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5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Set New Goals

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In my last blog post, I wrote about how I was giving myself permission to set fluid goals this year instead of making resolutions that tend to bomb before the middle of January. I’m sticking with that permission, but what if you’re one of those who needs a plan? Awesome! Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you set new goals for the coming months.

When you think about 2017, what is the first thought that comes to mind?

 

Is your first thought uplifting or a real downer? Or is it no big deal – simply meh? This question gives you insight into the big picture of 2017 from either a personal or professional standpoint – or both. What does your word focus on? Don’t filter this word – let it flow and you’ll see exactly what happened last year. By investigating why this word came up, you know where to start with your plan for the coming year. 

Did your word relate to family, friends or work life? What wore heavy on your mind? What can you do differently to make improvements?

If your word describing last year is not as positive as you had hoped, then digging deep can help you see what didn’t work – and let go of it. Letting go of something that isn’t working can be downright intimidating. However, letting go of what isn’t working makes space for something new that gives you an entirely new perspective on the situation.

 

Which of your accomplishments stands out the most to you?

 

This is especially important to ask yourself as it says you did indeed accomplish much more than you give yourself credit for. This question is best asked and answered with a trusted friend. So many times, we don’t think we’ve accomplished much at all in the past year when in reality, we’ve done a lot.

I am my own case in point. Last year felt frustrating to me as I didn’t see the progress I thought I would. A glass of wine and a good friend to point out a few things made my year a whole lot better.

Make sure to count the times you said NO when you really didn’t want to do something and you were being pressured to say yes. Remember to count the times when you took good care of yourself because you can’t give someone a drink from an empty cup. Please count all the times you kept your mouth shut and picked yoru battles wisely. 

All those times you really wanted to stay in bed but you got up and exercised anyway? That’s huge!

Life would be so much easier if we could just give ourselves the attaboys that we give to our best friend.

What lesson or frustration kept surfacing?

 

When we’re not paying attention to the lessons we’re supposed to learn, the message keeps coming at us but it gets stronger every single time.

How are your finances – are they in order or do you resort to retail therapy on a regular basis? That co-worker of yours that is ridiculously annoying – there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Keep missing deadlines? What does that tell you?

Perpetually running late? This is frustrating for those left constantly waiting. We all run late once in a while – everyone does. When you consistently run late more than 15 minutes and more than twice a week, there’s something deeper going on that you need to address. Constantly running late has more to do with a measure of self-worth and control more so than laziness. There’s a passive-aggressive tendency in there, too. 

Michael F. Formica, MS, MA, EdM in writing for Psychology Today says this about being late:

The chronically tardy, in large measure, have a perception that others do not feel them to be important, so they operate in a way so as to impose themselves on a situation – exerting control to feel in control – while in reality they are silently validating their own sense of unworthiness, whether consciously or unconsciously.

I bring up running late as a frustration (or lesson) that keeps showing up as this is a very common irritation that causes more fights than I care to mention. Years ago, I had an elderly aunt that could not show up on time for anything if her life depended on it. She was invited to Thanksgiving and was pointedly told several times that dinner would be served promptly at 2 PM. When she arrived at 2:30 and everyone was already eating, she was shocked! She and my mother had words over that one.
 
 
 
And that brings up another important point. My aunt and her opinions were regularly “dismissed” as unimportant by many family members. By imposing herself – always showing up late – she made sure that these family members paid attention to her – it made her feel important.

What personal strengths did you rely on this past year?

 
I ask this question because we often downplay our strengths to ourselves. How many times have you been told to keep educating yourself so that you are a well-rounded person? Okay – to an extent, this is good advice. It is good to be well-rounded as it opens you up to different perspectives. Besides, who wants to be a one trick pony?
 
 
Knowing your unique strengths (and opposing weaknesses) allows you to let go of the need to be good at everything. It also allows you the opportunity to really know who you are and accept yourself – strengths, weaknesses, warts and all. Once you know your own personal strengths and weaknesses, you can turn that into a passion to feed your soul instead of simply wandering aimlessly through life.

 

How well did you communicate in your most important relationships?

 
Your most important relationship could be with yourself, your spouse, child, boss or anyone who is significant in your life. Why? Because good communication is the key to healthy boundaries, for expressing what you need and enjoying deeper connections with those important people (including yourself).
 
If you’re struggling to express your desires and needs, then your life may not be as satisfying as it could be. I’m guessing life can even be frustrating at times because you can’t get your point across or your needs met. I’m a firm believer that speaking your truth (in the kindest way, mind you) always brings the right people into your life. Yes, it may well get rid of a few, too, but isn’t that the way it should be?
 
A good communicator can solve problems quicker, build trust and respect easier as well as establish an environment where creativity can thrive. If you don’t believe good communication skills are important, simply look at Capitol Hill. Seriously.

 

Set New Goals By Answering These Questions

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you have a good indication of what makes you tick. Why is that important? Knowing all these answers allows you to set smart goals and put a plan in motion that feeds your soul – when you’re lit up by your plans, you’re motivated to stay the course through the tough times.
 

Write your goals down in black and white. Keeping a list of goals where you can see them daily is an excellent way to stay on track and keep up your motivation. You don’t necessarily have to share your goals, but simply keep them close – and remember, your goals can change! If something isn’t working the way you expected or you absolutely hate the goal, stop. That’s what I mean by fluid goals. Now – with that said – don’t be a quitter. Every action plan has less-than-lovely tasks to reach your goal. Keep the prize in mind!

 

Aromatherapy school was really overwhelming at times. I felt stupid and frustrated because I’ve never had chemistry (no, really, I didn’t!) and I felt like I was behind before I ever got started. Some days, my goal seemed out of reach.
Aromatherapy and holistic life coaching both play to my greatest strength – that of compassion. I absolutely love helping people see their beautiful aha moment in a loving and supportive atmosphere. So when the learning became overwhelming, I kept the end – and the passion – in my view to keep me going.
 
 
How can I help you with your personal goals this year? Let your light shine brighter than ever in 2018! Fill out this contact form and let’s talk about your goals and an action plan to reach them – today.
While you’re at it, please click one of the social media buttons below and share this with someone who can use a boost.
 
Blessings,
 
Melissa
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Magic, Dreams and Good Madness

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

― Neil Gaiman

new years resolutions, Magic and Dreams, dreams and good madness, change your habits, hope quotes, new year quotes,

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Magic, dreams and good madness. It’s a new year and many of us are busy setting harsh and idealistic resolutions for the next 12 months to somehow better ourselves with as little pain as possible.

Many times, I believe we’re setting ourselves up for guilt, shame and a whole box full of shoulds/needs/supposedtos. We make these unrealistic New Years Resolutions that are usually shot down by the third week in January.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Because we see new years resolutions as difficult and as a punishment for living our lives. AACK!

This time last year, I had my shiny life and business planners all filled out. What do I want to accomplish in the new year? Is there something that I no longer want to do – what is that? How do I want to feel in the coming year? Who do I want to help? How many goals can I cram into each day? 

Um…these are all awesome questions we should ask ourselves every once in a while because everyone could use a good dose of soul-searching. I think we’d all be kinder and more satisfied as human beings if we aimed to listen to our heart and set fluid goals versus harsh resolutions.

I absolutely knew that every resolution would be fulfilled if I just worked myself into complete exhaustion making everything happen.

Here’s where I stop on a dime. By making a list of resolutions that is longer than a tree is tall, we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure. And then we feel like we’ve screwed up the whole year and it isn’t even February yet.

So why bother?

This year, I’m changing my mindset to do things differently.

Leaving Room for Magic, Dreams and Good Madness

This year, I believe I will give myself permission NOT to make any resolutions, permission NOT to set myself up for failure, and permission NOT to feel like a total loser.

Don’t get me wrong – setting realistic (and yet lofty) goals and writing them down is a very good thing to do. Putting pen to paper (or electronically) gives you a tangible road map for accomplishing that which your soul longs for.

Instead of setting harsh resolutions, a better way to go about this is to give ourselves permission to follow our dreams. Yeah, I know. That’s sounds j-u-u-u-s-t a little on the woo-woo side.

Hear me out – okay?

By setting resolutions, we’re already in a mindset that this “change” is going to be hard. We don’t leave any space at all to go with the flow of life. When we set new year goals, you’ve already given yourself permission to reach for your dreams.

Now, I’m not lazy by any stretch of the imagination nor do I fear attempting a new challenge. (Scented Balance is the fourth business I’ve built.) Where I’ve made the mistake – and maybe you have, too – is that I/we don’t leave any room for magic, dreams and good madness.

What if we go at this self-improvement with a different perspective? What if, instead of difficult and punishing resolutions, we set a goal to do something different than what we’ve always done?

Getting Ready to Change Your Habits

During my holistic life coach training, I learned an excellent tool when attempting positive changes. So, maybe you think you’re ready – BUT – you’re not really ready yet. Instead of setting yourself up for failure because you’re not r-e-e-e-a-l-l-y ready, maybe the better question here is what can you do to get ready to get ready to make a change?

See the difference?

Let’s say your resolution is to get up every single morning and run 5 miles but you haven’t exercised in over a year. How long do you think that’s going to last? It would be better to set a goal of walking around the block at least three mornings a week to get ready for the bigger goal of running 5 miles a day. In that smaller (and much more realistic) goal, you’re getting ready to set a larger goal and you’re not setting yourself up for failure. The beauty of the smaller goal is that you can pick any three days you want – or more – without feeling like you’ve failed yourself if you decide to lay in bed one morning.

By letting go of the rigid resolutions and opting for fluid goals, you are opening yourself up to magic, dreams and good madness. You’re also giving yourself permission to change course if something isn’t working without feeling like a quitter.

I’ve said in other posts how hard I am on myself. My inner critic and I grew up in a household where nothing was ever good enough and the thought of the day was always “you can’t do that – it’s not possible.” So the thought of magic, dreams and good madness never entered my mind. Therefore, I set staunch, rigid resolutions that were punishing because I must do better and of course, I failed.

A Different Way to Approach New Years Resolutions

This year, I’m doing things differently. I’ve experienced a lot of failed resolutions because I didn’t make room for the flow of life. The change in my attitude is to set goals allowing for them to be fluid and change them if need be. I no longer see resolutions that didn’t pan out as a statement of my poor character and lack of hard work, but more of the ability to go with the flow and change course when something clearly isn’t working out.

I subscribe to The Elephant Journal which is a roundup of writers who write about living a mindful life. One of the articles talks about New Years Resolutions and a different way to approach them:

Most New Year’s resolutions are predicated on not be happy enough or not having what we want, or needing to be prettier, or thinner, or more organized. But what if we began with accepting ourselves with maitri, or loving-kindness, and extended that genuine happiness outward?

This makes sense to me because it sets me – and you – up for success right out of the gate. And I don’t know about you, but I want to feel more like a success than I do a failure.

The other thing I learned? Just because something failed doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. Huge difference in that mindset! I’m not a failure even though my resolution (or dream) didn’t pan out.

My wish for you is this: I hope your new years resolutions become your beautiful and achievable goals and that you are successful beyond your wildest imagination.

It’s time for a new dream and to keep following my heart – resolutions be damned. Let’s resolve to be open to magic, dreams and good madness in the coming year.

I am so grateful for each one of you and I look forward to serving you in magical ways. If you’re ready to get ready to change your habits, fill out the contact form and let’s talk – do it today!

Blessings,

Melissa

 

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Beautiful Messes

Beautiful Messes, going with the flow of life, go with the flow, spending time with family, essential oils for balance

Messy isn’t always a bad sign; sometimes it’s just a sign of life. – Sharon Randall

It’s now the day after Christmas. Lots of family, food and presents – and hopefully – your presence during the moment. The Christmas holidays offer beautiful messes that are gloriously unruly, loud and chaotic.

And then the quiet.

After all the wonderful bedlam of the holidays, the silence can become deafening.

In that deafening silence, take a moment to revel in the beautiful messes of life. These beautiful messes are all too infrequent these days and there’s a sadness in that.

I savor the moments of pure insanity that make up the beautiful messes of my life.

Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of reading the op/ed section of the newspaper and one of my favorite writers is Sharon Randall. She has this way of seeing through all the beautiful messes of life.

It used to be that families remained in the same town most of their lives; children really didn’t move away when they grew up. Oh, indeed they went off to college but many times moved back to the same city.

We were family units then.

These days, family units are more likely to be spread around the country and sometimes around the world. We live all over the place, lead parallel lives and expect to know one another through short albeit intense visits.

My extended family lives in no less than 12 states across America. And one more that is currently living in Europe.

The Beautiful Mess of Life

Anyway, back to the op/eds in the newspaper. I came across a sweet piece several years ago that Sharon Randall wrote and it resonated very deeply with me then (and now) about the beautiful messes she has after her family visits.

She writes:

“We visit often but not often enough. That’s how it is with people who own your heart. Enough is never enough.” Then there’s the mess your house becomes while everyone is together.” 

I know exactly how she feels especially when there are small grandchildren involved. We all love our children – or so I hope – but being a grandparent is a very special and completely different love. The pressure is off and you can simply have fun.

My job as a grandparent (they call me Shan) is to hop ’em up on sugar and caffeine and then leave ’em with mama. :) 

I don’t get to see my family very often due to busy schedules, distance and whatever else gets in the way. I always loved having family come to visit and with all the extra people in the house, sometimes the place was just chaos.

A good chaos mind you, but chaos nevertheless.

Many times in the pandemonium of the moment, it’s hard to see that messy isn’t always a bad sign; sometimes it’s just a sign of life.

I hope you’ll take 5 minutes to read her entire column. But if you don’t, here’s the part of Sharon’s wisdom that really speaks to me:

“Life, at its best, is messy and chaotic and unpredictable and basically beyond control. Especially with children…A little order can do a lot for your peace of mind, and even for your sanity. But creating order should never be more important than finding joy – if only the joy of survival.”

How I wish I was as insightful as Sharon. That’s probably why she is an award-winning columnist and I’m not.

I’ll never earn the Perfectly Clean House of the Year award – never. It’s a really good day when there’s little or no dust, I’ve run the vacuum, there’s no dishes in the sink and I’m caught up on laundry. For the most part, I’m okay with that.

My motto in life has become “If you want to come see me, come any time. If you want to come see my house, make an appointment.” Although, I have learned that a cluttered space makes for a cluttered mind and I’m doing a much better job of keeping up with the clutter!

Going With The Flow

The important lesson that I’ve learned is that when family is together, simply go with the flow and know that the house will be quiet and clean all too soon.

Enjoy the chaos while you can. Savor the moment while you can. Those beautiful messes are few and far between and the memories of the last mess will keep you going until the next mess.

The last time I saw my family was Thanksgiving. Life moves along; there are things to do, places to go and people to meet. Children and grandchildren grow up fast, go off to college or simply become way too cool for spending time with family and beautiful messes.

In this context, I treasure the beautiful messes of my life and joyfully wait for the next one.

It’s an important lesson learned to let go of what we expected and hoped for and trade that for simply embracing the beautiful mess that is family, holidays and whatever may come next in life. I do believe that was my lesson to learn in the past year.

In the spirit of beautiful messes, I created a blend of essential oils for balance to help uplift and calm you in the midst of disorder and confusion:

Beautiful Mess Blend

  • 5 drops Clary Sage
  • 5 drops Bergamot
  • 5 drops Neroli/Petitgrain Co-Distill
  • 5 drops Davana
  • 3 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 3 drops Lavender
  • 3 drops Peppermint
  • 10 mL   Organic Jojoba Wax

Combine all essential oils into a 10 mL rollerball and add jojoba wax. Gently shake to combine before each use. Apply to heart and inner wrist area as often as needed. If you don’t have all the oils on hand, I make this blend for $16.95 plus shipping (and tax if you live in NC). Send an email to me or this contact form and I’ll take it from there.

Sometimes, we all need help chilling during the amazing madness of the holidays. I use this blend during the holidays to stay balanced and I use it every day – just because.

How can I help you through this last week of 2017? Need a helping hand? Go ahead and fill out the contact form right now and let’s start off the new year together.

Blessings,

Melissa

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Twas The Night Before Christmas

Christmas activities for kids, Twas The Night Before Christmas, A Visit From St. Nick, A Book On Every Bed, stories for kids,

Twas The Night Before Christmas (written by Clement C. Moore) is one of my favorite Christmas poems. Legend has it that he wrote this poem for his children on Christmas Eve of 1822. 

Can you imagine the excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve with the enchanting words of that poem dancing in your mind’s eye?

It’s such a magical poem and even though I no longer have small children in my life, I still read it every single year on Christmas Eve. And just for the sake of magic, I always set my illustrated book under the tree. It always evokes a sense of magic in my heart.

Twas The Night Before Christmas

This year, I am reading Twas The Night Before Christmas (or, more traditionally A Visit From St. Nick) on Christmas Eve at 6 PM on the Scented Balance Facebook page. Clicking this Event link will take you to the event page.

I found this old print of Twas The Night Before Christmas courtesy of NightBeforeChristmas.biz. It’s an enchanting website dedicated to the poem and author!

A Visit From St. Nick, Twas The Night Before Christmas,
Photo Courtesy of NightBeforeChristmas.biz

Children love for grownups to read to them. My mom and older sister often read to me when I was a small child. To this day, I absolutely love to read and I can still remember when I was very small – 4 or 5 years old – how much I enjoyed someone reading to me. 

This is a sweet photo of me holding my newborn grandson and reading a book to him. stories for kids, You never know what a child’s brain will pick up much less retain, so I chose to read sweet and silly books to him from the time he was a few weeks old. I miss that!

I hope if you have small children in your life, you’ll take some time this holiday season to read a book to them – a real book – not the electronic kind!

A Book On Every Bed

Amy Dickinson is a daily newspaper advice columnist (yes, newspapers still exist) and every December 18th, she dispenses with her column and honors the anniversary of her mother’s birthday. Her mother loved to read and passed her passion on to Amy. In her column of December 18, 2017, Amy devoted her entire column to the beautiful life lessons she learned from reading books and how her mother’s passion left a lasting and positive impact on her life. She writes:

Today, in memory of my mother on her birthday, I share a simple idea that adults can easily adopt in order to give the children in their lives the gift my mother gave to me, by putting “A Book On Every Bed.”

Here’s what to do: On Christmas morning (or whatever holiday you celebrate), make sure that each child in your household wakes up to a book at the foot of their bed. The gift could be a new book or an old favorite from your childhood.

The best part of the “A Book On Every Bed” tradition? Sit down on Christmas Morning with your child and read the book you gave them. Not only can you enjoy a few tender moments with your child but you instill the love of reading in them – a love that hopefully will last a lifetime.

If you don’t have small children in your life, you can donate to charities that promote reading and provide books for children who might not otherwise be exposed to the joy of reading. In an older article, Adweek Magazine provides a list of reputable charities that you can help and one in particular caught my eye: United Through Reading which helps military families who are separated read aloud together. 

By the way, I clicked on every single link in that article to ensure they are all good and still valid – they are. Each link will take you directly to the charity’s website with all their information.

Start By Reading!

There are lots of stories for kids and your local library or local bookstore is a great place to start.

Why don’t you think about writing a children’s book? How? Just start writing and see what happens! 

Make a child’s life magical this year and instill the love of reading. It can be a wonderful new tradition that you start that will ensure your legacy.

It makes me smile every time I read Twas The Night Before Christmas and I hope it makes you smile, too. Please join me on Christmas Eve at 6 PM on the Scented Balance Facebook page. Let’s add to the spirit of the season with this beautiful diffuser blend:

Holiday Diffuser Blend

  • 10 Drops Balsam Fir Essential Oil
  • 8 Drops   Tangerine Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops   Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops   Clove Bud Essential Oil
  • 2 Drops   Peppermint Essential Oil

Blend together and add 5 – 10 drops to a cold mist diffuser. If you would like a small bottle of this blend, I make Christmas Magic in a 5mL bottle for $12.95 plus shipping and handling. Simply send an email to me or fill out this contact form requesting this custom blend and I will make it for you!

Please take a moment to share this post about reading with those you love on your personal social media – thank you!

Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and yours!

Melissa

 

 

 

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How To Cope With #metoo During The Holidays

#meetoo, How to cope with #metoo during the holidays, taking back my power,I learned an amazing tool in the last week about how to cope with #metoo during the holidays.

The #metoo movement is reaching fever pitch – as it should be. If you’re not sickened by all of us who have posted #metoo, then you’re not paying attention. I am a survivor of both childhood and adult sexual assault, so this issue strikes a particularly tender chord for me.

In case you’re not aware, there is an entitlement mentality out there in the world as evidenced by all of the women who have come forward in the last few weeks and months on the news and social media. They – we – are tired of feeling fearful for our jobs and families, tired of being groped – and worse – and done with feeling powerless to do anything about the situation.

Yes, that feeling of powerlessness spills over into holiday parties and sometimes you get talked into going to them. An evening at a small party where I know most everyone is a welcome part of the holidays; going to a large party where I’m unfamiliar with the guests can be daunting. Especially since I’m an introvert. (No, really.)

It seems the holiday spirit makes some people feel entitled to have one adult beverage too many and that’s when the situation can get uncomfortable. And inappropriate. It’s the entitlement mentality that turns off the filter (especially during the holidays) in mostly otherwise decent human beings.

That third or fourth adult beverage doesn’t give you a license to say or do things that aren’t appropriate to your best friend much less to an acquaintance.

By nature, even as an introvert, I appreciate a hug when I haven’t seen someone for a while. Men, women, kids, dogs – it doesn’t matter. But I’m here to tell you, that sweet hug does NOT give you license to let your hand wander to my hips or other body parts.

I’ve been in situations where a man’s hand has lingered j-u-u-u-s-t a little longer around my waist than it should. Or someone makes an off-color comment that makes me shake my head and wonder why (s)he would say such a thing. I’ll just be real blunt here. Most of the time, it’s men who make the off-color comments that leave me feeling anxious and speechless.

Yes, speechless. But not anymore.

When Does It Become #metoo?

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I have no problem whatsoever telling someone that their dress is pretty or asking someone what they do for a living. (Or you saying the same to me.) If I’m not familiar with your particular calling, the least I can do is ask you “what do you do as a <fill-in-the-blank>?” I don’t like to judge what someone does for a living or make a snarky comment – even after the third glass of wine. And I’m certainly not a prude!

The whole reason I say this is because it’s usually a woman’s appearance or profession that elicits the speech-defying comment. More often than not, the comment comes from a man who’s trying not to come off as condescending, but that’s really how it’s meant. If you mention that the comment was inappropriate, well, you’re just being “sensitive.” Or somehow, with your hand on my ass, I’ve “misunderstood.”

Let me just tell it like it is when it comes to this kind of entitled behavior – empowered women empower women. Women are not here for your pleasure – to be consumed as it were. I am a human being and entitled to be treated with decency and respect without your snarky comment or hand on my ass.

Deflecting A Rude Comment

Life coaches are fascinating to me and not just because I’m one of them. Holistic life coaches shed light on the stuck places in your life and are a huge help when you can’t seem to reach the next level. It’s what we do best and everyone can use the wisdom of a well trained life coach at one time or another.

But that very profession has elicited more eye rolls than I care to count. Add in aromatherapy, and some uninformed souls think you’re positively woo-woo.

Always on the lookout for a new perspective, I found the ever awesome and wise life coach, Susan Hyatt (shyatt.com). I love her style, her wit and her wisdom. 

She is NOT fond of the aforementioned holiday parties nor is she willing to remain speechless when it’s appropriate to speak up. Like many of us, she would far rather be at home with a good book and a hot cup of tea on a cold winter’s night. Ah, but the things we do for our beloved. As in going to a holiday party when we don’t want to.

The formula for how to cope with #metoo during the holidays came about from her own experience at a holiday party. She reached her tipping point and blessedly, Susan simply couldn’t hold back during a recent Facebook live video.

If you have delicate sensibilities, you probably don’t want to watch this video. But if you’re ready for a real, honest and forthright way to let someone know they’ve crossed a line, watch and rejoice!

I just happened to be on my Facebook page when she went live with this and I was mesmerized. By the end of the video, I was sending Susan Hyatt mental high fives. One thing she said that stood out to me is that when people drink, they often say what they’re really thinking. And their normal filter has taken a holiday because they hide behind those adult beverages.

I’m not going to tell her tipping point story because it isn’t mine to tell. But, the way Susan lets someone know they have crossed the line of decency is to simply say: “why would you ask me that question?” Or “why would you say something like that to me?” Then, here’s the best thing to do next: be really quiet and let them absorb your question.

What’s happening here is that you’re not accepting the inappropriate comment but throwing it back to them and let them feel awkward about being so rude and crossing the line of decency.

It allows you to take back your power.

Now, don’t feel like you’re being negative to think that this will absolutely happen and talk yourself out of going to a holiday party. Susan simply advises to be aware that this type of behavior is coming and be prepared for that smart ass comment; claim your power and throw it right back to the perpetrator.

I don’t want to put a damper on your holiday celebrations – I really don’t! I’ve simply been in too many situations where I felt powerless to protect or assert myself and because of Susan Hyatt’s wisdom and forthrightness, I won’t feel powerless ever again. The holidays just seem to bring out that crass, entitled mentality in some folks and I’m no longer willing to silently endure that behavior.

This is one time when subscribing to someone’s Facebook page and weekly newsletter really paid off. I feel more powerful and I hope – through Susan Hyatt – I’ve given you a tactful way to feel more powerful in a disconcerting situation.

If you need just a bit more boost to feel calm and powerful at your next party, here’s an awesome blend that smells amazing and helps you to feel empowered:

Empowering Blend

  • 5 drops   Neroli/Petitgrain Co-Distill (Citrus arantium var armara)
  • 3 drops   Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • 3 drops   Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
  • 3 drops   Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • 3 drops   Davana (Artemesia pallens)
  • 3 drops   Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • 10 mL     Organic Jojoba Wax
  • 10 mL     Rollerball

Combine essential oils into the rollerball first, then fill with jojoba wax. Gently shake and apply to heart, wrists, throat and back of neck. I make this blend for $14.95 plus shipping and tax. Not only will you feel powerful, but you’ll feel calm and balanced as well.

Stay safe, be well and find your power by asking a simple question when you feel someone has crossed your boundary. Please help the women in your tribe by sharing this post. It’s that important!

Merry Christmas and blessings!

Melissa

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5 Surprising Reasons To Smile Every Day

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

Sense of touch, Smile, 5 Surprising Reasons To Smile Every Day, Smiling, the human touch, random acts of kindness

I like surprises. Good surprises. Surprises that make me smile as in 5 surprising reasons to smile every day! I’d like to give you another reason to smile today.

Does a smile count as a random act of kindness? How can you show compassion when you don’t know what to say? Can one person change the world? Yes – to all of these questions.

What Does Smiling Have To Do With Anything?

When I was a kid, I wanted life to be fair, for life to be simple and for everyone to be happy and smiling. I really thought that it was possible. As an adult, I want life to be fair, for everyone to be happy and for life to be simple.

I want to live with elegance and ease. Where do I start?

With a smile.

We all can give a smile and still have some left over to share. I can smile at the next person I see – who is fighting a battle that I know nothing about – and maybe soften their pain. I can smile for no reason and be considered a cheerful sort.

Personally, I believe the digital age has made us a cold and angry world. We know everything about everyone – or at least we think we do – via our computer screen. We constantly stare at our cell phones out of boredom and we’re frowning. In reality, we are drowning in information and starving for wisdom. And I believe we’ve forgotten how to touch someone’s life simply by smiling.

It’s the small random acts of kindness that really make us human. Smiling is an act of caring, an act of selflessness and has the power to touch a human life in the best way possible. We seriously underestimate the power of the human touch – whether by your sense of touch or by touching someone’s life. You never know when your smile just might turn someone’s life around.

5 Surprising Reasons To Smile Every Day

There are a lot of unhappy people in the world (I swear they are ALL on social media!) that could seriously benefit from a genuine smile every day. We all know that smiling makes us feel better, so why don’t we do more of it?

Here are 5 surprising reasons to smile every day and how it benefits your whole life.

  1. According to the Huffington Post, smiling influences your mood. Even fake smiles trick your brain into believing you are in a better mood.
  2. Smiling is usually contagious. About half the people you smile at will smile back at you. Notice how this brightens your day?
  3. According to Reader’s Digest, smiles have a morphine-like action that helps relieve stress and reduce the perception of pain in the brain. Children in hospitals who are exposed to comedies and comic characters often report less pain compared to those who don’t have those experiences.
  4. It helps your heart. According to MSN Lifestyle, smiling releases endorphins which increases your blood flow and lowers your blood pressure.
  5. You look about 3 years younger. I love that! Smiling naturally lifts your facial muscles and who doesn’t want to look a few years younger? 

Have you ever noticed how the energy around you changes when you’re around people who smile? The stylist who cuts my hair has that effect on me. I can have the roughest day EVER and by the time I walk out of her shop 30 minutes later, my mood has changed. Loretta is always smiling and it shows. The energy of both she and her shop is always bright and welcoming.

Smiling is also self care. When you are stressed beyond the max, smiling at yourself in a mirror (even when you don’t feel like it) can help boost your productivity and lighten your mood.

The Human Touch of Smiling

There are times when smiling is simply painful. We all experience those times. It’s precisely during those times when a friendly smile can make all the difference in your life.

When stress gets to the point where you feel annoyed or frustrated, maybe it’s time to take a break. You’ve heard me say it before, but unplugging from every electronic device for a short time can make a huge difference in your outlook on the world.

No matter where we go, we are bombarded with bad news and worse news. It’s so noisy in the world that even while pumping gas you are forced to listen to the fresh hell of the day (or sports – same thing).  It’s overwhelming and enough to make you frown.

Today I would like to give you an extra reason to smile. Please take 2 minutes to watch this sweet video and to savor the grin it brings to your face. It lifted my spirits and I hope it does the same for you.

 

There are times – days – when I feel invisible as an aromatherapist and holistic life coach. It feels like the message I bring to help you with your overall wellness falls on deaf ears. Your smiling face makes a huge difference in my world. When you call or email to say what a difference I’ve made in your life – please know that I beam and feel deep gratitude. Your very real sense of touch through random acts of kindness mean the world to me and keep me going.

When you can’t seem to find your way, simply take a moment to smile. When you don’t know what you can do to help, random acts of kindness as simple as smiling at strangers will fill your cup. The human touch when you make an effort in someone’s life is huge for the giver and the recipient. 

If you think you have nothing to give, think again. You do. You can give your smile to someone who needs it. Hang up, unplug and smile! Be the magic in someone’s day. Today. Right now.

We all need an extra smile – please share this article on Facebook by clicking below to see how far and wide we can share our smiles today.

Blessings,

Melissa

 

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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 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 egotistical 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 drink 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 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 wellbeing 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 Activities

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!
  • 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.

If you need a bit of extra help especially through the holidays, use Stress Support Aromatherapy Roller Ball (formerly Traveler’s Tonic). 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.

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

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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 of the condo 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.

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 at the end of 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, but seriously, sitting inside on a beautiful day can get very boring for a child. I asked the her if she wanted to go outside 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 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.

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 beat me up mentally any more 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 five 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. (Sparky, if you’re going to criticize, 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. This is the exact same thing as Traveler’s Tonic, but I realized that calling it Stress Support made more sense. Same thing – better name. It’s meant as 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

 

 

 

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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

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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

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!

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

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How Physical Clutter Affects Mind Clutter

physical clutter affects mind clutter, declutter, negative emotions because of clutter, how to declutter your life, clear your mind, emotional toll of clutter

 

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how physical clutter affects mind clutter. This past weekend, I came face to face with the connection. Seriously. emotional toll of clutter  declutter

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing for a big day-long market to showcase my products. Along with that one large show are the weekly markets that I attend. I’m grateful to have lots of people who purchase my products which means I have to make more products to ensure I have enough with me at any given market. 

When I have a larger show, I make extra of everything – I don’t want to run out of something you want! With the extra products comes extra boxes of supplies BUT I don’t have extra space in my studio. Which means that there has been clutter everywhere I’ve turned over the last few weeks. 

Now, I’m not a neat freak by any stretch, but I do appreciate an orderly and tidy space and having things in their place. I learned the hard way that not having a regular place for something I use infrequently causes me to waste time looking for said object. And it’s always at the most inopportune time that I can’t find what I need. GRRR…

The time leading up to the big shows can be stressful and we all know that stress causes crankiness. And cranky isn’t fun for anyone involved. But I could feel this sense of crankiness sitting in my chest and at first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the source. And then it hit me. 

Clutter.

My small space was just cluttered and I felt like all I was doing was spinning my wheels and not accomplishing anything. I was stressed and frustrated and cranky because I couldn’t put my hands on anything that I needed without a major search expedition. That’s when I knew I needed to declutter.

The Definition of Clutter

A cluttered house is not necessarily a dirty house and a clean house can be incredibly cluttered.  The definition of clutter is lots of things lying about in an untidy mess. Here’s how to know what is clutter:

  • Ever spent more than 15 minutes searching for your keys?
  • Can you run the vacuum or dust mop without having to go around something besides furniture?
  • At tax time, how long does it take you to prepare your documents for your CPA?
  • Are you considering a storage unit to handle the overflow of all your stuff?
  • Have you thought about what will happen to all your stuff when you die?

My dad was something close to a hoarder. He was also of that generation that survived the Great Depression. Which means nothing was ever thrown out because not only was that wasteful, but you might need that very thing 20 years down the road.

But then he passed on and my mother left all that stuff sit in the basement. Which is fine. Then the septic tank backed up into the basement. Guess what? All that stuff that he hoarded over 50+ years was ruined and had to be thrown out.

How To Declutter Your Life and Clear Your Mind

Several years ago, I moved from a 2,300 square foot house to a 725 square foot apartment. The shock of not having room for my “stuff” was overwhelming but in that instant, I had an “aha” moment. I could either look at a stack of boxes and trip over endless junk or I could take a few minutes every single day and analyze what was really important.

When I think back to that time, I was under a lot of stress and couldn’t think clearly. Major life moments tend to do that to us. Coming home to clutter was even more stressful than moving itself. Because I could only make so much stuff fit into 725 square feet (with ridiculously small closets) I was at a crossroads.

I gave myself 45 minutes every evening to look through ONE box. If I had the energy and time, I looked through more. But the minimum goal was simply one box – not overwhelming, not enough to exhaust me – simply one box. With glass of wine in hand and a charged up iPod, I set to work. I’ve often heard that you spend the first 50 years of your life collecting – or nesting, if you will – and the second 50 years giving it all away. It was time.

Want to know something embarrassing?  I moved a big (HEAVY!) box of college textbooks from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau to Winston-Salem. And then I moved the same box – still packed – two more times! WTF???????

It was boxes of stuff that I struggled to part ways with and I felt like this stuff was a security blanket – securing what, I don’t know. I needed a fresh start and looking at boxes of old stuff that I never touched was weighing me down and creating more stress that I ever could have imagined. All the clutter in the boxes was simply clutter in my head and heart.

I needed to declutter and just couldn’t face that fact. emotional toll of clutter

Clutter is stuck energy

When you’re stuck in any area of life, it’s hard to move forward; to see new ideas; to move on to the next project or make a fresh start. I’ve now had to declutter two more times because each time I’ve moved, it’s been to smaller quarters. And because I see clients in my studio, my space needs to be clutter-free, welcoming, neat and tidy. I want you to feel welcome and comfortable in my space and clutter makes that impossible.

At times, I’ve felt really stuck in my life and now I see just how closely physical clutter equals mental clutter which equals an untidy mess. You’d be surprised (maybe not?) to learn just how much physical clutter has to do with your mental clutter.

The emotional toll of clutter can be devastating. Maybe you find yourself running late all the time because you can’t find the shirt you wanted to wear or the mate to the pair of shoes that matches your outfit. negative emotions because of clutter

Negative Emotions Because of Clutter

Jessie Sholl writes for ExperienceLife.com about the emotional toll of clutter:

Professional organizers, who are hired to help with everything from decluttering closets to restructuring entire homes, routinely see their clients reap emotional rewards. “It’s hard for me to even imagine talking about clutter without talking about the emotional benefits of decluttering,” says Hazel Thornton, professional organizer and owner of Organized for Life, a consulting service in Albuquerque, N.M. “There’s no one who calls me who isn’t stressed out, frustrated, or feeling inadequate, incompetent in their job, or guilty. It’s all about emotions — definitely it’s more about emotions than it is about the stuff.”

It was cathartic to declutter by going through every single box. I looked at some things and shook my head – what was I thinking when I got that? Other things, I kept because I’m not about to give away my life simply because of space constraints – I truly savor that piece of my life in that box waiting to be unpacked. negative emotions because of clutter

Do you have a lot of clutter? Do you feel stressed sometimes for no good reason? What about all those negative emotions because of clutter? Do you ever think about the emotional toll of clutter? While you’re looking at what no longer serves you physically, what clutter are you hanging onto that no longer serves you mentallyphysical clutter affects mind clutter

What’s keeping you stuckphysical clutter affects mind clutter

If you see yourself hanging onto things, people, ideas and general clutter that no longer serves you, let’s talk. I can easily show you how to declutter your life. emotional toll of clutter

Fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today clearing out the clutter and freeing you up for better opportunities in life.

Don’t wait – let’s talk today!

Blessings,

Melissa

 

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Advice on Taking Unsolicited Advice

It is an easy thing for one whose foot is on the outside of calamity to give advice and rebuke the sufferer. Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

unsolicited advice, Advice on Taking Advice, To Thine Own Self Be True, good advice, I need advice, advice, word of adviceHave you ever endured unsolicited advice? It’s not fun. In fact, it makes me scratch my head and wonder. Why would someone offer advice that you didn’t ask for? word of advice on taking advice

Just who the hell do you think you are to tell me how I should manage my life – when I didn’t ask you in the first place?

I’ve always heard that we easily see the foibles and warts of others while being blind to our own. There’s a bit of truth in that wisdom. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see with clear eyes what your life really looks like, but it can be done.

The reason I say this is because I was blindsided by some really misinformed advice and what’s even worse – I took the bad advice. AACK!

Yep. It’s my fault completely; I take full responsibility. Had I known what my life would look like a few short months later after acting on what I thought was good advice, I would have politely but forcefully declined. Who knew?

Putting someone in the position of having to explain, justify and defend themselves because you think you have a clearer vision of what is wrong with their life makes you egotistical and narrow-minded. It only adds to the confusion and says a whole lot more about you than it does me.

Don’t you think I realize something is amiss with my life? Don’t you think I’ll come to my own conclusions eventually? Don’t you think I’m smart enough to reach out for help when it’s the right time?

Obviously not.

Again, I ask – unless you’re a certified advice professional, who the hell are you to tell me how I should run my life?

Who knew that well-laid plans would completely crumble? Who knew that haughty, condescending and sadly misinformed advice would completely knock me off my feet?

To Thine Own Self Be True

I initially saw the “advice” as a sign from the Supreme-Being-Of-Your-Choice that it was time to make changes in my life. Was that really the case? I sincerely doubt it. I find dependence upon some unseen celestial dictator with a major control complex utterly wrong for me on every level.  I just knew that if I worked hard, believed in myself and took inspired action that it would all work out.

It hasn’t. That’s really hard to sit with when I truly did believe that hard work, belief in yourself and inspired action would ensure that everything would work out!

That advice brought on a time of fear and uncertainty. Unfortunately when I spoke of the fear surrounding said advice to the advice giver, I was soundly rebuked. No matter how I framed my fear, I was rebuked and lectured with even more haughty, cruel advice. After all, the same advice worked for someone else, so I should take the same words of wisdom and skip merrily into the future. Oh, by the way, suck it up, sweetie!

You know, it’s easy to offer guidance when you don’t have to swallow the same bitter pill. It’s easy to tell someone else how to run their life when you’re on the outside of the calamity. It’s easy to dispense words of wisdom when you wouldn’t dream of taking the same road – or you don’t have to.

My Aunt Adele used to say that offered advice was like three day-old fish – it stinks.

The next time you think you know how to manage someone else’s life, I want you to stop, put your hand over your mouth and leave it there.

Why?

Unless you’re a psychic, you have absolutely no clue about the mindset of the person you think you’re helping; you have absolutely no idea of the inner workings of their heart or their life. You have no idea what is best for them. You might think you know what’s best and that you have a clear view of the situation, but you don’t. Period.

Instead of Dispensing Advice, Do This Instead

So, you think you know everything and you should counsel your best friend because: yes. Seriously? Do you really think I’m going to change my mind because you think you know better? There’s a better way to go about changing someone than giving your advice.

Thomas Plante, PhD, ABPP, author of Do The Right Thing: Living Ethically in an Unethical World says this about giving advice:

“If we really want to encourage behavior (or belief) change in others we actually need to move away from advice giving (especially when our advice is unsolicited) and toward modeling. In other words, we need to be an example for others rather than telling them what to do.”

Class, what have we learned from this moment of weakness and stupidity?

If there is anything I have learned throughout this whole debacle it’s that I know I am smart enough to take my own counsel. I have learned that I am smarter, wiser and stronger than I give myself credit for. I have learned that I know best how to run my life even when it doesn’t make sense to those around me. I have learned that my life is in my hands and I shouldn’t think that anyone else has a clearer vision. I have learned that just because you don’t like how I live my life doesn’t mean I have to change course or accommodate you and your opinion. I may make some bad decisions (or blindly act on some really b-a-a-a-a-a-d instructions), but that doesn’t make me less knowledgeable than you.

It makes me human. word of advice advice on taking advice word of advice

The situation that I endured has made me tougher and far more compassionate to anyone going through rough times. Even if you were to ask me for insight about a tough situation, I would ask you what does your gut tell you? After all, your heart/guts/intuition will tell you everything you need to know – eventually.

You may not know what to do right now but eventually, you’ll get there. The best part is when you do reach your goals, it will be through your own wisdom and hard work and not on the advice of some smarmy so-called friend who thinks they know what’s best for you.

This is where self-acceptance comes in handy. Learning to love yourself with all your warts, foibles and fears truly gives you clarity on how you want your life to unfold. After all that, I did manage to send love and light to the perpetrator, but I had to set some pretty tough boundaries which means that person is no longer in my life.

Far be it from me to tell you how to run your life, tell you what’s best for you or – worse – make you feel bad when you’re scared. Life is scary and hard enough as it is! What I do as your holistic life coach is to ask the right questions to help you see your own situation with clarity. I’m not here to dispense unsolicited advice; I’m here to help you see your own vision. After all, the only vision that you need is the one that’s right for you.

Listen, when it comes to investing or health or legal issues – absolutely get professional advice! That only makes sense. My point is when it comes to what’s best for you and how you live your life, YOU are the best judge. When it comes to your definition of living with grace and ease, YOU are the best judge. Even with professional counseling.

Allow me to give you a word of advice when it comes to advice – take your own advice. Trust me on this one. :) I’m happy to help you get clarity in your life – simply fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today.

Blessings,

Melissa

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Look For The Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Fred Rogers

helping hands, thoughts and prayers, people helping people, serving others, how can I helpSeems like the world has gone mad over the last few months. All the talking heads do is spit out bad news and worse news. It’s overwhelming as an adult to absorb all the hatred, nastiness and cruelty coming at us from every direction.

It’s even harder to absorb as a child when you don’t yet understand how the world works. It looks and sounds horrifying especially when the grown ups turn on the 24 hour news channels and never turn them off.

We watch, we listen, we absorb all this bad news and I don’t see a whole lot of understanding to help us manage all the stuff that’s coming at us. Can you imagine how a child feels seeing all this carnage and having no way to process it?

My heart breaks every time I hear yet another instance of the human race being so incredibly cruel to one another. Then, you have to see it, hear it and read about “it” for hours and days – burning this horrible information into our souls.

And yet, it continues day after week after month. Neither side of any issue is willing to give an inch for fear of having to give a mile. And if nobody will give an inch, how do we expect to have any honest conversations?

Seriously, no conversation will take place in the current political climate. We have a reality-TV-star-turned-politician purposely encouraging violence, legitimizing racism, declaring a war on women, spewing nastiness in every sentence (and tweet) and demonstrating such an incredible lack of dignity that it’s beyond the pale. How is this setting a good example for future generations?

Daily we live with the threat of nuclear war, hurricanes, fires, shootings, countries wanting to “break away”, terrorism (both abroad and here at home) – the list just goes on and on and it becomes more difficult to explain much less comfort whoever is watching.

How do you deal with all the bullshit? How do you absorb all the vitriol and retain your sanity? Where does it all end?

Ellen DeGeneres went to work the day after the Las Vegas massacre and decided there was too much good in the world to let it go by unnoticed. I love her explanation of how she chooses to come to work and give you good television in the midst of all the heartache.

Take a few moments to watch “the helpers”, the good people of the world who selflessly give their all every single day to make the world a better place.

I watched this in the days after the Las Vegas shooting nightmare and it brought me to tears. Hopefully, it moves you as much as it moved me.

We have to look for the good in the world. There are helpers everywhere – those who see the beauty – and the sadness – all around them and do something to add kindness and hope to the world.

When it all seems too much to endure, please just stop. Turn off the television, sign out of social media and, for the love of sanity, STOP checking your phone every twenty minutes.

Just stop.

Technology is a wonderful and amazing thing to make life easier, to keep us connected and to overwhelm us. Every time we hear more bad news, we take to social media to offer up thoughts and prayers to whomever was affected this week.

How many times a day do you check your social media? And if you’re not checking your email you feel frantic and disconnected. Let’s not EVEN talk about forgetting your phone when you walk out the door – it’s enough to cause apoplexy.

Am I close here?

We’ve gone from having a simple answering machine to check every night after work to being joined at the hip to our smart phones so we can be the first to know and the first to offer up useless thoughts and prayers for victims of whatever disaster because we don’t know what else to do.

How’s that working out?

As a society, I believe we are overwhelmed at all the of the information relentlessly coming at us. Knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom. We have to know the difference between the two and to know when to act on that wisdom. Clearly, we are not doing a good job of teaching wisdom to each other and definitely not our children.

How Can I Help?

Yes, there are ways you can help – there is something you can do besides constantly stare at a television or phone.

If you are looking for a charity to help out Project Hope does an amazing amount of humanitarian work with very few dollars. If you can’t send money, simply send love and light to those affected. If you can’t find it in your heart to do that, then look for the helpers.

Because there’s always helpers.

Please be a helper today. Someone needs your smile, your kindness, your compassion, your hope. Open your heart and be a helper.

There are indeed good people all over the world. Good people of every color, every faith, every nationality. Good people that give of themselves and do what they can to help those who have so much less. People helping people in need.

I choose to bring my love and light to the world because I believe I have a special gift to give. You have a special gift to give the world, too.

How can I help you shine your light? Fill out this contact form and let’s talk today.

Blessings,

Melissa

 

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A Chain of Becauses

A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he is talking about. Miguel de Unamuno

Chain of Becauses, because, word, only, easy, forever

There are times in life when it’s a good idea to just stop talking. I found a wonderful article from Leigh Newman on the five times in your life when you should simply close your mouth. There was one particular time she wrote about in her article that stood out to me like crazy.

When you’re talking in a chain of becauses.

Because what?

When every sentence you speak begins with the word because, you need to step back, take a deep breath (as in at least two minutes) and then be kind to yourself.

I am such of fan of Leigh Newman’s writing because (whoops – there’s that word!) she has such insight into the human condition. Not the boring college textbook-type of insight, but smart, witty and always on point. Here is the part of her article that really hit home for me:

Something dark happens when I wake up early in the morning. I begin to talk to myself. That me-to-me discussion goes a little like this: Because I didn’t save x dollars this year, my son won’t have enough money for college. And because of that, he will have to take on huge, crushing loans. And because of that, at age 21, he’ll have to take a job he hates to pay off all that debt. Or, worse, he won’t be able to get a job. And because of that he will have to declare bankruptcy by age 30. Then nobody will ever hire him. He’ll have to move to India to live cheaply off the grid and I’ll never see him because I’ll be retired and broke and won’t be able to afford the airfare. And so the becauses continue until I feel so guilty and horrible, I can hardly get up to make breakfast, which my son needs me to make because…he is 7 years old.

There are all kinds of ways to silence that chain of becauses that leads to panic and self-loathing. You can meditate. You can go for a run. You can read a book. Or you can go in and look at your sleeping child and realize you have more than a decade to figure out this problem, because what comes after a because is not up to fate, but up to you and the future that you build out of your actions and decisions—not your words.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Times-to-Stop-Talking/5#ixzz2r95An7h2

Whew!!! The chain of becauses can go on forever and forever and forever. Why? Because your mind goes down the rabbit hole when you aren’t paying attention or because it’s early in the wee hours of oh-dark-thirty and your sleepy mind has already begun to race or because you just know because of one action, another action will or won’t happen because

Jeez – how many of us have dealt with this issue? How many times have your becauses spiraled out of control because of guilt, shame, frustration and anger – all aimed at yourself? How many times has needless worry over a simple decision sent you on the endless because trail? It only gets worse.

Guilty. Yep. Real. Guilty.

Sometimes I wake up at 2:30 AM for a bladder call and I simply cannot fall back asleep. It is then that my drowsy, half-sleeping/half awake mind goes berserk with all the minutiae stored away for moments just like this. The more I try to fall back asleep, the faster my brain rolls through all the becauses and then goes back for more. I have had nights where I watched the clock tick through every single hour and by 6 AM, I’m exhausted from all the horrible becauses going through my mind.

I’ve tried testing Leigh’s advice on silencing the deadly chain of becauses with varying degrees of success. Reading and meditation (or is that medication?) have their place. Reading a book makes me drowsy. (However, reading a college textbook will make you fall asleep in twenty seconds flat.)

Anyway, I’m working on the meditation part but with a brain full of becauses, meditation is difficult at best and usually an exercise in futility. I believe Louise Hay said that meditation is easy – simply focus on your breath. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve tried – and failed – to simply focus on my breath. I am an absolute pro at focusing on my breath while my mind is racing through all the becauses that could take place at any moment – oh, and along with concentrating on whatever affirmation you’re supposed to think of while meditating and focusing on your breath.

It makes my brain go completely off the rails. :/

Most of the becauses we imagine will never happen, so why do we do this? I believe we’ve been taught if we worry about a because then we can somehow keep it from ever happening. Or even worse, if we go through our endless list of becauses, we are actually doing something instead of doing nothing. And doing nothing makes me crazy.

It is my goal from this day forward to attempt to try to resist the endless becauses residing in my brain. Why? Because the becauses simply make me old before my time. I’m exhausted from trying to avoid all the pitfalls of life. I know in my heart that life will simply happen and take care of itself if I simply stop becausing myself to an early grave.

Because you read my blog, I get to keep writing. Because of a full heart, I live a life of grace and mercy.

And so do you.

I’m so grateful for each one of you who click through my emails each week. I’m so grateful I get to share my hopes, dreams, fears and joys with you – because you are very important to me and I wish each of you grace and ease in your own life.

What becauses are you dealing with? It’s because of those becauses that I am a practicing aromatherapist and holistic life coach.

Please take time to fill out this short contact form and let’s talk today.

Blessings,

Melissa

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Staying Healthy – Advice From A Healthcare Renegade

nature medicine, healthy eating for beginners, food as medicine, clean eating, How To Stay Healthy, Advice From a Healthcare RenegadeToday, I’m honored to introduce M. Leigh Johnson, also known as the Healthcare Maquis who talks about staying – or getting- healthy in a system that is stacked against you. I’ve been looking for everyday people who see the Western healthcare system for what it is – a system of creating customers, not cures – to educate us on alternative and complementary therapies.

Leigh and I met through a private Facebook group that helps its’ members become better writers and bloggers to make our personal message relevant and interesting. Leigh has had her share of ups and downs with the medical community and – like me – wants you to know that there is a better way to help yourself get and stay healthy.

The healthcare debacle is not over yet – not by a long shot. The latest is yet another round of politicians convincing Americans that massive cuts to healthcare are good for us and it’s on life-support, but not dead. I am frustrated and angry that we have to fight this hard for a basic human right. Until access to healthcare becomes a basic human right, I choose to turn my anger into something positive so that we can all benefit.

You may (or may not) know that I’m a certified aromatherapist and holistic life coach. There are many concerns that I can help you address through the use of essential oils and coaching. If you would like to read the original Uninsured series, HERE is Part One.

Let’s dive in with Leigh today:

What is the meaning behind Healthcare Maquis?

Briefly, I wanted a name that alluded to a revolution and being a renegade. The Maquis were part of the French resistance against the Nazis during World War II. It’s an interesting story and it really is worth your time to learn more about them.

Here is something that I want you to think about. The Maquis were a small group of fighters that resisted the Nazis while so many other people all across Europe just allowed what happened without a fight. Think where the world would be if a small group of fierce people did not fight the system – what if they didn’t fight against the status quo?

I have a full explanation of where I got the name Healthcare Maquis on my blog in this article, and in this video on YouTube.

What prompted you to create the Healthcare Maquis?

I have several reasons why I started my business. Health and wellness is my life. Even outside of my educational and professional experience, it is my passion. To give you a comparison, in other cultures I would be considered a medicine woman. I am the person that people in my life look to for medical advice. I want to share my knowledge with the world, and also to have a repository of information for anyone to access.

My authority comes not from the alphabet soup behind my name, but the years of real trial and error. Experience is a better teacher than any professor.

What I talk about on my site and in my videos comes from my real life experiences. I don’t tell you to use Apple Cider Vinegar if I don’t do it myself. I would never suggest Lavender for sleep if I had never used it before.

How has this experience impacted your own health?

I have been on my health journey for a quite awhile. So, often I speak in retrospect on my blog about past experiences. However, health is a journey, not a destination. I am still working toward my goals and sharing what I am doing online helps me be accountable.

Also, I hope in the process, I inspire people to get healthy – if I AM doing it, they can too. For example, I was inspired to do a 28 day challenge where my family and I did not eat out for the month. The challenge was born out of two issues:

  • First, even with my commitment to clean eating and wholesome living, we do eat out. The irony is that the better the choices you make with your food at restaurants the more it’s going to cost you. So avoiding fake burgers and phony potato products was costing me a pretty penny.
  • Second, there were two people in my life who had a terrible eat-out habits. They were going to restaurants daily…drive thru, carryout, gas stations…you name it, they were eating it. You cannot be in control of your health when you are not in control of what you eat.

I created the challenge to inspire them and others that it is possible to eat delicious food at home each and every day with no excuses. I have a family of seven with five of us in the house on a full-time basis. We have different food restrictions, preferences, etc…so there are two different schedules running in my house.

I work from home and homeschool my kids. All while my husband attends college and works 50-60 hours a week. I am absolutely the definition of “busy”. Our life is full, but I manage to keep it together to ensure we live a healthy lifestyle.

If you would like to see what I ate during the month, you can go to my Facebook page where I posted my pictures daily.

I also have compiled an eBook chronicling what I did on the challenge and how you can reduce the amount of restaurant food in your life. The book – entitled 28 Day No Eat Out Challenge –  will be released in October, 2017. I am offering it for free for those who sign up for my email list. You can get on the waiting list for the book here.

Beside diet and exercise, what is your advice to someone who is looking to stay – or get – healthy?

I ran across this quote from a 100 year old woman that made me laugh, but sums up my sentiment. “Stay away from doctors.”

What that means for me is a mindset switch. Doctors and the Western “healthcare” system are not about making or keeping people well. You are a slave to the little pills they give you. You are a slave to the high cost of their ineffective procedures.

Be the boss of your own life.

When you adopt what is called an internal locus of control…meaning you believe that you are in control of what happens to you…you will experience a radical shift in your life.

I have not been to the doctor in over a year. I would tell you how long it has been for other members of my family, but I literally fear the consequences of my truthfulness. nature medicine

At this point, I have no plans on going back. I do see a dentist because he performs an actual function. I see the optometrist because he helps me perform a life function called vision. Outside of that, I have no intention of ever engaging the system again…(p.s. I do pay for that mandatory health insurance EVERY month…I never use it.)

So my advice is start learning about your own body and its needs. Take charge of your own health. Seek out real help when you need it. People like myself and Melissa want to help empower and educate you!

What direction are you taking the Healthcare Maquis in the future?

I will continue to offer the highest quality information on health and wellness that I possibly can. As I develop relationships with other health warriors like Melissa, I would like to partner with people who can offer their expertise/experience to my audience.

The Maquis was not a person, it was a movement. The Nazi philosophy was larger than Hitler. The Nazi ideologies still exist to this day. Imagine if we could create the same kind of positive, lasting legacy for health, wellness and freedom?

To learn how I can help you own your wellness journey, visit me at The Healthcare Maquis website or find me on social media on Twitter @maquishealth and Facebook @TheHealthcareMaquis.

Thank you so much for taking time to learn about me and what I do. nature medicine clean eating recipes

Be free and be well.

Wow! Thank you Leigh for sharing your wisdom and for being so fierce about healthcare! Being healthy doesn’t have to mean continuous doctor visits and taking yet another little pill. Simply starting with good clean food from your local farmer’s market will go a long way toward feeling your best. The way I see it, medicine is sickcare – good food is healthcare!

I’m so grateful you stopped by today. What can I help you with? What questions do you have? Please fill out this short contact form and let’s talk today!

Blessings,

Melissa

 

 

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On Letting Go of Dreams

Letting Go, let go, grief, forgiving myself, emotions of grief, moving forward after loss, My heart is hurting – and shattered – over letting go of a long-held dream. It’s a brutal, soul-sucking time and there are days when I feel so incredibly overwhelmed that all I can do is breathe.

It’s the times when life just relentlessly pounds you into the ground that you learn your own strength. After nearly a decade of pursuing a very personal dream, I received a flash of insight that I was simply beating a dead horse. Nothing will make that dream happen no matter how hard I work; no matter how many positive affirmations I say; no matter how much gratitude I offer for the tiniest shred of life.

The deafening silence is that of doors and windows slamming shut so hard that my brain is rattling.

As a child, whenever I felt the sting of loss, my mother would tell me to quit whining and say that “someone always has it worse”. True. Very. True.

What this shiny pearl of wisdom ignores is that we all have big, deep feelings and hopes and dreams and wants and needs and when they crash to the ground, you’re allowed to mourn.

Despite what you hear, life is not a competition. I’m not going to feel bad about feeling bad simply because your heartbreak is bigger or more life-altering than mine.

Letting Go of the Emotions

It’s okay – even good – to sit with your broken heart and all the swirling emotions. I DIDN’T SAY WALLOW, I SAID SIT. There’s a whole lot of people walking around with bad backs, lung and liver problems, impaired kidneys, chronic pain – any number of physical issues – because they didn’t deal with various emotions when they happened. They just stuffed them away because it was too painful to deal with at the moment.

Stuffing your emotions down the rabbit hole because you’re intent on proving just how tough you are isn’t being strong. It’s setting yourself up for major physical and emotional issues down the road. Again, I’m not talking about wallowing, I’m simply talking about facing the emotions that you’re dealing with before life gets out of hand.

In sitting with your emotions, what I’m asking you to do is to recognize them for what they are. Sometimes, simply writing down on paper all the emotions that are swirling around inside of you can take away some of their power. Then write down WHY you feel these raw emotions so deeply. Again, seeing what you’re dealing with in black and white (or whatever color of pen you use) gives you a different perspective about what’s happening. In this manner, you can let go of some of the rawness.

I’m not going to lie. It takes courage to face something that has altered your life – it does. And that’s where holistic life coaching comes in. I needed some help dealing with all the shit that went down. Yes – life coaches help each other and have each other’s back and I’m so very grateful to be a part of this beautiful and amazing profession.

Along with coaching, I began using a blend that I created to help women deal with emotional aspects of menopause called – oddly enough – MenoPause Aromatherapy Roller Ball. If it helps to balance your emotions when your hormones are on a roller coaster, why not use this during times of extreme emotional distress? I’m grateful to tell you that it has helped me tremendously to deal with the emotional roller coaster I’m riding at the moment.

The Emotions of Grief

For me, tough times require that I go “underground” and by that I mean isolating myself. I need time to process, work out what I did wrong, what I could have done differently – anything to find some semblance of closure.

Isolation may not work for you. You may have a hectic schedule, children that need you at 100% or you may simply dislike being alone. (If that’s the case, we definitely need to talk.) It’s all good. Even a thirty-minute soak in a tub full of Epsom Salts and Lavender will help you process.

What I don’t think is good is rushing headlong into situations that you may find emotionally challenging and threaten your already compromised sense of peace. Create your own sanctuary of peace – whatever that may be. Can you walk around the block? Can you pull weeds in the back yard? Can you paint something? Can you write it all down and then burn it? Listening to your favorite music is a wonderful way to soothe you – just don’t listen to songs that will rip your heart to shreds.

Put a name on your shattered dream. Understanding the why of it all – the vision of your dream and what it meant for you – it takes some serious self-compassion, but will help to provide closure.

What’s really important is to find the perspective in the whole mess and this may simply take a bit of time. Don’t discount or disrespect yourself or anyone else because they mourn a dream. That dream is real and it’s wired into your brain. That’s where a trusted friend or holistic life coach can help you. 

Try to find the courage to form a new dream. I found a wonderful article by Rokelle Lerner about the loss of your dreams. In it, she talks about moving forward after sustaining this kind of loss.

For those who have experienced the death of a dream, it takes courage to dream again. Anyone who has experienced this kind of loss understands the expression, “dare to dream”. It’s definitely daring to get our hearts and minds wrapped around another vision for us. But if we’re willing to take the chance, it provides a powerful affirmation of life that feeds our spirit.

Your Spirituality in the Face of Dashed Dreams

I just gotta tell you – I’m not much of a spiritual person and religion just isn’t my cup of tea. I can only imagine how much I’m going to upset and offend a whole lot of people with that statement.

The whole point of that little tidbit of sharing is to let you know that it’s perfectly fine to step away temporarily (or forever, for that matter) from whatever supreme-being-of-your-choice you know. I’ve had to completely step away from all of it, especially the bullshit of “everything happens for a reason” or THE absolute worst: “it just wasn’t meant to be”. That makes me absolutely crazy when people say that to someone who has experienced loss of any kind be it person, pet, job or dream.

It’s okay to step away. It’s okay to be really pissed off at the supreme-being-of-your-choice. You know what? In the long run, YOU have your own back. YOU know what’s best for you. You know how hard you worked to make your dream a reality. Only YOU know how much it hurts. Period.

I will say again, this is not the time to wallow. I’m not wallowing; I simply had to take a hard look at my dependence upon some invisible dictator (the actual term for “dictator” will remain private) that holds my dreams hostage. All I’m saying is don’t add insult to injury by feeling guilty about grieving or stepping away from some dogma that already creates stress in your life.

On the flip side of that burger, if you depend upon the supreme-being-of-your-choice for your cup of daily strength and well being, by all means, please do. If depending on your higher power gets you through each day upright and sober, hang on for dear life.

No matter what, don’t apologize for feeling the way you do. Your feelings are REAL.

Moving Forward

What now? Well, right now, I’m putting on my happy face when I’m out in public. In private, that’s totally my business and when you’re grieving, it’s your own personal business, too. If you don’t want to share your private grief with anyone, please don’t.

But, if you don’t have anyone in your life that you feel you can share your grief without judgment (I don’t), by all means, get yourself a life coach. We’re trained to help you move through the stuck places and truthfully, I can pull it all together and help you a lot easier than I can help myself. That’s why life coaches have life coaches. 

The biggest thing is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the real (or imagined) failures and the coulda/shoulda/wouldas of life that get in the way of healing after a major loss. If it’s possible, visualize yourself stuffing all the dashed dreams and heartache into a big suitcase, taking it to the bus station or airport, set the suitcase down – and walk away. This gives you a visual way of moving forward after loss.

If you’re not sure how to forgive, this is what works for me. When you’ve been wronged and you need to forgive, try sending love and light to the person who wronged you including yourself. Even when the apology never comes – or you need to forgive yourself – sending love and light is a compassionate way to begin the process.

Here are some other ideas that may be helpful for you:

  • Look for your favorite color every time you go out. This opens your heart and eyes to opportunities.
  • Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Your body does better when it has enough hydration.
  • Rest just a bit more than you normally would. Listen to your body – it’s telling you important information.

These wonderful words of wisdom from Danielle LaPorte (one of my favorite authors) may also help you in your process:If you let go of a dream, a bigger reality may appear. We’ll just have to see about that.

Understand that grief is different for everyone in different situations. There’s no time limit. There’s also no shame when the grief washes over you in waves at the most unexpected times. Be kind to yourself!

In the meantime, I want you to know that I’ve had my share of bumps, bruises and heartbreaks and when you need someone who has a listening ear, an understanding heart and no judgment, I’m here to be your life coach and aromatherapist.

I’m at your service. Capiche?

I’m so blessed and grateful that you stopped by today. Fill out this short contact form and let’s get started moving forward today. 

Blessings,

Melissa

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Better Health With A Certified Health Coach

certified health coach, alternative medicine, what does a health coach do
Image By Freepic.com

During the summer of 2017, health insurance was in the news – a LOT. The insurance landscape is changing and the fight isn’t over yet. Many of us may yet find ourselves without insurance or be unable to afford regular traditional doctor visits.

So what are the alternatives to traditional medicine? I wrote the Uninsured series of posts where I talked about alternative and complementary modalities to help you stay healthy without insurance. (This is Part 1 of the series.)

Of course, I tackled many of the issues that I can help you address as a certified aromatherapist and holistic life coach. But I wanted to educate you about other wellness practitioners who also excel at helping you stay – or get – healthy. Over the next few months, I’m inviting practitioners from all areas to write about what they do and how they can help you get and stay healthy.

Today, meet Stefanie Draper, a Certified Health Coach in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina. Stefanie explains how she can help you navigate all the options when it comes to your health.

How Can A Health Coach Help Me?

A healthy lifestyle in this day and time has lots of options in the way of health food stores, holistic helpers and healers, supplements, gyms and yoga studios, organic food options, and on and on. So why is it such a challenge to be healthy?! If we have all these support networks we should have healthy bodies and healthy lives, right?

The majority of us know what we should be doing, yet most of us don’t implement what is necessary to be truly healthy. Pile on top of that the issues our health care system presents, and we can find ourselves in a real pickle! If we are depending on the government, our primary care physician, or our prescriptions to keep us healthy, we really do have another think coming. Melissa has brought to us a wonderful discussion, because clearly it is time for us to begin seeing our health resources differently.

I am a Certified Health Coach. I received a B.A. degree in Exercise & Sport Sciences from UNC Chapel Hill and proceeded to become a Personal Trainer for many years after graduation. My heart always focused on the whole person though, their mind, body, and spirit. I realized that without addressing the entirety of a person’s life and mindset, change was difficult and short-lived. I became a Certified Health Coach (CHC) with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition so I could help people find the long-lasting solutions unique to their lives and personal situation.

My wellness journey began in high school when I was placed on a special diet via a homeopath to remedy systemic candida (yeast) overgrowth which could not be overcome by traditional medical remedies. It opened my eyes to another way of viewing health and wellness. Where traditional medicine could not help me, holistic “medicine” did. It was a little longer of a process, and I had to learn a lot, but my life has never been the same. I am not dependent on our traditional medical system, I don’t need or use pharmaceuticals, and I feel great!

What Does a Health Coach Do?

Certified Health Coaches are a fantastic alternative support system for people seeking a more energetic, vibrant, and stable way of life. Doctors of all kinds are necessary in society for acute issues and basic yearly check-ups. When we are in an auto accident, break an arm, or have a heart attack, we are grateful we have them! Yet I want to suggest that as you take responsibility over your daily routine and integrate healthy lifestyle practices, our bodies can heal, strengthen, renew, and sustain themselves to bring balance and wellness to us! It’s amazing what our bodies can do on their own; they want to be well!

As a CHC, my aim is to listen to your goals and desires and help you form a plan perfectly tailored to your lifestyle and needs. The key is fun, simple, and sustainable goal setting on bi-monthly basis to move at a pace which allows change to truly take root. This way you find yourself suddenly doing healthy practices naturally, without stress or frustration! Implementing a new lifestyle takes time and a little discipline, but the results are nothing short of inspiring and you have someone to help you every step of the way.

Alternative Medicine

So if you find yourself uninsured (I have been so myself more often than not these last few years) don’t feel stranded! Properly trained massage therapists, reiki practitioners, chiropractors, health coaches, personal trainers, Chinese herbalists, aromatherapists, and many other holistic wellness providers offer a wealth of information and knowledge to help you take care of the necessary components of your mind, body, and spirit. It may take some time, but once that wheel of wellness is set in motion, you can’t help but feel better and better until the thought of being uninsured is in the background.

So, barring catastrophic insurance, I see a world where preventative care providers are our ‘insurance’ and traditional medical practitioners become secondary. Sound like a crazy statement? Think of the issues that would be remedied if this were the case!

To learn even more about what I do, please visit my website (www.stefaniedraper.com). My blog has some wonderful tips and information you may find helpful as well as my Pinterest page (www.pinterest.com/stefaniepdraper ) which has recipes, exercises, and other wellness links to whet your mental appetite.

Also, I offer free consultations for anyone interested in taking the first step towards increasing wellness in their life. You may email me (stef@stefaniedraper.com) or send me a note through my website.

I look forward to meeting you and supporting your wellness journey. I never get tired of seeing a life transformed and am honored at the opportunity to do that with you!

Thank you Stefanie for your amazing approach to staying healthy. I hope Stefanie has opened your eyes to alternative approaches if you find yourself uninsured!

Blessings,

Melissa

 

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5 Good Reasons For Self-Acceptance

finding the right tribe, self acceptance, love yourself, what does self esteem mean, setting healthy boundaries,It’s just been the last few years that I understood the concept of self-acceptance. Last week, I touched on the body shaming that I’m exposed to at the markets where I sell my products. Which got me to thinking…if you’re ashamed of your body, isn’t that a huge part of not accepting yourself?

It is indeed part of accepting yourself.

But disliking your own body is just the tip of the iceberg. The subject of self-acceptance (and its’ opposite, self-loathing) causes many an eye-roll especially from those who think the entire concept is ridiculous.

As a holistic life coach, I’ve learned just how amazing life is when you practice self-acceptance.

#1. Self-Acceptance Leads to More Peace

You are a human being and all human beings have faults and pasts and things we’re not proud of and mistakes and heartbreaks and grief – you get the picture. Showing compassion and not judging yourself so harshly allows you to release some of the stress in your life.

Okay – so you did something stupid. How does obsessing over it help? Would you REALLY tell your best friend how stupid she is if she did the same thing? So why do you beat the living snot out of yourself for being human?

If there’s anyone who’s a pro at beating the snot out of themselves, it’s me. My theory was that if I beat myself up first, then you couldn’t hurt me any worse than what I’ve already done.

Accept that you’re less than perfect and not every single day will be stellar – allow yourself this much and you’ll find your stress level greatly reduced which invites more peace.

#2 Self-Acceptance Leads to Less Judgement

Sometimes, we’re so busy judging if what we have right now is good or bad that we don’t stop to enjoy life in this moment. We compare ourselves to the wonderful (albeit false) social media life that we believe everyone has except us. It may be tough, but sometimes simply accepting where you’re at in life helps you see the beauty that is around you at this moment. And when you can see the beauty from moment to moment, you’re far less likely to judge yourself – or anyone else – with a hardened heart.

Harsh and negative judgement about yourself (or others) is like trying to control a two year old having a temper tantrum in the middle of a crowded store. Your every thought is completely driven by emotion and hatred of what’s going on at this moment.

Sound familiar?

  • I shouldn’t have done ________. I’m so stupid!
  • That was a lousy decision and now look at my miserable life!
  • Of course he won’t call back – can I be any more boring?
  • I could just kick myself for saying _________. How could I have lost control like that?

In writing for PsychologyToday.com, Leon F. Seltzer, PhD, says:

To become more self-accepting, we must start by telling ourselves (repeatedly and–hopefully–with ever-increasing conviction) that given all of our negatively biased self-referencing beliefs, we’ve done the best we possibly could. In this light, we need to re-examine residual feelings of guilt, as well as our many self-criticisms and put-downs. We must ask ourselves specifically what it is we don’t accept about ourselves and, as agents of our own healing, bring compassion and understanding to each aspect of self-rejection or denial. By doing so, we can begin to dissolve exaggerated feelings of guilt and shame based on standards that simply didn’t mirror what could realistically be expected of us at the time.

There’s a pattern here that’s sometimes hard to break because you simply aren’t aware of what you’re doing – it’s become a habit. Simply stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. To help change this habit, see what’s around you in this moment that you can accept with some measure of grace. Remember, nobody has the perfect life – nobody at all!

#3 Self-Acceptance Leads to Finding The Right People for YOU

Not only am I a middle child but I spent a lifetime being a people pleaser. Therefore, I became the person everyone else wanted me to be. I wanted to be liked and I wanted desperately to fit in. My opinions were not accepted so I became critical, exhausted, defensive, fearful – and the worst – feeling like a fraud. I completely lost my real self because I wanted to please everyone on my path. When you live in your own integrity – live the right life for you – the right people always come into your life.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. They fill a need you have, to teach you a lesson or to teach you to grow as a human being. Look around at the people in your life. What does their collective presence tell you? Are you in mostly satisfying relationships? Do you have more than your share of toxic relationships? 

At one point in my life, every single relationship in my daily life was in a complete shambles. I had reached the point of total burn out and there was no relief in sight. Over the course of about three months, I looked at who I was – who I REALLY was. And I didn’t know Melissa at all. The face staring back at me in the mirror was in pain because I just wanted to fit in with people that weren’t really right for me. I blew in whatever direction the wind blew because I wanted to be accepted. I never was accepted for the real me because I didn’t accept the real me. When I stepped out of the box people had put me in, those relationships completely fell apart.

My tribe – those beautiful souls who are right for me – consists of less than 10 people. In that group, there’s kindness, honesty, compassion – and the best part of all? When my light was so dim, it was this very small circle of friends who saw my light for me.

I have learned to accept and love my quirks. I’m brave, wise, feisty, sassy, compassionate, opinionated, and warm. I refuse to dim my light to make someone else feel comfortable. 

When you accept yourself, you will find the right friends – the right people will show up in your life.

#4 Self-Acceptance Leads to More Energy

When you don’t accept who you really are, you tend to focus on everyone else around you. You spend so much time worrying about what everyone thinks, how to make them happy, how to fit in and how to be accepted that you don’t have time for anything else. And that includes taking care of yourself.

You can’t give someone a drink from an empty cup. When you’re tired, frustrated and maybe even lost your way, your energy is sapped. There’s no joy in life and there’s nothing left over for you. When you accept exactly who you are – warts and all – then you don’t have to hide or spend time denying the real you.

Condemning the parts of yourself that you cannot accept eats away at your self-esteem and in turn, your energy. This isn’t to say that you ignore or make excuses for poor behavior. It simply means you don’t apologize for taking up space on the planet. You are a beautiful soul and there’s no need to hide your light or apologize for being who you are!

#5 Self-Acceptance Leads to Setting Healthy Boundaries

How many times have you said yes to something that you really didn’t want to do? You really want to say no, but somebody’s feelings are hurt, and now you feel bad and unacceptable.

You have a right to personal boundaries and truthfully, it’s your responsibility to teach people how to treat you. Your needs and desires are every bit as important as the next guy. If something doesn’t fit with your life, your time or your ethics, simply – and respectfully – say “No, thank you.” It’s a complete sentence and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Period.

Setting healthy boundaries allows you to put yourself first and make decisions that are right for you. If there are some who get angry and choose not to be in your life, see point number 3 above.

Where Does Holistic Life Coaching Fit In?

I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way by not accepting the real person I am. Through the wisdom of holistic life coaching, I learned just how valuable a human being I am. My paradigms have changed, and I’ve learned to accept who I am without becoming a punching bag for the self-help industry.

Let’s talk today. Take a moment to fill out a short contact form and let’s get started.

Blessings,

Melissa

 

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Wanna Look Good Naked?

Wanna Look Good Naked, self esteem, positive body image, how to be happy with myself, how to love myselfI always ask people who visit Scented Balance if they wanna look good naked and I usually get a hearty laugh. That tagline does get your attention and I’m happy it makes people smile. :0)

There are so many beautiful souls who visit Scented Balance and when they leave, I nearly always have a broken heart. You see, I carefully handcraft five amazing body butters that truly hydrate your skin. Hydrated skin looks and feels better than dry, itchy skin. When your skin is hydrated, it looks beautiful.

Hydrated, beautiful skin LOOKS GOOD NAKED.

So why is my heart broken? Read a few of the comments I get when I ask someone if they wanna look good naked:

“Nothing could make me look good naked!”

“Oh gawd – I’m way too old to worry about that!”

“It would take a LOT more than that to make me look good naked!”

“Honey, I need a miracle to look good naked!”

As a society, what have we taught people (mainly women) for them to feel so disgusted by their own naked body? Why do we get so self-deprecating when we talk about looking – and feeling – good in our own skin? It’s not just self-deprecating – it’s cruel! Why are we are so cruel when we talk about our bodies, especially women? Why aren’t we building self-esteem and a positive body image with little girls – the most vulnerable of all?

Several years ago, I belonged to a non-profit group of about forty to fifty women and we had speakers come to each meeting to talk about something interesting. One particular speaker asked everyone in the room to raise their hand if they loved their body and were happy in their own skin.

All two of us raised our hands.

You read that right.

TWO women said they loved their body and felt happy in their own skin. TWO.

I’m grateful that I was one of the two to raise a hand. I’m happy with my body and happy in my own skin – just the way I am and you should be, too. It took some time and introspection, but I knew I had to learn how to love myself and by the time I hit my mid thirties, I felt like I did love myself – and my body.

It doesn’t matter what size you are; it doesn’t matter how short or tall you are; it doesn’t matter what your shape is; it doesn’t matter about anything except that you’re happy in your own skin.

Did you know that 2/3 of women in America are considered plus size because they wear a 12 or larger? But wait – the only people we see on television and in fashion magazines are 5’11” and 110 pounds. WHY DO WE THINK THIS IS NORMAL – OR WORSE YET – REALISTIC?

WOW. When did we get so fixated on body shaming? How is body shaming any different than bullying? Why do we think that only tall, slender women are the yardstick by which all women must be measured? Sweetness – I ain’t tall – I ain’t slender – I ain’t a model. BUT – I am beautiful – at least I think I am.

What YOU think about my body is none of my business. And I refuse to judge you or anyone else based on the way you look. Because we’re all different. We’re all beautiful. We’re all unique. There’s a lot of folks who body-shame because if you are one extreme or the other, than they (whoever they are) think you’re not healthy or within the “norm”. Whose norm? And just who are “they” to think their opinion of a woman’s body is right OR important?

Screw ’em.

Please pay attention here. Now!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE AMAZING. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE SEEN.

JUST AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW.

It’s Important to Love Your Body

I really want you to find a way to be happy in your own skin – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Your mental health, your self-esteem, your very health depends on how you love your body. That’s where I can help as an aromatherapist and holistic life coach.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, I have awesome and simple tools to help you be comfortable in your own skin. Do you get what I mean by that? Too many people (again, particularly women) are being told and shamed into believing that they are “less than” because they are a different body type. It’s time to STOP judging humanity based on pounds or shape or height or anything else but character.

It’s time for each of us to be the beautiful person we truly are because we are breathing. Period.

Please take time to move your beautiful body, if only for five minutes every day. Simply stretching your body is amazing and will do wonders. If you can do more, please do. Move, jump, run, walk, stretch, lift weights, breathe – do what you can. Every. Single. Day.

You will be amazed at how happy you feel about your body after just a few days.

The time for body shaming and self-loathing is over. I’m asking you RIGHT NOW – TODAY – LOVE YOUR BODY. If you can’t, then let’s talk. Let me show you how to love your body and be happy in your own skin through the wisdom of aromatherapy and holistic life coaching.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to love who you are in your own skin is to hydrate your skin with organic body butters. Let me show you just how beautiful you can look naked. #wannalookgoodnaked

I’m a phone call away or you can fill out this short contact form and I’ll take it from there. Let’s be kind to ourselves – love your own skin.

Don’t wait – let’s talk today!

Blessings,

Melissa

The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Please see a qualified medical professional for any and all health issues.

 

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Monkey Business

adult coloring book, stress relief, Burn Out, Summer Fun, monkey business, fun things to do, fun activities, what to do when you're bored, One of my favorite business gurus is Marie Forleo. She is self-made, silly, salty, wise, witty and believes in work-life balance and sharing your special gift with the world that only YOU have. (That’s Marie’s words – not mine!)

Each week, Marie films a short video to answer an interesting business dilemma. Her videos are fun and full of information to boost your self-confidence and knowledge in life and business. OMG, the outtakes are worth watching – just saying…

Over a period of two weeks in July, she unplugged from serious business and treated us to films of her magical monkey business in August. Which made me start to think  about my own work-life balance. Didja smell the smoke from all that thinking?

I’d like to be very honest here. Right now, balance seems non-existent.

Here I’m supposed to be this calm and centered aromatherapist and holistic life coach available to guide you toward getting unstuck in every area of your life and enjoy the process.

Right now, it feels like anything but balanced.

Has it been that kind of summer for you? Did it go by so damned fast that you barely saw the sunshine? Did you get any real down time or play time at all?

Nope.

Which is why I’m taking a short break from writing in my blog about such serious business to make time for a little monkey business. I’d like to share that little bit of monkey business in my personal life and in my practice with you.

We all need a break to recharge our batteries, to feel refreshed and to restore sagging energy. Even the strongest among us need a moment to catch their breath. And that’s where I am today as I write this.

I try to plan out my posts and research the information I present so that you receive something worth reading every single week. Have I hit it out of the park every week? Most likely – no.

So, in the spirit of not hitting it out of the park every single time, take a moment in your insanely over-packed, stressful day to enjoy a little monkey business with Marie:

 

 

Just taking the five minutes to watch Wisdom From Nanny gave my heart a much needed boost. I hope Marie – and I (by sharing) – brought a little bit of sunshine to your day, especially if you’ve been slogging through the summer. It’s a sweet primer on what to do when your bored, experiencing burn out or need some stress relief.

I’ve often heard that the new year begins when the kids go back to school and it’s that time (already?) again. So, let’s all take a moment in this “new year” to promise ourselves more play time, more time with those people who make us smile, more time to de-stress, more time to do whatever creative thing recharges our batteries and more time to love ourselves and our tribe.

Fun Things To Do When You’re Bored, Experiencing Burn Out Or Need Stress Relief

Tell me: what makes you absolutely glow – what are some fun things to do that make you happy? Is it making time to draw; taking a short camping trip or a trip to the beach (oh yeah!), swinging in the hammock under a tree; fishing; or is it sharing a bottle of wine and laughter with good friends? When’s the last time you had a water balloon fight? Why not get some colored pencils and an awesome adult coloring book and see what happens?

For me, right now, I’m making a book with my dreams in it. I’m not ready to share those dreams, but believe me, they are in living color and speak to my soul. My dream book is not just a private board on Pinterest, but a real live book with real pages filled with real dreams.

Think of the fun activities that recharge your batteries and take time to do that – today – right now. Life is short and precious and it goes by oh-so-fast.

Are you feeling stuck today? Do you have a sense of frustration that you just can’t put your finger on? Do you sometimes wonder if this is all there is? Is the mundane stuff of life biting you where it hurts?

That’s where I come in as your favorite (I hope) aromatherapist and holistic life coach. Let me help you get unstuck in every area of your life – and feel good about doing it.

You wanna know something? You teach me, too. I’m humbled by your kindness and trust; I’m grateful for your business, confidence and loyalty and I love helping you see what’s on the other side of your burnout.

Let’s work together, okay? It’s time to see the beauty of your hopes and dreams and reach for them.

Don’t wait – contact me and let’s get started today.

Blessings,

Melissa

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Uninsured – Part 8 – The Key To Your Overall Wellbeing

no insurance, traditional chinese medicine, uninsured, affordable health care without insurance, no health insurance, alternative healthcare, Your overall wellbeing is incredibly important especially when you are uninsured. This week, I wrap up the Uninsured series.

If you would like to start at the beginning, here is the first installment. Last week, I touched on digestive issues and how aromatherapy and holistic life coaching can help.

As I write this post (August, 2017), healthcare – as we know it – is still accessible for most of us. That doesn’t mean it will be safe forever as the healthcare landscape is drastically changing.

Hospitals, insurance companies and big pharma (also known as the medical mafia) control how – and who – gets access to healthcare. I’m reading about rumors that hospitals are trying to create their own form of health insurance to compete with the insurance companies. Maybe this is a good thing and maybe not.

Do you realize that healthcare is the only industry where you don’t know the cost of your care until AFTER you’ve used it? Insurance companies and hospitals keep us in the dark about the price of tests and procedures which drives up the cost in the long run. It’s a proven fact that competition drives prices down and healthcare leaders jealously guard their true cost information – on purpose.

Imagine if your mechanic kept you in the dark about the price of your car repairs until after they were done. Think what would happen if you went to the grocery store and bought your weekly food supply without knowing any price until you got to the register. What would happen if you didn’t know your hourly wage until after you worked your 40 hours?

So why do we allow hospitals and doctors to keep us in the dark? WHY?

Because “they” make money by keeping us in the dark.

The state of healthcare frustrates and angers me because it’s skewed toward the wealthiest and healthiest. I’m blessed to be very healthy but that doesn’t mean I will always remain that way. I work hard to take care of my body, mind and spirit but I know it won’t last forever.

Pharmaceutical companies have proven time and time again that they are putting their profits ahead of our wellness. Now, before you get mad and say that of course they have to make money to stay in business – I completely get that! Remember – I’m a small business owner myself.

Big pharma has infiltrated the medical schools to the point that they will not allow any natural remedies to be taught or used. Allopathic physicians cannot recommend anything that is not approved by the FDA. What does that mean for you? It means that they can only recommend expensive drugs that damage your liver and create side effects – and of course you have to take another pill to counteract the side effects of the first pill. They make money only when you’re ill.

It also means that physicians cannot legally recommend any natural treatment because it will help you get better. A healthy population doesn’t make money for the healthcare industry.

Where does it end? Since when did we become so blindly dependent on television commercials to diagnose and treat our maladies? When did we stop listening to our bodies and depend solely on the opinion of a white coat that we see for 15 minutes once a year?

Have we taken leave of our senses? No. We’ve become incredibly lazy.

We want a “magic pill” to reverse a lifetime of poor lifestyle choices. We don’t want to exercise, cook real food, stop watching television or staring into our phones because there’s no motivation when we can just take a pill to “fix it”.

Where Did All The Pills Come From?

Herbs, botanicals and essential oils (aromatherapy) were the forerunner of your current toxic pills. Up until the mid-20th century, we relied on the bounty of nature to help us stay healthy. Don’t believe me? Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have relied on nature for their healthcare for thousands of years. Here are the basic beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):

The ancient beliefs on which TCM is based include the following:

  • The human body is a miniature version of the larger, surrounding universe.
  • Harmony between two opposing yet complementary forces, called yin and yang, supports health, and disease results from an imbalance between these forces.
  • Five elements—fire, earth, wood, metal, and water—symbolically represent all phenomena, including the stages of human life, and explain the functioning of the body and how it changes during disease.
  • Qi, a vital energy that flows through the body, performs multiple functions in maintaining health.

There is a time and a place for Western medicine and pharmaceuticals. There is a time and a place for natural homeopathic healthcare. And, there is room for both. 

Yes, this is an angry and frustrated post. What I hope to do is take that anger and frustration and turn it into something good. That’s what I want to do through Scented Balance. I want to educate you on alternative and complementary forms of healthcare that could keep you healthier in the long run if you have no health insurance.

What I hope I have accomplished over the last eight weeks is to give you honest information on available alternatives that you can use to take charge of your own health without relying strictly on Western medicine – especially if you have no affordable insurance. I hope I have given you an understanding of viable alternatives for affordable health care without insurance.

In the future, I have lined up a number of wellness practitioners who want to talk to you about their particular modality. Complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners of

  • chiropractic
  • acupuncture
  • acupressure
  • therapeutic massage
  • reflexology
  • health coaching
  • homeopathy
  • functional medicine
  • integrative medicine
  • reiki healing

We’ve already talked about how aromatherapy and holistic life coaching can address so many issues you face. Please take advantage of my aromatherapy and holistic life coaching skills to address your concerns. Remember – it’s all connected – body, mind and spirit.

The very bottom line of healthcare is YOU. You hold the key to your own healing and wellness. Only YOU can take charge of your overall wellbeing.

Fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today!

Blessings,

Melissa

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Uninsured – Part 7 – Digestive Issues

Relief for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS Diet, IBS Treatment, What is IBS, Natural Remedies for Irritable Bowel SyndromeIn week 7 of my continuing Uninsured Series, I touch upon digestive issues – mainly Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I don’t get gross, so even if you don’t have this disorder, please read on – you may know someone who does.

Last week, I talked about sinus issues and how aromatherapy can make a real difference without side effects.

Ultimately, all but the healthiest may be uninsured (digestive disorders are considered a pre-existing condition), so please read about the alternative options and share this post with your friends and family.

If you are new to Scented Balance and would like to start at the very beginning of the series, here is Part One of Uninsured.

During aromatherapy school, one of my case studies dealt with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) on a daily basis. She still does manage her symptoms – and is using a blend called Tummy Tamer Aromatherapy Roller Ball to help calm her symptoms. I’ll get into how aromatherapy can address your digestive concerns in just a moment.

What Is IBS?

You may very well be familiar with the symptoms of digestive distress known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome: 

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

WebMD.com states that 70% of all patients diagnosed with IBS are women. What??? Holy Smokes Batman…think about that! I’m going to offer up my opinion – strictly opinion – okay? Women are under a lot more stress in life and we can argue this point for a thousand years, but the bottom line is that women feel the effects of stress far more acutely than men. I won’t go into the million reasons why as that is for another blog post for another day.

Doctors are not sure what initially causes IBS, but they believe that stress, diet changes and hormonal variations play a big role. From what reliable information I can find, once you are diagnosed with this disorder, you simply manage your symptoms as there is no cure. I feel bad even saying that.

There is another chronic condition called Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) and in addition to the above symptoms, inflammation is usually present.

Symptoms of Digestive Issues

Your doctor or naturopathic physician will have to diagnose and recommend an IBS treatment either based on your symptoms or by running some tests. The symptoms of any digestive issue – let alone IBS – are mainly gas, bloating, abdominal cramps and alternating constipation and diarrhea. Honestly, if we all look in the mirror, at one time or another, we’ve ALL suffered from those symptoms and you know how annoying it is. 

Can you imagine living under constant threat of diarrhea all during your workday? Can you imagine not being able to have a bowel movement for days at a time? Every one of us has dealt with the gas and bloating from a heavy meal (think Thanksgiving Day) – and seriously,  it’s miserable.

If you have a severe form of IBS, your doctor or naturopathic physician can help you manage your symptoms with medication. If you have indigestion or a mild form of IBS, there’s a possible alternative to toxic prescriptions through aromatherapy.

How Can Aromatherapy Help My IBS Symptoms?

Like I said earlier, one of my case studies in aromatherapy school lives with IBS and I really wanted to make a difference in her life by using essential oils. My case study works in retail and you can’t always leave your station during the workday, so you need something that’s portable and simple to help you manage some tough digestive issues.

I created Tummy Tamer Aromatherapy Roller Ball to see if it would help her manage her symptoms especially during the workday. This is what my case study said after using the blend on a regular basis:

I used my roller ball 4 times each day. While nothing will cure my IBS, I just wanted some sort of help managing my symptoms without all the side effects. As long as I use Tummy Tamer and watch my diet, I believe I am managing my symptoms without resorting to yet another pill.

If your doctor or naturopathic physician believes you need to be on a pill to help you manage your symptoms, by all means PLEASE do what your medical professional says. But what if you can’t go to the doctor because you have no insurance?

Let’s talk about natural relief for irritable bowel syndrome.

The Role of Aromatherapy and Holistic Life Coaching in IBS Treatment.

When given the proper tools, the human body has the amazing power to heal itself. I cannot heal, fix, cure or change your illness. I can’t. (Oh, how I wish I could!) What I can do is create a blend that allows you to manage your symptoms with some measure of ease and elegance. Both aromatherapy and holistic life coaching give you more tools in your healthcare toolkit to help yourself.

As your holistic life coach, I’d like to ask you:

  • What emotional turmoil did you experience that left you feeling “punched in the stomach”?
  • What is “eating” at you?
  • Is there is “gut feeling” that you’re ignoring?
  • What part of your life are you having trouble “digesting”?
  • If you struggle with constipation, what are you “holding on to”?

My calling as your aromatherapist and life coach is to help you reach the other side of fear, frustration and anger – even when you don’t realize it’s there. My gift is to help you see the possibilities that lie ahead of you. My passion is to help you get past yesterday and look forward to tomorrow – to help you get unstuck in every area of your life.

Will it be easy? No. Sometimes, we have an “aha” session and sometimes we don’t. It’s all up to you. I’m here to guide you and hold a sacred space for you while you grow. I’m here to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. I’m here to help you move forward in life with grace and ease.

The Role of Diet With IBS and IBD

From Patient.com, here are some simple guidelines for your everyday diet when managing IBS and IBD:

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Plenty of starchy carbohydrates. Examples include bread, rice, cereals, pasta, potatoes, chapattis and plantain.
  • Some milk and dairy products (2-3 portions per day). If you are lactose intolerant include dairy alternatives such as soya, rice or oat milk and yoghurts that are enriched with calcium.
  • Some protein foods: meat, fish, eggs and alternatives such as beans and pulses.
  • Limited amounts of foods high in fats and sugars. Limit saturated fat that is found in animal products such as butter, ghee, cheese, meat, cakes, biscuits and pastries. Replace these with unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
  • Drink plenty of fluid – at least two litres daily, such as water or herbal teas.

Other Natural Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Exercise in any form is ideal for relieving stress and anxiety. Simply taking a walk for a few minutes can relieve some of the emotional or mental pressure that builds up. Start with 5 minutes every day – stretch to the best of your ability; then simply add a few minutes of movement each day as your body allows.
  • Take it easy on the dairy products. Many people who live with some sort of chronic digestive discomfort may be lactose-intolerant and might not realize it. Just make sure you are getting your calcium and protein from other healthy sources. If you’re not sure about your diet, a certified health coach can guide you in making healthy choices. One of my favorite health coaches is Stephanie Draper and she believes that being healthy doesn’t have to be hard.
  • Meditation. Or prayer. Or whatever you want to call it. Simply sitting quietly for 5 minutes every single day can help to relieve stress. I know. If you’re like me, you can think of 62 things that you could be doing instead of sitting there. I’m simply asking you to sit quietly and focus on your breath for just a few short minutes.
  • Acupuncture can help with stress and in turn, help with your digestive issues.
  • Have a regular meal pattern; try not to skip meals; follow a healthy IBS diet.
  • Sit down and take time when eating meals; chew your food well.
  • Don’t eat late at night.

Don’t wait until your symptoms are full-blown and draining you of any joy in life. While there is no cure for IBS, you can manage your symptoms and get relief for irritable bowel syndrome.

 Please take a moment to fill out this short contact form today. Let’s get started now.

Blessings,

Melissa

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any  products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Discuss any and all health issues with a qualified medical professional.

 

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Uninsured – Part 6 – Sinus Issues

Sinusitis, Sinus Infection Treatment, Home Remedies for Sinus Infection, Sinus Infections, Symptoms of Sinus InfectionOver the last few weeks, we’ve talked about alternative and complementary healthcare for those who may ultimately be uninsured. This week, I touch on sinus issues and how to treat them if you can’t go to the doctor. If you are new to Scented Balance and would like to read the entire series, begin with Part One.

GAH! Sinus and allergy issues are so-o-o absolutely annoying. Constant stuffy head, runny nose, itchy eyes and of course – you always have to take some pill to manage your symptoms.

Oh – and are you feeling spacey from all that medication?

Sinus and allergy problems are nothing to laugh at. On average, 37 million of us suffer from some sort of issue that causes congestion, sneezing, swelling of nasal cavities and a general sense of pressure across the face and cheekbones. We spend billions of dollars every year to relieve those symptoms and it’s a guessing game to figure out which pill works – if it works.

What Causes Sinus Issues?

According to WebMD.com, there are 8 sinus cavities across your face and behind your eyes. If you have any sort of blockage, the mucous backs up and out come the tissues. Seriously – who knew so much snot could fit into such a small space?

The most common causes of sinus issues are:

  • Blockages
  • An extra sinus (!!)
  • Deviated septum
  • Narrow sinuses
  • Sinus sensitivities and allergies

My son – who is now an adult – was born with sinus issues right out of the gate. Even as an infant, his sinuses would clog up so much that he would feel nauseated. Heredity plays a part here as well. If you have one or both parents with sinus issues, chances are good that you will have the same issues, too.

How to Open Your Nasal Passages

A cold or allergy can precipitate a sinus infection, so the trick is to keep your nasal passages as clear and open as possible. Here are some easy ways to help keep your sinuses open:

  • Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day to help open the transition spaces.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus.
  • Inhale steam two to four times per day. Sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running.
  • Use a nasal saline spray several times per day.
  • Wash your nose with a salt water solution from a neti pot.
  • Get a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe and help open sinuses.

If you’ve tried all of the above and not seeing much improvement, take at look at SinusRight Personal Nasal Inhaler. The ingredients are mainly conifer essential oils that get your sinuses moving to address congestion and any possible infection. If you are sensitive to conifer trees, I will make a custom blend of oils that address your congestion and headaches. I also make a SinusRight inhaler for children under 10.

Another product that is ideal for sinus headaches is Headache Ease Aromatherapy Rollerball. You simply apply the rollerball directly to your sinuses to ease the pain.

Why Use Aromatherapy for Sinus Issues?

Why use essential oils? There are no side effects like there are with over-the-counter medications. Essential oils are plant-based, therefore, they are excellent for addressing your congestion, headache and sinus pressure symptoms. In cases of inflammation (sinusitis), there are a number of essential oils which are excellent anti-inflammatories to address infection.

Even if all you have on hand is Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternafolia) essential oil, put two drops in a bowl of steaming water and cover your head with a towel for 10 minutes. Tea Tree essential oil is a proven antimicrobial and helps with congestion and infection.

I’ve heard for years that local, raw honey produced within 5 miles of your residence is excellent for building up an immunity if you have sinus issues. Take one tablespoon twice a day. You want to make sure you get your honey from a local producer and not the standard stuff on the grocery shelf. The grocery store brands are processed and heated to the point that they’re only good for sweetening.

Acupressure, acupuncture and chiropractic care are all excellent alternatives to taking medication as well. All are proven to help with sinus issues. Reiki works with your energy and it very well be that you have stuck energy in your sinus area.

How can I help you today? I’m a skilled certified aromatherapist and holistic life coach and I can help you get unstuck from every area of your life and feel good about doing it. Furthermore, I believe in the power of essential oils and a holistic view of your body, mind and spirit when it comes to your overall heath.

Please take a moment to fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today.

Blessings,

Melissa

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional for any health issues.

 

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Uninsured – Part 5 – Depression

Depression – it falls into that small category of things like combat that, if you haven’t been in it, you can say you can imagine it all you like. But it’s truly different. Dick Cavett

Depression, signs of depression, Postpartum Depression, Am I Depressed, Mental HealthToday, I touch upon depression in my continuing series on healthcare options for those who may find themselves uninsured. If the current AHCA healthcare plan is passed, mental health is one of many illnesses that insurance plans may not cover along with pregnancy, disease prevention and pre-existing conditions.

Last week, we talked about chronic pain. If you are new to Scented Balance and would like to read the entire series, Part One begins here.

I believe we all understand and accept the occasional bout of sadness or “the blues” which is considered mild depression. Sometimes, life goes sideways and we’re faced with the loss of a job, a loved one, moving or the birth of a child. Yes – postpartum depression is real.

It happens to nearly all of us and, for the most part, we know that we’ll bounce back in due time. Most of the time we do work through the life events that bring sadness with them.

Depression Symptoms

Many times, we still manage to function in our daily lives knowing that difficult situations are part of life, but what happens when the depression last longer than a couple of weeks? What happens when you lose interest in everyday activities such as going to work, preparing dinner, having sex, enjoying hobbies and friends and have trouble sleeping?

From my own experience, I know that someone telling me to “snap out” of depression is not only cruel but unrealistic. It’s like asking someone with a broken leg to get up and walk it off. Yes – it can be done but each of us are different in how we process this disease.

Make no mistake – I don’t pretend to even know a thimbleful of information about depression. Most of what I’ve learned is through my own experience and conducting research to help myself without resorting to anti-depressants. I don’t have or want that option and seriously, the side effects of anti-depressants are far worse than the disease.

What I have learned is that it’s REAL. It’s not some made up problem that’s all in your head. Some of the physical symptoms can be fatigue, loss of appetite (for food and sex), headaches, difficulty concentrating or thinking, excessive sleeping or disrupted sleep patterns and restlessness or irritation. In severe instances, thoughts become suicidal – not that you intend to carry out your thoughts, but they are present.

Cause and Effect of Depression

Even though depression takes place in the brain, the physical effects are every bit as real and frustrating for the one who is going through it as well as friends, family and co-workers. If you’re not sure what you’re experiencing is depression, here is some good information about what it is and when to get help.

The American Psychiatric Association explains depression like this:

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

WebMD.com is another trusted resource for information on many concerns. They explain how to tell if you need to get help for depression:

If you have five or more of these symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, and the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily activities, you may have major depression. Your primary care doctor is a good place to start. Your doctor can screen you for depression, and help you manage and treat your symptoms so that you can feel better.

How Can Aromatherapy and Holistic Life Coaching Help?

So many people talk to me when I’m at markets about their struggle with depression. My heart breaks for you because I know living with depression can be overwhelming. Aromatherapy and holistic life coaching are both wonderful tools for addressing your concerns with no side effects.

There is solid scientific research* to back up the use of essential oils for depression (and for anxiety – read more in this post about anxiety). When inhaled or diffused, Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Bergamot are powerful oils to help balance emotions and physical responses associated with depression.

Consider Peaceful Ease Aromatherapy Rollerball to help manage your symptoms. Each oil in this blend is specifically chosen for its’ ability to balance and uplift. If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know that I always consider emotional qualities when selecting oils for your concerns and depression is no different.

As a holistic life coach, I look at what’s going on in your life for the root of your depression. When it is NOT caused by a life event such as chronic illness, birth or something of this nature, then I ask:

  • Is there a part of your life where you feel unworthy?
  • Do you have a sense of hopelessness?
  • Are you feeling a sense of loss not easily explained?
  • Where do you lack clarity in your life?
  • Are you living outside of your integrity?

I don’t want to gloss over depression and pretend that it’s no big deal. It is a big deal and the sooner you get ahead of it, the better off you are. Yes, you may very well be capable of dealing with depression on your own – I applaud you. But please don’t let embarrassment or fear keep you from reaching out to me as your aromatherapist or your medical professional.

Another alternative is acupuncture. ScientificAmerican.com has an interesting article on how acupuncture can help you manage your symptoms. In the coming months, we’ll explore alternative modalities that can help with many of your health concerns.

Where do you see yourself with depression today? I would love to talk with you to see how we can work together and help you help yourself. Please take a moment to fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today.

I’m grateful you stopped by today – blessings,

Melissa

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned in the blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional for any health issues.

*Chang SY (2008) Effects of aroma hand massage on pain, state anxiety and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi 38: 493-502 (Article in Korean). Cited by Dobetsberger C, Buchbauer G (2011) Actions of essential oils on the central nervous system: an updated review. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 26 (5): 300