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28 February 2018

Essential Oils for Anxiety

I haven't talked about it much here, but I suffer from anxiety.  I was officially diagnosed with generalized anxiety and OCD several years ago, and I wouldn't doubt that I could get diagnosed with social anxiety as well.  

I tried different treatments, and I'll get to that in a minute, but I want to look for natural treatments.  My son, 16, also has anxiety.  Right now, he doesn't want to take a prescription, and I respect that.  Thus led to my search for the best essential oils for anxiety.


MY ANXIETY JOURNEY


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

I've had anxiety forever.  I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't have anxiety.  I vividly remember times in my childhood that my anxiety negatively affected my day to day life.  Of course, I had no idea what anxiety was, but I remember the fear and the feeling.

When I was in college, my anxiety was taking control of my life.  I was having problems getting out of my dorm room to go to classes.  I couldn't talk to other students or my professors.  

My doctor put me on a medication for anxiety.  It did help, but I had a lot of side effects.  So I tried a few more, and I finally found one that worked.

I took that medication until I graduated.  Then I got married, had kids, and life was good.  But my anxiety was so severe that I couldn't leave my kids.  I didn't leave my middle son with anyone, not even his father, until he was a few years old.  I didn't even know he could crawl and walk because I literally never put him down.

So I was back at the doctor for help.  I was on anti-anxiety medications once again.  This time, they turned me into a zombie.  I would take them at 10 p.m. and sleep all night.  Then I would get up with the kids and feed them, go back to sleep, wake up to feed them lunch, and go back to sleep.  Finally, I'd get up around 6 p.m. and feel great until 10 p.m. when it would start again.  

This went on for several months.

If I didn't take the medication, my heart raced and I would shake from the anxiety.  

I couldn't do this anymore.  I went back to my doctor and told him that I could not take any more medications.  He suggested cognitive behavioral therapy.  Basically, this therapy helps you identify negative thoughts and behaviors and correct them.  I got coping strategies to help me reduce my anxiety.  

I now have what I call high functioning anxiety.  I can pass as "normal" in society, but it's still there.  When I catch myself getting anxious, I have strategies that I can use to remain calm.  For me, that was the missing puzzle piece.

So when my son said that he would rather not take a prescription, I respected his decision.

Now I will say that anxiety is a real disorder, and it can be treated with medication.  Some people have great success with medication.  I just wasn't one of them.  If medication works for you, then by all means do what works for you and what your doctor recommend.  As always, consult a doctor before trying any of these essential oils for anxiety.  

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY


LAVENDER


Lavender essential oil is famous for its calming properties.  It's said to help you sleep better, reduce anxiety, calm a stomach ache, and just generally relieve tension.  

In one study, stroke patients who smelled lavender essential oil had lower stress rates while doing difficult tasks during therapy.  

VETIVER


Vetiver essential oil is said to be relaxing and calming.  It can reduce jitteriness, so it's often used to help calm someone who is in shock or having a panic attack.  



CHAMOMILE


Chamomile essential oil is also known for being calming, both when applied topically to the skin and when inhaled.  It can reduce excess worrying, anxiety, and irritability.

If you are allergic to ragweed, it's best to avoid chamomile because it's from the same family of flowers.

ROSE


Rose essential oil is widely used to relieve anxiety.  It can help relieve panic attacks and shock.  In a study, those who inhaled rose essential oil had less anxiety than the control group who did not use any aromatherapy.  

BERGAMOT


Bergamot essential oil isn't as widely used for anxiety as lavender and chamomile, but it is a calming essential oil.  It's found in Earl Gray tea.  It's said to provide energy and reduce agitation and help you relax.  

Although it hasn't been widely studied in humans, it has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress hormone levels in rats.  

YLANG YLANG


Ylang ylang essential oil can boost your mood and make you happier and less fearful.  It can reduce heart palpitations and act as a sedative.  It's a good oil to diffuse if you suffer from insomnia due to anxiety.

Do not use ylang ylang if you have low blood pressure.


FRANKINCENSE


Frankincense essential oil can be use to calm your mood and make you more peaceful.  If you find that your mind races with anxiety, frankincense may help.  


HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY


AROMATHERAPY 


Perhaps the most popular way to use these essential oils to reduce anxiety is through aromatherapy.  As you inhale the oil either through an essential oil diffuser or or through an inhaler stick, molecules of the oil enter your nose and create a string of reactions that goes to your brain.  This stimulates your brain to lower heart rate, slow your breathing, and can even lower blood pressure and stress hormones. 


TOPICAL


Another way to use these essential oils for anxiety is by applying them topically.  You have to use a carrier oil to apply them topically.  Generally, you'll want to apply them to the bottom of your feet or behind your ears.  


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26 February 2018

Lemon Rosemary Detox Bath Salt Recipe

My arthritis has been acting up lately.  I haven't slept much the past few weeks because my legs ache so bad at night, so it hasn't been much fun being me lately.  

Unfortunately, my schedule hasn't lessened to give me a break.  If anything, it's gotten worse.  I didn't have a break all weekend to relax and rest my poor legs.


Part of my natural regimen is to take a hot bath to help my joints and muscles.  I made this lemon rosemary detox bath salt recipe to help my skin.  The warmth from the water and the Epsom salts also help reduce my pain.

Although this is a detox bath and wonderful for yourself, it would also make a great gift for Mother's Day or even end of the year teacher gifts.  You could package it in mason jars with lids, tie a bow in yellow ribbon, and have an adorable gift.

LEMON ROSEMARY DETOX BATH SALT RECIPE


This simple detox bath salt recipe is easy to make in just a few minutes.  It's shelf stable, so you can make it and store it for several months until you are ready to use it.

I chose Epsom salts because they are high in magnesium.  Most Americans are deficient in magnesium, but it can be absorbed through the skin, so this is a great way to boost your magnesium levels.  Epsom salts are also said to help remove toxins from your body, reduce inflammation, and reduce pain.


I used sea salt because they help cleanse your pores.  If you suffer from body acne, the salt can slow oil production and stop bacterial growth for fewer blemishes.

Baking soda helps soften the water as you relax in the tub.  It can also help soften and cleanse your skin.

Lemon essential oil is an astringent and helps detox your skin.  It's said to help rejuvenate skin and help it look more vibrant.  It can also help reduce excess oil.

Rosemary is naturally antiseptic.  It can also help repair damage on your skin and help reduce the signs of aging.



INGREDIENTS




DIRECTIONS


STEP #1


Combine the Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.

STEP #2


Add the lemon essential oil and dried rosemary.  Stir well.

STEP #3


Store in an airtight container.


STEP #4


Use 1/2 cup per bath.


If you like this lemon rosemary detox bath salt recipe, then don't miss my ebook with 30 bath salt recipes.


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Rosemary and Lemon Kitchen Soap Recipe


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23 February 2018

Beauty Benefits of Activated Charcoal for Skin and Hair

As someone with large pores and oily skin, activated charcoal is one of my favorite beauty ingredients.  I make DIY beauty recipes with it, and I also use products with charcoal in them.  I've used and made several different types of masks, but it seems like charcoal masks are the only ones that really clear out my pores and make them look smaller.


Charcoal isn't the funnest product to work with.  It's so dark, and it can transfer onto other surfaces.  It's fairly easy to clean, but I have had it stain fabrics.  I used my Amish black drawing salve and got some on my sheets that did not come out, so be careful using a charcoal mask when wearing a good shirt.  

Charcoal isn't just great for your skin; it's also good for your hair.  I don't have any charcoal hair recipes listed yet, but I think I will add a few to my "to make" list.  

21 February 2018

20 DIY Body Scrub Recipes

I love making body scrubs because they are so easy to make, and you can really get creative with the ingredients.  You can use sugar, brown sugar, oatmeal, nut flours, salt, or even coffee as a base, add an oil, and then add herbs, spices, and essential oils 

As the weather starts to get warmer and spring and summer are finally coming, my skin needs some extra love.  A good scrub will help get rid of dead skin cells.  The oil also moisturizes and nourishes your skin.

Here are more than 20 different scrub recipes.  Originally, I was going to do 20, but I just couldn't narrow down my choices!  

19 February 2018

Non Greasy Matcha Green Tea Body Butter Recipe

This non greasy matcha green tea body butter recipe quenches dry skin.  

I feel like I can't get enough moisture in my skin this winter.  I like making body butters because they are thick and full of good ingredients.

Body butters are easy DIY lotion recipes because they don't have water, which means that you don't need to use a preservative.


Most body butters are made with coconut oil and carrier oils.  This makes them excellent for moisturizing, but these oils are, well, oily.

It's not uncommon for your skin to be oily for several minutes after using a homemade body butter.  At night, this doesn't bother me at all.  But in the morning or during the day, I don't want to transfer oil to everything that I touch.

I wanted to make a non greasy body butter, so I had to play with the ingredients.

Most body butters are made by melted the ingredients, letting them cool and set up, then whipping.  This one doesn't need melted, so it saves a lot of time.  You can whip this up in about 10 minutes.

Keep reading to learn about each ingredient, why I used it, and how to make this non greasy matcha green tea body butter.  

NON GREASY MATCHA GREEN TEA BODY BUTTER RECIPE


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

Shea butter gives this body butter its bulk, and it takes the place of coconut oil.  Shea butter is high in vitamins A and E, so it's moisturizing without being greasy.

For the oil, I used grapeseed oil.  It's a lighter oil, so it soaks into the skin quickly.

Aloe vera helps soothe the skin, which is what my dry skin needs.  It also helps add bulk without adding oil.

I used vitamin E more more nourishment and to act as a natural preservative.

Arrowroot powder is excellent for absorbing excess oil, so it also helps cut down on the oil in the recipe.



You can make this with just the ingredients that I mentioned, but I also added matcha green tea.  Matcha powder is full of antioxidants to help reduce the signs of aging.


When I was a waitress, I would always look at people's hands.  Your hands will almost always give away your age even if your face doesn't.  So it's important to take care of your hands and use a good moisturizer and anti aging products like this green tea.  

INGREDIENTS



DIRECTIONS


STEP #1


In a medium sized bowl, whip the shea butter until light and fluffy.  I used my Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment on speed 10.

STEP #2


Add the grapeseed oil, vitamin E oil, aloe vera gel, matcha green tea, and arrowroot powder.  Whip for about 10 minutes on high or until it becomes light and fluffy.

STEP #3


Spoon into a mason jar with a lid.


I use it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, on my hands.  I sometimes use it on my feet when they get dry.  

This recipe will last about three months in a covered jar.  For a longer shelf life, store in the fridge.  

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