https://scentedbalance.com/aromatherapy » November 2017

Month: November 2017

What Is Self Care?

what is self care, self care, self care activities, why is self care important, self care ideas, take careDo you ever really ask yourself what is self care? You hear a lot about it and also a lot of “oh pulleeze” right behind it.

It sounds fluffy and selfish to talk about self care, but please hear me out.

You can’t give someone a drink from an empty cup.

How many times have you felt bone-weary? Is there a sense of fatigue so deep that sleep doesn’t help? Maybe you’re stressing over a work project that’s not going well, a child that is acting out more than normal, or you’re a caregiver for both children and parents.

You’re stretched thin. And now we’re in the midst of the busy holiday season which adds even more stress. Something’s got to give and so you give up exercising, an hour of sleep at night or skip your lunch altogether.

As selfish and extravagant as it sounds, neglecting your own well-being is the worst thing that you can do. Can you fill your cup from an empty well?

Why Is Self Care Important?

We’ve all heard the saying about burning the candle at both ends and yet this is ingrained into our lifestyles. We pack our schedules like crazy and then fall into bed exhausted at night only to get up and do it all over again the next day.

Simply put, self care is fundamental to your well-being from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. When you keep going (because you think you HAVE to or the world will spin off its’ axis), you don’t focus as well, your energy lags and your skills may suffer – you’re just not on your “A” game.

Eventually, you reach the point where your well has run dry and that’s when you get sick. Dealing with a nasty cold or even worse – the flu? How much rest do you get? What’s your stress level like? Are you running on empty?

Sitting in front of the television watching all the cable news doesn’t count as rest or relaxationit actually stresses your system more. Think I’m kidding? Watching a steady diet of the latest outrageous news on television or social media tends to make you feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. 

Mary McNaughton-Cassill is a professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio and a leading researcher on the connection between media consumption and stress. She says:

“In addition to a burgeoning sense of helplessness, she said, cognitive shortcuts triggered by the news can also lead us to gradually see the world as a darker and darker place, chipping away at certain optimistic tendencies. “

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying to unplug and be a Pollyanna – not by a long shot. What I am saying is that a steady diet of the worst the world has to offer really adds to your stress and who needs that?

What Is Self Care?

The University at Buffalo teaches the students in the School of Social Work that self care is their personal responsibility. They plainly explain that self care is a survival skill and why: Self Care, Take Care Of Yourself,

“Self-care is an essential social work survival skill. Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for your effectiveness and success in honoring your professional and personal commitments.”

So, the first thing I hear from clients about self care is “I don’t have time!” Actually, you do have time. You’re simply not making self care a priority. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it’s your priorities that determine how you spend it.

Don’t get me wrong – I know you have 3 kids, a full-time job, laundry, meals and homework. I’m well aware of that. What happens when you are sick in bed for three or four days from the flu?

By making your own well-being a priority, you’ll be stronger and less stressed in the long run. You can’t be effective as a parent or employee if you don’t take care of you!

Self care isn’t something you can do once in a great while. Practicing self care on a daily basis reaps major rewards! The easiest and best way is to practice small little habits every single day.

Self Care Ideas

Here are some ideas for self care that you can do anytime and anywhere in a short amount of time.

    • Take a few seconds several times a day to breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    • Stand up and stretch. If your co-workers look at you funny, why not ask them to join you? Stretch your arms, legs and back every couple of hours.
    • Ask for help. You can’t do everything alone (just ask me how I know this one). When you ask for help, you give someone an opportunity to give back which is good for their self care! self care
    • Laugh. Read a comic strip, listen to a comedian (I love Jeff Dunham for just this reason) or anything that will make you laugh. Laughing releases the feel-good endorphins which make you feel less stressed!
    • UNPLUG. No really. Unplug from everything for one hour every single day. I actually unplug nearly every Sunday when I’m not at a market or festival.
    • Walk up and down the stairs three times. This little bit of exercise is surprisingly effective!
    • Take a break when you need one. Pushing through without a moment to rest is very hard on your adrenal and immune systems.
    • Replace one sugared beverage every day with a bottle or glass of water. I didn’t say give up your soda, I said replace just one with a bottle of water.
    • Learn to say no. If you find yourself overscheduled and pushed to the point of resentment, saying no will give you back your power. If you’re not sure you can do this, let’s talk. As a holistic life coach, I can show you how to set healthy boundaries.
    • Aromatherapy does wonders for your body, mind and spirit through the use of essential oils. Take a big whiff several times a day of any essential oil that is uplifting to you such as peppermint, lemon or sweet orange.

Oh – and one more thing: every morning before you do anything, drink 6 ounces of room temperature water and squeeze half a lemon into it. Your liver will LOVE you!

If you need a bit of extra help especially through the holidays, use Stress Support Aromatherapy Roller Ball. Apply it to your adrenal glands that sit on top of each kidney 3 or 4 times a day as a tonic for your system. Aromatherapy is an amazing tool to help yourself stay – or get – healthy.

A huge part of self care is setting healthy boundaries. Remember – no is a complete sentence. And if you need help with this area of your life, I can help.

As a certified aromatherapist and holistic life coach, I’m here to help you, support you and show you how to make self care a priority. Fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today.

Blessings,

Melissa

On Thanksgiving, Gratitude and Stress

on thanksgiving gratitude and stress, gratitude, stress management during the holidays, gratitude list

In the United States, Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. What was once a day of gratitude and counting blessings has simply become the day before Black Friday. What used to be a day of relaxing and enjoying good food, good friends and family has for many become a horror story full of stress and anxiety.

Many families are now blended and with that blending comes new faces, different traditions, traveling and learning to cope with change while trying to make dinner look like a Good Housekeeping photograph. Not easy, eh?

Ah, but as Oscar Wilde said: “After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

My client book is full most of the time (I’m VERY grateful for you!) but especially beginning in November. I can literally feel the tension coming through the phone from some clients. Here’s a sampling – with permission – of the comments I hear:

“My sister insists on having EVERYTHING her way – right down to the toothpicks!

“Uncle Ned and my father rehash the SAME argument every single year.”

“AUGH! I just can’t sit there and listen to politics over dinner anymore – this is my holiday, too!”

“Why bother fixing a nice dinner? Everybody has their nose in their phone or the football game. Sigh…”

How do you handle all of these diverse personalities at one small table? It’s all about stress management during the holidays which is never easy, but it’s not impossible.

Diffusing the Stress During Thanksgiving Dinner

One Thanksgiving, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a condo at the beach where none of us were family. The hostess shooed all of us out for the afternoon so she could prepare dinner – that’s her forte – so the rest of us went outside.

Before we had dinner, our hostess asked each of us to name one thing in the past year that we felt grateful for. It set a wonderful mood and the rest of dinner – TV off – was spent sharing the events with each other that we were thankful for.

That was one of my favorite Thanksgiving holidays ever.

So, if holiday dinners cause the inevitable stress, what can you do differently?

In the face of a pending Thanksgiving dinner argument, a well placed inane question about seeing a movie after dinner and what movie it will be may be just enough to head off the next family explosion.

What if the explosion is inevitable? Make different plans next year. Just because you’ve always celebrated the holiday in a certain tradition doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it.

I come from a large extended family and as a child, we were expected to attend the traditional holiday gatherings. Inevitably, my uncles and aunts got into a fight about something. (Back in the day, a woman’s opinion about anything at all was discounted which made the situation even more volatile.)

These gatherings went on for years until my mother decided she’d had enough. We began visiting some of her friends on different holidays and it was much less stressful. I honestly don’t know what kind of backlash she faced for not attending these family gatherings, but she was in a much better mood before, during and after each holiday.

How about seating Uncle Ned at the kids table? Or for that matter, why don’t YOU sit at the kids table? I’ve learned to ask children open-ended questions and engage them in a conversation. I’m telling you, the kids table is far more entertaining than Uncle Ned and Dad going at it. At the very least, seat them at opposite ends of the table.

When the adults get too annoying, spending time with the kids outside can give your perspective a swift kick in the pants.

One year at my son’s home, one couple brought their 9 year old granddaughter. She’s a great kid and sitting inside on a beautiful day can get very boring for a child. I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk and move around and the look on her face was priceless! We had a very nice walk and asking her about things that she liked to do for fun turned into a delightful conversation.

By the way, be prepared to have your eyes opened when talking with kids. Absolutely nothing is the same as it used to be and they know w-a-a-a-y more then we did at the same age. Just sayin…

Can you set a time limit on turning off the television during dinner? Thirty minutes to enjoy food is not that long and in the grand scheme of all the football being aired on Thanksgiving, they’re not missing much.

Same thing goes for cell phones. Have everyone put their phone face down in the middle of the table. The first one who checks their phone during dinner does ALL the dishes (alone) or you can threaten to leave the television OFF for the rest of the evening. If nothing else, it makes them think twice – slows ’em down if you will.

Ways to Show Gratitude at Thanksgiving and Beyond

Not everyone is a positive optimist who sees the glass half full. If you are, kudos to you – I want to sit next to you and absorb your joy and optimism. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. Trust me when I say we put the “fun” in dysfunctional!

Feeling grateful throughout the year has been a life-long lesson for me. Feeling Grateful, Gratitude, Thanksgiving Stress

Here’s what PyschCentral.com says about learning true gratitude:

  • Be mindful of your self-talk. You can’t be a positive person and beat the everlivin’ snot out of yourself. This has been my biggest challenge as I can truthfully say one thing: you can’t mentally beat me up any worse than I can. Once I realized how badly I spoke to myself, I began to change my language toward myself. Yes, this is a daily struggle to change a lifelong habit, but it makes a huge difference.
  • Acknowledge yourself. “Most published books include a page or two of acknowledgments, where the author cites all the persons who helped shepherd her book to production. It’s like the Oscar moment, when the actor is up on stage and is rattling off every name he can think of and hopes to God he didn’t forget anyone–especially his spouse. The truth is that most people, and especially those who suffer from low self-esteem, do forget a very important figure: themselves. Which is why I think a healthy activity is to write a page of acknowledgements to yourself.”
  • Keep track of your gratitude. Easier said than done. Taking time to write in a journal every day is a major chore for me. You may absolutely love it, but it’s another should/need/supposed to situation that simply causes more stress. If you enjoy journaling, then by all means include 5 things every day that you’re grateful for. If journaling is NOT for you, get a great big jar or vase and keep some small note paper and a pen next to it. Every day write down one thing that you’re grateful for. This doesn’t make it so much a chore but an exercise that stretches your mind.
  • Spend five minutes meditating. AACK – I didn’t say twenty minutes! If you can’t sit quietly for five minutes, can you meditate for one minute? This is another area where my monkey mind goes haywire. I’ve learned to sit quietly for three minutes and simply focus on deep breathing which has amazing benefits for your whole body, mind and spirit.
  • Get some extra sleep! Seriously, being sleep-deprived simply makes you cranky. When you’re cranky, your buttons or “triggers” get pushed a lot quicker. Does every single detail have to be picture-perfect? Not in my book. If I don’t get everything dusted perfectly, so what? Let some things go in order to get enough sleep. You and your family will be glad you did. (Need to criticize my housekeeping? Sparky, get a dust rag while you’re at it. Capiche?)

Holidays in and of themselves are immensely stressful because we get this idea in our heads of how they “should be” instead of how they really are. When it comes to the holidays, what I want and what actually happens are always two different things.

It’s okay. Really. Give yourself permission to let the holidays flow and let go of expectations.

Remember, the holidays are supposed to have an element of fun in them. They aren’t supposed to be stressful and serious and head-busting. Taking a few moments for “monkey business” of some sort can take an immense load off of you.

If you need some extra help to manage your stress during the holidays, please get Peaceful Ease Aromatherapy Roller Ball. It’s made with beautiful pure essential oils to help you manage anxiety and depression as well as the short-term stress that happens during the holiday season.

For long term stress, get Stress Support Aromatherapy Roller Ball. It’s meant to be a tonic when you endure chronic stress.

I am so very grateful for each of you! You share your heart and soul with me and allow me to share amazing tools to help you live a fulfilling life. If you need some extra help managing your holiday stress, please contact me and let’s talk today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Blessings,

Melissa

 

 

 

How Does Reiki Work?

Reiki, Reiki Healing, Reiki Practitioner, Reiki Session, Reiki Work, AttunementOne of my goals for Scented Balance is to offer simple and effective tools to help you guard your health and take charge of your overall wellbeing. This week, in looking for alternative ways to stay healthy (especially since I’m uninsured), I explore the question: How does Reiki work?

I continually seek ways to protect and enhance my health without taking yet another pill. I’ve heard so many good things about Reiki over the last few years, but I don’t really understand it as it pertains to health care.

Today, my guest is Tressa Krenzer, a Reiki practitioner in Clemmons, NC and she provides insight and answers into just how amazing Reiki can be for your body, mind and spirit.

Reiki, Divine Intervention and Finding My Way Home: by Tressa Krenzer

Why did I become a Reiki practitioner 8 years ago? For me it came down to the desire I had to help people.

I had been helped so many times, up to that point, that I felt like a cat on my 6th or 7th life. I really wanted to return some of that kindness somehow, although I had no clue on how to do that.

At that juncture in my life I was looking for a way back to myself. I even started practicing yoga around that time. I was still very lost and my priorities were backward. I lived to work and spent way too much energy trying to prove myself and in the process climbed over others to rise above.

I am really not sure what provoked me to look to Reiki and the offering of training with Spiritual Care at the hospital I worked for in Syracuse.

I truly believe it was divine intervention. I was attuned to my first level in 2009 with a small group of individuals. I still remember that feeling of the gates of my crown chakra being expanded and filled with light as Reiki was downloaded into my being.

With the traditional training of Usui Reiki there are three levels of attunement. An attunement is exactly what it sounds like, you are tuned into the spiritual/God/higher-power (Rei) frequency of life force energy (ki). Once I was attuned I was able help myself and others. That is one of the really cool aspects of Reiki, when you are working with a client, that healing is also benefiting you.

Self-Reiki is a recommended maintenance tool for practitioners as your body and mind begins to re-align with each level. My sensitivities increased astronomically after my Reiki II attunement so I had to find ways to protect myself from being bombarded by the energies of those around me.  

How Reiki Healing Works

Reiki isn’t directed; once it is invoked, it flows and goes where it’s needed. For example, a client might come in for an issue with their knee, but in reality they might have just started a new job or are in the process of moving. The real issue, which they are probably not aware of, might be they are feeling ungrounded; therefore the energy could be directed by spirit to their 1st or 2nd chakra.

For the first time in my life, I could help folks and not be in charge! When I worked at the hospital I was on call with the Spiritual Care Department to offer Reiki to patients who requested it. At first I was very nervous that I would “do it” wrong. I can tell you one thing, Reiki cannot be done incorrectly because I was never driving the bus, which was probably a really good thing at the time.

I like how one of my instructors described the Reiki process:

“You are just the toaster, if you are not plugged in…no toast, just bread”.  

I remember one lady in particular that I worked with who was very close to her final journey in this life. I recall that she was so grateful to just spend some time with me and talk about her rose garden as I shared Reiki with her. She described her garden in such vivid detail that I could smell the fragrant blooms, see the brilliant colors and sense the joy that they brought to her life. She had a recording of blue bird song in her room, which added to the imagery and I think we were both transported to that time in her life. I believe she was open to the experience of Reiki at that moment because she was so close to her creator. Sometimes, I wonder if I got a glimpse of heaven through her eyes.

Then some weeks passed and I received a request to work with a woman who was very angry and agitated with the care she was receiving at the hospital. I really had a sense that she was hurt and scared because she had been just left there by her family. They never visited or inquired about her and she was really lonely. From the moment I cradled her head in my hands she instantly began to relax. I remember getting an image of dominoes falling one by one through her body as each muscle began to surrender to ease. After my Reiki session was completed she was sleeping with a big smile on her face, snoring like a boss! These experiences firmed it up for me: somehow this is what I wanted to do in my life.

How Reiki Helped Through My Own Tough Time

Just 2 years later I completed my third level/Master Reiki training and lost my job, all in the fall of 2011. I am so grateful that I had started my Reiki journey before this loss happened, otherwise I would have completely lost my mind. I was furious that I worked so hard at my job, spent countless weekends working, earned my degree and performed numerous other amazing feats of self-perceived awesomeness and I was still being thrown out with yesterday’s newspaper.

At that time, losing my job seemed to be a complete injustice, but was it? I know now that I was meant to leave that position and that city. I had hit a ceiling and I didn’t even know it. I was in a toxic relationship with what I thought I was and I was attached to it with super glue. Spirit had another purpose for me and I had to let that part of my life die away so I could be reborn and flourish.

That has happened here in North Carolina, my true home. Currently I have such a robust network of kindred souls in my life that it feels like my vibration is always humming. I spent 41 years in Central New York and never came close to finding my tribe.

Some days the gratitude I experience is overwhelming and there are tears of joy. I am still working in the corporate world but I have learned to leave work at the office. I am grateful for this full time job as it helps me prepare for my full transition into the work of my heart’s desire, yoga and Reiki.

I am starting to find my way and only fall off my path every so often when I start believing all the stuff that floats around in my head. Fortunately I have many tools to help me re-center and re-balance. If I can’t do it myself, I reach out to my network and ask for help.

Community is so important especially as you get older. I cannot stress that enough. My husband and I don’t have children and my family is still in New York so I really need my tribe. I believe loneliness can be fatal for some.

My business is Lovingkindness Reiki & Yoga and my studio is in the lower half of my home. I can also be reached through my Facebook page of the same name.  This space is dedicated to providing a comforting container of healing light and love for all who visit.

My mission is to continue to learn and grow. I am currently in Yoga Therapy Training with East Coast Yoga Therapy. I do offer Reiki sessions in the evenings and on weekends.

All blessings to each and every one of you for allowing me to be part of your journey.

Namaste.

Tressa, thank you for sharing about the benefits of Reiki. Please do contact Tressa to explore more about how she can help you get and stay healthy – especially if you’re uninsured. I love reading the “why” of someone’s calling especially since Reiki is not considered “mainstream” yet. I’m so grateful to Tressa for sharing her “why”!

As always, I’m so grateful you stopped by. Aromatherapy and holistic life coaching go hand in hand with Reiki. Start your journey today by filling out this contact form. Do it today!

Blessings,

Melissa

Essential Oils To Boost Your Immune System

white blood cells, Stress and Your Immune System, Essential Oils To Boost Your Immune System, how to boost your immune system, immunity boosting foods ,

Winter is sneaking up faster and faster and today, I’d like to show you how to use essential oils to boost your immune system. With all the germs flying around during the late fall and winter months, along with using essential oils, there’s several simple ways you can avoid colds and the flu.

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, make up approximately 1% of your blood but they are warriors! Leukocytes are your first line of defense against illness and disease and when your immune system is perking along nicely; you’re able to fight off much of the bacteria and viruses that you’re exposed to.

The University of Rochester Medical Center has a great explanation of how your white blood cells protect you:

Think of white blood cells as your immunity cells. In a sense, they are continually at war. They flow through your bloodstream to battle viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten your health. When your body is in distress and a particular area is under attack, white blood cells rush in to help destroy the harmful substance and prevent illness.

Each time you are exposed to a virus or bacteria or even when you cut yourself, your white blood cells rush to fend off the invaders and help you stay healthy. The cool part? They have a memory and the next time you are exposed to something they’ve already fought off, they’re even better at it because they “remember” what to do from the last time.

Cool, huh?

Staying Healthy During The Holidays

Everyone knows that with the holidays comes stress, junk food and an ever expanding to-do list. Here’s how to boost your immune system simply and effectively during the holidays:

  • Eat good clean food – stay away from the junk food as much as possible
  • Sleep – I know it’s a busy time, but sleep helps maintain your health
  • Hydrate – I want that extra glass of wine too, but get lots of pure water.
  • Exercise – if nothing else, move your body for 10 minutes by stretching
  • Say no thank you – you can’t be everywhere and sometimes saying no is the healthiest option

Even if your schedule is full of parties, there are a surprising number of ways to eat immunity boosting foods and still indulge. Healthline.com has a list of 15 foods that are excellent to boost your immune system and here are just a few:

  • Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and clementines
  • Red bell peppers – they have twice as much Vitamin C as citrus fruits
  • Broccoli – raw is best, but steamed is good, too
  • Garlic – helps fight off infections
  • Chicken (or turkey), especially chicken noodle soup
  • Almonds – full of Vitamin E which is important for a healthy immune system

Many of the holiday party trays have red bell peppers and broccoli that make it easy to eat immunity boosting foods. If you’re asked to bring something to a party, why not be a hero and bring a healthy snack instead of sweets? I know we all want the fudge and rum balls, but overindulging has its’ price. Here’s a simple recipe with some of the ingredients listed above for a unique and tasty salad:

Fast Chicken and Broccoli Salad

  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or goat cheese if you prefer)
  • Juice of one fresh lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil + one extra tablespoon
  • Salad Greens of your choice

Chop up the broccoli and red bell pepper into bite sized pieces and set aside. Saute the chicken breasts in the olive oil until cooked; let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop up the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Combine broccoli, bell pepper, minced garlic, chicken, slivered almonds, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and the extra tablespoon of olive oil (or a bit more to taste) into a large bowl and toss well; add chopped greens and toss again. Serve cold. You can always substitute your favorite salad dressing instead of the extra olive oil. You can also add other things like tomatoes, red onions and chopped raw cauliflower if you want even more taste.

This makes a big colorful bowl of salad to take to holiday parties and dinners!

How To Use Essential Oils To Boost Your Immune System How Can I Use Essential Oils?

Aromatherapy is a simple and effective way use essential oils to boost your immune system. Here is the blend I make for boosting your immune system:

Immune System Tonic

Combine all ingredients into a 2 ounce glass bottle with a pump dispenser. Shake well before each use and apply to your neck, throat and chest 3 or 4 times daily. If you want me to make this for you, simply go to the Scented Balance website to purchase it using the Custom Aromatherapy Oil Blend link for $19.95 plus tax and shipping. Simply mention in the notes that you want the Immune System Tonic and I’ll take it from there!

I created a Facebook Live video about your immune system and how you can stay healthy during the holidays and you can see it here. By the way – Facebook rewards business pages each time you watch and share a video, so please do watch and share! You’ll help a whole lot of your friends stay healthier this holiday season and I can always use the Facebook brownie points!

What else can you do to stay healthy this winter? Wash your hands with plain soap and warm water. Don’t use the antibacterial stuff – you’re killing off the good “germs” along with the bad ones and it makes you more susceptible to sickness. Do your best to keep your hands away from your face – especially your eyes. I wrote a post earlier this year about staving off colds and flu – it’s still good information!

Stress and Your Immune System

I can tell you from experience that stress wreaks havoc on your immune system. Constant stress wears you down and it’s ever present during the holiday season. I managed to completely burn out my adrenal system two different times and yes, I’ve learned my lesson about stress! I lived with chronic stress for way too many years and it’s hard on your whole body.

WebMD.com has some suggestions for managing your stress:

  • Get enough sleep – yes this is the second time I’ve mentioned this – it’s that important!
  • Learn and use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation daily
  • Exercise – even if it’s only for a few minutes, your body is meant to move
  • Take time for yourself to decompress
  • Build your support network to keep in touch when you’re stressed
  • During times of high stress, consider counseling. I’m a holistic life coach and I can help you!
  • Get more magnesium oil in your diet by supplementation or applying directly to your skin.

I know a lot of this information seems like something we should already know, but it’s good to be reminded every once in a while to take care of yourself first – all through the year – but especially around the holidays.

Please let me know how I can help you – I’m grateful for you and happy to be your aromatherapist and holistic life coach! Fill out this contact form and let me know how I can help you today!

Blessings,

Melissa