metime, mindset

Find time for self-care during lockdown

I don’t think I have ever craved me-time as much as I have during this lockdown.

Yes, it’s really lovely to get to spend lots of time with my family, enjoy meals together and time out in the garden.

But I’m someone who also really loves my own company. I love switching off, and not talking to anyone.

It’s been hard to get that downtime at the moment as it feels like every waking moment is filled with “Mummy, can I…?” or “Mummy, you need to…” and “Mummy, where’s my…?”

The first few weeks were especially hard trying to adjust to this new normal, and I felt like I was completely losing myself. Doing the bare minimum for myself when I could, exercise. But I was missing other things,like doing my hair and nails, and seeing my friends.

So over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying out some things to promote self-care, help me with my mental health and also lift my mood.

1. Get up, exercise, shower and get dressed.

This might sound really simple, but also very hard when you’re a mum. It already seems impossible to shower and get dressed, and now I’m also asking you to exercise. Exercise is great for the mind as well as the body. It’s a great way to tell your body that you are honouring it and respect it enough to move.

After your workout, have a quick shower and get dressed for the day. You’d be surprised how much your outfit can set the mood for the day.

2. Put some makeup on.

For the first 3 weeks of lockdown, I didn’t see the point of wearing any make up. I wasn’t going anywhere. And then we had a glorious weekend of hot weather and we decided to have a BBQ at home and spend some time in the garden. I decided to put on a colourful jumpsuit and put some makeup on. I was in such a great mood that day. So much so, that I did the same thing the following day. And I’ve decided that where possible, I’ll put on some form of makeup everyday, even if it’s just eyeliner and mascara.

3. Work on your skincare routine

Now is the time to catch up with some beauty bloggers on youtube and find out how could take better care of your skin. You know those products you were worried about trying because they might cause your skin to look really red or break it out in spots? Well, now is the time to try those, since we’ve nowhere to go! Most online retailers are still delivering, so why not have a look at some places like Cult Beauty or Look Fantastic.

4. Go out for a solo walk/run

I have to run a couple of times a week. I started running because I was going to do a half marathon, which got cancelled due to coronavirus. But I’m still going because I really love it now. There’s no better way to get an endorphin release. I also love it because I get to turn on my favourite podcast or audiobook that I wouldn’t be able to listen to otherwise, and just tune out the world. It’s my time to focus on me and my running. You don’t have to run though. You can just go out for a walk. Speak to your partner and ask them to watch the kids so you can have some time out by yourself. It’s a great way to get energised and lift your mood at the start of your day, especially if the rest of your day is going to be hectic, like it is for many of us.

5. Have virtual hangouts

We don’t know how long it’s going to be before we can physically see our friends and extended families again. Thankfully we have so many tools now at our disposal to connect with our friends and families online. Lots of people are hosting parties via zoom and other online streaming platforms. So many events have had to be cancelled, but thanks to these platforms people have been hosting quiz nights, baby showers, live workouts, and even live concerts! If you haven’t already had a virtual date with your friends, then get planning!!

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Using essential oils during and after pregnancy

Essential Oils – they might not be the first thing you think of when that little white stick confirms that, yes in fact you are pregnant, but when you learn what they can do for you during your pregnancy, labour and post-birth and the multiple ways in which they can help your newborn and growing family you might want to think again.

But are essential oils safe in pregnancy?

It’s a good question and it’s wise to check of course. The biggest misunderstanding with essential oils is of course regarding their safety but in a way it’s quite justifiable as much information out there is from the days when the purity, potency and origins of an oil couldn’t be trusted .

doTERRA takes away that mistrust as they test EACH bottle of oil produced multiple times, and many of those times transparently by an independent company – this is to ensure NO oil is sold under their name without reaching the stringent, high, therapeutic grade standards the founders set 12 years ago at the beginnings of the company.

Once you realise there is nothing in that bottle of oil except the pure, extracted organic plant oil itself, and you follow the basic guidelines set out by the person who introduces you around dilution and usage, there is nothing to fear.

Aside from this there are only a couple of basic rules really regarding use in pregnancy – avoid Clary Sage until the point of labour, due to the influence it can have on contractions, and avoid Peppermint towards the end of gestation and during breastfeeding as, in some women, it MAY but not always, reduce milk flow. Also be aware that we are all different and we can experience some heightened sensitivity in pregnancy, with senses such as smell, so less is absolutely more with oils. But definitely consult with your doTERRA Wellness Advocate and they can work with you and support your oil use.

What are the benefits of essential oils during pregnancy and post pregnancy?

They are NATURAL and that’s a wonderful bonus for expectant mums and those wanting a more natural approach to motherhood as it can often replace or reduce the need for pharmaceuticals and toxins in and around the home. To have ready made tools to have to hand when discomfort, mild illness, pain and tension hit – headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, sleep, stress, anxiety, nausea, colic in little ones – is an incredible bonus – not having to wait until a doctors surgery or a chemist opens before being able to relieve symptoms can be incredibly empowering.

Many people find consistent use of oils can help keep them healthy and prevent the onset of certain issues. They can contribute to many aspects of a healthier life from physical and mental healthcare and overall wellbeing.

What sets DoTerra apart from other essential oils?

The transparent testing assures purity and potency, so you can rely on these oils to be unadulterated, non-synthetic and better than organic from grower to customer. No other oils company in the world sets these standards and holds themselves accountable in this way with transparent third party testing and self-professed assurances. But aside from the product the company itself operates a co-sourcing programme ensuring workers receive a fair deal, from plant to bottle – it’s an absolutely ethical process and in addition much worthy charity work is done through the supplementary Healing Hands Foundation. doTERRA has an ethos to help as many people as possible. As it says: “doTERRA is not just a company but a cause.”

What are the top 3-5 oils you’d recommend for expecting mums?

Deep Blue Blend for muscular and joint aches and pains – a bespoke blend of oils chosen for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Cassia (A variety of Cinnamon) for digestion (also Peppermint, Ginger, and the Digestive Blend, Zengest) and emotional stability – which can be really beneficial at a time when emotions are up and down.

Peppermint and Wild Orange together or Frankincense for a burst of energy and mental alertness when fatigued.

Lemon, Peppermint and Lavender together for pregnancy stuffiness/hayfever or when in need of a natural antihistamine.

How can new mums incorporate essential oils into their daily lives for themselves and their families?

These little bottles can be used in so many ways, from self-care to healthcare!

Some ideas include but are in no way limited to:

Breastfeeding

Peppermint can help reduce supply when you reach the close to breastfeeding while oils like Clary Sage, Copaiba and Fennel help (in some cases substantially) increase production.

Self-Care

–        Either by helping you or baby (and therefore you) sleep, oils can be a godsend, especially during those last few uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy and first few months of baby’s arrival.

Serenity the restful blend, Balance the grounding blend, Wild Orange, Lavender and various other sleep oils all help calm and release stress and therefore improve quality and duration of sleep.

–        Raise mood, energise and invigorate by diffusing and ingesting in water Citrus Oils are natural mood raisers, used through the Olfactory system (sense of smell) to positively affect the Limbic System (the part of the brain which regulates behaviour, feelings, long term memory, even libido) This can provide essential relief at a time where hormones can make emotions run high and mum is perhaps more up and down than normal, thanks to all the changes and lack of sleep,

Lemon, Wild Orange, Grapefruit, Lime, and blends like Citrus Bliss or Cheer are all good for enhancing feelings of contentment and wellbeing.

Pamper yourself with easy homemade, natural lotions, for hand or foot moisturisers, or massage. And diffuse soothing calming oils and blends for relation and stress busting. Finding time for you can sometimes be very hard as a new mum and simply turning everyday tasks such as washing into a kinder ritual can be very rewarding.

Recovery

Soothing oils Lavender and Frankincense help heal the after effects of birth or Cesarean scars remarkably fast.

Air, the respiratory blend can be highly supportive later on as mums return to exercise or when the baby has the snuffles from a cold, and needs to feed or get a better night’s sleep despite tiny blocked nostrils.

Weight Loss – help support steady, sensible weight loss postpartum with Smart and Sassy, our metabolic blend of mint and grapefruit oils, and the remarkable Yarrow Pom blend.

Healthcare – You or Little One (the whole family)

Temperatures? Stay comfortable or make bubba more comfortable with cooling Peppermint oil.

Headaches? No tablets needed, go for Peppermint, Lavender or Melaleuca (tea tree) oils on the forehead or temples or diffuse.

Periods return? Cramps and pain can be helped with Deep Blue, soothing blend, or stabilise and balance hormones with the remarkable Clary Calm Blend.

Children’s bumps? doTERRA have an oil blended ointment Correct X in place of traditional skin healing creams – quick, natural healing! Or simply use Lavender – amazing for small burns!

Finally use our essential oils as natural sugar free flavouring in plain water or yoghurt and make healthy chocolate with cacao and oils – amazing right? (Please don’t use in plastic or ingest other non-doTERRA oils,)

And these are just a few uses. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!

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Oils for Relaxation

What is the one thing that mums will openly admit they find it hard to do?

Prioritise themselves above their kids, their partner, their job and the housework.

And the second thing?

Relax!

It’s a tough one isn’t it? We all have good intentions but it’s easy to neglect ourselves during the course of a single day. “We’ll start tomorrow,” we say. But tomorrow never comes. It’s expensive and time consuming to book a spa day and how hard is it to get together with some friends for a weekend away, and who is going to have the children if you do? It’s often quite the hassle to arrange childcare.

But what if you knew there were little bottles of goodness bringing relaxation and self-love to millions of women across the world every day. All you need is an essential oil!

Essential Oils

doTERRA CPTG Essential Oils are a simple, affordable, effective way to make self-care an everyday necessity you can keep in your handbag and use when you need to.

It’s true. Most people don’t realise the true power of a pure essential oil but medical research is showing the real potential a single drop has. Oils have the capabilities to raise mood, induce feelings of calm and relaxation, enhance sleep quality and diffuse the intensity of anxiety.

Whether applied to the skin, inhaled or ingested (YES, contrary to popular belief doTERRA Essential Oils are SO carefully manufactured to such strict guidelines*, that, with educated and responsible use** the bulk of our oils – with occasional exception – can be used internally) 

So how can you use these oils to care for yourself?

Raise Mood

The Olfactory system (your sense of smell) is connected to the Limbic part of our brains, which controls things like our emotions, our behaviours and our long-term memory. It means simply smelling an oil, whether it be through a diffuser, misting away in a room, or from the skin on our body where we have dabbed the diluted oil, can have a profound effect on how we feel.

Citrus Oils

Clinical trials have proven ALL citrus oil have a positive and direct effect on uplifting our mood and making us feel happier and more upbeat. Scents like Grapefruit, Lemon, Tangerine, Orange, Mandarin, Lime and Green Mandarin are super oils to inhale directly from the bottle if we’re feeling a little low. Or why not blend two or three of these aromas in a diffuser to lift the mood of everyone in the room.

Small, simple moments of applying an oil to the wrists or neck, diluted in a little carrier oil, like jojoba or coconut, can feel like a real indulgence and have a lasting effect for up to two hours.

Be aware that ALL citrus oils EXCEPT Green Mandarin are photosensitive and should be used with caution in sunlight as you WILL burn quicker as a result.

Relax and Reduce Tension

Even if you are unable to stop and pause for a few moments (although including a few moments to practice mindfulness during the day is a worthwhile activity to aim towards) simply breathing in the aroma of a pure and potent Lavender Oil can have a profound effect on the body. Whether rubbed in, ingested in water or inhaled Lavender Oil actively lowers Cortisol Levels, a hormone released by the body at times of stress.

We all naturally produce more of it in the morning. Levels should normally drop off in the evening in preparation for sleep, but in today’s world, where we have tablets, and mobile devices and often take work home with us we find it hard to switch off because our Cortisol levels are out of kilter.

It’s one of the reasons many of us find it hard to fall asleep at night or get restful sleep. What greater act of self-love is there to ensure you are giving yourself a moment to breathe, to feel the tension from your shoulders unwind and or your mind to stop racing?

Induce Deeper Sleep

Once relaxation kicks in deeper and better quality sleep follows. One of doTERRA’s most popular blends is a combination of oils called Serenity, a restful or tension blend.

Ingredients including Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf and Ho Wood calm the senses and emotions and used aromatically before bed can intensely enhance a meditative-like quality which encourages naturally more refreshing sleep.

Individual oils known for their sleep benefits provide similar positive results – why not dab on some Petitgrain or dilute Vetiver Root into a spray and mist your pillow before bedtime – small, simple acts of self-care which take seconds but can have a significant effect on your well-being. Every single one of us has a totally unique chemistry and what works for one person might not work for you – you are an individual.

Taking the time to find out which oil works for you will be worth your time – it’s why doTERRA Wellness Advocates offer every single customer a Wellness Consultation of their own, in person or over a video link if time is something they are lacking. While Lavender works for between 95 and 98% of people, the remaining percent find it has the opposite effect and stimulates them. The beautiful oil, Wild Orange, encourage the body to release the sleep hormone, Melatonin, in the evening and especially combined with the grounding blend, Balance, has wonderful results for sleep.

The thing about being a mum is that you’re never really off-duty.

As a ‘duty’, and I don’t mean that in the sense that parenthood is a chore – although it can absolutely feel like one at times – the responsibilities and tasks of a mum are time-consuming and relentless, and can often feel like a never-ending list of things to be completed, blurred against a backdrop of pleas and demands from your off-spring. And all this multiplied by the pressure of time

But it’s not just the ‘doing’ part of the role which takes its toll.

 The mental strain of being a mum is the all-encompassing pressure that does the most damage to women’s sense of well-being and balance.

Even with the physical support of other people or organisations like childcare taking up the strain, the thought of what your kids need is never far from your mind. And this is where the strain felt by mums is different to that experienced by dads.

Ease Anxiety

Many of us muddle along for years without seeking help, although in the current climate of mental health awareness it’s more accepted and encouraged than ever to get support and speak out should you choose to do so.

When life is getting on top of you and those familiar feelings of anxiety are creeping up on you, it’s wonderful to have help at hand in the form of an essential oil.

Balance, the grounding blend, helps bring feelings of tranquillity while harmonising the mind and body and balancing the emotions. It’s an incredible go-to, handing control back to you at a moment you might feel anything but in control.

A woody aroma of Spruce Leaf, (used by America’s Native American’s or health and spiritual support) Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil, the blend is easy to massage into neck or wrists, pop into a car diffuser while heading from A to B, or simply rubbed into the soles of your feet, as you dress in the morning, to help support you during the course of your busy day.

Other blends give the same sense of relief in different ways:  Past Tense, help soothe, cool calm and bring relief in our fast paced lifestyles. Air physically opens the airways and relieves physical ailments like asthma, seasonal allergies and colds, but also helps users take deeper breaths, releasing tension and anxiety. And Peppermint and the Deep Blue blend, mainly used effectively for pain, can also help the rigid tension of anxiety, which often manifests itself in the shoulders.

The benefits of most doTERRA Oils overlap and they are multi-purpose. Simply having these essential oils in the home is a kindness to yourself, empowering you help yourself and find your solutions.

Wherever essential oil is applied it will absorb into the cells within 20 seconds, but will circulate around the body within 20 minutes.

Fun Fact: users sometimes report being able to taste the oil applied to the soles of the feet (soles are a great place to start using oils, especially with children) within half an hour of application!

*Oils should never be used in plastic as they pull the petro-chemicals out and we ingest those too – not ideal! This is why we only add them to glass or metal vessels and non-plastic containers.

In addition not all Essential Oils are created equal. That is to say there is no across the board regulation enforcing the quality of essential oils.

But with doTERRA a self-imposed standard, created when the company formed 11 years ago, is enforced and upheld, meaning that every guaranteed to reach Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG): The oils have must have NO traces of chemicals, pesticides, fillers or artificial ingredients which is why most of them are safe to be ingested if that oil bears a nutritional supplement label.

Every single bottle is tested an incredible 15 times – five of those by an independent, impartial company – to prove the composition of the contents of each bottle. To this end each oil bears a unique identification number, which can be entered into an online site to recover the results of those tests. As a result the oils have proven safety to be used on infant and elderly skin.

**Just because an oil can be ingested doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way to gain its benefits. But there are only TWO oils which would be harmful to ingest: Wintergreen and Deep Blue, which contains Wintergreen: it is a poisonous oil.

Oils are simply to use but should be used responsibly. It’s the main reason they are distributed by Wellness Advocates and not sold off the shelf: there are simple safety aspects to consider which can be emphasised by your advocate – never rinse with water only carrier oils, only use a single drop or two at a time, follow dilution guidelines, especially with babies and children and ask your wellness advocate for advice as you learn more.

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