Meditation for Dummies

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I am really horrible at meditation and mindfulness, like 30 secs in and I am making my grocery list.  As an OT who has worked with individuals with brain injury, chronic pain, and other chronic illness, I know how life changing mindfulness has been to my patients, and yet, I find I have trouble incorporating it into my everyday life.  Below are some options for meditation that I have tried and what has worked for me and what has not.

Guided imagery – This is a method of listening to a recording of a guided meditation and imagining what the presenter/speaker is saying.  This is a great way if you have never ever tried meditation to help with a variety of issues, headaches, stress, sleep, general health, etc.  There are many podcasts that are free on iTunes that will take you through some of these exercises.  One of my favorites and one that I have used with my patients, (not free) is Dr. Emmett Miller, MD.  He and his company have great, directed ( and for whatever reason or ailment) meditations. Feel free to Google his name and you will get a wealth of information on him and his products. Here is his website DrMiller.com .  His information is also available on iTunes.

Breath work – there are a lot of different options here, and can be as simple as three part breathing, to belly breathing to just breath awareness.  This work I LOVE, when I am with a yoga/mindfulness instructor and have good guidance.  But suffice it to say, I stink at doing this independently.  I find my mind wanders way, way to fast.  Left to my own devices, my brain happily trails off to all the things I need to do and my breath work goes out the door!!

Finally that brings me to the most effective tool I have ever found for meditation.  The EmWave device.  This little device is a phenomenal way to learn how to meditate, and really is a biofeedback system.  This allows you to learn what your body feels like when it is in it’s best state and teaches you how to get to that place every time!!! Find out how the EmWave products came to be, the science behind them and how easy they are to use here: heartmath.com .  The product we use in our house is: EmWave Inner Balance. This program has a downloadable app with a heart rate monitor that plugs into your iPhone or android phone.  It’s a simple and easy way to get effective biofeedback and retrain your system.

And since I have now given some ideas for you to start with meditation, I am going to challenge myself to a 7 Day EmWave Challenge, and see what changes unfold in my life.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated.  Leave a comment below if there is a type of meditation or mindfulness that you have used that has been helpful.

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DIY Face Cleanser

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About two years ago, I began to notice a dry flaky, scaly skin on my chin.  It spread to all around my mouth and up to my upper lip.  For a long time, I believed it to be rosacea or psoriasis ( both of these aliments run in my family so I thought this was a reasonable guess as to what I had.)  Additionally, after borrowing some of my father’s psoriasis medication (which was just a powerful corticosteriod) it got much much better.  But what I didn’t know at the time, was this was just about the worst thing I could have done for myself.  What I actually had was perioral dermatitis, and steriods are the worst thing you can treat it wih.  The rash would disappear for a little while, but then return with a vengeance.

After a trip to the dermatologist to get the correct diagnosis, I was told that the traditional treatment was 6 weeks of antibiotics.  Well, besides the issue that my IBS does not do well with antibiotics, I was, at the time experiencing a nasty bout of vertigo ( this lasted 6 months and was only resolved with manual therapy to my head and ear).  The primary side effect of the particular antibiotics that I was to be prescribed was … you guessed it, dizziness.  So I went in search of a natural remedy.

I started researching possible causes of this perioral dermatitis and guess what.. I found the cause of this nasty little rash.  SLS- Sodium Lauyel Sulfate.  And this obnoxious chemical is in virtually every body product you use.  Makeup ( huge contributor), shampoo, conditioners, soap, soap made specifically for your face, laundry detergent, chapstick,deodorant .. really the list goes on and on.  So I threw out everything and this is how I cured my dermatitis:

  1. I quit putting anything on my face – I washed for two weeks with only a wet cloth, and then put jojoba oil on as a moisturizer
  2. I got rid of all of my makeup and started investigating what make ups didn’t have SLS derivatives in them.. Guess what – few don’t.  I had used Bare Minerals in the past.  Their original formula is SLS free and only has 4 ingredients.. this worked great for my face.  To this day I only use my foundation and blush.. that’s it.  But their eyeshadows also have no SLS so I can tolerate those as well.
  3. I got only SLS free shampoo and conditioner, soap, laundry soap, etc.  this seems to have helped J’s  Escema as well.
  4. I started using the Below DIY face cleanser

 

DIY Face Cleanser

I read in my research into natural remedy for Perioral Dermatitis that some individuals have effectively cleaned their faces for years with oils.  So I tried a few concoctions and came up with this recipe which I LOVE!!!

2 tablespoons – Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp – Organic apricot seed oil

1 tsp – Organic Jojoba oil

1 tsp – Avocado oil

8 -10 drop of Lavender oil ( Young Living)

8-10 drops of Frankincense ( Young Living)

 

Heat up water in a glass bowl, place 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in glass jar (I use a small mason jelly jar) and place in bowl of hot water to melt coconut oil.  Once coconut oil is melted ( remove from jar for bowl at this time) add all other ingredients, stir till you feel that it is well mixed and place lid on jar… That’s it!  I store jar on the side of my tub for use while I bath.

Note: it will harden somewhat sitting out- to like a jelly consistency, but is easily scooped out with a finger.

How to use:

During my bath I exfoliate my face with a clean washcloth.  My secret here?  I buy the cheapest white washcloths from Walmart because they are rougher than nice, more expensive towels and therefore works as a great scrubber!  After exfoliating, I take about pea sized amount and rub it all over my face.  As with any cleanser, I avoid right over my eyes.  I then run my wash cloth under the hottest water I can stand and squeeze out the wash cloth.  I place this over my face ( think of a hot towel during a facial) and let sit for about 1 minute.  ( Breathe in those essential oils! They smell great and are good aroma therapy).  I then gently use the cloth to wipe off any excess…and that is my cleansing routine.  My face has never felt so soft and I rarely have dry skin ( which used to be a serious issue for me).  I live in a very dry, cold climate and this cleanser works all year for me.  Hope it works well for you too!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 a year of minimalism

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2016.. it’s here, and it holds big changes for our family. 

Besides leaving the company I have worked for for 11years ( more to come on that), I plan to take minimalism in our home to a whole new level.  I have already completed the master bedroom and master bath minimalism – though a refresher is needed.  The rest of our home is in desperate need of a minimalism makeover.  With the last year of working the position I was, and with getting Miss H to all of her therapy appointments, not to mention J and little I to all their events, I mostly felt like I was working to keep my head above water ( sound familiar) ?  I am hoping with two additional days off a week ( that’s right, doing the happy dance over  this and my new company that is allowing this flexibility)  I will have time to devote to some substantial minimalism.  This blog and specifically this series of posts are my commitment ( with some accountability to you) to regularly update my decreasing stuff and share my successes and failures throughout this year.  These are the main areas that I would like to declutter this year:

  1. physical home ( kitchen, linens, closets, kids rooms/stuff, garage and paperwork/memories) .
  2. finances – continue to organize this area, develop a process for weekly or bi weekly accountability meetings with myself and husband.
  3. All body products made from home – So at first glance this does not seem like doing less, but I am a big believer in finding healthy, simple alternatives to our body products.  I already use this ( insert link here) awesome face wash that I made, and LOVE it! and believe that much of our skin and health issues can be helped and remedied by using products that I actually know what all the ingredients are!  I promise to blog about all of the products I end up using/creating so that you might use them too!!
  4. life- yes, I mean looking at our current activities, what therapies or special tasks we need to be doing for the kids and ourselves, and determine if we can cut out some of the “chatter” of our lives.  This will involve develop/solidifying some significant time management skills and processes.

I am excited to see where this journey takes me and my family this year.  And as always, hoping that I will find more, doing less!!