Category Archives: Stress Relief

7 Uses for Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon oil has a bright and joyful aroma and can play an amazingly productive role around your home and in your purse!  Lemon oil is cold pressed from lemon rinds, and has an invigorating, purifying scent. Lemon oil is very popular because of its versatility and multiple benefits.  This flexible oil is also frequently added to food to enhance the flavor of desserts and main dishes or as an overall assistant in the kitchen.  When diffused, Lemon is very uplifting and energizing and has been shown to help improve your mood.

7 Uses for Lemon Essential Oil

Clean Hands – Add a couple drops of lemon essential oil with your soap and clean dirt and oil off.

Teeth Whitener –  Mix lemon essential oil, baking soda and coconut oil and rub on your teeth for two minutes and then rinse.

Promotes Fat-Loss – Putting 2 drops of lemon oil in your water 3 times daily can support metabolism and weight loss.

Improves Mood – Diffusing lemon essential oil in the air can lift mood and help replenish you body, mind, and spirit.

Laundry – Use a few lemon drops to remove gum, oil, grease spots, glue, or adhesive from most surfaces.

Deodorizer – Place a few drops on a cotton ball and put in the refrigerator or in spray bottle to freshen kitchen area.

Planning a Productive & Practical Kitchen Garden

Planning a Productive and Practical Kitchen Garden

A well-planned kitchen garden, can be a beautiful and enticing way to incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs into your diet. The following tips will help you plan a productive and practical kitchen garden.

Tip #1: Pick the Perfect Spot.  When choosing a location for your kitchen garden, try to find a spot as close to your kitchen as possible.  After all, you want your own personal culinary garden to be easy to reach while you are preparing meals.  Of course, you have to make sure the soil you are planting on is healthy and not contaminated.

The location you choose must also take into consideration the kind of environment your plants prefer. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you live in a really hot climate, you may find a bit of afternoon shade is just as nice to have, as well.

Also, you’ll want to make sure the location you choose has easy access to water. You definitely don’t want to drag a heavy garden hose around the house or carry buckets of water in order to keep your plants hydrated.

Tip #2: Pick Your Plants. The easiest way to decide what you want to grow is to think about what you like to cook or what your family likes to eat.

For example, if you use a lot of fresh herbs, you’ll want to keep a big pot of your favorite varieties on hand. Kids can’t get enough of your homemade salsa? Plan to have a steady supply of fresh cilantro and juicy tomatoes nearby. Increasing your salads, or smoothies?  Grow lots of spinach!

In other words, you want to stock your kitchen garden with the fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers you use in your day-to-day cooking.  These are the items you will want to have convenient access to throughout the growing season.  Also be sure to have Mason Jars and other containers for items you plan freeze, can or otherwise preserve for later use.

Tip #3: Make the Most of the Space You Have.  Due to their proximity to the house, many kitchen gardens are confined to a relatively small space. Kitchen gardens can be in a box shape, raised bed, or vertical shelving.

Go Vertical! Consider growing juicy yellow pear tomatoes surrounded by creeping thyme in a vertical container or use hanging baskets suspended on shepherd hooks for your favorite herbs. Just make sure you keep them well watered as hanging baskets tend to dry out more quickly.

You could also add a trellis or incorporate a fence into your design to provide support for climbing plants, such as pole beans or cucumbers. If your space has a blank wall with good sun exposure, you could add a ladder-like series of shelves to house a lot more plants than you could fit into the ground you have available.

Tip #4: Make It Beautiful. Although some may argue that beauty for its own sake is neither productive nor practical, I disagree. Your kitchen garden is an extension of your home and will likely be visible to your family and guests. So, making the area as attractive as possible just makes good sense.

Balance, symmetry and repetition are components of any good garden design. To incorporate balance and symmetry into your garden, try adding two matching brightly colored containers filled with herbs and place them on each side of the entrance.

For repetition, add multiples of the same plants throughout the garden. For example, a group of 3 cherry tomato plants in attractive containers will have a stronger visual impact than a single plant. You can also create a sense of order by planting lovely borders of edible flowers or fragrant herbs along walkways.

One great thing about incorporating ornamental aspects into your garden is you may find you want to spend more time in an area that nourishes both your body and soul.

I love to add seating space, and a space for bon fires to my garden spaces for a special touch.

 

 

Dangers of Emotional Eating

Dangers of Emotional Eating

There a number of unhealthy habits that can develop over time if you are not mindful of your eating habits. One very easy unhealthy habit to fall into is emotional eating. This can go unnoticed because it’s not widely thought of as dangerous compared to other life threatening habits such as illegal drug use, and many can easily find excuses for it like saying they can simply “exercise more later.” How serious is this issue? Can eating habits really be a danger to you? We’ll be exploring some of these that in the following article.

Awareness is Key

Emotional eating usually hits very suddenly out of nowhere and seeks out specific cravings to be filled. Often times these powerful cravings are for sugar and fat filled snacks because of the powerful rush of dopamine that turns on the reward and pleasure centers of the brain after consumption. Eating like this repeatedly eventually overrides the signals of hunger and satiety. Seeking out comfort food and this kind of gratification leads to overeating and morbid obesity. Children can also develop early obesity when they learn this type of self-soothing. Many snack foods (especially candy and baked goods) are marketed to children. Some other snacks are associated with memories of fun times, childhood, or loved ones. Unfortunately, the methods that are used to produce foods of these foods typically contain high levels of salt, sugars, fats, artificial colors and preservative agents.

It is an Unhealthy Way to Cope with Emotions

Emotional eating is often used as a way to avoid dealing with complex or negative emotions. Not every trigger will be the same for each person, but these could include a range of emotions and feelings including anxiety, boredom, loneliness, disgust, sadness, and even joy. The emotional danger is the continued neglect of the real reasons behind these emotions. A feeling of shame or guilt might follow binges. This is especially true when the behavior is hidden from friends or family. Seek professional help, or tell a trusted friend or relative if you feel isolated or lonely and are forming unhealthy eating habits.

There are Health Risks

If a person uses eating as a way to escape or distract their emotions, a vicious cycle can develop. For example, a person who seeks food to cope with stress will create a paradox where weight-related health issues arise like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and back or joint pain. Beyond the difficulties surrounding obesity,  other health issues such as insomnia, anxiety, malnutrition, digestive problems, menstrual problems, and depression can develop.

Tips to overcome Emotional Eating

If you are overeating and appear to be experiencing any of these symptoms or health problems, it is never too late to make a new choice. After tapping into your support system, here are a few other ways to get back on track:

  • Keep a food diary – even if you use an online one like https://www.myfitnesspal.com/
  • Tame your stress – be intentional about your stress relieving activities. Find some ideas for creating a stress-free environment here
  • Remove temptation – Don’t have a cupboard full of junk food and do not go grocery shopping until your emotions are in check
  • Have healthy options on hand – When you feel the urge to snack in between meals, have something good and healthy like fruit, nuts, vegetables, or lower calorie versions of your favorite snacks
  • Give yourself a break – Don’t punish or deprive yourself. Even if you make a mistake—forgive yourself and recommit to start fresh again. Learn from your experience and plan to do better. Let your support system know that you are serious about changing it and ask for their assistance when needed.
  • Resources:
    Mood, food and obesity. Frontiers in Psychology. September 1, 2014.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4150387/
  • Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047342?pg=2

Become Your Own Relaxation Expert

Become Your Own Relaxation Expert

Meditation and prayer have been practiced around the world for thousands of years. It is a practice used to quiet the mind and body, and relieve stress. [See the article about the health impacts of stress here]. Academic medicine and national peer reviewed articles are finally starting to validate meditation as a complimentary modality to healthcare–similar to aromatherapy, color therapy, massage therapy, and other healing practices.  Meditation is used to bring focus, clarity, and calm, and often, after meditating, problems that you have been struggling with, either resolve on their own, or you discover an inspired resolution to. Meditation has also been known to inspire people to write, and spur lucrative business ideas, as your subconscious works in partnership with you (rather than against you) to bring your greatness to light.

Pictured above: abundance oil ingredients: orange, frankincense, patchouli, clove, ginger, myrrh,  cinnamon, and spruce; along with pyrite stone and an oyster shell.

Keep It Simple, Sista. (K.I.S.S.)
The simplest form of meditation, requires you to sit in a quiet room, either on a pillow, or cross-legged on the floor, or in a comfortable chair, making sure your spine is straight. It is advised that you use the same place every day. It is also suggested that you personalize your spot, by beautifying it with candles, oils, plants, flowers,beautiful semi-precious gemstones, and pictures of the people that you love, or a representation of your vision.

The idea is to sit quietly, with your eyes closed, and focus on a point inside of your forehead. Try not to think of anything in particular, but don’t try ‘not’ to think either, allowing your mind to become calm, and peaceful. If you find that your mind is ‘chattering’, don’t try to control it, just let it finish what it is that it is working on, it will eventually quiet down. It is also recommended for beginners to begin with ten to twenty minute sessions, each day. I typically say to the constant chatter “ok, that’s interesting, I’m meditating now, so you can go.” Some other people call on scripture or some others ask God or the angels for assistance. After you get a routine and figure out what works best for you getting into a place of deep relaxation and joy during these sessions will be simple and easy. You’ve gotta try not

Some people can’t still for more than 10 minutes before their mind chatter overwhelms the silence. However, as you stay committed to your self-care meditation practice, you will want to increase the length of your sessions to thirty minutes, or maybe even an hour. In our highly active and noisy lifestyles, we often let stress and tension build up in our space, in our homes and in our minds, until it is unbearable. It is imperative that we include some time for meditation,reflection and prayer (if that is your practice) in our daily schedule in a proactive, preventative way to manage stress and achieve long term wellness.

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In Love and Health!