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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Lifestyle, Mental Health, wellness

Why swim in cold water?

Swimming in cold water may not appeal to many, but it could be the key to your physical and mental health this season.

I have always loved the ocean, and will happily swim in any weather, but it wasn’t until recently that I realised the tremendous health benefits it offers. Here I share some of the many reasons why we swim in cold water and why you should too.

It can boost your immune system

When we swim in cold water our body is forced to react to the changing condition and it fires up our sympathetic nervous system to protect us. This voluntary action can, when repeated over time, help our body to activate its defences faster.

It can improve circulation

When we swim in cold water our heart has to work harder to force the blood to our extremities to keep us moving and keep us warm. As it does this, it flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries and aids the lymphatic system in expelling toxins from our body.

It can reduce inflammation

Swimming has long be known as a superb low impact exercise for our joints, but cold water swimming can go one step further. As adrenaline and endorphins are released, this can soothe or even stop joint pain and reduce inflammation over time.

It can support and sustain mental health

Cold water swimming is by no means a cure for any condition, however our body released endorphins when in the water which gives us a natural high. This study in the British Medical Journal on a 24-year-old woman shows its effects. She had been treated for symptoms of a major depressive disorder and anxiety since the age of 17, but wanted to live medication and symptom free after the birth of her daughter. She began open water swimming each week and this led to an immediate improvement in mood following each swim and gradual reduction in symptoms of depression. A year later she was medication free.

How to swim safe

Cold water swimming is a euphoric experience, but it can be dangerous too. These are some important safety tips from the Outdoor Swimming Society:

  • Never swim alone
  • Never go out of your depth
  • Keep immersions brief – a few minutes is all you need
  • Warm up when you get out with layers, hats, gloves and a warm drink
  • Have something to eat to rasie your blood sugar
  • Walk around to raise your body temperature
  • Never have a hot shower straight after as the sudden change in blood flow can cause you to pass out.

As with any exercise, cold water immersion affects your blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation, which means it can cause serious cardiac stress. If you have a heart condition or any underlying health condition, please discuss the risks with your doctor first.

Join a cold water swim

Each month Mental Health Swims hosts cold water swim meets up and down the country. I host one here in Aberavon, Port Talbot and you would be so welcome to join us! Details can be found here. Alternatively, check out the Outdoor Swimming Society for other meets.

Happy swimming!

R x

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Lifestyle, wellness

Love Your Body

Did you have a health kick in January? Are you still going now? If so good for you! If not, read on. As part of the Love Series we are running for the month of February, we will be focussing in on different areas of health and wellness. So lets find out how to love your body from the inside out.

You are what you eat

Hippocrates said that all health starts in the gut, and any reputable trainer will tell you that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. With that in mind, surely we need to focus first on helping our gut to be healthy. You would like to think that eating healthily would be enough to help support a healthy digestive system but think again. Today’s food doesn’t have the same nutrient content that it did 10 years ago. This is due to imported foods that are sprayed with pesticides, picked before they are ripe, and heavily processed.

Our food quality is affected by pesticides, premature picking and processing

If our food isn’t up to standard, what can we do? We can supplement our diet. Not all supplements are created equal, however. The high street is awash with multivitamins, mineral and supplements of all kinds, but the majority of these are impure and packed with fillers that have no benefit.

If you want to supplement your diet, don’t do it with adulterated, filler packed supplements. They have little or no impact on your health as the body cannot utilise the elements within the product, and you will simply excrete it out.

For more information on nutrition and supplements email me at chasingwavesandwellness@gmail.com .

R x

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Essential Oils, Lifestyle, Parenting

Back to School

First week into the new term and my emotions have been all over the place! The highs of the holidays followed by nervous excitement in the days leading up to the first day back all take their toll. Not to mention the fact that my middle son decided that the first day of Year 1 would be a great time to lose his second tooth. I was a hot mess.

I have a love-hate relationship with school. On one hand it is a place where I have seen my children thrive. They have learned new skills, made incredible friends (not to mention linked me to some pretty awesome mom friends!) and have grown in stature and confidence. However, I struggle with the fact that my kiddos spend over six hours of their day, five days a week, with people who I barely know. Their characters and their personalities are being influenced by people who undoubtedly have very different lives, loves and beliefs to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I trust our teachers implicitly. The school that my children attend is excellent, the staff are kind and caring, having benefited from strong leadership and ethos. But sometimes I struggle with the fact that after a summer of freedom and learning through play, I am sending my small children into a classroom to sit still for a good portion of their day. I worry that someone may be mean to them or that they may end up playing alone. I worry that they might find the work too difficult, that they may feel overwhelmed or out of their depth. I worry that they may not be noticed or that they may be sad, or that they may simply be missing me.

Short of homeschooling, (which is something I have seriously considered, and decided that, for now at least, this isn’t an option for me) there is very little I can do to control or influence what happens in the classroom. But I can control what happens in the home.

You will know that essential oils play a massive part in our every day lives, and the children are no exception. We use them to support us physically and emotionally. I want to share with your our every day oily routine to help get the term off to a great start, for both me as a mama and for the children at school.

First and foremost we start every day by diffusing citrus oils. Citrus essential oils are true multitasking oils. They lift the mood and give you a natural pick-me-up, whilst calming the mind and boosting the immune system, making them a perfect way to start the day. We usually diffuse 2 drops each of grapefruit, orange and lemon essential oil which smell divine and make us feel soo good.

Next up we all have a swipe of our Immune Roller before getting dressed for the day. This roller includes Thieves, Frankincense and Lemon essential oil, all epic oils for supporting the immune system and helping the body during cold and flu seasons. Going back to school with lots of new children can be overwhelming for little bodies. Throw in the emotions of starting a new school/class and being away from home can make them very susceptible to coughs and colds. We use this roller day in, day out, but when it is back to school we go twice a day to keep all the bases covered.

Before we leave I use my Calm Roller Blend on the boys. It contains Vetiver, Lavender + Cedarwood essential oils which promote calm, focus and concentration. If they are particularly anxious we reach for Valor or Stress Away to help us feel cool and courageous. Meanwhile I am also rolling on Stress Away for the school run dash!

On pick up in the afternoon, the first thing we do is use our Thieves Hand Purifier. My kiddos have been touching who knows what and I want to make sure their hands are clean before giving them an after school treat. Then its back home where I am diffusing Stress Away and Peppermint. Stress Away helps them calm down after a busy day and Peppermint is amazing for focus and concentration while we wrap up any homework.

Finally, we will get everyone bathed and top up the bedroom diffusers. For the first week back we use Thieves and Orange or Thieves and Frankincense to keep that immune system boosted while they sleep. Ordinarily we go for sleepy vibe blends such as Peace & Calming or Lavender + Cedarwood. As they climb into bed we do another swipe of the Immune Roller on the soles of their feet before bedtime prayers.

And that my friends is how we use essential oils to go back to school! These natural, non-toxic products pack a punch and we wouldn’t be without them. If you have never used essential oils before and want to know how to get hold of some to support your family please drop me a line by clicking the join our team tab or follow this link as I would love to hook you up!

Have a blessed week Little Oilers

R x

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