In my pursuit of a holistic lifestyle, I have often failed in one crucial area. My emotional health. I can link almost every physical ailment I have ever been through to my emotional state. While I have been aware of how these two areas or directly linked to one another, I am not very intentional about tending to my own needs. I can discuss natural health all day from all my research and findings, but genuinely living it out is usually another story. However, in those times when I've considered what my body needed, I have experienced a great deal of support and renewal. This post is a summary of those important building blocks which I have been greatly supportive to my emotional and physical well-being. Through my personal season of healing and grieving, I have found these habits to be grounding. I intend to formulate specific posts on this subject of the physical side to emotional healing in future posts. Much can also be said about diet, but I want to purely focus on five simple daily health habits for those who are walking through loss, grief, and seeking healing on a physical level.
1. Essential oils. There's an in-depth science behind the use of essential oils for mental and emotional support. To put it simply, the tiny molecules of essential oils are able to reach and stimulate the limbic system of our brain, which is our emotional control center. It is the area of the brain that's related to regulating stress levels and hormonal imbalance and crucial body functions, such as digestion and heart rate. For this reason alone, essential oils play a significant part in our physiological and psychological well-being. There are many types of essential oils that are of great emotional benefit, but my favorites to use are: Lavender, Frankincense, and the blends by Young Living titled Joy (Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Rosewood, Lemon, Mandarin, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarose, Rose) and White Angelica (Bergamot, Myrrh, Geranium, Sandalwood, Rosewood, Spruce, Hyssop, Melissa, Rose) have been. I use Young Living's cold air diffuser to disperse the ingredients of the essential oils into the air [never use heat essential oils!] and it's one of the most uplifting and therapeutic ways to begin my day. I've written an entire post on the benefits of diffusing essential oils which you can read here. For physical application of these oils, I place a couple drops on my wrists, behind ears, bottoms of my feet, and neck. In this way, I can breathe in the oils all day long even when I am out and about. I immediately receive a sense of calm and the feeling of being established and focused when I use these oils consistently, whether I have been dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Magnesium and foot baths. As with essential oils, there is a whole science behind magnesium and its benefits for the body. It's one of those minerals that, sadly, many are deficient in because of the nutrient-deficient food here in America. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body and it is needed in order for Calcium and Vitamin D to work properly in our bodies. Magnesium deficiency is directly linked to hormonal imbalances, depression, and mood swings. It's something I am want to more seriously incorporate into my routine, but for the moment I have experienced its benefits from using Magnesium Chloride bath flakes by Ancient Minerals, which I purchased through Amazon (I also use Epsom Salts, which contain Magnesium Chloride and has a different function in our body). I have used these flakes for foot baths and have added dried lavender or lavender essential oils to enhance the relaxing benefits. I have also found some relief from making a spray from these bath flakes. I have noticed it does significantly relax and calm me when I do 20+ sprays of it on myself throughout the day. An additional way to increase magnesium intake is to take it in a drink with the Natural Calm supplement from Natural Vitality.
3. Tea. Not just any tea, but teas that are mineral rich and known for supporting the body through stress. I try to find pre-made herbal tea blends at natural health stores that contain these key herbs: Oatstraw, damiana, raspberry, lemon balm, spearmint, peppermint, lemongrass, nettle, rosebuds and petals, rosehips, catnip, chamomile, and hibiscus. Then, I will create a quart or more of these herbs as an herbal infusion, which basically means I allow it to steep overnight in hot water on my counter-top. In the morning, I strain off the herbs and then refrigerate it to drink later. Allowing the herbs to step overnight brings out all the nutrients and minerals of the plants. Another favorite tea of mine is Tulsi, which my in-laws introduced me to a couple years ago. I adore this tea. It is also known as Holy Basil. I purchase the Organic India Tulsi brand through Vitacost, Amazon, or my local natural health shop, but I know there are other good organic brands available. I enjoy making a quart of Tulsi Rose or Tulsi Raspberry Peach ice tea by allowing several bags to steep in hot water for an hour or more. Then, once the tea has cooled, I place it in the fridge for awhile and drink later.
|An herbal infusion.|
5. Sunlight and leaving the city. So simple, but it's not always easy to incorporate these two into my routine. I don't even have to go in-depth about these two health habits. The good of them are without question! I grew up in the "valley of the sun" [aka Phoenix, AZ] and have, for most of my life, despised it. However, I realized I disliked it in Phoenix because it was always directly related to the unbearable heat. Since being in a new state and city, I have come to enjoy the sun because it doesn't always bring heat here. Now, I relate it to warmth, a carefree spirit, and the freshness of a new day. I want the sun all the time. Early morning sun is particularly good, but just being outside for an hour each day does wonders! There is nothing that can be compared to a soft breeze, early morning sun rays, and the texture of tree trunks and grass. Nature has always been our free gift, our natural antidepressant.