4 Ways To Calm Anxiety

I've dealt with my fair share of anxiety attacks over the years. It's worse depending on what I'm dealing with in my life and if I'm allowing myself to FEEL, or if I'm suppressing things. Having anxiety attacks isn't a bad thing either. It's nothing to be ashamed of, which is something I've been working on accepting, myself. Anxiety attacks will happen to most of us during certain situations, but learning to take a step back, remember where you are at this exact moment, and checking in with WHY you feel this way is what will help to stop the anxiety attacks. 

Thoughts spiral out of control and one simple and small thing turns into a huge scenario and changes the way you think about yourself and your life in a matter of minutes. It takes practice to learn about YOU and get to know yourself to learn that these thoughts aren't usually true and that you are alright. You are alive. Live.

So I wanted to share some things I've been doing everyday or a few times a week when possible to get to know myself again at this moment in my life. 

  • Wake Up An Hour Early And Meditate Daily.
    • This may not come as a surprise here in helping to manage anxiety. I've gone through phases in life where I meditated and journaled every single day and noticed the difference it had on my life, but I always lost this practice somewhere along the way. I also lost most of my self-care routine in the last year and a half dealing with a death in the family, grief, personal guilt, career changes, and more. Feeling guilty for allowing myself to get so far from my own self-love only makes the struggle to recover more difficult. This is something I realized meditating everyday. It gets harder before it gets better. I cried every single day for two weeks while meditating daily. I continued because I knew this is part of the process - breakdown to break-through. Then, one day I felt good again. And a week went by without sadness. But it happened again. And when it happens, I now allow it. In yoga, we aren't stopping feelings. We are allowing the feelings to come and pass so we can be present again. 
    • Something that's helped me to commit to this routine every single day is using the Insight              app on my phone. This is free and it gives you a ton of options for guided meditations,                    sound healing and more.
  • Journal Daily.
    • This is a practice I'm always grateful for. It's something that I've done through many of the transitioning periods I've had over the last few years and it has helped me to realize re-occurring themes and where I need the most work. It allows me to realize which chakras I need to work on and what the root of my problems are - that the thoughts aren't really true. It keeps me present. 
    • I make sure to continuously acknowledge what I am grateful for every day. Some things that help me stay present all day is journaling about the people I love and writing down all of my favorite things about them and what I wish to remember about them, always. Their laughs, the sound of their voices, funny quirks that they hold, etc. When I go back to read these, they help me remember why I am in love with all of these people, because it's easy to forget sometimes.
  • Take A Bath.
    • This is something I've been doing minimum once weekly. Not only is this a nice thing to do for your body, but it helps your mind decompress. I draw a warm bath with epsom salt and sometimes herbs or the Mr. Teal's lavender epsom salt if I'm taking one before bed. I've always been a person that felt the most free in water. I was a kid and you couldn't get me out of the ocean or pool. I itched to be in the water. I'm still this way. It rarely scares me.I can be out there surrounded by this beautiful water that the earth supplies us, knowing there is another country super far away from me and someone else swimming in the same water across the world. It makes me feel free and connected to everyone at the same time. A bath is the closest I can get to this feeling at home. I can let go. The water will support me and I will be okay here. I will also burn a candle to help me feel cozy and relaxed. Sometimes I'll meditate here, read a magazine or a good book, or do a face mask. Sometimes I'll simply allow myself to be. I'll watch the flicker of the flame for 25 minutes and not think of anything else besides that I am okay and my life is good.
  • Don't Look At The Phone.
    • This one took me forgetting my phone at home one day when I went to work. I almost turned around to get it and thought to myself that this was ridiculous. What did people used to do? The phone I have known is a source for my anxiety. I am always reachable and anyone could demand my time whether I am hanging out with family or my boyfriend - answering a phone call from a stranger was more important. This is what we are trained to expect by having cell phones. We are trained to believe that we don't claim our own time. We always have to be "on". This is not healthy. I don't care what anyone tells you - this is NOT being present. I do have a business, and that day I forgot my phone, I thought it was going to go up in flames while I was working, and then I remembered, I'm at work - what can I do about the studio while I'm there? If something happens, I'll find out later. Either way it was out of my control and wasn't something I needed to worry about. Worrying does nothing. So I was 100 times more present that day. I left work and had a peaceful drive home. I got my hair done and had genuine conversations without the worry of "what am I missing". Not only this, but I didn't look at social media all day, so this is something I am making more of a goal for myself. I will look at people I know and post some things, but I won't scroll through Facebook or Instagram anymore. I feel like I have 15 more hours everyday, I'm sleeping better, and I'm more present in my relationships and following my heart. 

These may not be incredibly surprising things, but they are working for me. I hope they work for you, and if you try them, give them time. Give yourself time to have a break-through. You're alright and you are loved.

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Top 4 Herbs for Beautiful Skin

by Wellness with Kristen

Whether it's winter or summer, or somewhere in-between, our skin needs to be taken care of. Your skin is your body's largest organ and reflects the overall state of your health.

So what is skin's purpose and why do we have it? For many reasons of course, but the main one being a form of protection from the outside environment. Sunburn, a tan, freckles, and age spots are all results of overexposure to UV rays. These rays are always present, even during a super cloudy day, but do the most damage when we spend more time outside during the warmer months. Since summer is a few weeks away, I thought I'd share some of the best herbs that not only heal and protect your skin, but keep it healthy and beautiful.  

1. ALOE- Aloe has skin soothing properties, after all, it is what you use after getting a sunburn! It is known to heal wounds by increasing collagen production by up to 90%! 

How to use: Aloe plants are available at grocery stores, flower shops and the like. Break off a piece of aloe from the plant, slice it open, and scrape out the inside. Rub it on your skin several times a day. Aloe gel and juice can also be purchased and used accordingly.

 

2. COMFREY ROOT- Comfrey is a connective tissue herb, so it helps heal your skin if damaged in anyway. It's known as a "cell proliferate" which means it stimulates cell regeneration. If you have a bad sunburn with blistering, this is the herb for you!

How to use: Make a strong tea (infusion) of comfrey and use a cotton ball to gently apply it your burn several times a day. 

 

3. HORSETAIL- Horsetail is a herb with a high nutrient content (specifically silica), it builds body tissues, and is an excellent wound healer. 

How to use: Horsetail is available in capsules which can be found at your local drugstore, powder which you can find online or at health food stores, and it can be made into a tea or tincture.

 

4. CALENDULA- By far one of my favorite herbs to use, Calendula is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It also heals damaged skin and bruising. 

How to use: Infuse a carrier oil of choice (sweet almond, olive, jojoba) with calendula leaves. Add some beeswax and make it into a salve that can be applied as needed.

Having healthy skin essentially comes down to what goes INTO your body. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and treat yourself like you're worth it. It is still important to get a daily does of vitamin D (which can be done by spending 15 minutes outside), but don't over do it. Of course, if you happen to not be paying attention to how long you've been outside, or when you last applied sunscreen, you now have the tools to begin the healing process. Majority of the herbs mentioned above can be purchased at www.mountainroseherbs.com. I also created a Body Balm and Body Whip that contain Comfrey and Calendula which can be purchase at Home Yoga & Barre and www.etsy.com/shop/KsApothecary.

 

 

How Plants Effect Our Health

Spring is here and you may notice a slight shift in your recent day to day life. Maybe you feel you want to become healthier. Maybe you want to learn something new. These are feelings that this time of year brings up. Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. Just as plants die through winter, they begin growing back during the spring. Days become longer and we tend to go through this process with nature. Many of us begin to let go of things we have been holding onto, particularly relationships or jobs that were not allowing us to be the absolute best that we could be.

With nicer weather during this time of the year, many begin to focus on becoming healthier. This may mean beginning a new fitness regimen, beginning yoga or meditation, or maybe it's even simpler. 

Believe it or not, the easiest way to become healthier this spring is to add some plants to your home. There is more to these little guys than meets the eye. Plants can affect a variety of scenarios related to your health.

Improve Air Quality.

Did you know that the air inside is actually more harmful to us and more polluted than the outdoor air? It's true! Most of us work indoors and spend a majority of our time indoors. There have been studies on specific plants to test the levels at which they can cleanse the air. Placing a Peace Lily or some Aloe on your coffee table may work wonders for the air in your space, and they are also decorative.

Stress Reduction.

In this study from 2008, it was found that in-house plants reduce stress and help us to have a more positive disposition. Our society in America breeds comparison and the need to be "better" at many things. Depression and anxiety are becoming more widespread. Fight these feelings and allow yourself to disconnect when you arrive home from your day job, or at least handle some of these feelings in a more healthy manner. 

Productivity.

We actually become more productive when surrounded by nature. We are more creative and do some of our best thinking, versus those times we are surrounded by so much structure, on the highway or in the middle of a city. Think about it. When you take a mid-day walk during the workday, how does it help you the rest of the day? When you go for a run on a trail or on the beach by water, what comes to mind?

houseplants and health

How To Fall Asleep Faster

Insomnia is a HUGE problem in America and all over the world right now. Our pace through life is so fast. We are always striving to increase knowledge, skills, life experience, titles - you name it, we have probably pushed ourselves to get it. All of this forward thinking takes us out of the moment. We stop being present, and where is life really? It is NOW. Not in 10 years when we have that family and kids or grandkids. It is happening everyday. What we all need to remember is to enjoy the process of reaching our dreams. Enjoy the moments of struggle, because they will lead to plenty of gratitude when we finally reach that goal.

This is a reason why we can't sleep well, and insomnia can lead to multiple health issues. Some mild effects that may be noticed are weight gain, increased stress and anxiety, less energy, increased blood pressure, etc. Of course these can become more serious over time. Sleep is more important than we often think, so if you are consistently getting under 8 hours of sleep nightly, come to yoga!

sleep-better-with-yoga

Yoga has been proven to help us fall asleep faster, and ask some of the students at Home Yoga & Barre! Because in yoga we are focusing on increasing our lung capacity and breathing so much slower, this helps us to release the physical tension in our bodies. An example of physical tension - those tight and active muscles! This then allows our minds to slow down, decreasing that anxiety and depression, allowing us to enjoy the present moment we discussed earlier in this article. Take a class and notice if afterward you are moving more peacefully throughout the rest of your day!

Here are some great yoga poses to do at home to fall asleep faster.

A Small Daily Change...

We all want that feeling we get from a yoga class without having to go to a yoga class. Many call this "bringing yoga off the mat", and that is what it is. 

At the start of a yoga practice, we often "set an intention" - something we need from yoga, or something we would like to let go of - that can be applied in our daily lives.

 By being grateful daily and having a gratitude practice everyday, we can make huge changes in our lives!

A teacher of mine once told me that gratitude is a powerful thing. That you think of one thing or person for which you are grateful for and it leads to another and another.

We have SO much to be grateful for everyday and yet we focus on the things we wish were "better".

So here is one way we can all bring this into our lives - starting a Gratitude Journal and writing a list of 5 things we are grateful for every single day as soon as we wake.

Watch what happens over a short period of time. How do you look at the world, now?


Aromatherapy At Home

It's almost the end of the year, which means it is holiday season! What comes with the holidays? Stress

Many of us have a difficult time balancing life at this time of the year. We fall off of our routines, eat differently, feel more anxious - so what CAN we do to help take care of ourselves?

Yoga and meditation - that mind and body connection - is so important during these stressful times, but sometimes we just want to stay home and relax during the winter. We have another great option for you!

While wrapping gifts, enjoy some aromatherapy...in candle form!

This one is special during the holiday season - hence why it is named Holiday Cheer.

How does aromatherapy work?

When inhaled, the essential oils (used in aromatherapy) are absorbed into the blood stream and they send a signal to the Limbic System. This system is where our emotions are located in the brain. This is why essential oils can help with so many things like lifting depression, calming anxiety, and more!

What are the ingredients in these candles?

Holiday Cheer is a 100% natural hand poured aromatherapy candle made with soy wax, Cinnamon Leaf essential oil, Clove Bud essential oil, Douglas Fir essential oil, Sweet Orange essential oil, Atlas Cedarwood essential oil, Juniper Berry essential oil, Rosemary essential oil, and LOVE. :)

As a combination, these oils are shown to "improve mental clarity and mood, reduce signs of anxiety and stress, regulate appetite, fight fatigue and insomnia, congestion, headaches, and colds."

What are the benefits of each of the essential oils in Holiday Cheer?

  • Cinnamon Leaf essential oil: Balances the body and helps with the transmission of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Imbalances in these two chemicals in the brain is related to depression.
  • Clove Bud essential oil: Acts as an anti-inflammatory. 
  • Douglas Fir essential oil: Helps to clear the sinuses as well as helping with breathing and any respiratory issues.
  • Sweet Orange essential oil: Alleviates anxiety, depression, anger, and any inflammation in the body, like having a cold .
  • Atlas Cedarwood essential oil: This is a grounding and calming essential oil. Great to reduce stress.
  • Juniper Berry essential oil: Purifies the air and is a relaxant that does not act as a sedative.
  • Rosemary essential oil: Acts as a decongestant, helps with staying focused and helps memory retention.

Light this candle anytime this winter when you need a little "yoga" and mindfulness at home!

These candles are created by Kristen Miller, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach studying Herbalism. Check out her website here! Kristen provides services through Home Yoga & Barre, and her candles can be purchased or pre-ordered at the studio.