Sweet Weekend

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The following post is one that was created a year ago on another website.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote it.  At the same time, the realization that it was a year ago also helps me to think about the difference in what was happening then:  family members were still alive, freedom to go and do things without wearing a mask, less anxiety, fear, and collective trauma, and more predictability. Even with all of this, there is one thing that has remained the same.  And that one thing is a good, loving, merciful God.  Sometimes it is hard to accept this fact when things are not progressing in the timeline that we’d like.  And guess what?  He can handle that too.

Here is the post:

Sweet Weekend

This past weekend I got a chance to do some reading, relaxing, doing home projects, watching movies, and embracing some stillness.  One of the two movies that I watched was entitled, “Sweet Inspirations”.  This movie can be found on Pureflix.  I haven’t been asked to review this movie.  I found it enjoyable, relatable, and the fact that the movie had an emphasis placed on real-life issues.

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You got a chance to peek into the lives of several different movies.  There were so many themes highlighted in this movie.  I am going to name the ones that stood out to me:  relationships, domestic abuse, marital issues, art, our passions, family time, community, and women’s health.

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Dissection of Passions, Gifts, Talents

The theme that I will dissect is that of our passions/gifts/talents.  When it comes to our passions/gifts/talents, it is so important that we are regularly doing activities that pull them out.  If we are not creating/expressing ourselves, it can lead to feeling unfulfilled, purposeless, and depression.  God created each of us with unique passions/gifts/talents.  No two people have been created alike.  When we are creating according to our passions/gifts/talents, we are showing contentment, gratitude, appreciation, and good stewardship over what God has given us.

One of the women in the movie realized that she stopped living and doing what she was created for and passionate about in order to please her husband and participate in his business.  It is important to help others.  However, we also become the best version of ourselves when we do what we were created to do first.  Then, we can use this energy to help others to walk into their passions.

Food for thought:

What have you been created to be passionate about?  How easy is it to walk into it?  Or, is it more tempting to allow others to force you into their passions, or are we forcing ourselves into theirs?

How to Get Back in Shape After the COVID-19 Lockdown

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Happy Sunday all! Today, I am featuring a guest blog post from a fellow blogger. His name is Gabriel Patel. He enjoys writing about health and wellness, and co-founded Health Well Wise with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives. Have a blessed rest of your Sunday.

Photo via Rawpixel

If you gained weight during the coronavirus quarantine, you’re not alone. It’s normal — and completely okay — to put on a few pounds when you’re experiencing periods of stress and a serious change to your regular routine. However, self-isolation may have left you feeling less than your best. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply regain the energy you had pre-lockdown, check out the following tips to reclaim your wellness and get back on track!

Clean Up Your Diet

For many of us, the lockdown meant living off of freezer meals, instant noodles, and other forms of quick, easy, and accessible processed foods. But it’s time to get some nutrients back in our diets! Fortunately, there are all kinds of healthy meals you can make with basic ingredients you already have in your pantry, such as spinach tortellini soup, legume quesadillas, skillet rice, and stew. The beauty of these recipes is that you can mix in whatever vegetables or proteins you have in your kitchen. Casseroles are also great for this! Get creative and have fun coming up with nutritious meals based on the ingredients you have on hand.

If you could use some help creating a clean diet plan, consider working with a professional dietician. You can use job boards to find qualified pros, such as freelance dieticians, who can answer all of your nutrition-related questions, help you build a healthy meal plan, and coach you through any barriers you may be facing. Some other freelancers who can support you on your wellness journey include online personal trainers, yoga instructors, and therapists.

Take Steps to Avoid Injury

When you get back into exercise, do it slowly; pushing yourself too hard after an extended period of inactivity could lead to injuries. This is especially true if you’re going back to the gym. Remember, you may not be able to work out at your previous level, so go easy on yourself by reducing your reps and weight. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body.

If you’re hesitant about returning to the gym, try at-home workouts, running, or hiking — or just go for a walk! If you were unfortunate enough to contract the coronavirus, CNET recommends talking to your healthcare provider about when it would be safe to start exercising again. Try to stick to short bursts of gentle exercise in the days and weeks following your recovery.

Get More Sleep

When it comes to fitness and overall well being, sleep is underrated. Getting enough sleep plays an important role in muscle recovery, stress reduction, and weight management — all of which will help you meet your post-lockdown fitness goals. If you’re not getting at least seven hours of good-quality sleep every night, take some steps to improve your bedroom environment and help your body wind down in the evening. Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet; develop a relaxing bedtime routine; avoid caffeine in the afternoon; and limit alcohol late in the evening.

Conquer Stress

Stress is one of the largest barriers to a healthy lifestyle. Stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, affect your eating habits, and reduce your motivation to exercise. Of course, we’re all experiencing heightened stress with everything that’s going on in the world right now. Even if you can’t control what’s happening all around you, you can bring a greater sense of control to your own life by taking active steps to reduce stress. Make time for your hobbies, socialize with friends and family members who make you happy, get in the habit of positive self-talk, and try to exercise daily — even if you’d rather do anything else.

While it was easy to let healthy habits fall by the wayside during the corona virus lock-down, now is the time to regain control over your fitness. Exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and combating stress will do a lot to improve how you feel — and you may even lose a few pounds! Start working towards your goals today!

The Unpredictability Aspect

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Background on “The Unpredictability Aspect”

The last post in the series, “Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, was The Digestion Aspect. If you want to listen to a podcast related to today’s subject matter, check out “Episode 13: Grace Aspect of Living With and Healing from Trauma”.

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When things are predictable, we feel safe, secure, and at ease. We are not God, and thus, the truth of the matter is that not everything in life will be predictable. However, when unpredictability becomes your norm, then it can be the perfect recipe for disaster. If you already have a history of PTSD or trauma, then after a round of unpredictability at its finest, you will be in line for more.

I was young, in my 20s, married, a full-time employee and a full-time student. And although I was very busy, and I did feel stress because of it, it wasn’t anything major. Out of the blue, everything changed. I went from doing all of the above to running to the emergency room and/or doctor’s office once or twice a week. Unpredictability rocked my world to put it mildly.

The symptoms started off with a racing heart. My ex-husband dropped me off in front of our apartment building one night so that I could get settled, and he could continue driving around to find a park. My heart started racing like crazy. I remember thinking to myself, “What is going on?” It finally stopped by the time that I got upstairs.

A couple of weeks after that, on my 24th birthday to be exact, I was standing in front of the copy machine at work when I started feeling excruciating chest pains. One of my coworkers rushed me to the ER in her car. They didn’t find anything.

However, after that, every few days there was a new symptom occurring: extremely high blood pressure, racing pulse, hammer-pounding headaches that made you long for heaven, diarrhea, an unsafe drop in weight, fibromyalgia,etc. It got to the point where my belts were no longer able to keep my pants up.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months as the physician ran every kind of blood test that he could think of. On one particular occasion, I was blow drying my hair, when all of a sudden, my heart and pulse starting racing as if it was going to beat out of my chest, and then my entire body started twitching. I finished blow drying my hair and headed to the ER. My mother, my ex-husband, and some other family members met me there.

As soon as my ex-husband saw me with my hair just blow dried and no curls, he stated, ” You couldn’t have done anything to your hair?” It was one of those moments when you stared in shock, cognitive dissonance sets in, and then you pretend like you didn’t hear what you just heard.

This vibrant twenty year-old, straight “A” student who was able to do it all suffered a time-out. I ended up having to drop two of my classes. The exhaustion and insomnia wouldn’t allow me to keep up.

Finally, during one particular visit to my physician, I gave in and told him that I was feeling depressed. He said that it was just the stress. My reply was, “Something is wrong with me.” He listed everything that he had done already, and then he said, ” How about we check your thyroid?”

In no time, I got the results. Bingo! I had hyperactive thyroid. Better known as Graves disease. I finally had an answer for this madness. I was happy and feeling blessed. However, that didn’t last long when I found out that it would take about four months before I would start feeling better.

I decided upon the “Radioactive Cocktail” as my method of treatment. A lady who worked in the nuclear medicine department gave me the best advice ever. She told me not to be surprised if my condition reverses because of medicine not being an “exact science”. It was the same thing that had happened to her.

At first, I was mad, and wondering why she would say something like this. However, I soon realized that it was the best advice ever because I was prepared. Just like she forewarned, my thyroid condition went normal, and then reversed to the other side, better known as hypothyroidism.

Four months later, I was back to my normal self so it seemed. However, the unpredictability of trips to the doctor and ER led me to develop compounded trauma. I already had childhood trauma under my belt. Then were was the trauma of being in a toxic relationship, a verbally abusive job, and my physical health was now added to that list.

If I had to look back at that twenty-four year old woman, I would tell her what I now know: “Breathe! Allow yourself to feel the feelings! When you don’t allow yourself to feel the feelings of overwhelm, your body will take it on. The stress has to go somewhere. Let it out! Nothing is worth your health. Community is everything. God is enough!”

Blessings all!

Katina

Improve Your Health with a Simplified Beauty Routine and Natural Products

Today, I am featuring a guest blog post “Improve Your Health with a Simplified Beauty Routine and Natural Products” from Breanne Connor at Essential Moves to Wellness.

 

Do you find the idea of a natural beauty routine a little off-putting? Look, I get it.  Why would you change out your products that already work?

 

While your tried-and-true products work great, they are slowly and subtly sabotaging your health.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. I only promote products I use and love. You can read more about it on my disclaimer page.

A Natural Beauty Routine Defined

 

What exactly is a natural beauty routine?

 

It’s a certain lifestyle where all of your beauty products are free from harsh chemicals or ingredients that can cause your body harm.

 

The thing is, most big-name beauty brands use way too many ingredients, and most of them have been scientifically proven to be harmful.  Yet beauty companies continue to use and abuse these ingredients.

 

Some common harsh chemicals include sulfates, parabens, carcinogens, and “fragrance” (source).  They can cause anything ranging from skin irritation to infertility to cancer.

 

Natural beauty products can be homemade, and some are only one or two ingredients!

Start With the Basics

 

When starting a natural beauty routine, it’s best to start with the absolute basic products and add only what’s necessary for your skin and hair.

 

A terribly underrated part of a natural beauty routine is many single-ingredient products are very versatile.  Take honey, for example. You can use it as a facial mask, replace your shampoo, the list goes on.

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See some more of my single-ingredient beauty product swaps with my free download! Just enter your name and email below.

 

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To help you avoid overwhelm, I’m going to list what I think are the absolute basics for every beauty routine. Give these suggestions a go, and add on anything else as you go through your natural lifestyle journey.

Body and Facial Wash: Norwex Cloths

 

I’m sure you’re wondering, “What on Earth are Norwex Cloths??”

 

Norwex is an amazing company that sells microfiber cloths designed to pick up any unwanted microscopic organisms on a surface. Whether it be your body, or kitchen counters!

 

Read more about Norwex Cloths and Get a Cleaner Home and Body With These Microfiber Cleaning Cloths!

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

These cloths are literally the only things that have cleared my body acne, and I haven’t bought body wash in years! The antibacterial power of these cloths are the only thing your face and body need to stay clean.

Toner: Rose Water

 

I know that toner may seem like an unnecessary product, but it actually is very helpful for keeping an even and youthful skin tone.

 

Rose water helps balance your skin’s PH, control excess oil, heals scars, and so much more! (source)

 

You can find rose water at any health food store, or even the vitamin section of your local grocery store. I get rose water in a fine mist bottle specifically meant to be a toner. I just spray it all over my face after washing and let it air dry!

Moisturizer and Hair Oil: Argan Oil

 

I used Argan oil on face as a moisturizer for years before I decided to make my own! There are so many benefits, including repair to damaged skin, anti-frizz, and quick absorption for perfect moisture! (source)

 

After every shower or every time I washed my face, I would put a few drops of Argan oil on my fingertips and massage it into my skin. Then I would put a few more drops in my palms and run it through the ends of my hair.

 

I still use it on my ends occasionally. The only reason I don’t do it as much is because I’ve learned to mix essential oils for a more tailored effect on my hair. You can read all about essential oils and my favorite brand on my post Ditch Your Low-Quality Essential Oils for this Brand—Rocky Mountain Oils Review.

 

Deodorant: Lavender Essential Oil or Any Chemical-Free Brand

 

Okay okay, I know that lavender essential oil sounds a little crazy for deodorant, but believe me when I say that it works!

 

Lavender has a very strong antifungal and antibacterial property, so just a drop or two per armpit has enough power to keep you smelling fresh all day!

 

You can get pure, high-quality lavender oil for a good price if you click here at Rocky Mountain Oils. It’s safe to apply to skin, or use a carrier oil if you like, such as almond or jojoba oil.

 

Now if that’s too weird for you, I get it. I tend to use store-bought deodorant that I know is free of harsh chemicals. We can’t just DIY everything, right?

 

How do you know if your deodorant is safe? I have a little secret weapon called the Think Dirty App. It’s an amazing little app on your phone that lets you scan products to see how clean they are.

 

You can read more about it on my post Your Ingredient List Secret Weapon—Think Dirty App Review.

 

Toothpaste: Tom’s of Maine

 

Now I’ll admit that toothpaste is one area that I haven’t found much success in terms of safe ingredients. While there are some perfectly safe products out there, they are not effective for me at all.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

There was one brand that I used for months, but my teeth looked like they weren’t brushed at all! I later found out that I was basically brushing my teeth with watered-down clay.

 

The only brand I recommend is Tom’s of Maine. They have several safe options that scored well on the Think Dirty app, and my teeth are staying clean!

Shampoo and Conditioner: Any Chemical-Free Brand

 

I’d love to list a Holy Grail brand for hair care here, but there is no one amazing shampoo for everybody. We all have different hair types, so this one will take a little research on your part.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

But I’m not going to leave you completely hanging! Some brands that I love and trust are Desert Essence, Shea Moisture, and Calia Natural. All of these brands have amazing ratings on the Think Dirty App.

 

Also, you don’t need to have an app on your phone to tell what is natural and what’s not. I have a handy post on How to Tell if Your Natural Products are Actually Natural. Just because something says “natural” on it, doesn’t mean it actually is free of harsh chemicals, and this post tells you how to navigate through the confusion.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

Razors: Get a Safety Razor

 

I bet you’re thinking, “What? I even need to change my razor?” The answer is yes, yes you do.

 

You know that little lubricating strip on your razor? That thing is chock full of unknown stuff that the razor company isn’t even obligated to list. Throw it out now!

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

Look into the money-saving, eco-friendly option of a safety razor! You can read all about my first time using one in my post Safety Razors and Classic Shaving: The Absolute BEST Way to Shave!

 

Putting it All Together

 

Now that I’ve somewhat overwhelmed you with my favorite basics for simplifying your beauty routine, go forward and try what speaks to you!

 

It will certainly be a journey, and it will be very gradual. I personally started out with nixing my toxic shampoo and conditioner and slowly worked from there. You can read about my journey and 5 Things About Going Chemical-Free that No One Will Tell You.

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine

I hope that this post sparks your own journey to a natural lifestyle. I’ve never felt better, and I’ve certainly never looked back.

 

Now I want to challenge you! Take a look at the ingredient list of one or two of your beauty products. Ask yourself if you’re okay with what you’re putting on your hair or skin every day.

 

If not, I challenge you to try natural products! I’ll be rooting for you along the way!

 

Would you be up for switching out some of your beauty products? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

Essentials To Wellness, simplified beauty routine
Breanne Connor

Breanne is the owner of the blog Essential Moves to Wellness, where she writes about getting the most out of a healthy lifestyle. Her posts range from DIY beauty to ballet to mental health and wellness. When Breanne isn’t writing, she loves to crochet, tutor other writers, and dance ballet. Check out her blog for more on healthy living.