When I talk to people about taking better care of themselves do you know what I hear most often? Laughter, seriously, most people just laugh at the idea of adding more sleep, healthier food, or a little TLC for their bodies into their hectic lives. Once I get past that first reaction and encourage them to use words to voice their objection it sounds a bit like this:
"I'm already soooo busy, I can't add something new to my day!"
"I spend all my time taking care of everyone else, I don't have time to take care of myself."
I get that. I have been there and I have said it. It's a powerful argument because it's the prevailing mindset today. Here's what I know, if you continue to use that to avoid taking better care of yourself, you will eventually burn out and get sick. Then who's going to take care of everyone? But this article isn't to convince you of the importance of self-care, I'll be doing plenty of that in future articles. This article is to tell you that you do, in fact, have time to take care of yourself.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to make positive life changes is because it requires you to change your routine. You have a daily and weekly routine that you follow. It might not be an intentional or planned routine, it might not be productive routine, but it is a routine. There is a good reason for this. You start each day with a limited reserve of decision making ability. Every decision you make takes a little bit of that reserve, and some decisions drain more of it than others. Once your decision-making reserve is spent you will base your choices on emotions and habits. Habits are formed to help minimize your use of decision-making reserves. Following habits takes very little energy and is your body’s way of helping you get through the day without spending too much mental and emotional energy on decision making. The problem is, those habits can be somewhat inefficient. These inefficient habits suck your time and energy from you like holes leaking water from a tank.
Do you find yourself saying “It’s already 6 o’clock?!?! Where did the day go?”
I hear that all the time, and I’ve noticed that people who say it never stop to answer the question.
So, if you find yourself asking that, then I encourage you to answer the question yourself. Where does your day go? I’m willing to bet you spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling social media (FB, IG or Pinterest), playing computer games, or watching TV. I get why you do that, I fall into that trap all too easily.
But are those moments of escape stealing the joy from the rest of your life? Probably. Is that TV show giving you your dreams? Is facebook making you money or making you healthier? No, it’s not.
Confessions of a stream-a-holic
As a new mother, I went through a time when I consumed an embarrassing amount of television, especially with the introduction of streaming technology. I tried to cut back, but I couldn’t. It was like expecting an alcoholic to only take “one drink” and then place an entire row of her favorite drinks right in front of her. I knew I had to go cold turkey, so I put myself on a media fast. Here’s what happened.
I became more productive
When I wanted to turn the TV on and knew I couldn’t I would sit on the couch for a minute wondering what to do, then I would go for a walk, or fold laundry, or do the dishes. I had no way to escape the things I was needing to do, so I just did them. I found that they didn’t take as long as I thought they would, and they weren’t as daunting as I was expecting them to be. This was because I was getting little bits done all day long. When I worked in a restaurant we had a rule of “full hands in full hands out” it meant that if you were walking out of the kitchen you needed to have something in your hands, either customer's food (even if it’s not your own customer's) or a drink pitcher to refill drinks. When you were headed back to the kitchen, you could pick up dirty dishes from tables on your way to the kitchen. This kept the kitchen and the dining room from getting backed up. The same idea applied to my daily tasks, I could squeeze in 5min tasks here and there to keep them from building up. Was my house spotless? No, I had two babies, it was a wreck, but it was in a much better place than when I spent all day watching Netflix. I was also able to take short walks, work in my garden, or give myself a 10min rest.
I didn’t miss the shows
It's dangerous to recommend that someone cut back on TV shows or video games. They get so mad. "I can’t quit watching such and such because then I won’t know what happens!!"
Think back to past shows that made you feel that way. I mean way back, think back to E.R. or whatever you watched that long ago. Do you think about those people anymore? Probably not. Now think about how many shows are out there that have amazing story lines and characters that you aren’t watching, do you feel an emotional loss that you’ve missed out on those stories? Probably not. You can’t possibly follow and be involved in all the great stories on TV.
The same goes with games. You will miss out on great ones no matter how many you play, and when it’s over you will move on to another one. The shows and games are important in the moment, but they will pass into oblivion as soon as a new one comes along. So is it really worth all the time you are giving to it? Are those shows more important than your health and the health of your loved ones?
I realized I would rather have success than know what’s going on in a TV show.
I still watch some TV, and I still go to the movies, but I don’t care if I’m keeping up with every show. I survive if I miss a movie in the theaters and catch it when it comes out on video. Right now I am trying to build a life of financial independence so that I can raise my two boys without the stress of not knowing how I’m going to be able to pay my bills. That's way more important to me than the next season of a TV show or the latest blockbuster hit. I want to be out in the world making friends, having experiences and learning new skills, and I can’t do that if I spend all my free time binge watching Netflix.
I made this list of things I could do with the time it takes to watch multiple TV shows:
The first step is to break yourself of the screens, once you've done that you can learn how to make the best use of your new time. So, how do you break yourself from screens?
I encourage an all-out media fast
"Whaaattt!!?!?!?!? Melissa, you're crazy!!"
That's the kindest and most child-friendly thing I imagine being said to me after that statement. You can't just cut back, because once you start one episode, play one level, or check social media "real quick" you will get sucked in, that's just human nature. You have to stop at the source.
Tips for Success:
I can already hear your objections, so I'll answer some of them here:
I realize I just got a bit harsh. I promise you this, I will not sugar coat or dilute truth. I have been stuck, and in pain. I have felt the heartache of feeling like my life is out of control and will never get better. It is a horrible place to be and I will never give you advice that will keep you stuck in that place. And the thing is, sometimes we have to take a hard look at our habits and routines if we want to get out of a bad rut.
Self-Care is essential to a healthy, vibrant life. You cannot avoid that. I want you to be able to start loving and caring for yourself and I know all to well the obstacles that stop people from doing it. It is my intention to shine a light on those obstacles, name them for what they are, and tell you how to overcome them.
The time and energy suck of TV, video games and social media is an enemy that will keep you stuck. So, if you find yourself wanting better, but constantly complaining that you don't have time, do a 2 week media fast and see what you discover. If you get to the end and decide I'm full of it, then you can happily binge your heart out and I will hold no ill-will towards you for it.
I'm willing to bet that won't be the case for most of the people reading this blog.
I want you to have all the support you need in building your self-care lifestyle, so please take advantage of these resources:
I recently launched the Self-Care Essentials, a guide to creating healthy self-care habits even when you're too tired to try. If you don't already have the guide you can access it through a link at the end of this article.
The guide includes a step-by-step action plan and worksheet to help you create new self-care habits, as well as a menu of self-care activities to choose from. This article explains what some of those activities are and how to add them to your self-care routine.
**Note: I do not want this to be an overwhelming list that stops you from completing the Self-Care Essentials worksheet. I know this is a lot of information. I give you full permission to skip as many items as you want. Just read the information for the times you're interested in. The most important thing is that you pick and activity and start the process, so don't get bogged down by reading every single item and trying to pick the best one. Just pick one and work through the process.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth
I can see your face and hear the tone in your voice as you scoff at this. "Who doesn't already do that?" You'd be surprised. When someone is dealing with the depression and despair that comes with chronic illness, pain, fatigue and a depleted resource state it becomes more and more difficult for them to take basic care of themselves. I had a dance instructor in college who explained to us that women in their 20s are incredibly prone to depression and described her own battle with depression from her 20s. Can you guess what it was that brought her out of it? Flossing her teeth every day. Every moment of her day was filled with darkness, heaviness and self loathing, but for those few minutes when she flossed her teeth she was able to focus on loving herself. It was a tiny thing that she consistently did for herself. Flossing her teeth every day gave her the space to add more tiny little acts of self-care until she had climbed out of her pit of depression. One thing I want everyone in the Love Essentials community to understand is that it's okay to start right where you are. If that means your first act of taking care of yourself is brushing and flossing your teeth everyday, then I am so proud of you and excited for you for taking that step.
Wash Your Face
Your face collects dirt, sweat, pollution, oils and grime throughout the day, and a good cleansing routine is an important part of keeping your skin healthy. At the very least you want a gentle cleanser, a toner, and a good moisturizer. Remove any makeup using a natural makeup remover; coconut oil or olive oil works well for this. The directions for your cleanser will vary depending on the type of cleanser. I use a cream cleanser that is applied to dry skin and massaged in a circular motion to stimulate and tone the facial muscles while cleansing the face. I then wet the cleanser and remove it using a clean cloth. I follow this with a hydrating mist, a serum, and a moisturizer*. The whole process takes only 5 minutes. Several little 5 min acts of love and pampering sprinkled throughout your day add up pretty quickly.
Make a Cup of Tea or Coffee
For many cultures the act of brewing a cup of tea is an indulgent break from the day. They take time and care when heating the water and steeping the leaves, then take a moment to enjoy the first few sips of tea before going about their day. Brewing coffee can be the same way, especially if you use an individual coffee brewer like a french press, Aeropress, or pour over brewer. Instead of doing dishes or working on a project while your water heats up, take a minute to do a deep breathing exercise or light stretching while you wait. Give yourself the 5-7min it takes to brew a cup of coffee or tea and make it a moment of indulgence, rather than something you absentmindedly rush through before heading back to work.
One Healthy Meal Per Day
I want to stress the importance of adding healthy meals to your life one at a time unless you are working with someone who is giving you practical and emotional support. The key to creating healthy eating habits is planning. You want to start by choosing which meal you are going to focus on, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Then write down what you will eat for that meal every day for one week. Next, write the items you will need to make those meals and go purchase them. Put the week's menu on your refrigerator so you can reference it every day. Finally, stick to the menu. You will inevitably have a day when you will look at your menu and the meal for that day will seem completely unappetizing. Stick to it anyway, it's a meal you like or it wouldn't be on your list. The key right now is to build the habit, and that means sticking to your menu. If creating better eating habits is high on your list of priorities and you know you need extra support to make that happen, reach out to me through email or through the contact page on this site so I can set you up with the tools you need to be successful.
Drink More Water
We all know we need to be drinking plenty of water every day, but many of us have a hard time making it happen. Part of this comes from trying to go from half a cup of water a day to 8 full glasses all at once. This is too drastic of a change, and you are not likely to maintain it for long. Instead, choose a manageable number of glasses to start with. If you only drink one glass of water of day try to increase that to 4. Decide how or when that will happen. Will you have a giant mug that holds 4 cups of water that you will sip on throughout the day? Will you have a set time during the day when you will get up and drink a glass?
It's important to note that if you drink sodas, sports drinks, or energy drinks, I care more that you stop drinking those than about adding glasses of water. Cutting those things out of your diet is usually the first thing I have my clients do.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths are a great self-care tool to do at least once per week. An Epsom salt bath relieves muscle tension, provides magnesium to your system, relaxes anxiety, reduces cramps, and aids in detoxing the body. Add one cup Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 10-20min. You can also add 1/4cup baking soda and a drop of essential oils for added therapeutic benefit. Be sure to drink one to two glasses of water after your bath to avoid dehydration and help flush any toxins that were released.
Dry Brushing is a technique that aids in the healthy functioning of your lymphatic system by stimulating lymphatic circulation. This helps your body to remove toxins and wastes from your blood stream, supports healthy immune function, and improves overall circulation. If you are sluggish, sick, or fatigued, increasing lymphatic flow is an important step in healing. It is equally important that increasing lymphatic drainage be done gently, and dry brushing is a perfect way to do that. You can purchase a dry brush at any health store or online. Using small, gentle strokes, brush your skin starting at your feet and working your way up your legs to your heart. Do the same with your arms and neck making sure always move towards the heart. You don't have to use a lot of pressure, just gently brush the skin. This is something you can do every day before getting in the shower, it only takes 5 min and it yields dramatic results for your health.
Isn't chocolate great? It has important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and it tastes like heaven. Obviously I'm not telling you to eat an entire bar of chocolate every day, but a square or two of organic dark chocolate is a healthy, indulgent act of both physical and emotional self-care. You're welcome.
5 Minute Mani/Pedi
I LOVE the feeling of soft, silky hands right after doing a little mani/pedi at home. This is a great weekly self-care ritual. All you need is a sugar or salt scrub, and a good moisturizer. You can make a scrub using sugar or salt and your favorite carrier oil, like olive or jojoba, and add a few drops of essential oils for added benefit. Don't just rush through and scrub your hands like they're a dirty dish, massage your skin and send your soul a little love while you do this ritual. After you've rinsed the scrub off, follow with a rich, creamy moisturizer; it should soak right in to you freshly exfoliated skin.
Take a Walk
If you're too tired to think about actual exercise, then consider just taking a daily walk. Anything you can do to get your muscles moving and your blood flowing is going to be helpful. I love taking walks because it helps me process and clear my head. If I'm trying to work on training material for a client, or on a post and I'm stuck, a walk always helps me clear my mind and figure out what my next step is.
10 Minute Yoga Routine
A 10 minute yoga break can increase your circulation, increase oxygen to your brain and muscles, and loosen stiff joints. Simply look up "10 minute yoga break" on google or YouTube, pick one and do it every day.
Take a Gym Class
If you are not self motivated and you know that you won't keep to an exercise practice at home, then join a gym and sing up for a class. Having a scheduled class that you have signed up and paid for will increase your chances of actually sticking to it.
This takes less than a minute and you can do it at a set time every day and also reach for it any time you start to feel overwhelmed. The way I do this is I find a place to sit or lay down where I won't be jumped on by a tiny human, sometimes that means sitting my bathroom with door closed. Now, breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds. As you breathe in imagine the air moving all the way down to the bottom tips of your lungs so that you are filling them all the way up. Then, breathe out for 5 seconds. Don't force the air out, let it flow out of your mouth the way you do when you're trying to see your breath in the cold or fog up a window. Do this 5 times, in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds. That's it 50seconds, less than a minute. It helps ground you back in your body, release stress and tension, and oxygenate your mind and body. After doing this a few times you can play with it a bit to get a better connection to your body. Breathe in and focus on only your front ribs moving out, then breathe into your back focusing on your back ribs moving out, breathe into your stomach, then try letting your whole chest expand, being able to isolate different movements in your body helps you become more grounded and aware of your body's health.
When someone says something to you over and over over, you tend to start believing it. It has a way of creeping under your defenses and lodging itself in your subconscious. That also holds true for the things you say to yourself. Many of us are in the habit of saying mostly negative things to ourselves, which means these negative beliefs are being driven deeper into our minds every day. Affirmations are a way to counteract that by intentionally saying positive things to ourselves over and over and over to replace the negative. The Self-Care Essentials guide has a worksheet for building some affirmations for you to start with. If you don't already have that, you can access it here. The basic process is to take a negative belief that you want to transform, like I can never be healthy, and start telling yourself the opposite several times a day, so "I am capable of health, energy and vitality". Your system will send out bullshit alarms and you'll feel dumb, but just keep it up. There are techniques that can address these limiting beliefs more quickly that I use when I work one-on-one with a client, but this a great starting point.
Chose a journal and put it someplace that you will see it and remember it every day. Next to the coffee tea pot is a great place. Every day write three things you are thankful for. It doesn't have to be profound or even different day to day. By practicing this daily you will build the habit of expressing gratitude, and you will eventually rewire your brain to start looking for the good in things.
Earthing is something I do on a regular basis to maintain my sanity. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower stress and improve sleep. It's super easy, all you do is stand barefoot in the grass for a few minutes. Doing this regulates the energy in your body to the energy of the earth. I encourage you to try this at least once per day. Earthing near a tree actually increases the effects. If you don't have a yard or a tree, then go to a nearby park and sit at the base of a tree while you read. If it's too cold to stand barefoot, then you can wear natural fabrics and lay in the grass for a few minutes. If that is not possible either because of weather or you location, then a salt bath is a good alternative.
Keep a Daily Journal
I have a very busy brain. Thoughts fly around in them at the speed of light from the moment I wake up in the morning until I finally fall asleep at night. Journaling helps me pull those thoughts out of my brain and create a bit more space and peace in my head. There is something about expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing that allows you to process and release them. There are no rules when I journal, I simply pull out my pen and write whatever is weighing heaviest on my heart and my head. Sometimes I pour my heart out about how overwhelmed I feel with my life as an entrepreneur/single mom. Sometimes I have a conversation with myself about the merits of plastic versus glass packaging. If it's rattling around in my brain and keeping me from being focused on the present, then it goes in the journal. Try this if you have a busy brain and feel like a little bit of peace and quiet in your head sounds like a good thing.
We have to get out our heads every once in a while, and this is accomplished by getting creative. You can take a dance class, go to a painting and wine night, buy a coloring book for adults (I have 3), dance in your room for 5 min every morning, write a short story. If you are not used to being creative, I encourage you to join a group class or activity. It's so easy to tell yourself that you will start drawing or painting everyday, then talk yourself out of it in the moment. If you have joined a class, then people know when you've skipped and can call you out.
Essential oils, herbs, incense and candles are powerful emotional healers. Our sense of smell has a direct connection to our emotions and memories. Lavender, lemon, peppermint, juniper berry, and ylang ylang are my favorite oils to diffuse. Find a scent that calms or uplifts you and fill your home with it.
Join a Community
We are not meant to live life in isolation. One of the most destructive side effects of trauma is isolation, and once you enter into it climbing out is so hard. I still struggle with this and have to be very intentional about putting myself out into the world. Even if you are the world's most introverted introvert, you need connection to others in order to thrive. The key is to get involved in a community enough to start meeting and engaging with people. Join a class, start volunteering with an organization, or get involved in a club or outreach group.
Like I just said, we are not meant to do this alone. There are some issues that can be helped by a supportive network of friends and family, and there are others that require help from a professional. You may need a doctor, a therapist, a coach, a healer or any combination of the above. It took me two therapists, three coaches, a chiropractor, a biofeeback specialist and several friends skilled in various healing modalities to get where I am at the time of writing this letter. Getting the right kind of help is the fastest and easiest way to reach your health goals. That doesn't mean it will be easy, just a whole lot easier than if you try it without them.
I'll be honest, I'm still learning about mediation. It's something that I know well enough to do the basics on my own, but I am not able to teach it yet. I will share how I use it, and as I grow in this I promise more articles. One form of meditation I do is to simply sit in the floor of my room and breathe. I don't breathe any special way, I just let my breath do what I want while I observe it. Often it will start out with short, quick breaths and as I pay attention to it will zero judgment or expectation the breathing will even out to deeper, longer breaths. Then, I focus on different sections of my body and do the same. I notice my face and head, is there any tension? Am I grinding my teeth or clenching my jaw? I just breathe into this tension and picture it slowly melting and dissipating (I actually learned this technique in dance class growing up, we were trained to be able to isolate one specific muscle at a time). Once my head feel more relaxed I move onto my neck and shoulders. I continue until I have addressed every part of my body. You can also do this laying down and picture the tension in your body running into the floor like liquid running down the sink. Finally, after draining this tension from my system I fill the emptied space with a desired feeling. I will focus on love or peace or health, and I will imagine breathing that into the spaces of my body. This usually takes me about 10-30min depending on how much stress I have to clear first.
To make the most of this list be sure to access the Self-Care Essentials guide.
*Find natural, premium skincare products on our Skin Care Lines page
“Friends of Love-Essential Skin Care” is a blog series where I highlight the wonderful spas, salons and shops that carry Love-Essential Skin Care products.
We are so grateful to be able to partner with small businesses around the country and love it when our fans support these businesses by purchasing our products from them.
Terra Tots Natural Parenting
Terra Tots Specialty: Natural Parenting Supplies and Education
Terra Tots specializes in natural and organic baby supplies. They carry all the practical tools you need like cloth diapers and accessories, feeding supplies, carriers and clothes. You can find an awesome selection of organic, non-toxic toys and fabulous children’s books. Terra Tots also features an array of natural baby remedies specially curated by Jennifer Creel, owner of Terra Tots and certified midwife. The shop is clean, inviting and a joy to visit.
About the Owner: Jennifer Creel BS, LM, CBE
Terra Tots is owned and run by Jennifer Creel BS, LM, CBE. She is a certified midwife with a wealth of knowledge in natural parenting and a passion to help mothers have the best birthing and new parenting experience possible. From the website: “Jennifer strives to educate, empower, and enrich the life of every family through holistic care and education. “EVERY kind of mom is welcome at Terra Tots. EVERY mom can find support for her journey regardless if she chooses to cloth diapers or not, and EVERY family can get the help they deserve from our staff. Any little change a family makes means a step in a better direction for their families and their communities.”
Love-Essential Products at Terra-Tots:
Teething Oil- Clove essential oil's natural analgesic and antimicrobial properties make it the perfect addition to our all natural teething oil. Safe and gentle enough to use on baby's sensitive skin, and 100% natural so you don't have to worry about what is going into baby's body. We love this teething oil, and we know you will too.
Ingredients: Fractionated coconut oil, tocopherol, essential oils: clove, myrrh, cardamom, roman chamomile
Repair Balm- A blend of nourishing oils and botanical extracts soothe and repair damaged skin. Use this all-purpose balm for everything from itchy skin, to minor cuts and scrapes. This balm makes a fabulous wound salve for baby and treatment for dry, itchy, flaky skin. It's also wonderful to soothe and prevent stretch marks, and to soothe sore nipples caused by nursing.
Ingredients: Shea butter, castor oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, meadowfoam seed oil, argan oil, cocoa butter, primrose oil, beeswax, tocopherol, essential oils: melaleuca, lavender, juniper berry, arborvite
Where to Find Them:
Located on the charming historic square in Fayetteville, AR.
15 S Block Ave, Fayetteville, AR 72701
Their website includes an online shop, baby registry, natural parenting information, and access to educational materials for natural parenting.
Do you know local spa, salon, or shop that should also be a Friend of Love-Sessential? If so, please introduce us. I am always looking to make new friends.
Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s cheaper than eating fast food or processed food. How do I know? I’ve been there. I was a young mother trying to feed a family of four on a tight budget that just seemed to get tighter and tighter. It didn’t matter that we were buying the cheap, generic brands of packaged food, we were still running out of money every month.
I had a toddler and two adults to feed and I was breastfeeding, so I needed extra nourishment. On top of that, with two babies in the house we were spending soooo much money on diapers, wipes and laundry supplies (so much laundry).
In fact, I didn’t start cooking all of my food from scratch and DIYing my cleaning supplies because I was crunchy and trying to be healthy, I did it because that’s how I could afford to live. I am now grateful for the fact that our budget required us to live this way before I learned the health benefits of this lifestyle.
Don’t get overwhelmed by feeling like you have to do it all at once. That is an excellent way to fail. If you are currently living on a diet of all fast food and boxed dinners, then I don’t expect you to be organic, gluten-free, and perfectly healthy tomorrow, that would be ridiculous. At this point going from no vegetables to regular vegetables is a win. Do I believe that organic, local vegetables is a good goal to reach for? Absolutely. Are you doing it wrong if you start with non-organic vegetables? No!! Going from zero healthy, home cooked meals a week to one or two is a win. Baby steps are fine. As you keep doing those baby steps your health and energy will start to improve and you will be able to incorporate more and more healthy habits. So, just get started.
You have have have have to plan ahead. Especially when you’re first starting out.
Healthy cooking is a habit that takes time to build. You are working on breaking the habit of reaching for fast food or boxed food when you're hungry, AND forming the habit of cooking healthy food. Both of those take time, intention and planning.
The first thing to do is go out and get yourself some cookbooks and food magazines. I love food magazines because they give me so much variety. The important thing is to pick cookbooks that you are going to love. They don’t do you any good if they are just going to collect dust on your shelf. Also, think about your main hurdle to cooking healthy, because I promise there is a cookbook designed to help you with that. Are you single and think cooking for one is too hard and creates too many leftovers? There are cookbooks written specifically for singles and small households. Are you a busy professional? Get a cookbook with quick, easy to execute recipes.
Google and Pinterest are you friends. The internet is full of recipes of every kind. Enter “healthy fast recipe for one” in the google search bar and you will probably find articles like “50 healthy recipes for one or two”. Don’t forget Pinterest. Entire boards have been created with recipes that are designed to meet specific needs, so get on Pinterest and start following those boards.
Make a menu
Get out those cookbooks and magazines and pick 2-3 things that you would like to try.
Now, this is where planning REALLY helps your budget. Does your first recipe call for a few mushrooms? What are you going to do with the rest of the mushrooms in the carton? If you put two more recipes that call for mushrooms on your menu, then you have no waste, AND by doing this with all of your ingredients you will buy far fewer things at the store. In other words, if you are buying an ingredient for one dish, choose other dishes that will allow you to use up that ingredient before it spoils.
Plan for leftovers. Make extra and eat it as leftovers. I love to have leftovers as lunches for a few days because I don’t like giving a lot of time to making my lunch in the middle of the day.
Do you get bored with leftovers? I get it, if I’ve had eggs for breakfast three days in a row and there is nothing else in the house for breakfast, I will skip breakfast rather than have eggs again (just being real here, none of us are perfect). I really do get it. Make a huge casserole or soup, then freeze it in small servings. That way you can pull it out in a month or two to eat it on a night you don’t want to cook. It’s healthy, it’s already made, and it’s not something you already ate this week.
Shop for your menu
Look at your menu and write down EVERYTHING you need to make for each meal. After you've written each item down you can go through and cross off anything you already have. Now you have your shopping list.
Always start with your produce. You’ll be surprised at how much produce you can fit in your basket without spending a ton of money, especially if you buy produce that is currently in season. I remember one time I was told our money issues were caused by the fact that I was buying so much fresh, organic produce. So I added up how much money was spent at the grocery store that month AND how much of it was produce. Guess what. The produce was a TINY percentage of the grocery budget. Also, our grocery spending was a tiny percentage of the overall budget because I had gotten so good at practicing these tools. (they really do work)
Buy bulk. Purchase a large bag of plain rice instead of the individual boxes, get dried beans instead of canned, chicken base instead of chicken broth (or better yet, make your own chicken broth). One of the main benefits of boxed rice and canned beans is that they are pre-seasoned, but you can easily season them yourself and the result is far less expensive, just as tasty, and considerably healthier. This takes a little more time and planning, but it also saves money.
A great way to get organic vegetables is to buy them frozen. Frozen vegetables are good quality, you end up with less waste, and you can find organic frozen vegetables in bulk at a great price at places like Costco.
Enlist a friend to help
I’m willing to bet you’ve heard, read or even tried some of this before, but just couldn’t make it stick. We are not designed to walk through this life alone, we are designed for community.
Get some girlfriends together, and start doing this as a group. You can swap recipes, give each other tips on what’s working, and even go shopping together sometimes. If you don’t like to cook for just yourself, then cook extra and trade it with friends. Some of my favorite memories are times when I was cooking with friends. I truly believe that a sense of community and tribe is something we need to succeed in this life.
Get extra support
You may be in a place where you know you need to make these changes. You can no longer ignore your health and you know you need to do something about it. But it still feels overwhelming and impossible. I want to help. I want you to succeed and have the health, energy and vitality to live a life that you love.
Please reach out to me for a FREE Health Essentials Assessment. We will figure out exactly where you are sabotaging your health and how we can get you moving forward again.
Click here to schedule your assessment.
So that’s it for part 1 of Eating Healthy on a Budget. In part 2 I will share a piece of advice that I believe is the most important thing to remember when trying to work out your food budget. If you can take it heart and implement it, it will change your life.
In Cooking 101 I address some of the basics of cooking. Cooking your own healthy food is one of the best things you can do for your health, but that can be difficult if you don’t know how to cook. Many recipes are written with the assumption that the reader has a basic understanding of cooking, which makes learning to cook as an adult especially challenging. I want you to succeed in your health journey, and don’t want confusion about how to use your kitchen to get in the way of that. If you have a question about cooking, reading recipes, or cooking techniques, please send me message so I can address them in these articles.
This installment of Cooking 101 focuses on handling raw meat. It is important to properly handle raw meat in your kitchen in order to avoid spreading things like salmonella, E. coli, listeria or intestinal worms (in other words, this is no joke). So here are a few pointers on how to make sure you are handling raw meat properly in your kitchen.
Keep meat wrapped so it won’t leak juices. Don’t store meat in the same area of your refrigerator as your produce or other foods. If, heaven forbid, the meat leaks into your produce or other food, then those items are lost. If I am thawing meat in my fridge I keep it in a bowl or deep dish so that any leaks are contained. When storing meat make sure it stays in the safe temperature zone of under 40 F and over 140 F until ready to eat.
Separate cutting boards and utensils
When you are prepping meat always read through the entire recipe beforehand, this helps you set up a rhythm for which steps you will do and when you will do them. This is important because you will prep your meat before pulling out other ingredients like vegetables, grains or fruit. However, if there is a part of your recipe that requires long cooking times, or needs to be already done before prepping the meat, then you need to do those tasks before moving onto your raw meat. Examples would be getting rice or beans with a long cooking time started, putting potatoes (which take at least 45min to bake) in the oven, or caramelizing your onions if the recipe calls for that.
All this means is read your recipe first, after you’ve done this a few times you’ll get a good feel for how the cooking rhythm flows for you.
Example: Baked chicken breasts, brown rice (45min cook time), salad
1) get the rice started on the stove because it takes longest
2) pull out the chicken, season it, place it in the baking dish and put it in the oven (20 min cook time)
3) wash anything that came in contact with the chicken (this only takes a minute)
4) while the rice and chicken cook make your salad
5) everything is ready at the same time and the whole meal only took 45min (yay!)
Keeping it clean
A friend of mine gave me this great illustration for cooking with raw meat. Pretend the meat is bright red paint so if it touches something, or touch it and then touch something, then you have spread the paint. All of the paint has to be cleaned up when you are done cooking. So try to keep it as contained as possible.
Clear and clean the space where you will be working with your raw meat. Wash the counter, have a clean cutting board and knife handy, and keep produce at a separate part of the kitchen. In other words, don’t have your lettuce and veggies stacked up next to your meat while you’re cutting and prepping it. Anything the meat touches will have to be washed, so working in a clear area cuts down on the chances of you having to wipe/wash off extra items. I also like to put any spices I will use in a small bowl before I start, that way I'm not having to worry about getting my spice jars dirty.
After working with raw meat wash your hands, any utensils you used on it, and any surfaces it touched. Once the area has been cleaned you can pull out the rest of your ingredients and start using them.
Many recipes will call for you to brown or sear your meat before cooking it. Especially beef. To do this you first heat oil in a pan on med-high heat. Once the pan has heated place the meat in the pan and allow it cook until it has started to caramelize, but not burn; turn the meat over until all sides are seared. You want the heat high enough to quickly sear the meat without cooking the middle too much. This traps the juices inside the meat so it stays tender, and the caramelizing gives the meat a nice, rich flavor.
Caramelize: cooking a food until the natural sugars in it harden and turn golden brown to brown. This is that lovely crispy crust on a properly roasted chicken. It is also commonly used when cooking onions.
*note: If your meat has been marinated be sure to dry it with a paper towel before trying to sear it or it won't brown properly
Browning meat can also refer to browning ground beef (for spaghetti, tacos etc.). To do this heat oil in a pan on medium heat and add the meat to the pan. Use a sturdy spatula to break up and stir the meat until there is no more pink meat in the pan. Add salt, pepper and spices to the meat as it browns to enhance the flavor.
Depending on the recipe you may need to strain the grease from the meat before moving to the next step. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the meat into it so the grease drips into the bowl. After the grease has cooled throw it away in the trash. Don’t dump it down your drain as this will clog your pipes.
*tip for singles or small families: When you get your ground beef home separate it into 4 sections and place them in a ziploc bag before freezing. This way you can pull out just enough for a small meal without having to thaw the entire package.
Meat always cooks best if it’s thawed when you start cooking it. If you know you will be using meat the next day you can remove it from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the fridge. If you forgot to do this and you need it sooner, then make sure it is sealed in a water proof bag and place it in a bowl of room temperature water. Change the water out every 30min or so. This will help the meat thaw evenly and quickly.
Exception: you can brown ground meat without thawing it first.
Use a meat thermometer to check that your meat is done.
Steak 145F (this is a medium steak)
Ground Meat 160F
Fish and Shellfish 145F
Full Ham 165F
Keeping left overs
Meat leftovers are good in your refrigerator for three days, and in your freezer for up to six months. If your leftovers ever smell even little off, just throw them out, better safe than sorry.
I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about recipe lingo, cooking techniques, or you have a recipe you can't seem to do right, send it to me so I can address it in another cooking 101 post.
Can just be super real with you for a minute? This post might feel a little bit different because it wasn't planned at all. Also, it's early for me to be awake. I was laying in bed thinking about my clients, and the people that I created my Healthy Body program for and how I could help them the most.
I see a recurring theme in people who are striving to reach body goals. Whether they are trying to lose weight, avoid heart disease, have more energy, or have beautiful skin, this stumbling block trips so many people. That stumbling block is shame. We often use shame to motivate us because we feel like it is the only way to get to our goals, but that's just not true. In fact, shame will always hold us back.
There are times when we need some firm pushes from trusted advisors, but that should never look like shame, and learning the difference between the two is an important part of your health journey.
This is why I've decided to create a category in my blog called "LOVE, not shame". And I will focus on different areas where we commonly abuse ourselves with shame, and how we can find a loving alternative.
This week I am focusing on snacking.
So here's how I often see this play out.
You've been doing a great job with your food choices. You planned a menu, stocked your kitchen, and took healthy lunches to work all week. You've been eating really healthy. But today you were hungry, and a little bit stressed. Dinner was a couple of hours away, you are trying to stick to a tight schedule, which doesn't allow snacking, but you were soooooo hungry. On the way home from work you just couldn't take it anymore so you pulled through a drive through and got yourself some french fries and maybe a milkshake. You felt so much better...for a minute...then those little voices start talking.
"way to go, you just broke your streak"
"how many calories was that anyway?"
"now I feel so guilty, I totally cheated"
"maybe I'll just skip supper to make up for it"
"I'm never going to lose weight, it's just too hard"
These thoughts are so toxic, and you don't deserve to be spoken to that way, even by yourself.
I'd like to point out a few issues with this entire approach to getting healthy, and then offer a much better alternative.
1. Dictatorships are never a good idea.
Being an authoritarian dictator over your body and trying to control it with an iron fist will cause a revolution and it won't be a good one. When your body is sending out strong hunger signals, it's because it's hungry! Trying to use your will power in those moments to power through until dinner is exhausting. You are already making so many changes that all require will power, and will power is a limited resource. Once you run out of will power, it's gone, and you will make purely emotional choices. So you need pick your battles and limit the things you are doing that require will power. Right now, at the start of your health journey, allowing your body to have snacks when it's hungry, as long as they are healthy, is a good idea.
2. You are trying to get over an addiction
Junk food is highly addictive. The sugar, refined starches, and artificial flavorings are as addictive to your brain as many drugs. So it's no small thing for you right now to be giving it up. In fact, stop for a second right now and pat yourself on the back for having the courage and commitment to do this for yourself. When you are trying to get out of an addiction your body needs lots of extra TLC. It's hard on you physically and emotionally. You are crying out for comfort. When those cravings and hunger pains strike, meeting them with cruelty and harsh words only wounds your emotions more. This doesn't mean you give in and eat that doughnut, but it does mean you need to have a plan for how to love your body in those moments.
Here's what that plan looks like.
Well for one thing, I want you to eat snacks when you're hungry, just be smart about what those snacks look like.
As you start feeding your body healthy food, it is going to start utilizing all of those nutrients to clean your body out, repair damage, and rebuild. This means that you need to be giving your body plenty of those nutrients. Your body is adjusting to a new way of functioning, and that means going through a time of re-calibration.
Make a list of healthy snack options that you like and will eat when you're hungry in the middle of the day and have plenty of them handy at all times. You may find that once you adjust you won't need to snack anymore.
1. Start with fruits and vegetables. The best and fastest way to help your system through this transition is to be loading it with the minerals, vitamins and micronutrients that you've been lacking. So have some fruits and vegetables always at the ready for snacking purposes. I keep a bowl of washed fruit on the counter or table for when I start to feel hungry in the middle of the day. Pre-sliced carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers and olives are also great to have around.
2. If that's not working add a little protein. Eat a handful of nuts or seeds. Put your fruit in a bowl of yogurt. Dip the fruit and veggies in humus or a nut butter. Did you know plain Greek yogurt makes a great substitute for sour cream? Dip your veggies in a little bit of that. Or cut up a few bites of cheese to eat with your fruit and veggies.
3. Finally, add some fat. If I've had a good snack with fruit and vegetables, and I've added nuts, cheese or humus, and I'm still feeling hungry it's because I'm needing fat. This usually happens to me when I'm doing a lot brain work. If I'm writing articles, working on program modules, or researching product formulas, then I find I need at least two extra snacks during the day, and they need to have good fats in them, or I'll get extremely brain fatigued. So, I will have some guacamole, or a hot cup of tea with coconut oil stirred into it.
4. Remember to stay hydrated. Sometimes that jittery hungry feeling in the middle of the day is actually thirst. So make sure you have a big glass of water before you start snacking to make sure you're not just thirsty.
Junk food is an addiction. Sugar, highly processed starches, artificial sugars and many of the flavorings used in junk food are highly addictive, and giving them up is hard on your body and on your emotions. While going through the process of giving up those foods you need to be as kind and loving to your body as possible, and depriving your body of food when it's hungry is simply adding salt the wounds of how your system feels when it is transitioning to your new eating style.
The best way to achieve healthy skin and a healthy body is to treat it with love and care, giving it the tools it needs to repair and heal, and avoiding the things that make its job harder.
Are you trying to get healthy, but feel overwhelmed, or can't seem to make the necessary changes? Schedule a chat with me and we can see what might be holding you back.
What do I mean when I say Love-Essential Skin Care products are handcrafted with love?
Is it a marketing gimmick to make me look good and get you to like me?
Is it because "love" is a buzzword right now and I think it will sell more products?
Is it a statement that conjures whimsical images of someone frolicking in a meadow tossing wildflowers?
No, No and No
When I was starting my business I spent weeks brainstorming possible names, and the word that kept coming up was "Love". I deliberated long and hard on using the word love in my business name because I have deep respect for it and for the spirit behind it, and I didn't want to minimize that by using it in a business name. I tried a number of other words including "nourish" "refresh" "pamper" and "indulge", but none of them were true to me or to my vision for my company. I finally had to admit that love was the best fit for my approach to skincare, and for the message I want my business to represent. So, Love-Essential Skin Care was born.
By claiming that space and embracing love as the cornerstone for my business I have been able to weave love into every aspect of its growth and process.
What does that look like?
Formulating and crafting products is one of my favorite parts of owning a skincare business. It's fun, challenging, and it gives me a chance to flex my nerd muscles. I spent a six hour trip home from my relatives making a list of the fatty acid profiles of the different oils and butters I use in my products so I could figure out the best blends for different types of skin, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
So what does the production process of a Love-Essential Skin Care product look like?
Here is a little peek:
What do I want the product to do?
Do I want it soothe inflammation? Do I need it soak completely into the skin, or leave a moisture barrier? Does it need to have ingredients that stimulate new skin growth?
What ingredients do that?
Using my list of desired properties I write down the oils, butters and extracts that will perform each one. I don't leave anything out in this step, I list every ingredient that qualifies.
What do I NOT want the product to do?
Here is where I make my first set of cuts. If I'm making a handcream, then I don't want the finished product to be too greasy, so I cut any oils/butters with a greasy feel. If it's a facial product I cut anything that might clog pores. I also list the oils, butters and extracts in order of best to worst fit. Natural products, because of their complexity often have many beneficial properties. Because of this you can often find numerous products that will work for an issue, and one specific ingredient can be applied for many different issues. So, after listing the possible ingredients in order of the best fit, I cut anything after the first four or five.
Do I need the product to be solid or liquid? What kind of container will I be using? Will it be exposed to summer heat? Is it gender specific? If so that will affect my choice of essential oils.
I sketch out a rough formula and make a small batch. After taking notes on the consistency, smell, efficacy, skin feel and appearance I tweak the recipe and make another small batch. I repeat this process until I'm satisfied with product. Once I'm satisfied with my recipe in a small batch, I make a medium batch. I do this because it's easier to make accurate measurements with a slightly larger batch, and doing so often results in slight changes in the finished product. At this point I will also let close family and friends try it and get their feedback. After making the medium batch and getting feedback I make any final tweaks on the recipe, then run testing on the product. I test it for shelf life, make sure it's not going to harbor any foreign pathogens (not all preservation is bad), and make sure the consistency and skin feel will hold up to everyday use. Finally, after I am fully satisfied with the product, I will release it for sale.
For every single one of these steps I keep in mind what solution I am trying provide, and I ask myself, "if I was in need of this solution, would I be happy with this product?"
The result of all this is exceptional products that look, feel and smell amazing and give spectacular results.
I feel like it's appropriate to say that I put quite a bit of love into every product that I create, but it doesn't stop there.
This business is about more than just products for me.
I started making skin care to solve a problem.
It was quite simple, my son had excruciating diaper rashes, so I made a product to help him. Later, my mom had severely cracked heels, so I created a salve to help her. Then my mom asked if I could make her a face cream so I did. Shortly after that life put me in a position where I needed to start making some money, so I made labels for my products and headed to my local community market. It's a story that's told over and over in the small business community, and it's one that I'm proud of.
As my business began to grow I had to learn how to market my business. I started paying attention to how other skincare companies, large and small, marketed themselves, and as I began viewing advertisements and commercials in my industry with a more critical eye I grew more and more frustrated. I learned to look past the pretty music, alluring pictures, and poetic phrases to try to figure out what message they were sending to get people to buy their product. I saw the same message over and over and over --"there's something wrong with you and we can fix it".
"You can't go on that date with a zit on your face!!! Use our product so he/she will like you better."
"Wrinkles have started showing up on your face and we can't have that, fight them with our product."
"Make sure your foundation offers full coverage because we would hate for any imperfections to peep through."
Just writing those makes my skin crawl.
I never want to sell a product on the premise that it makes you more beautiful because you are already beautiful.
Go back and read that last sentence. It's easy to breeze past statements like that. You might have even said a little "yeah yeah" in your head when you read it. But let me repeat myself and be abundantly clear.
You. Are. Already. Beautiful.
Can we talk for just a minute about how awesome the human body is? That is, of course, rhetorical; I'm going down this road whether you like it or not.
At any given moment there are millions of things happening inside your body to keep you functioning and healthy. Your immune system is protecting your from the onslaught of pathogens and toxins that you encounter on a daily basis. Specialized cells are carrying out jobs like metabolizing your last meal, delivering oxygen to your systems, removing waste, repairing broken tissues, monitoring your body for problems, and making sure your blood keeps flowing. All of this happens without your input, and without your appreciation. Furthermore, science is finally starting to catch up to the complexities of our emotions and thought life, and how it affects the body. By altering the words you say to yourself, and the thoughts you entertain on a regular basis, you can vastly improve your life both emotionally and physically.
Your body is equipped with all of the systems it needs to keep you healthy. The problems come when that system gets damaged by sickness, toxins, stress and injury, or when those systems don't get all of the tools they need for optimal functioning. Those problems, sickness, fatigue, skin challenges etc, do not make your body less remarkable, they do not make you less beautiful.
You are beautifully designed, you are beautifully made.
My products are not designed to change you or fix you, or make you more beautiful, they are designed to care for you, nourish you, and give you the chance to show yourself the same love you show to the people in your life.
If my child hurts himself I will apply an ointment to the wound. When I do so I am not thinking "I had better put a bandage and ointment on this because skin being split apart is unattractive", that would be ludicrous. I apply the ointment out of love for my son with a desire to ease his pain and restore his body. So why-oh-why would I not give myself the same love and care when my body is in need.
Imagine how much different your day would be if this was your attitude. If food, exercise, and skincare were done in a spirit of self love instead of self punishment or a desire to be liked. Try just thinking about that for a day. Write down a list of things you do every day for self care. Things like brushing your teeth, washing your face, eating, doing your hair, bathing, and exercising. Now, just sit and imagine yourself doing each task. When you picture yourself doing it, what are your reasons? Are you doing it to take care of yourself because you value yourself? Or are you doing it because if you don't, then you'll smell, have bad teeth, and not be fit and you're worried people won't like you as much. Really stop and think through this. Are you doing it for you, or are you doing it for them? It is my passion that my customers can learn to love an appreciate themselves, and I consider it an honor when my products are a part of that process.
When I first started to learn about this new mindset I was turned off by it because I thought is sounded narcissistic and selfish, but here's what I've learned. Narcissists don't love themselves, what they express is not love. As I've learned to be more gentle, loving and kind to myself, my capacity to be loving, gentle and kind to others has increased exponentially. Which leads me to the one more thought on love.
I need to be super real with you right now. The meaning of Love has been hijacked in today's society and I'm fed up with it.
Love is not flattery or charm. Flattery and charm, while sometimes enjoyable, are cheap imitations of the wonder that is love. Love is not control, it should never cause you to remove pieces of who you are in order to belong. Love is also not a flippant, sprightly vapor that dances around saying "can't we all just get along?".
No, dear ones, love is so much bigger than that. Love has the ability to heal emotional, spiritual and physical wounds. Love has been present since the dawn of time. It is woven through the history of our planet, and it will be ever present in this world, whether we recognize it or not. Love does not need us to define it, but to recognize it. To me, love has a substance. It's not a feeling, or a thought, or an emotion, or an energy, it is a living breathing thing that exists all around us. It existed before the world as we know it began, and it will continue to exist long after we leave.
Caroline Leaf, one of my favorite authors and speakers, teaches that fear and love make up the foundation for all other emotions. Toxic emotions and thoughts are rooted in fear, and positive emotions and thoughts grow from love. In other words, love is the basis for all good things.
(For some great insight on the effects of your thought life on our emotional and physical health check out her blog here.)
You see, I am not stopping at making skin care products. That part is fun, and it brings me a lot of joy, but it was never my end game. It is my dream to reclaim the banner of love. I'm starting in my own life, then moving into my children's lives, then expanding to my family and dear friends. Then I'll talk to anyone who will listen. We need to wake up to the power that love brings, and to the destruction that happens when the meaning of love is distorted.
There is so much brokenness that I cannot fix on my own, even if I wish I could, but the awakened love in the hearts of the people of this planet could. I, for one, am done with seeing the meaning of love bastardized by the advertising world, by entertainment, and by cultural fallacies that have been passed down through the generations. I'm ready to start pointing to the truth.
So there you have it. A few of the small and large ways that love is woven through the fabric of Love-Essential Skin Care.
P.S. After you try the self-care exercise I would love to read about your experience in the comments.
I was a ballet dancer.
I started dancing when I was 7 and went on to minor in dance in college. By the time I was in high school I was dancing 15-20 hours per week. I have put thousands of hours of practice and work into training for dance.
Why am I telling you this?
I have a picture in my room of myself posing En Pointe in my Swan Lake costume. The pose was a fairly easy one for me to do at the time. When my friends see it and remark about how impressive or cool it is that I could do that my response used to be to shrug and say "it's actually not that hard".
Which is ridiculous because it is that hard.
I trained for 11 years to get to the point where that was "easy", and now that I'm a few years out of practice it would be very difficult and even a bit dangerous for me to try it. I needed to learn to acknowledge and appreciate the effort and work that went into my expertise in order to not take it for granted.
Now I'm at it again.
I have been formulating skin care products for over three years now, and it is something that comes very naturally to me. When I first started letting people try my products I didn't have a very big appreciation for them because they had been "easy" to make.
When friends and family raved about how much they loved it I would just shrug and say thanks, but not really be willing to take any credit. After all, it was easy, and it can only be considered great if it was hard (I'm rolling my eyes at my past self right now).
So, what is it that makes it easy?
I have a degree in Biochemistry
That's right, I spent my college career developing an intimate knowledge of the tiny mechanisms and molecular machines that exist in our bodies.
In addition to knowledge, I got years of practical experience in setting up an experiment and predicting how certain products will interact with each other. I learned how to keep a pristine lab/work space, how to create an accurate formula that would be consistent every time I make it, and how to accurately make tweaks to the formula to create desired changes.
I gained the ability to take meticulous notes of my formulation process so I could easily replicate or troubleshoot a recipe. This took hours and hours of trial and error out of my process.
My mother was in the food industry.
My mom was registered dietician throughout my childhood and I got experience working in several commercial kitchens helping her with various jobs. I learned techniques for heating and mixing butters and oils to give a smooth consistency. I learned how to set up a Good Manufacturing Procedure that would create consistency, safety and quality in my creation process.
My biochemistry degree gave me extensive practical experience in formulating products. My experience in kitchen brought artistry to the process so that I could create something that gives great results, and is a pleasure to use.
I love learning
Of my top five strengths in the Gallup Strength test, three of them have to do with learning and gathering information. I love to learn, it doesn't matter what I'm learning, I just love the process of learning something new.
When I first began growing my business I had a business coach who encouraged me to think about all of the work that has gone into me becoming an expert at what I do. So I started paying attention to that.
I realized that I spend several hours a week researching ingredients, techniques and natural health care just because it's fun for me and I like doing it. I didn't consider those hours to be work because I would do them even if I didn't have a business. Those hours of study allow me to make superior products.
My job is so rewarding.
Every time a customer contacts me to say they finally have relief for their baby's diaper rash, or that they get so much enjoyment out of using my products my day gets a little brighter.
One of my goals with Love-Essential Skin Care is to help people approach skin care from a place of love. I want people to feel pampered, loved and cared for when they use my products.
It took me too long to learn the concept of honoring and caring for myself, and now it is my desire to spread it to others through my company.
Why am I telling you this?
I know I'm not the only one who does this to herself.
I know that someone reading this article has strengths and abilities that she takes for granted.
I want to encourage you to celebrate yourself this week.
Think about everything that has contributed to your successes.
Congratulate yourself and give yourself some credit for that.
I have a friend who says that the things that are easiest for us are the things we should get paid the most to do. They are easy because of the extensive work and effort that you have devoted to learning that skill.
So really think about it for a minute, or for a few days. What do you write off as not-a-big-deal that you can congratulate yourself for?
I would love to know what you discover when you spend some time contemplating this. Leave a comment and share with us something you want to give yourself some credit for.
Today's ingredient spotlight is Rose hydrosol.
What is a Hydrosol?
A hydrosol is made by steam distilling plant material in order to collect a concentrated sample of its water soluble components. Many companies sell it as a byproduct of essential oil distillation, but there are some who distill plant material specifically to create a high quality hydrosol. The name rose water is often used interchangeably with rose hydrosol, but they are different products. Technically, a floral water is water that has small amounts of essential oil dispersed into it using a dispersing agent. However, often when people talk about rose water, they are actually referring to the hydrosol. To tell the difference check to see if the product they are describing was made by distillation, or if it was made using rose oil or rose flavoring.
Rose is one of the most well known hydrosols, along with witch hazel and neiroli (orange blossom). It is also one of the key ingredients in the Essential Radiance Hydrating Mist, and Essential Radiance Moisturizer
Hydrosols are a fantastic aromatherapy tool. They have similar aromatherapuetic benefits to essential oils, such as calming the nerves and lifting your mood, but they are far more gentle than essential oils. Most hydrosols can be used undiluted, and are a great aromatherapy alternative for children.
I love opening my bottle of Rose hyrdosol when I'm making a new batch of product. The smell is so soothing and calming, and this mompreneur can use all stress relief she can get. Rose Water has a very light, sweet rose scent. The aroma has been shown to calm anger, ease anxiety, and soothe and calm the nerves. It is a natural anti-depressant, and mood booster. Spray some on your pillow at night for good night's sleep, or spritz some on your neck when you're having a particularly stressful day.
Many hydrosols are commonly used as ingredients in certain dishes and drinks, as well as general health tonics. If you decide to purchase a hydrosol to use in cooking, make sure the supplier specifies that it is produced and packaged for food use.
Rose hydrosol is used in a number of food recipes around the world. Many of the recipes found online are desserts and sweets, one great example is Turkish delight. I read the Chronicles of Narnia many many times growing up, and C.S. Lewis had me convinced that Turkish delight must be the most divine treat in the world. However, rose water isn't just for sweets, in fact, it has some amazing health benefits. Drinking rose hydrosol gives a great mood boost, and it makes a fantastic overall health tonic. It has been studied for its anti-bacterial properties, as well as it's ability to support hormone health, combat eye fatigue, and fight depression.
Rose hydrosol is a wonderful addition to your skincare routine. It hydrates your skin by naturally drawing moisture into it. It also balances your skin's natural oil levels, and stimulates circulation, which helps speed healing and repair your skin. It is also extremely gentle and nourishing to damaged, irritated skin. Rose hydrosol is a great ingredient for anyone with dry, delicate skin, or with issues like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.
Rose hydrosol is a key ingredient in two of the products in my Essential Radiance facial line for mature or dry skin. I use it in the Essential Radiance Hydrating Mist, and Essential Radiance Moisturizer. The Hydrating Mist is a luxurious toner that balances the skin's pH, calms redness, and hydrates the skin. The Essential Radiance Moisturizer is a daily facial cream that is a very light yet powerful moisturizer that leaves the skin smelling and feeling like a velvety rose petal.
Do you use rose in any of your skin or food recipes at home? I would love to hear about them.
I used to be obsessed with having perfect skin. I would look in the mirror and single out every little blemish or mark on my face that I didn't like and get mad my skin for misbehaving. I was one of those girls that would have one or two blemishes pop up during a certain time of the month and would be convinced that it was the only thing people would notice when they looked at me. Then I grew up. I studied biochemistry and learned about the intricacies of the human body, and I had children and learned about the effects of words and emotions. I learned three important truths that have changed my perspective on my skin.
1) Our words and thoughts have power
Self talk is becoming a buzz word these days, and with good reason. The way we speak to ourselves, about ourselves, and about the world around us has a physical effect on our bodies. A mentor of mine often refers to "word curses" and how harmful they are to us and to the people around us. Saying things like, "I'm bad at that", "I'm just clumsy", "I have bad skin", "I hate my hair/body/house/job etc". They can also refer to other people: "He's such a jerk", "She will never learn". These absolute statements simply entrench those negative beliefs further.
Researchers are discovering that the words we speak, and the emotion with which they are spoken can create physical changes in our DNA. This is true for the words we speak to ourselves, as well as the words we speak to and about others. After learning this I made some changes to the way that I speak. I no longer call my oldest son a picky eater, instead I say that he is still learning how to eat well. In fact, I discourage the use of any labels in my home. We don't call people names, we can point out issues, but we do not label people with them. For example I often say things to my boys like "you're not stupid, but you did make a very poor decision. What can we learn from that?"
When you look at yourself and notice the things you don't like, pay attention to how you talk about it. Do you call yourself names? Do you get mad at your skin and punish it for misbehaving? To you hate your body? These word curses make it so much more difficult for your body to heal. The most useful tool I have found to change the way I talk to myself when I'm frustrated with my flaws is to be grateful to them for showing up. Why should you be grateful to your skin for breaking out? Let me explain.
2) Your skin us trying to send a signal to you that something is wrong
Your skin is an amazing organism. It is constantly evaluating your environment to help your body adapt to changes. It is your first line of defense against disease and injury. It keeps you from danger by telling you when something is too hot, too cold, sharp, or caustic. Your skin is so much more than a beauty gauge.
Common skin challenges like acne, eczema, psoriasis, excessive chapping, redness, or brittle skin are all indicators of an imbalance in your system. Some of the most common causes for these complaints are food sensitives, hormone imbalance, nutrient deficiency, and body toxicity. If left unchecked you will start to notice bigger issues like extreme fatigue, weight issues, chronic pain, weakened immune system, and a myriad of other health complaints. So, rather than get mad your skin for breaking out, thank it. When your skin issues flare up, they are indicating that you need to step back and take care of your body.
I experienced this first hand during this year's Christmas break. I ate entirely too much sugar, drank more wine than usual, and did not keep my stress in check. As a result, my face broke out in acne and my cheeks and nose turned bright red. I also got very tired, and my back pain returned. These were all signals from my body to slow down and take better care of myself.
_ 3) My children pick up on pretty much everything
I don't want my young boys learning that our outer appearance is the gauge on which we measure beauty. I don't want them worrying over freckles (which my oldest has in abundance), pimples, scars or other perceived flaws. Those things are just part of our life, and life is so much bigger than the little spots on my face. I'm not taking care of my skin to have a flawless complexion, I am taking care of my skin because skin is important. It does so many wonderful things for me, and I need to treat it with respect and care so that it can continue to do so. This is the message I want my sons to learn about why I make skincare products.
If you would like to know how you can understand the messages your skin is sending about your health email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to check out my 5 simple steps to healthier skin where I share some things you can start doing today to improve your skin from the inside out.