Essential Oils, Faith, Lifestyle, wellness

What brings joy?

For me, joy is found in good books, good coffee, good company, my good God and the great outdoors. So when restrictions limited contact with people, entrance to church and travel over the borders, like so many others, it hit me hard.

As a result, we have all had to get creative in finding joy in our new normal, and I began to redefine the bare bones of what I (and maybe we) really needed to feel joy.

Merriam-Webster defines joy as; ‘the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires’, ‘Delight – the expression or exhibition of such emotion, Gaiety.’

Note that top definition – emotions evoked by well-being. I don’t think I realised quite how essential being with people, being in Church and being outdoors was to my wellbeing – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As an aromatherapist and wellness coach one thing I have always been proactive on is supporting my families wellness naturally. As so many things were removed from my control, this is one area where I did have control.

I could control what we listened to, what we watched, what entered our minds. Because what you see and hear on a daily basis affects your thought patterns, affects your emotional response, and affects your immune response. Increased stress hormone = lowered immune system, and at a time like this, that is one system you want running on all cylinders.

I could control what goes into and onto our bodies. By reducing exposure to toxins, (parfum, parabens, preservatives and the like) in food, soaps, detergents, cleaners and cosmetics, I can reduce stress on our immune system. This allows our bodies to heal, repair, restore on a cellular level, rather than fighitng micro battles on a daily basis.

Why is all this important to experiencing joy? Because when we feel well, we feel able to enjoy life more.

It’s hard to be joyful with an irritable bowel. It is hard to be happy with a throbbing head. It is hard to keep smiling with insomnia. When we aren’t well, we don’t want to be out or be with others, and this further depresses our mood and lowers our immune system.

Do I have all the answers for health and wellbeing? No, only Jesus does. But I do have an arsenal of natural remedies and years of experience that give us a good starting point.

If you are at a place where you want to explore how wellbeing supports your experience of joy the drop me a message.

R x

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Essential Oils, Lifestyle, Mental Health, wellness

Travelling during Covid-19

We are just back from a week away in Devon – something we weren’t sure would even happen in the wake of Coronavirus. Although we certainly saw and felt the affects of Covid-19 safety measures, I am pleased to say that we thoroughly enjoyed out time away. Here are our top tips to help keep you and your family safe this summer.

Talk about risks

I have always believed in talking to our children and explaining the risks. You don’t need to go into major detail about Covid-19 symptoms, but it is important to explain why we need to wash hands and stay away from others, especially indoors. Giving children the facts, and some tools such as their own masks and hand sanitiser, can help them feel a little bit more in control and take away the fear of Coronavirus. It is near impossible to expect children to social distance from one another (especially in playgrounds) so also talk about that, and if this makes you or your family anxious, steer clear.

Take it slow

When Covid first hit, I was very fearful and felt extremely anxious when outside the home, leaving my mental health fragile. I feel much more comfortable now, as I have had time to acclimatise, but the chances are our children haven’t. Don’t underestimate the fear and anxiety they may have from conversations they have heard or news programmes they have watched. Talk about how they may be feeling and give them time to acclimatise to being out in the big wide world again. Observe them while you are out and about and be sure to give them opportunity to say if they feel overwhelmed (without being a helicopter parent!).

Travel happy

We wouldn’t travel anywhere without the Fab Five: Thieves, Digize, Peppermint, Purification and Lavender essential oils. We use Thieves daily for immune support in a roller bottle swiped along our feet/spines, and increase our use while travelling and eating alfresco. Our children occasionally suffer with motion sickness so we support their tummies with DiGize on their abdomens and peppermint on their wrists. Finally, we have an outdoor spray made with Peppermint and Purification to keep our legs and arms bite free and Lavender for any owies.

Avoid the masses

This almost goes without saying, but arcades, amusements, restaurants, ice cream and souvenir shops are hot spots for people. If you or your loved ones are already anxious, then being in these places may make you feel very uncomfortable. It is worth researching less touristy beaches and heading off the beaten track to find little hidden gems away from the masses. Save your pennies by packing picnics and buying boxes of ice lollies from the supermarket. Finally, why not get the kiddos to send a video postcard to relatives via WhatsApp and create magnets from uploaded holiday snaps instead of hitting the High Street.

Make it memorable

Face masks will be mandatory in shops across the UK from the 24th July, so why not invest in some cute designs to make masks more fun? Children under 11 are exempt, however don’t discount them wearing one as it may help them feel a bit more protected while out and about. You can also pop a drop of your fave essential oil to help make mask-wearing more bearable. Valor is great for those who feel very anxious or Thieves for immune support on the go.

Happy holidays!

R x

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Faith, Lifestyle

Loving me

Love. Love is a many splendid thing. I can sprinkle love like confetti wherever I go, with a smile, a laugh, a hug or a gift. But loving me? I find that incredibly challenging.

I can give advice to a friend, help her with decisions, encourage her in a new venture and tell her she looks beautiful. But I can then go back home and rip strips off myself. You aren’t good enough. You aren’t strong enough. You aren’t liked enough. You aren’t successful enough. If I heard you talk yourself down like that I would take your face in my hands and plead with you to see your worth, your value, your beauty. But me? Not so much.

Why do I do it? Is it because I am British and ridiculously modest, or it is because on some level, I genuinely think I’m not good enough?

It seems so much easier for us to give love rather than receive.

No one wants to blow their own trumpet, but I think that self-love struggles are down to a lot more than self-deprecating humility. I blame a lot of things. Firstly societies perpetual need for perfection plays a major role. That coupled with celebrities splashed across social media and broken families can leave us in a spin. We are living in a reality TV bubble that is not real life, trying to Keep up with the Kardashians, then wondering why we are floundering. Constant pressure to be, to do, to achieve weighs us down. We either spend our weeks keeping up appearances on Instagram then hiding away at weekends, or we live wildly and extravagantly on Saturday and Sunday, then spend the week eating beans on toast.

We think we need to be seen a certain way, we need to do a certain thing, and then we will have joy, happiness and success. But the truth is that the only way to feel true happiness is to love yourself.

The only way to feel true happiness is to love yourself.

Loving yourself means embracing your idiosyncrasies; the figure on the scales, the wrinkles around your eyes and the moles across your back. It means seeing your insecurities and recognising them as beautiful vulnerabilities. It means learning something from mistakes, rather than dismissing them as failures.

Loving me isn’t easy. But it is a journey I have started and am committed to staying on for the long haul. If I don’t speak kindly to myself, if I don’t look after my body and carry myself with grace, how can I expect my children to do so? I look at my beautiful babies, each wonderfully unique, with awe, excited for their future. But they are already self-criticizing at ages 5 and 9. When I hear them say, ‘I’m so dumb’ or ‘I look stupid’ it breaks my mama heart.

That’s how God sees you. When you say I am too fat, too thin, too old, too young, too thick, too scared, His Father heart breaks. He sees beauty, wonder, creativity, humility, gentleness, kindness, goodness and boldness. I imagine God swooping down, taking my face in His hands and saying, ‘Baby girl, you are everything I created you to be, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. I know every hair on your head and every word on your tongue. I have a purpose and a plan for you.’

When I find loving me too hard, I don’t try, I just let God.

He designed me just as I am, my perceived flaws are His fingerprints, my imperfections His indentations. I am not a failure, and I am not an accident. I am loved by God unconditionally, and you are too.

R x

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Essential Oils, Lifestyle, Parenting

How to cope this Christmas

So the Big Day is just weeks away, but it is not an exciting time for all. Christmas can actually be an incredible stressful and anxious time for many people. Perhaps you feel completely overwhelmed with juggling overexcited kids, Christmas shopping, organising nativity costumes and all the things. Perhaps you were made redundant and this year you simply cannot afford a Christmas like the year before. Perhaps this is the first Christmas since a loved one died or your marriage separated. Perhaps this season marks the anniversary of a child in your care being removed from their family.

There are a whole host of reasons why we can feel anxious and overwhelmed during the festive season, and our emotions are incredibly powerful. So much so, that they actually affect our physical wellbeing. What we say and what we think can be as damaging as a physical injury, and by continuing to brush our feelings under the carpet we are causing more harm than good. If Christmas is a time that you dread, fear or avoid altogether, then maybe it is time to explore why that is with a therapist. In the meantime I would love to share a few tips on how we use essential oils to support emotions over the festive period.

What are essential oils?

Essential Oils can support our emotional health as they effect our emotional state. They can help us to feel more balanced and calm, and their use is referred to as ‘aromatherapy’.

Essential oils are the lifeblood of the plant, compounds which work to repair, restore and regulate the plant, and they can massively benefit us too. Essential oils are ‘volatile’ which means they quickly evaporate and are easy to inhale them either from a bottle, on fabric or on the skin. When inhaled, these minute essential oils molecule travel past our olfactory system, cross the blood/brain barrier (something very few medicines can do) and enter the limbic system of the brain. This is the area of the brain that controls our emotional response.

How do they work?

Smells are so important when it comes to considering emotional health. Our brain uses smells within our memory bank, and certain smells will trigger a response and take you right back to the memory of a time or place in your past. These can be both positive and negative.

Emotions are stored in our cells, and because essential oils are so tiny, they can enter our cells and help us process emotions on a cellular level. There are approximately 40 million trillion molecules in one drop of essential oil, which is approximately 40,000 molecules for each cell in the human body. So a little goes a long way!

Here are my top five essential oils for emotional support this season:

Valor

This is my go to oil when I feeling anxious or overwhelmed. This is a blend of Black Spruce, Blue Tansy, Camphor Wood, Geranium, and Frankincense and smells quite woodsy. I mainly use it topically to help with feelings of strength, courage and security, particularly if I am facing a tough day. It is also great if you are feeling alone or abandoned.

Stress Away

This exotic blend was created to combat normal stresses that creep into everyday life. Stress Away contains Lime, Copaiba, Lavender and Cedarwood and Ocotea essential oils and vanilla essence. We roll this blend on every day before school to uplift our mood and calm the mind, especially before a busy day or school tests. It also helps calm small people in new environments, or those who may be struggling with being away from home.

Bergamot

This is a sweet citrus scent that lifts the mood and helps with feelings of confidence. Bergamot is also widely known to help support those who are grieving or processing loss. I would diffuse this oil with Stress Away or apply topically to my skin with carrier oil.

Orange

We call this sunshine in a bottle and it is one of my all time favourite oils because, like other citrus oils, it is so uplifting.  I pair Orange oil with Joy or Valor for a gorgeous perfume that I can roll on throughout the day.  It is perfect for use on grey days, when you are feeling a bit down or sad, and it also supports your immune system too!

Frankincense

Thank Frank. Not only is this oil already famous because of baby Jesus, it is also incredibly grounding. It is a high frequency oil which supports your whole body physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you are looking for an oil to aid prayer and meditation or something to help the kiddos calm down in the chaos of Christmas, diffuse this with Lavender and Orange.

If you want to know more about essential oils and emotions then check out my video on YouTube or message with your questions. You can order any of these by creating a free account with Young Living. Simply click here!

R x

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Faith

Finding me

All I have ever wanted is to belong. Isn’t that what we all want?

I grew up surrounded by abusive relationships, marriage breakdowns and bitter individuals. I have seen families torn apart by anger that was incited decades ago. I was fought over in the courts. I have never known, nor perhaps ever will know the full story behind the turbulent childhood I had. But what I do know, is that I have always sought to belong, to be accepted, to be approved of.

Thinking I could rectify the past with good works, I have always strived to be good – good at school, good at horse riding, good at art. I was always in the top sets and always pushing myself but this was never enough to gain the love and acceptance that I craved.

I went to university to study, one of the first in my family to do so, and I thought would impress, but it didn’t and I left without graduating.

I felt like a failure. But God.

He didn’t need me to do anything to impress Him or make Him take notice of me. God had watched me all along, He never took His eyes off me. He knew me inside and out, and He was insanely jealous for my affection. When I turned to Him, aged 21, He became the Cornerstone in my life, the anchor for my soul.

But I still strived. It’s all I knew to do.

I thought I could make up for the past by creating the perfect family. I pinned my hopes and dreams on creating the perfect home, the perfect family. I married an incredible man and we begin to build our family, but even so things began to unravel.

Sometimes it’s only when we are on our knees that we remember to look up

I found myself spiralling in anxiety and depression wondering where it had all gone so horribly wrong. I found myself floundering, utterly lost and asking Who am I? What am I here for? Do I need to be a Wife? Mother? Speaker? Writer?

I cried out to God and His reply was simple; You are my daughter.

Ever impatient, I asked, so what am I supposed to do?

His reply; Do what you love.

I sat back reeling, because I didn’t know the answer. What did I love? Jesus, family, friends? No the answer to finding me wasn’t in who I loved but what. And slowly over the last five years God has been peeling me back later by later, to rediscover my loves.

Do what you love ~ Father God

When we bought our first house, God whispered into my heart to get a piano. I found a beautiful vintage one on FreeCycle and arranged to collect it. My husband thought I had gone insane and that it was a fad that I would get bored with, but three years on I still play my piano almost every single day.

Our house is in a busy area and it wasn’t until we lived somewhere so urban that I realised how much I craved the great outdoors. We make an effort to get the children outside the city and into the woods, fields and mountains as often as possible. Both Dave and I grew up in the countryside and we continue to feel such a pull towards a simpler, rural way of life.

And then there is my writing. I have written as long as I can remember. Poetry, stories, songs and later blogs. But only in recent years have I realised the power in sharing my musings. I have always searched for a niche, not feeling that I fit into the usual parent blogger or lifestyle blogger categories. God gave me incredible tools in essential oils to support my emotional and physical health, and lately I have used this platform to share more about my wellness journey with others.

So what have I learned in all this? That God has given me gifts and talents. He has given me hopes and dreams. And He doesn’t need me to ‘be’ anyone or ‘do’ anything. In the same way that I take delight in seeing my children come alive in their giftings, so too does God delight in me. I don’t need a label, or a category. I just need to rest in the knowledge that I am a child of God and do what I love.

I am still finding ‘me’. But there are less layers to peel back and she is starting to peek through.

R x

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