Sweet, Sweet Sunday

“Me Time”—The How

If you’re lucky, your weekends are designated “me time.” Those are the days you get to unwind from work and delve into hobbies, passions, or side projects that take us out of the daily grind and let us flex our interests and creativity.

But, you know, sometimes life gets in the way. You were supposed to practice with that fancy new camera lens you bought, but then a mountain of laundry beckoned. Or maybe you were going to finally start those Italian lessons, but then a friend asked if you could help them move.

There’s always going to be something that pops up during the weekends, but the trick is to make your side project time non-negotiable. Rather than giving away your hours because of guilt or necessity and then feeling bummed you had no “me time,” here are a few sure-fire ways that will make room for your hobbies on the weekends.

 

Announce It To Your Friends…If your friends (or partner) have a habit of springing plans up on you during the weekend, make a habit out of announcing that you need time for your hobby. So if they want to go to the beach or a flea market or get lunch, always respond with, “Well, I have my guitar lessons at two every Saturday,” or “maybe after my photo editing session at one.” By reinforcing that you have this weekly task that you make time for, they’ll begin to respect that time slot and not try to take it over. And even better—you’ll respect it more, too. By announcing it to others you’re making it a permanent part of your weekend, which will only make you take it more seriously.Sometimes responsibilities get in the way, and making room for personal hobbies or side-projects can get tricky. But follow some of these tips and your passions will have at least a fighting chance!

Block Out Recurring “Me Time” for the Future...Open up your planner right now, and every 1 PM on every Saturday for the next year, block off an hour with the words “me time.” That way, no matter who asks you to lunch, to volunteer, or to help you with moving, you’ll know that you’re already booked. It’ll help you manage your time, but it also establishes a routine for you and your hobby that will help you accept it as a permanent part of your life: Every Saturday at one o’clock, you do it. After a month or two, it’ll feel like a natural part of the weekend.

Do It In The Morning…If you find yourself easily bogged down by commitments or out-of-the-blue emergencies, try tackling your hobby during the mornings. While everyone is still waking up and moving slowly, you can get a jump start and sit down with your blog, your camera, or your book club selection, and tackle your me-time before noon hits. If you get it out of the way first thing in the morning, you won’t have any excuses for not doing it.

Have A “Short Version” Ready For Busy Weekends...Rather than just hitting pause on your interests when the weekend gets busy, have a “short version” ready of your hobby for when schedules get hectic. For example, if you enjoy doing yoga, swap your usual 45 minute session for a quick 15 minute one on YouTube. Or if you love to bake on the weekends, try a recipe that uses five ingredients and takes 30 minutes to bang out, rather than picking one out of the fancy French cookbook that’s meant to take half the afternoon. That way you can still enjoy your interests and tackle everything on your hectic to-do list.

Schedule It...It might sound rigid, but if you use a daily planner regularly or an app on your phone, then you probably know that if an appointment is made it’s basically set in stone. If the time is marked, you’ll show up to it. Following that logic then, if you see “yoga” or “beer brewing” on your Saturday afternoon schedule, you’ll be more likely to actually do it. Since it’s already blocked off in your calendar, you’ll have a smaller chance of giving that spot away to a brunch with friends or a quick nip to the laundromat.

Set Yourself Weekly Goals…It can be super easy to be diligent with your hobby one week, and then put it off for two more because things came up. What you need to do is find a way to make your me-time a priority. A great way to do that is to set yourself weekly goals so you have something to strive forFor example, say your hobby is writing. If you have a goal of writing one chapter per weekend (or one poem, or one pitch,) then you’ll be more likely to sit down at the computer and do it. You can make it more specific – maybe the first Sunday of the week you’ll write a chapter, and then the next weekend you’ll look up editors you want to pitch to, and the weekend after that you’ll read articles on how to properly write out a pitch. Having action steps mapped out for the month will help you motivated to continue on with your goals.

Think Of It As Play Time…Rather than making it another thing to check off your list, reframe your hobby as “play time.” See it as a break from the usual rotation of chores, errands, and obligatory hangouts, and use your hobby time almost like recess: This is the part of the weekend you’ve been waiting for. The part that puts your interests front and center, and has no other purpose than to let you enjoy something for an hour or two. If you reframe your hobby that way, then not only will you look forward to it all week, but you won’t feel guilty for indulging. It’s not time away from cleaning your house or hanging out with your partner- it’s self-care.

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Sewing a Straight Seam

The Importance of “Me Time”

We have been taught that taking time out for ourselves is selfish. We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect and meet our own extreme expectations.

Most people in our culture feel the need to be going all the time. If we are not working and putting our energy into something, we believe we are wasting time.

Especially during the holiday season…

Yet in order to be able to support and care for others, we must first take good care of ourselves.

If we feel healthy, happy, and energised– instead of exhausted, unwell, and unhappy,- then we are generally in a much better position to love, support and nurture others.

Taking care of ourselves is a crucial part of living a full life that allows us to…

  • Learn to just ‘be’ and to enjoy our own company
  • Get to know ourselves better
  • Be more open to self-growth
  • Encourage us to stop and take time out from the chaos
  • Take time to process or digest what has been happening and how you have been feeling, which will allow you to go to sleep more easily
  • Avoid feeling exhausted, rushed, and run down
  • Start feeling more energized, healthy, patient, creative, inspired, clear-headed and productive
  • Relieve stress
  • Recharge our batteries

Although feeling stressed out and burned out are pretty much “normal” in today’s society, extreme stress can lead to emotional problems—such as poor judgment, problems focusing, having a short temper, feeling overwhelmed, and being generally moody.

Extreme stress can also lead to physical health problems—such as rapid heartbeats, chest pains, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, and other aches and pains.

Stress can cause you to sleep too little, eat too much, or even turn to drugs and alcohol.

In order to avoid stress overload and burnout, you need to provide yourself some me time on a regular basis, even if only fifteen to thirty minutes each day.

This could mean getting a massage and a pedicure, doing thirty minutes of meditation, vegging out on the couch watching movies, going to the gym, going for a night out with friends.

Even this little amount of time will help improve your concentration, inspire your creativity and increase your happiness.

Having a career and hobbies and developing your talents will actually allow you to be more involved with the people around you.

“Me” time can help you avoid irritability, enable you to control your emotions, and improve your mood in general. This time will also help you have greater stamina and a better ability to concentrate.

So give yourself permission to take at least a half hour per day, just for yourself, every day…even if this simply means reading a book or watching the sun come up while enjoying a hot cup of coffee.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

When Life Gives You Way Too Many Lemons

Sometimes life gives you lemons…then there are times when life gives you more lemons than you can handle.

Just like when you buy one or lemons at a time, you’ll probably end up using them before they go bad, but if you try to save money and buy the big bag of lemons, you’ll probably end up throwing out how many?!

Anyway, what should we, or can we, do when life gives us more lemons than we could possibly handle?!

Those answers will be shared later, but first I wanted to share a little bit more about the nutritional value of lemon water and tips on how to use/make/keep more lemon water on hand.

Nutritional Value

Lemon water can quench thirst better than any other drink, but lemon water also provides our bodies with plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and vital trace minerals—such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

1.Vitamins…One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C and 6% DV of vitamin B6.

Vitamin C...Vitamin C is important for many different reasons. These include…

  • decreasing the severity and duration of respiratory infections like the common cold
  • helping to produce collagen, which is important for smoothing out fine lines in the face and keeping your skin healthy
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing the health hazards that are a result of stress
  • reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • strengthening your immune system

2. Antioxidants…Lemon juice contains powerful antioxidants that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals….keeping your skin looking fresh, and helping slow down the aging process, and strengthening your immune system.

3. Electrolytes…Electrolytes are hydrating minerals—such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

4. Citric Acid…Lemons are loaded with citric acid. Citric acid provides many health benefits. These benefits include helping your body with digestion by interacting with various enzymes in your body and stimulating the secretion of gastric juice…and preventing kidney stones by increasing urine volume and hydrating you enough so that your body can flush out kidney stones quicker.

Finally, that same one cup of lemon juice contains…

  • 61 calories
  • 21 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.9 gram protein
  • 1 gram dietary fiber
  • 31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
  • 16% DV of copper.
  • 5% DV thiamin (5 percent DV)

Thirteen Tips on Filling Your Tumbler

  1. Add even more flavor to your lemon water by adding a few springs of mint, a teaspoon of maple syrup or raw honey, a slice of fresh ginger, a dash of cinnamon, slices of other fresh citrus fruits such as limes and oranges, cucumber slices, and so forth
  2. Always use fresh lemons, not artificial lemon from a bottle.
  3. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins effectively and can provide a little immune boost….
  4. Drink lemon water at warm or room temp water to avoid shocking your system.
  5. Drink lemon water consistently in order to reap any health benefits.
  6. For a sore throat, gargle frequently with lemon juice, diluted half and half with pure water.
  7. For the relief of heartburn, taking a teaspoon o lemon juice in half a glass of water.
  8. Juice several lemons at one time into an ice cube tray. Freeze. Pop a few cubes in a glass of water to have fresh lemon juice at the ready anytime.
  9. Keep your breath sweeter by drinking a glass of lemon water after meals and first thing in the morning.
  10. Replace your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water.
  11. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into ice cube trays and freeze. Use instead of “regular” ice.
  12. Use more than just a single wedge of lemon in your mug.
  13. When buying lemons, choose lemons that are fully yellow and, if possible, organic. If the fruit is still green, it isn’t fully ripe. Avoid lemons that look dull or wrinkled or that seem excessively hard.

There are many uses for lemons around the house other than their simply lounging in sweet tea glasses with their best friend, ice…or squishing them in the juicer to make fresh lemonade…or drinking as lemon water.

So what to do with those extra lemons that are sitting there slowly rotting on your countertop?

 

Here are a few options…

1.  Air Freshener…Cut a few lemons into quarters. Put them in a pot of boiling water to release citrus-infused steam into the air.

2.  All-Purpose Cleaner…Fill a Mason jar with lemon peels and white vinegar. Shake. Put in a cool dark place for about two weeks. Drain the liquid into a spray bottle.

3.  Ant Repellant…Squirt lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance.

4.  Clogged Tub and Shower Drains...Boil a big pot of water on the stove. Pour it down the drain. Wait for the water to drain. Slowly pour 1C baking soda down the drain, using a spoon or funnel. Add 1C lemon juice. Use your tub stopper or a rag to cover the drain. Wait 30min. Uncover the drain. Pour more boiling water down the drain. Repeat until your drain is no longer clogged. Do this once a quarter to prevent those big clogs from building up again.

5.  Coffee Pot…Stir together a few tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of Kosher Salt, a few ice cubes, and a tablespoon of water in the pot..Rinse with warm water once the stains are removed.

6.  Cutting Boards…Clean after each use by scrubbing 2tsp salt onto the board with a lemon half and rinsing.

7.  Faucet Polish…Rub faucets with lemon peel. Wash, dry, and buff with microfiber cloths.

8.  Fridge…Add the juice of a lemon to a sponge. Place it in the fridge overnight.

9.  Fruit and Vegetable Spray...Mix together 2Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1C water in a spray bottle. Spray on fruits and veggies and then rinse. This will keep apples, avocados, and other fruits and veggies their natural color and avoid browning.

10.  Garbage Disposals...Cut three or four lemons in half. Remove the pulp. Fill each empty rind with a few tablespoons of baking soda. Place the rinds in a bowl in an out-of-the way spot. Keep the lemon halves there for a few days or until you don’t notice the citrus smell anymore. Then, if you have a garbage disposal, send the rinds down it — they’ll clean and freshen your drain on the way.

11.  Laundry Detergent Booster.…..Add 1C lemon juice to the washing machine during the wash cycle.

12.  Microwave…Combine 3Tbsp lemon juice with 1 1/2C water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away the softened food with a dishrag.

13.  Mosquito Repellant...Break block of 100% organic beeswax into pieces. Place in a glass bowl over a pan filled with simmering water. Melt over medium heat. Stir citronella oil into the melted wax.

14.  Pots and Pans…Rub the cut side of half a lemon all over them, inside and out. Buff with a soft cloth.

15.  Roach and Flea Repellant.…..Mop your floors with the juice and rinds of four lemons and 2 liters water.

16.  Stain Remover..First try to get as much of the dirt out as possible. Next cover the stain well with lemon juice, scrub it with some Kosher salt, and throw it in with the next load of laundry.

17.  Tarnished Silver…Dip a cloth into lemon juice. Rub the tarnish off. Rinse.

 

 

Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

When Life Gives You Lemons

Lemon water…simply lemons with water, or water with lemons…big deal, right?!

 

But wait!!!

Besides helping you drink your daily suggested amount of water, lemons actually add many health benefits to water…benefits that up until now, I didn’t realize…and many of us didn’t even recognize either. For this reason, lemons have been used in many forms of holistic medicine for centuries.

So let’s begin by taking a look at some of these “hidden” health benefits of lemon water…

 

  1. Blood Pressure…Eating or drinking one lemon per day can reduce high blood pressure by ten percent.
  2. Depression and Anxiety…Lemon water contains a high level of potassium, which is needed to prevent and cure depression and anxiety.
  3. Digestion…Lemon water helps with digestion and keeps your stomach from health problems—such as constipation, heartburn, indigestion, bloating and belching.
  4. Energy Levels…Lemon water can help you have more energy when you wake up in the morning…without causing a “caffeine crash” later in the day.
  5. Joint and Muscle Pain…Lemon water can help reduce both joint and muscle pain.
  6. Kidneys…Lemon water can help prevent and  dissolve kidney stones, gallstones, pancreatic stones and calcium deposits because of the amount of citric acid it contains.
  7. Liver…Lemon water helps your liver produce the digestive enzymes and bile necessary for moving food through gastrointestinal tract smoothly.
  8. Oral HealthLemon water helps relieve tooth pain, fight gingivitis, and get rid of bad breath caused by eating foods with strong smells like garlic, onions, or fish.
  9. Respiratory SystemLemon water helps relieve the symptoms of asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems.
  10. Skin…Lemon water contains Vitamin C, which reduces your risk of having wrinkled and dry skin.
  11. Urinary System…Lemon water is a mild diuretic that can help the urinary tract effectively clear out any unwanted elements.
  12. WeightLemon water can help you lose weight by keeping your hydrated, fighting food  cravings, and significantly decreasing your caloric intake.
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Why We Should All Be Drinking Water Everyday

 

What if I were to tell you that there is one “food” that has no calories, fat, carbohydrates or sugar….a “food” that if consumed adequately and regularly can provide numerous health benefits and can prevent or help treat many health problems—including fatigue, headaches, feeling irritable or anxious, constipation and other digestive disorders, insomnia, asthma, allergies, constipation, high blood pressure, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.

That one “food” that would most help us maintain and improve our health that most would be…

Water

Yet even though this “magic potion” is cheap, readily available, and perhaps even better, helps us lose weight, many of us often overlook the importance of drinking enough water each day.

Many of us assume that we will get enough water from the foods that we eat, but this is not the case. On even the “healthier” diet that you can consume—a diet that consists mainly of whole, fresh foods—you only will get up to 20% of the water that you need each day. On the typical American diet—a diet that consists mainly of processed foods and sugary soda—you won’t even get that much.

Also factor in the fact that those sugar sodas—as well as many other drinks that we drink during the day such as alcohol, coffee, and tea—actually take away from the amount of water that your body needs and negate any benefits that would be available from having the appropriate amount of water available for the various body systems to function.

 

Reaons to Drink Water

1.Asthma and Allergies…Water  is important in keeping your air passages open, very important for those of us with asthma and allergies. Whenever you are dehydrated, the body closes up these passageways in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse.

2.Blood Pressure…Water is important in preventing your blood from becoming so thick that it increases your blood pressure.

3. Body Temperature…Water is important in cooling the body whenever you sweat. Water is stored in the middle layers of the skin. Whenever you sweat, this water comes to the surface of the skin. As this water evaporates, it cools the body.

4. Body Waste…Water is important in removing both urine and feces.

5. Brain Function…Water is important in protecting brain structure and function, as well as producting hormones and neurotransmitters. Drinking water promotes clearer thinking and reasoning.

6. Constipation…Drinking water, especially carbonated water, is important in both preventing and relieving constipation.

7. Exercise…Drinking water is important while you are exercising for many reasons—such as maintaining appropriate body temperature, staying motivated, keeping you from getting tired as quickly, and keeping you on top of your game both physically and mentally.

8. Headaches…Drinking water can sometimes relieve the intensity and duration of headaches.

9. Hangovers…Drinking water can help prevent the unpleasant symptoms experienced after drinking alcohol—such as thirst, fatigue, headache and dry mouth. These symptoms are a result of your becoming dehydrated from drinking too much alcohol, which is a diuretic.

10. Joint Pain…Drinking water maintains the ability of the joints to absorb shock and prevents joint pain.

11. Kidney Stones…Drinking water makes you have to pee more often, which prevents minerals from consolidating, crystallizing and becoming kidney stones.

12. Skin…Drinking water is important for maintaining healthy, clearer skin. Water is also important in preventing skin disorders and premature wrinkling…as well as making your skin look healthy and vibrant and preventing it from becoming dry, flaky and tight.

13. Tooth Decay…Drinking water keeps the mouth clean and as a result reduces tooth decay.

14. Weight Loss…Drinking water can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite and making you burn more calories.. Drink water instead of calorie-laden juices and sodas. Drink water thirty minutes before meals to make you feel full more quickly and keep you from overeating. Drink cold water, instead of lukewarm, so that your body will have to use more calories to heat the water to body temperature.

Getting Healthy

Book Review…Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes

 

 

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes is a guide book about essential oils written to “introduce you to the world of essential oils and aromatherapy.”

The book was written primarily for beginners who have absolutely no prior knowledge about using essential oils and carrier oils.to show how to use them properly…

This book sparked my interest because so many of the natural body care and skincare products that I will be making and sharing in the near future contain them.

The title, Essential Oils: The Complete Guide: Essential Oils for Beginners, Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Recipes, is appropriate for the book because the book explains everything in simple, easy to understand steps..

The purpose of the book–showing how to use essential oils  properly-is carried out throughout the book as evident by the fact that the book tells the reader how to store your essential oils and carrier oils, and the fact that It is important to know what you are doing when you are using essential oils because some essential oils can do things such as increase UV light/sunlight sensitivity and affect your hormones.

According to the introduction, this book promises to teach you a natural treatment that takes care of both your mental and physical health at the same time…how to cure your common cold without the use of drugand how to start the day exploding with motivation and energy, whilst finishing the day calm, content and stress-free.all through the proper application of essential oils.

The author of the book is Amy Joyson.

The main idea of the book is that both your health and vitality can be improved through the use of essential oils.

My favorite part of the book was definitely the over 100 recipes for natural body and skincare products, as well as home cleaning products because this is something that I am focusing on right now in both my life and my blog…recipes to enhance your calm or self-esteem and confidence, to uplift your mood, to support your detox and many, many more.

Other topics discussed include what aromatherapy is and how you can use aromatherapy at home for stress relief and weight loss, what carrier oils are and how to use them, and what exactly essential oils are and how they work in the body.

I highly recommend this book, and feel that you will also be happy that you bought it.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cedarwood Essential Oil—Great for Your Hair

Cedarwood essential oil is useful for many different concerns—including curing skin problems, preventing hair loss, preventing infections, managing stress, getting rid of any moths and pests from your home, discouraging the growth of mildew, helping to cure illnesses, relieving pain.

Cedarwood essential oils gets many A’s, if not A+’s, for its many different roles, including working as the following…

  • alopecia
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • anxiety and stress
  • astringent
  • anti-ant (insecticidal)

Alopecia…This is simply another way of saying that cedarwood oil is good for your hair.

Cedarwood essential oil can help you have shinier, healthier-looking hair, especially by working to control dandruff, prevent hair loss, and promote hair growth.

1. Damaged Hair…Cedarwood essential oil has moisturizing properties that can help make your hair stronger and repair any damage you cause to your hair from frequent washing, blowdrying, styling, and so forth.

2. Dandruff…Cedarwood essential oil can help reduce any itching or drying that you might be enduring because of dandruff and other scalp conditions such as seborrhoiec eczema.

Cedarwood essential oil can help prevent seborrhoeic eczema, an infection of the epidermal cells of the scalp that results in having dry, itchy and flaking rashes on your scalp. This infection is caused by the sebaceous glands found in the scalp producing too much sebum.

3. Hair Growth and Loss…Cedarwood oil stimulates and strengthens your hair follicles. Stronger hair follicles contribute to hair growth and help prevent alopecia—which simply means hair loss and thinning hair.

Two of the best ways to use cedarwood essential oil for healthier, shinier hair are…

1. Hot Oil Treatment:…Combine eight drops of cedarwood essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Massage the mixture it into your scalp for about five minutes. Wait twenty minutes before washing the mixture out of your hair.

2. Shampoo... Add a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to your shampoo and conditioner.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cedarwood Essential Oil—The What?!

Cedarwood essential oil is extracted from the wood pieces of a cedar tree, including any recycled and repurposed wood chips.

Cedarwood essential oils can be derived from several types of tree.

Typically, there are four major species of cedarwood used in the production of cedarwood essential oils. These evergreen conifers include…

    • Atlas
    • Himalayan
    • Texas
    • Virginia

The essential oil is created by the process of steam distillation.

As far as aroma, cedarwood has a warm, woodsy aroma that is comforting and reassuring. The oil is often used to add a warm tone to perfumes and oil mixtures.

As far as blending, cedarwood oil blends well with the following oils…

 

  • Benzoin
  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Ravensara
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

There’s An App for That

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Adults “should” supposedly get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Yeah, dream on…right?!

This amount of sleep is said to be important in order to promote optimal health and well-being.

Not getting this many hours of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke…as well as an impaired immune system, a decrease in cognitive performance, and an increased risk of accidents.

 

But some nights I find myself lucky if I can only get about two or three hours of  such “quality” sleep.

The fact is that studies have shown that one in every three adults are not getting this “required” amount of sleep on a regular basis. These days nearly nine million Americans take some sort of medication to help them sleep each night.

 

But the answer that so many of us are looking for in our quest for better sleep could simply be right in our hand most of the day, if we knew what we were looking for.

Assuming that you are actually have your phone in your hand and are no longer looking for it, let’s take a look at some of the top-rated sleep apps that have been designed to help us each find these recommended seven hours of quality sleep each night that we all have been looking for.


1. Digipill

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: Free…
  • How It Works…Choose one of several available 30-minute “audio treatment pill.” Each “pill” is formulated for a particular ailment—such as “Sleep Deeply,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Power Nap”—based on your current needs.
  • Review

 

2. Good Morning Alarm Clock

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: $3.99
  • Purpose…to help you feel more rested and alert upon awakening with its built-in smart alarm
  • How It Works…wakes you up during your natural waking phase, provides essential statistics from the night before on a straightforward sleep graph and aggregates your statistics weekly to allow you to track sleep debt and sleep quality, plays relaxing sounds or a playlist featuring your favorite songs to help both lull you to sleep and wake up in the morning, will alert you if you are getting less sleep than you need.
  • Review

 

3. MotionX 24/7

  • Purpose…#1 top paid medical application—all-in-one sleep tracker, sleep cycle alarm, snore, apnea, heart rate monitor, weight loss and activity tracker
  • How It Works…measures and correlates resting heart rate, monitors advanced sleep cycles with smart alarms and power naps, allows you to set goals—such as 5,000 steps per day or 7 hours of sleep per night and monitor your progress.
  • Review

 

4.  Noisli

  • Cost…Android: $1.99…iPhone: $1.99…
  • Purpose…to help treat insomnia, reduce stress, relax while reading, and alleviate headaches and migraines by quietening distracting background noises…to achieve improved concentration and productivity while working, or to create a chilled audio environment for yoga, meditation, and sleep
  • How It Works…allows you to mix and save a personalized combination of sounds—rain, wind, thunderstorms, leaves, and water streams, coffee shop bustle, white noise—to create your perfect stress-free atmosphere.
  • Review

5. Pillow

5. Pillow

  • Title…Cost…iPhone: Free…
  • Purpose
  • How It Works…uses motion and sound pattern detection to plots the times you are awake and in the different phases of sleep…keeps track of sleep session statistics—such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate, dietary calories, and caffeine and alcohol consumption—to analyze how these measures are affecting your sleep quality.
  • Review

 

IMG_5125

6. Pzizz

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: Free…
  • How It Works…uses over a hundred billion slightly different sound effects—including psychoacoustics, sound sequences, dynamic dreamscapes, neurolinguistic programming, music, binaural beats—tailor-made for each portion of the sleep cycle
  • Purpose…to help you relax, re-energize and get better sleep
  •  Review

 

7. Recolor

  • Cost…Android: Free…iPhone: Free…
  • Purpose…to help you relax and to relieve stress by channeling this anxiety into making a satisfying and creative “work of art”
  • How It Works…select one of the images from an alphabetically-organized library of more than 1,000 images—animals, pictures of food, sports, pop art, scenery, and sea life—and then use the app’s bold and uplifting color palette with various shades and hues to complete your “work of art”
  • Review

 

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oil of the Month—March 2018—Bergamot

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

When I first heard of bergamot essential oil and found out that it was a citrus fruit, my initial reaction was, “Gee, I’ve never heard of that before. Let’s go to Sprouts and go buy some bergamot oranges.”

But nestled among all the other citrus fruits, there was no sign of the bergamot orange.

Perhaps because the bergamot orange itself is inedible? Kinda like the penguin who can’t fly in the bird world, right?!

Anyway, bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit that is the size of an orange and has a taste that is much sweeter than your typical lemon.

The bergamot orange is the most delicate of the citrus plants, requiring the special climate and soil found mainly in the Mediterranean. For this reason, most of the oranges used to make bergamot essential oil will have been harvested from trees located in the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in the southern part of Italy. Considering that the production of three ounces of bergamot oil requires one hundred bergamot oranges, there must be too many trees there to count(?!)…

 

If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the benefits and taste of bergamot for years without even realizing it. This is because an essence from the skin of the bergamot orange is extracted and used to give Earl Grey tea its distinctively citrus aroma and flavor.

And even though the bergamot orange is supposedly inedible, the bergamot orange is still used in Italian cooking to make Turkish delight and marmalade such as this recipe from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders.

 

 

 

As far as essential oils are concerned, bergamot has a very strong, very sweet citrus-based scent with a hint of florals and a strange spiciness. It is considered to be uplifting and relaxing, and blends particularly well with sandalwood, jasmine, and rosemary.

 

As far as the best uses for bergamot essential uses, here are a few of the best reasons to open the bottle…(no, not that bottle of whiskey or gin…the bottle of essential oil that you only spent how much for(?!))…

 

1. Aches and Pains...Bergamot essential oil stimulates the secretion of certain hormones which lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain and help reduce the feeling of pain in the body. This makes bergamot essential oil an excellent choice for using topically when you are seeking quick relief from muscle cramps and headaches.

 

2.  Anxiety…Bergamot stimulates the activity of certain hormones in the body, like dopamine and serotonin, and improves blood circulation. This makes bergamot essential oil a good choice when you are looking for an essential oil that will help the most in relieving stress and anxiety, and soothing frazzled nerves…and helping to treat stress-associated ailments such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression.

 

3.  Cardiovascular Disease…The iconic coast of Italy in the Calabria region, where the bergamot orange is grown, is an area where people have experienced low incidents of cardiovascular diseases for generations. The soil in the region supposedly has some secret “fountain on youth” potion that results in the fruits and vegetables having been grown there, such as the bergamot orange, positively affecting your cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and blood glucose level.

 

4.  Deodorants…The refreshing aroma and natural cleansing/disinfectant properties of bergamot oil make this an excellent choice whenever you are considering which essential oil to be used in deodorant or household cleaners and air fresheners.

 

5.  Digestive System…According to traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot essential oil is the best treatment for keeping your your digestive system work properly. So if you’re needing anything pertaining to your digestive system and pooping mechanisms—indigestion, gas, constipation—this is probably the essential oil of choice.

 

6.  Respiratory…Bergamot essential oil is one of the best essential oils for anyone suffering from respiratory problems or asthma…

Honestly, this is the one essential oil that I made a special trip to Whole Foods to buy as soon as we completed last month’s journey to Cook’s Children’s Hospital after the “resident four year old” had an asthma attack.

Much rather breathe in bergamot and cough up that phlegm and mucus, than breathe in a deep sigh of relief when you finally leave the pediatric ward and have to cough up enough to pay for an ambulance ride and two night vacation with room service.

Might be using bergamot in my diffuser for a long, long while now…

 

7.  Skincare…Bergamot is used extensively in such cosmetic and skincare products as creams, lotions, shampoos, soaps, cleansers, and perfume. In fact, about one-third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.

One main reason that bergamot is used in these products is its ability to help more evenly distribute pigments and melanin when used to help heal marks on the skin, such as wounds and scars and acne. Using bergamot topically to treat such marks allows these marks to gradually fade away into a more even, attractive skin tone instead of leaving noticeable scars on the affected areas for many years.

Also, bergamot acts as an antiseptic agent that allows for fast healing of not only wounds as previously mentioned, but also helps heal cracked heels, ulcers, and eczema.

 

Bergamot Rollerball Stress Mess…Combine 3 drops grapefruit essential oil, 2 drops frankincense essential oil, and 2 drops bergamot essential oil in a dark rollerball bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with a light carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. Apply to pulse points as needed. Store in a cool, dark place.