HOLISTIC WELLNESS BLOG
TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE. LITTLE CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE. LITTLE CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
This weeks blog is a deeply relaxing 15-minute guided meditation!
Let the hypnotic rhythm of the lapping waves transport you to a private, misty cove in this deeply relaxing, multi-sensory guided meditation like nothing you've ever experienced! Allow yourself to be supported by positive affirmations as you drift away to your own cozy seaside sanctuary... and breathe...
Music & meditation written by Amie Gabriel. Images by Canva Pro
10 Things to Start Your Day Right and Help You Feel Good About Yourself - Especially if you’re housebound!
This is an exceptional time we’re living in. The new normal is anything but. Even the most resilient among us may need reminding that being relegated to our homes to stay healthy, doesn’t mean we should act as though we’re home sick.
This is especially important if you suffer from depression, the late winter blues or early spring blahs, you’re just not feeling great about yourself, you’re grieving the loss of a loved one/marriage/relationship but on the road to recovery, you’re in early recovery from any type of addiction or otherwise trying to change or manage your mood or behavior. And if you’re not prone to any of these things but suddenly find yourself removed for your normal schedule due to social distancing or a self quarantine you may be finding it difficult to adjust.
Even if you’re feeling pretty good about yourself right now but you have a tendency toward feeling otherwise - or just want to stay motivated - these little shifts in your morning self-care habits can make a big difference!
Some may seem like no brainers - some may seem ridiculously simplistic - but if you’re staying home and beginning to feel not so great about yourself for any reason, letting the smallest of things slip can start to add up and work against you.
Here is my top 10 list of a.m habits to help you feel good about yourself!
1. Get up! When it’s time to get out of bed in the morning, do it. Although lying in bed and reading for an extra 30 or 60 minutes on a Sunday morning can feel like a wonderful luxury and a reward for a long week, doing it on a regular basis doesn’t set the tone for a productive day. Try getting out of bed a little earlier than you have to instead of waiting until the last possible minute. Laying in bed too long isn’t a good habit
2. Let the light in. Once you’re out of bed open the curtains, pull up the shades and let the sun shine in. Even on a cloudy, rainy or dreary day the effects of natural light on your mood are well documented.
3. Make your bed. It looks nice, it sends a message that you’re up and ready to start the day, it gets your body moving even if just a little, and if you suffer from depression it may help keep you from crawling back into it for the day - I’m speaking from personal experience on this one! Plus, getting into a freshly made bed every night feels really great!
4. Drink a big glass of water. Before I have my morning coffee, I have my water. It wakes up my body and get things moving. Starting the day well hydrated - and staying that way - can make a big difference in how you feel.
5. Have a have a morning grooming routine even - and maybe especially - when you’re staying home. Keep up - or step up, now that you have the time - your wake up routine. Do it for yourself if no one else!
7. Move your body. Whether or not I’m going for a morning walk or run (and right now we’re self-isolating at home), I do a 5-minute yoga stretch (my video is linked here) with deep breathing. Try it. You’ll be surprised with what a difference it makes! COVID-19 Tip: Now that we’re socially distancing and staying home, extending this to a full yoga practice or morning stretch and guided meditation can help you feel wonderful. It’s also a great way to exercise if you’re housebound.
8. Make yourself a good heathy breakfast. I make oatmeal every morning. It couldn’t be faster or simpler. ½ cup of dry oats, a few dashes of cinnamon, a banana, ½ cup of water and 1 minute in the microwave. Bam, I have a hot, heathy breakfast in about 2.5 minutes. (2 minutes and 23 seconds… yeah, I timed this, too.)
9. Tidy your home. I grab my Swiffer’s (see below) and do a quick dust of the furniture and floor. If you don’t want to use disposable wipes to clean your floor you can substitute washcloths on your Swiffer floor duster, like I do (see below). Just poke the washcloth through the holes instead of the disposable cloths. It only takes a few minutes to freshen your surroundings. Nate Burkus said “Your home should rise up to greet you.” I believe that truer words cannot be spoken when it comes to your home.
10. Set some goals for the day. Even if one of those goals is to catch up on some much needed rest or practice self care, put it on you list and get it done! Why not use this time at home to try something new or return to something you love and have long left behind. Put it on the list and do it!
A special note for skeptics: Taking care of your appearance matters. Why? Because you’re insides and your outside are not mutually exclusive. They are connected and both are parts of the whole you. I’m not talking about hiding behind a mask or false facade, I’m talking about simple things to let you - and your natural beauty - shine!
If needed, remind yourself that self-care and self-esteem go hand in hand and are self perpetuating in both directions. The lower your self worth the less you’ll care about these things and the less you’ll want to put forth any effort. Conversely, the more you value yourself the more invested you’ll be in how you feel and care for yourself even - or perhaps especially - if no one else sees it!
Here’s a litmus test. Have you ever left the house praying you wouldn’t run into someone you knew because you felt you looked an embarrassing mess? How did it make you feel? Now how about a time when you left the house feeling like a million bucks? Better, right? My wish for you is that you present yourself in such a way that you don’t care who you run into even if the only person you encounter is in the mirror. You should feel that good about yourself every day. Like I said before, it takes just as much time to put on something crappy as it does to put on something cute. It takes the same effort to put on an attractive pair of slip on sneaks* as it does dirty old flip flops. So up your game! You can do it and you’re worth the effort! The amount of time it takes to run a comb through your hair and chuck on some lip color is negligible.
No matter how grand or humble your abode, your wardrobe or your presentation, keeping it neat can lift you up and allowing a mess can drag you down. It’s just that simple!
*COVID-19 Tip: Do not wear street shoes in the house and if you do, sanitize them with an approved EPA-registered household disinfectant linked here. Of course be careful that you do a color test before wiping the tops and let them air dry thoroughly before walking around your house - lest you ruin a good pair of shoes or track a bleach solution all over your carpets!
“Pure Water is the World’s First and Foremost Medicine.” ~Slovakian Proverb~
It’s not rocket science; We all know that two of the best ways to stay healthy, feel good, lift our mood, and remove toxins from our bodies are to break a sweat with intentional exercise and to drink plenty of water. Today we focus on the latter; H2O. How to help you get enough and make it more enjoyable!
I drink a lot of water. It helps me to feel more awake, clearheaded, and can help keep sore muscles and headaches at bay. It’s also great for our skin; that is to say, well hydrated skin looks younger and more refreshed! Unlike some people, I really don’t mind drinking plain, room temperature water but I also love infusing it with fruit and herbs. It’s a fun way to make it more flavorful, and when I’m having company at my home, it’s a quick and easy way to offer my guests one of the healthiest beverages you can drink while making it really special and pretty!
Every day at my spa I offered an infused water to my guests. Here are some of the favorites:
I recommend using filtered water and organic ingredients.
What You’ll Need
The “recipe” - if you can call it that - is an inexact science and pretty simple. The amounts can be changed according to your taste and you can mix and match as you please.
Per Quart/Liter of water:
Toss the freshly washed combo of your choice into the water and chill for 4 – 6 hours or overnight. Pour into a glass, through a tea strainer if you’d like, garnish as desired and serve.
That's it! Like I said, it's not rocket science but isn't it nice that something so incredibly good for you is so exceptionally easy?
How do you feel about these? Are you inspired to try something new? What are your favorite combos?
Let me know in the comments below!
How much water do you need? Here’s a great article from the American heart Association:
I use the My Water Balance Free App for iPhone to keep my water intake on track:
"When practicing holistic wellness, feeling good about ourselves means feeling good about every part; mind, body, and spirit, inside and out."
Today we’re focusing on the outside. Our skin! Why? Because if your skin feels nice YOU feel nice… and feeling nice is GOOD! Our skin is our body’s largest organ so let’s take care of it! Here are some very simple and inexpensive ways to keep you skin feeling soft and looking healthy, right at home.
Exfoliation, as I’m sure you know, is the sloughing off of dead cells from the surface of the skin. While beneficial, we need to be careful not to overdo lest we sensitize and dry the skin, nor do we want to be pulling on it. It’s better to do a little at a time for a cumulative and lasting effect than too much too quickly.
What you’ll need- I've added the links for the one I have at the bottom of this post!:
Once a Week to Once a Month
First, let me say that the term “Sugar Scrub” is a misnomer. You don’t need or want to “scrub” your skin! Moving forward, let’s call it:
Take about a cup of sugar in a shatterproof container into the shower, keeping it out of the direct flow of water. Wet your skin, turn off the water, and with a palm-full of sugar at a time, give yourself a nice light buffing, working your way from your collarbone* down to your feet. Use a soft, circular motion until you feel the sugar dissolve, paying extra attention to your elbows, hands, and feet. I never add any oil to the sugar simply because oil and water on the smooth surface of a tub or shower is a recipe for disaster in my little world! Rinse thoroughly - and please remember to rinse away ALL the sugar that may have found its way to the walls and/or shower curtain… ants and other critters LOVE sugar! If you’ve ever been to South Florida and left a soda can on the counter for a couple of hours you know what I’m talking about!! Proceed with the rest of your shower.
*A word about sugar on your face and neck: DON’T!! Sugar crystals have sharp edges and will cause micro-tearing on facial skin. Please don’t do it. Use a bamboo cloth or facial round instead. It’s gentle yet effective, sustainable, and has naturally occurring anti-microbial properties.
Every Day or So
Before you get in the shower, if you take a minute to softly brush your skin with a good quality, natural bristle body brush, you will not be sorry. It gently removes dry flakes, increases circulation and invigorates the skin. And it feels SO good!!
In the shower, set the water temperature to a comfortably warm level then make it just a little bit cooler. You don’t need to freeze but too hot dries the skin. I admit, I used to take scalding hot showers and baths but I’ve grown wiser with maturity (and when I say “with maturity” I, of course, mean with menopause and hot flashes.) Now turn off the water and suds up using your favorite (organic, naturally scented, paraben and sulfate free) soap. You can do this with or without your washcloth but if you put a dollop of soap into the cloth you’ll use less, and it adds one more exfoliating opportunity. Rinse off, using the washcloth to help gently wash the soap away from your skin, squeezing fresh water through the cloth as you go, until all the soap is gone. Turn off the water and while still in the shower use your wrung-out washcloth to “dry” yourself off, wringing out the cloth a few times as you go, removing the drops of the water from your skin. When you squeeze out the cloth, you’ll see how much water you actually remove! No need to scrub, a gentle gliding action will do the trick. Once again, pay special attention to your hands, heels, and elbows, giving them an extra polish. Step out of the shower and apply your favorite lotion or oil to your still lightly damp skin** - don't forget your feet - then air dry, no need for a towel. In just a few days you’ll really feel a difference in the softness of your skin!
** On really hot, humid days I use a lighter body lotion, applying a richer option to my hands, elbows, and feet. On cold or dry days or in arid climates, a couple of drops of oil in the lotion is very nice! I use unscented oils and lotions, adding a few drops of organic essential oils to customize.
To Shave or Not to Shave. That is the Question.
Only you can answer it. My suggestion is to do what makes you feel best, and do it for yourself. I lived alone for years and, even in the dead of winter, I shaved. Why? Because I love the way my legs and underarms feel when they’re smooth and freshly shaven. I did it just for me and for no other reason than because it made me feel good.
Hands and Feet
Soft, smooth, well-groomed hands and feet feel fabulous! Conversely, have you ever kept them hidden when you’re out because they looked like hell? I have, but no more. It’s so quick and easy to keep them in shape that there’s no need. Exfoliation, lotion, and simple nail grooming are your hands and tootsies best friends!
Before your fabulous shower sit for a moment on the edge of your tub or nearby stool, take your foot emery and spend a few minutes on the rough parts of your feet. It will take a little more time when you’re just starting this grooming ritual, but less and less as your feet improve. Remember, as when filing your nails, it’s best to move the emery in one direction across the rough, dry skin and PLEASE, be very careful not to over-do! It’s easier than you’d think to get down to tender skin, which often doesn’t reveal itself until hours later. It doesn’t feel good and you’ll have to wait to let it heal. Go easy and take your time, this isn’t a one-time fix it’s a cumulative process and part of an ongoing self-care ritual!
After your shower, and any other time you think of it, moisturize your feet. A couple of drops of peppermint essential oil added to the lotion is fabulous! Just be care not to slip afterward!
Do this foot treatment for two or three days in a row when you’re first starting out. Once your feet are soft and smooth, one or two times a week will do it, but apply the lotion every single day!
Wet your hands in the sink and “wash” them with sugar until it dissolves, then rinse and wash with soap as you normally would, dry and moisturize. If your hands are really rough, do this a few days in a row then once a week or so to keep them soft, liberally applying lotion every time. For daily care I find that drying my hands with a nubby towel after I wash helps to keep them soft.
There you go! Does it sound like a lot? It is! But like anything if you want something you need to put forth some effort! If you like, just pick and choose one or two things you’d like to try, but it’s really just two steps: exfoliate and moisturize.
Common sense guidelines:
I’ll be posting more specifics on skin, nail, hair, and face care in the upcoming months!
Please comment below!
Let me know if you’d like to see some skin care videos. How about some videos featuring some French experts from Paris, where I live?
Let me know if this is working for you, or any tips, concerns, or skin care woes you may like to share. Don’t forget to subscribe to have the blog posts delivered right to your inbox!
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