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Stop Living on Auto-Pilot Mode and Live with More Joy and Purpose

I recently lost someone dear to me which has made me think about how short life is. Everyone says that life is short–we all know this–but does this knowledge help us to change the way we live? The death of my loved one has made me realize even more that I don’t want to waste time. I don’t want to live on Auto Pilot mode–spending the little free time that I have on my phone or watching Netflix. (Did you know that the average person checks their phone 80 times per day?) I want to live a life full of joy and purpose. If that’s what you want as well, then these ideas might help you!

Always Have Gratitude

I try to think about 20 things that I am thankful for everyday and whenever I am feeling down. Thinking about the good things helps me to be content with my situation and it helps me to generate more joy and energy.

Know Your Purpose, Goals, and Dreams

My purpose revolves around my faith and passions. What is your purpose in life? What are your goals and dreams? When you are on your deathbed, what will make you feel like you lived the life that you were meant to live? Years ago, I found this great article by Bronnie Ware–a woman that worked in palliative care for several years. Here are five regrets that people have on their deathbeds. If you were to die today, would you have some of these regrets?

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Constantly Remind Yourself of Your Purpose, Goals, and Dreams

I read a great book called High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Burchard says that highly successful people are constantly evaluating themselves, and they are consistently thinking about how to reach their goals. He recommends setting an alarm on your phone that will trigger you to think about certain things to keep you on track. For instance, when my alarm goes off, I think about a Bible verse (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), the top five regrets that I don’t want to have on my deathbed, and the word Kind (I am trying to be more intentional about being kinder to my kids and husband).

If you don’t want to set an alarm, you could hang Post-It notes on your refrigerator or create a digital reminder and post it on your phone and computer. Vision boards can also remind you of your goals. You could buy a tack board and put pictures on it that remind you what your purpose, goals, and dreams are. Instead of a vision board, I have a digital notebook in my phone that has pictures of past successes and hopeful future successes. When I am feeling down, I look at the pictures and listen to a song that gives me motivation.

Make A Detailed Schedule

I love to read and have been reading self-improvement books since I was a kid. A lot of the books recommend making a schedule for maximum productivity. This is something that I resisted for so long–making a detailed schedule just seemed so cumbersome and oppressive to me. But, to my benefit, a couple of months ago, I finally made a detailed schedule of my week. I used Google sheets to plan out my week from the time I wake up ’til the time I go to sleep. It helped me to see that I needed to cut certain things out of my life, and it helps me to see when I am available for business calls. It helps a lot!

Maximize Your Free Time

When I have free time, it is tempting to go on Auto Pilot mode–automatically checking my email and phone throughout the day. I have found that this is not a good use of my time because whenever I pick up my phone, I see another notification or click on something that distracts me. So, instead of spending one minute checking my email, that one minute inevitably turns into 15 minutes or longer. If I continue to pick up my phone throughout the day, that eventually adds up to a whole lot of wasted time! So, instead of mindlessly picking up my phone, I have started to intentionally click into my schedule or think about the most productive thing–or the most enjoyable thing that does not involve my phone–that I can do next.

When Spending Time with Loved Ones, Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones

I know that I am harping on about the phone a lot, but when you are with the people that you love, put down your phone and devices. When you are on your deathbed, you are not going to wish that you were more engaged with your phone while you were alive. Loved ones that are right in front of you are more important than digital “friends” on your newsfeed. Spending quality time with loved ones and decreasing screen time will increase the amount of joy in your life. Also, Burchard mentions that multi-tasking is not very effective, and it stresses us out. So there’s another reason to put down your devices when you are with your loved ones–the multi-tasking will suck some of the enjoyment out of those few moments with your loved ones.

Rest

Burchard recommends a resting time after each major daily task. He calls it Release Tension–Set Intention. Here’s an example. When you are done with the grocery shopping and you are about to go inside to see your kids, stop for 1-3 minutes and do this.

  1. Release Tension: Close your eyes for 1-3 minutes. Breathe deeply in and out, releasing physical tension and negative thoughts. Say the word Release over and over again.
  2. Set Intention: Think about what you want the next activity to look like. Think about smiling when you get in the door and spending some quality time with the kids before you have to start dinner.

Closing your eyes gives your visual cortex and mind a rest. This exercise will help you to feel more energized and it will help you to enjoy your next activity or help you to be more productive during your next task.

In addition to this, I believe that every person needs at least one day of rest per week–one day when you can take a break from working. If this is not possible for you, I hope that you can find at least a few hours of rest from work.

What are your tips for living a life full of joy and purpose?

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Blue Oils for Beautiful Skin

When my son was about four months old, he had a rash on his cheek that eventually spread to his other cheek. It would get better for a few days, but would get irritated again after he scratched it. Doctors were not sure what it was–they thought it was irritation from drooling, eczema, ringworm, or yeast. Each time that it was red or oozing, I rubbed a yarrow and pomegranate essential oil blend on it and it would get better in a couple of days. I am so grateful for non-toxic solutions that work!

A few days ago, I started applying the yarrow/pomegranate blend and blue tansy to my face and hands (I had taken a break from putting a lot of essential oils on my skin due to my severe psoriasis flare last year). Not only do these oils smell like delicious, pungent Jolly Rancher candy, they make my skin look and feel so much healthier! These beautiful blue oils make my face feel like satin and they provide a dewy glow. My dry, delicate hands are smoother–they almost feel like silk!

So, how do these oils work? Pomegranate and yarrow are both anti-inflammatory agents. Yarrow provides moisture to the skin and has a positive effect on the skin’s pH. Blue tansy contains sabinene which helps to clear up blemishes. Both blue tansy and pomegranate contain chamazulene, a chemical that provides the beautiful blue hue of the oils. Chamazulene is also the chemical component that is soothing to the skin.

Have you tried these beautiful blue oils yet?

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References

Lin, T., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. (2018). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences. 19(1): 70. 10.3390/ijms19010070

Tadic, V., Arsic, I., Zvezdanovic, J., Zugic, A., Cvetkovic, D., & Pavkov, S. (2017). The Estimation of the Traditionally used Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium L. Asteraceae) Oil Extracts With Anti-Inflammatory Potential in Topical Application. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 199, 138-148. 10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.002

Six Reasons Why I Would Choose A Natural Birth Again

I know that not everyone is a fan of Natural Birthing. But if you have any interest, I hope that you will consider it. My first two birth experiences were natural while the last one required some interventions. If I had another child, I would definitely choose an easier and less painful Natural Birth!

Our Midwife was with us from start to finish.

Our Nurse Midwife was with us from the time that we arrived in the hospital until after the baby was born and assessed. Obstetricians often spend a lot less time with their patients.

I was allowed to eat and drink.

A chocolate granola bar gave me an extra surge of energy right before I had to push my baby out. I can’t imagine going through childbirth without food and water!

I was allowed to labor in any position that was comfortable for me.

I switched from standing in a shower, to a birthing ball, to lying on my side, to different positions in the birthing tub. At one point, I plopped myself down on the bed and put my butt in the air–this position provided some comfort when I felt like my butt was about to explode.

My water births provided natural pain relief.

I gave birth to my first two babies in a tub of soothing, warm water. The last birth was not in water and it hurt a lot more.

I needed very few medical interventions.

For my first two babies, I did not need any medications, intravenous line, forceps, vacuum, or stitches. For my last baby, I had a monitor on my belly, an intravenous line, and Pitocin. The first two Natural Births were faster, easier and less painful.

My babies were able to breastfeed straight out of the womb.

My babies were born healthy, alert, and hungry. I offered them some milk and they all latched on within a minute!

Dear Mama, no matter what happens during your birth experience, you are amazing!

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Health Success with Health Supplements

Three pregnancies, almost six years of breastfeeding, and a prolonged lack of self-care contributed to nutritional deficiencies and a decline in my health. I don’t know what I would have done if health supplements didn’t exist. If I did not have them, I would have major fatigue, numbness in my arms, pain in my hands, severe psoriasis all over my skin, major depression, and a very weak immune system. Here are some of my views on health supplements!

The best health supplements come from food-based sources and are from reputable brands.

Why food-based? Unlike synthetic fillers and chemicals, the body knows how to metabolize food. Also, because health supplements are not regulated the way that medications are, it is imperative that you buy from a brand that you can trust. I would rather go without health supplements than buy them from a brand that I know nothing about.

Health supplements are beneficial for optimal health because the conventional food in the U.S. does not provide enough of the vital nutrients that the body needs.

Even if you are a Health Nut that chooses foods packed with nutrients, much of the American soil lacks nutrients that it once had. Much of our food supply has been negatively affected by GMOs, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. You should try to get all your necessary nutrition from food, but health supplements can help fill your inevitable nutritional gaps.

Health supplements can help prevent health decline and can help your body recover from some serious ailments.

For instance, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with cavities, cancers, autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, infections, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This is why I am always asking everyone if they consume enough vitamin D!

I have had so much success with health supplements. Fish oil helped me immensely with my hand pain. B vitamins provide support with my postpartum numbness and psoriasis. My gut is healthier with magnesium, probiotics, and multi-collagen protein.

I recently came across a couple of articles on Pub Med related to certain vitamin deficiencies in people that have epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease. As time goes on, I believe that there will be even more research that supports that many health issues can be resolved when nutritional deficiencies are corrected.

Reference

Holick, M.F. The vitamin D deficiency pandemic: Approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 18, 153–165 (2017).

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Don’t Ignore This Health Problem

When I was in nursing school, one of my teachers taught us something that I completely disagree with today. She said something like, “People can have a bowel movement once per day or once per week. Both instances are okay.”

My grandparents’ generation believed that having one bowel movement per day was very important, and I am not sure why people don’t believe this anymore. I believe that you will eventually run into problems if you don’t have a bowel movement at least every other day. Think of a bathroom sink drain that is running slow because it is clogged with dirt, hair, bacteria, and the occasional raisin that your two-year old drops down there. If the bacteria and grime are not removed, your drain will start to smell and overflow. It will eventually stop working.

Now let’s go back to your body. If you have a build-up of toxins in your body due to chronic constipation, what do you think will happen to your body? The toxins in your body can–in a sense–overflow and affect your brain, skin, and other organs of the body. So, your chronic constipation might eventually be a contributing factor to your bad breath, acne, depression, psoriasis, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders, and other serious health issues. This is important to consider if you have a very common disorder called Leaky Gut Syndrome or intestinal impermeability.

The good news? There are many natural remedies that can help with chronic constipation. You also might want to consult with your healthcare professional to rule out hormonal imbalances and pelvic floor dysfunction. Certain medications and foods can also cause constipation.

Some natural constipation remedies include water, high-fiber foods, magnesium, flaxseed oil, aloe vera juice, psyllium husk, and probiotics. Exercising and reducing stress will also help.

Remember that your body will often tell you if something is wrong. So, if your body is telling you that it needs help due to a toxic overload, listen to it. Chronic constipation can be a pretty easy fix!

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