural ingrediants.
You know that black soot that shows up around the edges of your candles? Soy candles don’t have any black soot.
At Artful Living Boutique, we believe in life’s simple pleasures and living well. I can’t think of a better way to blend these two ideas than through chocolate.
We’ve all been there. Craving candy, but you know you shouldn’t. Chocolate is the perfect fix to these unhealthy cravings we all experience—in moderation of course! It is sweet, delicious, and can even help your health!
The cocoa bean is rich in flavonoids, which protect against cardiovascular disease. The more processed the chocolate, the more flavonoids it loses.
Eating a little bit of dark chocolate everyday supports increased glucose regulation, which can prevent against type 2 diabetes.
Eating dark chocolate can lower your body’s production of stress and anxiety inducing hormones.
Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate and increase your body’s resistance to harmful UV radiation caused by the sun.
According to the British National Health Service, the chemical theobromine, which occurs naturally in chocolate, can cause relief against coughs. It is not a cure, but it is a quick fix! The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine.