Aromatherapy – What are the benefits?

Aromatherapy – What does it mean to use aromatherapy as part of self-care? On a basic level there are smells that remind you of things. Your brain registers the memory with a scent. I have a distinct “home” smell. There is a specific smell when I have gone to a spa. When I smell it, I am reminded of relaxation and comfort. Our mind registers the smell information into our brain and helps connect it to certain sensations.
Research has shown that certain essential oils will help certain portions of our brain and body.

Dr Brent Bauer from the Mayo Clinc says,

Research on the effectiveness of aromatherapy — the therapeutic use of essential oils extracted from plants — is limited.

However, some studies have shown that aromatherapy might have health benefits, including:

  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Improved quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions
  • Improved sleep

Smaller studies suggest that aromatherapy with lavender oil may help:

  • Reduce pain for people with osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Improve quality of life for people with dementia
  • Reduce pain for people with kidney stones

Essential oils used in aromatherapy are typically extracted from various parts of plants and then distilled.

The highly concentrated oils may be inhaled directly or indirectly or applied to the skin through massage, lotions or bath salts. Some essential oil manufacturers have oils that can be taken internally, but research on the safety and efficacy of this method is extremely limited.

Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions.

Many essential oils have been shown to be safe when used as directed. However, essential oils used in aromatherapy aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Risk of allergies – When oils are applied to the skin, side effects may include allergic reactions, skin irritation and sun sensitivity. In addition, further research is needed to determine how essential oils might affect children and how the oils might affect women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, as well as how the oils might interact with medications and other treatments.

What Exactly is Meditation

Meditate – What exactly does it mean to meditate?

First, let’s explore what it means to meditate. The basic definition – Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.

To meditate is to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.

Let’s explore the benefits of meditation. A meditation study done by the National Institute of Health shows to improve the following conditions –
1. Stress
2. Anxiety
3. Cardiovascular Health
4. Depression
5. Insomnia
6. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
7. Addiction

American Psychological Association concluded that Transcendental Meditation had relatively strong effects in reducing anxiety, negative emotions, trait anxiety and neuroticism while aiding learning, memory and self-realization.

The bottom line is that exploring meditation has many well-being benefits. Where do you actually start? We have how-to meditate cards going around for self-care week 2. Here are the simple tips now.

One article reads, put simply, meditation is a tool for stress relief, Fletcher says, adding that by relieving stress, you’re setting yourself up to be able to perform at the top of your game. “I believe we meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation,” she says. Many people have the misconception that meditation is about focusing on the present, but Fletcher actually considers that to be mindfulness (which we’ll get into later). Meditation, on the other hand, is about getting rid of all of the stress the body has stored from the past.

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8-Weeks of Self-Care

Commit to self-care and find your own inner awesome. Self-care is one of the best ways to prevent compassion fatigue. However, most people do not even truly understand what self-care really is. We know when we are tired, worn out or simply done but do we know when we are sustained? Let’s explore self-care together. What is the first 6 tips to review.

  1. Listen to yourself – We instinctively know what is best
    for us, but often do not listen. We will even ignore our
    body telling us. Feeling tired, having pain, having a
    nagging feeling in your gut. That is your body trying to
    tell you something. Honor your intuition.
  2. Prioritize – No one can do it all and trying is just going
    to land you in a world of distress and disappointment.
    Take time to prioritize your day and be ready to let
    go to as much of your list as possible. Focus on what
    is important to you and accept that you can not do
    everything.
  3. Ask for Help – If you are feeling dissatisfied with the amount
    you are able to do on your own then use your resources. Do not
    be afraid to ask others for help. Allowing another to help you
    not only takes off some of the burden off of you, it can also give
    them an opportunity to express their goodwill towards you and
    allow them to feel valued in the process.
  4. Take Care of Your Body – You only get one. Exercising,
    eating well and sleep are essential for self-care. In addition to
    the basics, go the extra mile and create pleasant experiences for
    your body that you will enjoy – a relaxing bath, a leisurely walk
    through nature breathing fresh, clean air, a comfortable nap in a
    sunny spot, a nourishing meal, a massage, whatever strikes your
    fancy. treat yourself.
  5. Be with those you love – Surround yourself with the ones
    who make you smile. Smiling is good for you, so is laughing – so
    keep those loved ones close! Whether it’s your family, lover, pet
    or favorite movie star on your TV, keeping company that makes
    you happy and supports & loves you (the real you) is a wonderful
    form of self care.
  6. Speak Up – Would you want someone to squash their true feelings,
    dreams and desires because they were afraid to express themselves,
    even though it is hurting them to do so? Don’t do this to yourself either. Be honest with yourself and others. Don’t say “yes” to someone even if it means saying “no” to yourself. Take care of your needs and don’t be afraid to say them out loud. When you share your needs to others, it often allows them to feel comfortable enough to allow them to share theirs.

6 Pillars of Brain Health

The 6 Pillars of Brain Health

  • Physical Exercise– People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Spend up to 30 minutes a day to improve your cardiovascular health. Activities such as walking, jogging, or riding your bike outside are fantastic ways to improve your health.
  • Food and Nutrition– As we grow older, we are exposed to oxidation from lifestyle and the environment. Oxidation damages brain cells. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can fend off the oxidation effects in the brain. Eating green also has brain health benefits. Bad fats such as trans fats, along with other sugar-loaded, processed foods can debilitate your brain’s function. As they say, you are what you eat.
  • Medical Health– Diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety, head trauma, higher cholesterol, and smoking all increase the risk of dementia. Remember to check-in with your doctor and take medications as prescribed! It is important to not ignore emotional and mental health, since the risk of mental illness increases if ignored.
  • Sleep and Relaxation– A good night’s sleep energizes you, improves your mood/immune system, and may reduce buildup of beta-amyloid plaque, an abnormal protein. Practices like meditation can help improve your brain health and sleep habits. See our Sleep Awareness blog post for more information on how sleep can affect you.
  • Mental Fitness– Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise. Doing brain exercises can improve your brain’s function and promote new brain cell growth, which is great against developing dementia. With games like Sudoku, My Brain Trainer, and Brain Age 2, brain exercises are easy to practice whenever available. Doing organic exercises are also a great tool, including doing math in your head, keeping a journal, and learning a musical instrument. The more your brain is put to the test, the more active it is!(6)
  • Social Interaction– Having an active social life can protect you against memory loss. Studies have shown that people who communicate with others are memory boosters – they have the slowest rate of memory decline. It is also able to lower blood pressure and can improve life expectancy.

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Brain Health Awareness: Take Care of Your Brain! (rapidwristbands.com)

Top 2020 Changes 😎 We Made Due to COVID

I have heard so much said about this year. 2020 has really kicked us in the keester. Never have I said “this is unreal, surreal” so many times before this year. That is saying a lot since I, myself have had cancer, lost a child and my father. That all being said I will say it again. There is literally nothing about this year that is normal.

Maybe that is the one great thing to remember about 2020. Can you name all of the “new” things you have done this year that has never happened before. What about all of the things you completely stopped doing? Here is a short list below. Feel free to go to our Facebook and Instagram Page and include your own 2020 firsts.

  1. The gas I saved. (Literally 100’s of dollars saved)
  2. The calls I made.
  3. Zoom (need I say more)
  4. Grocery Shopping as an event (since there wasn’t anything else to do)
  5. Grocery Shopping Pick-Up (Okay I had embraced this in 2019 but most of you started it this year)
  6. Stopped eating out (Like I relearned how to pack my own lunch. Which is both an art form and a healthy option. Not to mention the money I saved)
  7. Learned how to teach my kids. (Which for me was a low point, but hey we did it)
  8. Cleaned (Like nooks, crannies and boxes were sorted)
  9. Donated the old (I know I wasn’t alone because the donation lines went on for days)
  10. Movie night nearly every day. (We even got into watching movies in other languages)
  11. Learning apps (language, meditation, yoga, motivational – you name it, we did it)
  12. Alternatives to TP (Our house managed to stock up right before the crazy started, but it was luck)