How have the last few months been treating you in terms of work-life balance? Have you been feeling stressed, losing sleep, and struggling to draw the line between work and home time due to the mandatory work from home and Shelter-In-Place orders? Sister, you’re not alone.
I’m here to tell you that although work is important and productivity is a must, you don’t have to be productive 100% of the time while you work at home. It’s important to remember that while we are working from home we are still working in a crisis. Practicing self-care and mindfulness are vital for getting through this difficult time and it’s okay to rely on others for figuring out how to adapt to this “new normal”.
That being said, as many Shelter-In-Place orders extend and businesses’ budgets tighten, many companies are offering permanent work from home positions for their employees. While some may enjoy working from home or not, everyone’s situation is different. Whether you are deciding to venture back into the office or hunker down at home for a while longer it’s important to approach this transition delicately and with your own mental wellness in mind.
To aid in this transition, I’ve rounded up a few wellness strategies from professional “zen artists” who understand the importance of adding wellness to your workspace and work routine. These professionals include organizational experts, wellness architects (yes, that’s a thing), naturopathists and holistic coaches. With these simple strategies in mind, you can take ownership back over your current or future work set-up and ensure your mental and physical health isn’t being side-stepped. Keep reading for wellness strategies to incorporate into your workspace.
Optimize Your Space for Comfort
While your home or office may not be equipped with ergonomic furniture, that doesn’t mean you have to suffice with an uncomfortable workspace. Ask your employer if you can take office furniture home or “check-out” devices for optimal use at home. While not everyone works the same way, M Moser Associates, Global Design and Architecture Firm, offered a few best practices on this topic. They said, “To create a comfortable and positive work from home space, people need to feel empowered to discover aspects that create comfort and enhance mood and performance in their own homes.”
They also recommended creating a minimum of three high-performance work environments. This, they say has proven to support a range of benefits including “boosting motivation through freedom of choice, creating mood-enhancing playfulness, stimulating the brain through micro-movements, and providing head space for new ways of thinking.”
Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Routine
The next step to incorporating wellness into your workspace is by adding mindfulness into your routine. This can be done by setting strategic intentions before, during, and after your workday. Shawn Johal, Entrepreneur & Business Growth Coach at Elevation Coaching emphasized the importance of taking mindfulness breaks as you may feel that working from home means staring at your computer and phone screens more often. He says to “take purposeful breaks for mindful moments away from the screen. Breathe, meditate, and take a 5-minute walk outside every hour. Your mental health will be in better shape, your family will see you as calmer, and your work will be accomplished with more success.”
Communicate Boundaries and Set Standards in Your Work Place
As millions of employees headed home at the start of the pandemic so did millions of students and family members. You are most likely experiencing challenges you never thought you would and are being asked to set unfamiliar boundaries with family members and roommates.
To remedy this, business expert Shawn Johal also said to create boundaries for work time. He said to “communicate to your loved ones how your day is scheduled – maybe even give them a copy of your schedule.” This will give you more time to spend with them and you can incorporate walks, breaks, and meals to be spent together.
Level-Up Self-Care and Level-Down Self Destruction
There are many ways to prioritize self-care during quarantine and it seems like that’s all anyone is talking about. However what is less commonly discussed, but just as important is practicing self-care at work. While we commonly associate lighting candles and using essential oils for times of relaxation, their use can have many impacts on improving your workspace and make it more enjoyable.
Naturopathic Milana Perepyolkina recommends incorporating essential oils into your work routine due to its relaxing benefits for the body and mind. Incorporate lavender to relax the mind, bergamot to lift your mood and peppermint to increase energy and mental activity. Whatever self-care activities you incorporate into your work routine, use mantras to limit negative self-talk and spirals of anxiety that can so easily entrap us during the workday.
I hope this piece has inspired you to add some moments of wellness to your work routine and encouraged you to prioritize your mental health during the turbulent time. For more inspiration and ideas on adding wellness to your workspace check out the infographic below with strategies to “zen” your workspace.
Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.
Aromatherapy and essential oils offer a ton of mental health benefits.
In this time of social distancing and quarantining, many people are feeling the negative effects of distance from their loved ones, routine and everyday life. The simple pleasures that we took for granted, like coffee with a friend, leisurely strolls around the grocery store or afternoon walks through public parks won’t be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. With all of these stressors (and more) constantly running through our minds, it’s no wonder that we need some additional at-home self-care solutions.
Especially for those that were already struggling with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, being constantly home-bound with nothing but your thoughts can lead to not-too-good feelings regarding yourself, your surroundings and your life. Though there isn’t an all-encompassing at-home remedy to stopping these negative thoughts in their tracks, there are several ways you can prioritize your mental and physical well-being while quarantining.
One of these solutions lies in using essential oils around your home as aromatherapy.
Especially now, having a relaxing, cozy space you can truly decompress in is more important than it ever has been. These following five essential oils will help make your space, and your thoughts, much more comfortable to be around for long periods of time.
These oils can be used in a variety of ways:through diffusing, incorporating into baths or lotion, topical application with a carrier oil or inhaling the scent directly. The best way to use each of these oils is included with the description of the oils below!
This is perhaps one of the most well-known essential oils, and for good reason. This earthy, herbaceous scent is a fan-favorite among aromatherapists for its abilities to combat the symptoms of mild depression, ward off insomnia and ease the grip of anxious feelings and thoughts.
To see how lavender can help you, try diffusing in your bedroom before going to sleep or applying topically with a carrier oil in the morning to pulse points, specifically wrists and behind the ears.
If meditation or self-reflection is included in your self-care routine, try diffusing sandalwood during your me-time. This warm, woody scent has shown in studies to increase both mental clarity and focus, making meditation easier while exposed to this scent. Sandalwood has also shown to have a calming effect on the limbic system, along with sedative and mood-calming properties that enhance quality of sleep.
If you’re experiencing a lack of energy or allover lethargy during quarantine, try incorporating a citrus scent like orange or grapefruit into your living and working space. Citrus scents like orange are known to have powerful energizing properties, with orange specifically being linked to increased feelings of happiness, energy levels and overall happier moods. A study even found the orange scent to lower cortisol levels, which leads to increased stress and anxiety.
For a much-needed burst of energy in the morning or during a mid-day slump, try diffusing in the morning and inhaling from the bottle during the day.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’ve been having trouble getting to and falling asleep, Roman Chamomile could help regulate your sleep schedule. In various studies, this herbaceous, floral scent has proved to help users get to sleep, and can even fight insomnia for better sleep.
To make going to bed a more pleasant experience, add some drops to your nightly shower and diffuse in the evenings to help get your body ready for sleep.
For those experiencing an overwhelming amount of emotions, jasmine essential oils have been shown to help with a variety of anxious and depressive symptoms. Not only has it proven to have a mildly sedative effect, it has been observed to have a calming effect on the brain, easing anxious thoughts, feelings and overwhelm—in fact, the scent can be “as calming as valium.” Jasmine has also been observed to stimulate the brain in certain cases, which can boost the mood and feelings of happiness.
Though there’s no way to tell when our lives will return to normal, it’s important to prioritize your physical, mental and emotional well-being during this time. This includes making yourself comfortable and feeling at-home during this stressful time—which aromatherapy and essential oils can help with. For more information on how essential oils can help with isolation anxieties, check out this visual on seven more oils and their benefits.
Emily Borst is a digital content creator who helps FragranceX create helpful and compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in digital marketing and creative writing has led her to cover unique topics ranging from business to eco to lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, crafting, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas.
Pregnancy affects the entire body, including our oral health.
While it may not be the first thing on your mind, maintaining your oral health during pregnancy is very important. There are several different ways that oral health problems can occur during pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience bleeding or swollen gums, eroded tooth enamel from vomiting and other unpleasant oral health problems.
Here’s some more information about taking care of your oral health during pregnancy.
When you’re a mommy-in-the-making, you have to make a lot of sacrifices. Namely, your body will suffer through some dramatic changes. While most of them are pretty familiar to pregnant women, one area is often neglected – oral health problems. They are pretty common ailments for pregnant women, and they shouldn’t be ignored. Here are a few issues that might occur during pregnancy and how you can resolve them.
Gums tend to swell
It’s not easy handling the influx of hormones during pregnancy, but they’re an essential part of the process. They influence just about every part of your body, for better or for worse, but it’s mostly leaning towards the worse part.
Whether it’s the mood swings, bladder getting smaller, or onset of weird food cravings, there’s always something that hormones will offset. This happens with our gums as well. You might have noticed that they swell quite a bit more than they did before the pregnancy. This causes them to be easily irritated and damaged, which is something you want to avoid.
Use soft bristle toothbrushes to minimize irritation and keep your gums clean. An advanced cleaning toothpaste is also recommended, as it can help clear plaque without causing gingivitis.
Pregnancy “tumors” appear
Don’t let the name alarm you, these tumors aren’t the malignant kind. Small, raspberry-like growths appear between the teeth and often cause pregnant women to rush to their dentist while worried out of their minds.
The growths aren’t harmful, but they can be irritating. They will disappear after the baby is born, but until then, they will cause mild discomfort while eating. The good news is that they can be removed if necessary with the help of cleaning.
Morning sickness can harm teeth
Morning sickness is a very recognizable sign of pregnancy when it starts, and many women have experienced it. What most women don’t know is that it can be very harmful to tooth health. This is generally true of vomiting, but most vomiting conditions don’t last very long. Morning sickness, especially hyperemesis gravidarum can have a detrimental effect on oral health during pregnancy.
The acidic nature of stomach content erodes tooth enamel and it can cause further damage the longer the exposure. There are some precautions you can take to prevent this harmful effect, though. Your first instinct might be to brush your teeth, but this won’t do any good. Instead, what you should be doing is swishing your mouth with some baking soda in water. This will neutralize the acid and provide some protection for your teeth.
There’s lots of snoring
Another irritating effect of hormonal imbalances during pregnancy is snoring at night. The mucous membranes in the nose tend to swell, causing a disruption of the flow of air. This results in the infamous sounds that will keep your partner awake throughout the night.
While this may only seem like an annoyance, it can also be a telling first sign of various disorders. Most commonly, snoring in pregnancy can be the result of sleep apnea. This might not be an immediate threat to most adults, but pregnant women need to be wary. Less oxygen is bad news for the baby, which is why most dentists will recommend that an acrylic snoring mouth guard is applied at night. This allows air to enter the airways without issue and keeps you well-oxygenated.
On the other hand, snoring could also be a sign of gestational diabetes, another common condition. To make sure it’s kept under control, consult your designated medical professional for screening and tests.
Increased need for calcium
It’s common knowledge that a pregnant woman’s nutritional needs are greater than when she wasn’t with child. The baby takes up a lot of resources as it grows, which is why pregnant women must adjust their diets to compensate for this loss.
While most nutritional needs are met, many women disregard their body’s need for calcium. It’s something that’s essential to bone and tooth health throughout the pregnancy, as well as something that the baby requires as well. Luckily, there are many foods that help increase calcium.
Good dietary sources of calcium include cheese, milk, and yogurt. Increasing intake of these should be more than enough to compensate for the low levels of calcium. If you are unable to increase your intake of calcium through food alone, then consider taking a calcium supplement for better oral health during pregnancy.
Maintaining oral hygiene and health is very important in everyday life. This goes double for pregnancy, as there are many factors that negatively influence the health of our pearly whites during this period. Make sure you apply the safety measures mentioned above for optimal oral health during pregnancy and you’ll be able to deliver your baby without ending up with any problems with your teeth.
Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism, recently writing on behalf of Penrith Dental. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days dribbling and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.
There seems to be a common connection between postpartum anxiety and substance abuse.
Many mothers suffering from postpartum anxiety are prone to addiction and substance abuse. It’s true that drugs or alcohol can work to help numb the pain and drown our worries. But it’s not a permanent, nor a safe, solution. If this is a problem that you are dealing with, know that help is always available and there are other options available for handling the crippling symptoms of postpartum anxiety.
Here’s some information for moms suffering from postpartum anxiety and substance abuse.
Who is at risk for postpartum anxiety and substance abuse?
Postpartum disorders and addiction have a dangerous relationship, and each of them often make the symptoms of the other more severe. In the first days and weeks after childbirth, a new mother will go through a variety of emotions and sources of stress. She may experience difficult feelings and struggle with sadness, constant worrying, and extreme sleep deprivation.
Postpartum anxiety is when a woman develops an anxiety disorder following the birth of her baby that causes a disruption in her life and affects her health and well-being. Studies have discovered that women with postpartum depression or anxiety are at a greater risk for substance abuse compared to postpartum women without a mood disorder. Likewise, women with a history of substance abuse are more likely to show symptoms of postpartum anxiety.
Why do some mothers with postpartum anxiety abuse drugs or alcohol?
Caring for a newborn entails a great deal of work, and it is normal for a mother to experience a range of feelings including worry, unhappiness, and fatigue. If these feelings persist or interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her family, she may risk developing a mood or substance use disorder.
Environmental factors such as relationship status or economic status may also leave certain mothers at a higher risk for substance abuse. Postpartum substance abuse may be a continuation of drug or alcohol use that was prevalent before or during pregnancy, or it may be the beginning of a new behavior.
Women with postpartum anxiety may use drugs or alcohol in order to:
Elevate their mood
Relieve stress and anxiety
Assist in falling asleep
Women who are prescribed opiates for postoperative pain-management or benzodiazepines for anxiety are also at an increased risk for developing a drug dependency. If you have a history of prescription drug abuse, let your health care provider so they can discuss safer alternatives during postpartum treatment. Opioids are especially addictive, making drug rehab a valuable tool for mothers struggling with dependencies after their pregnancy.
How to treat substance abuse in mothers with postpartum anxiety
Postpartum substance abuse can limit a mother’s ability to emotionally connect with her infant, adjust to their rhythms and behaviors, and anticipate or follow their development. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and postpartum anxiety, it is important to seek treatment that will address both issues.
Many addiction treatment therapies can also be used to treat symptoms of postpartum anxiety. There are many options for rehab including inpatient or outpatient treatment and a wide variety of support groups. If you are unsure about which treatment option is best, contact a rehab specialist who can go over the options and help you find the right treatment facility.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behavior. The therapist works alongside you to anticipate problems and develop healthy coping strategies. When treating anxiety in the general population, CBT has been proven to be effective with improvement rates estimated between 34% and 68%.
Common CBT exercises for treating substance abuse in women with postpartum anxiety include:
Setting realistic goals and learning how to solve problems.
Learning to manage stress and anxiety, especially with relaxation techniques.
Identifying and challenging negative thoughts.
Keeping track of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors to be more aware of symptoms and to make it easier to change thoughts and behaviors.
Exploring the negative consequences of continued substance abuse.
Identifying high-risk situations for substance abuse
Developing strategies for coping with and avoiding high-risk situations and the desire to use.
Mindfulness training is the practice of awareness and attention exercises focused on accepting your present state of emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations. When mindfulness training is practiced before, during, and after childbirth, it has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and stress.
Some of the skills taught in mindfulness training are:
Observation: Being mindful and paying close attention to what is going on in the world around you.
Description: Having the ability to say what happened and how it made you feel.
Participation: Becoming involved in an activity without being self-conscious about it.
Taking a Non-Judgmental Stance: Learning to accept things you can’t control rather than judging them.
Focusingon what is going on in the moment without distraction from other ideas or events.
Effectiveness: Doing what works instead of second-guessing yourself.
Mindfulness training can help you recognize when you are running on “auto pilot”(acting without thinking about what you are doing), as well as developing a better attitude towards yourself and others.
Talking about Substance Abuse and Postpartum Anxiety
Postpartum anxiety can make the experience of motherhood even more stressful than it already is. The risk of drug and alcohol abuse is greater for mothers who are dealing with other disorders and unfortunately, many are afraid to speak up. Drugs and alcohol may numb the pain and symptoms of anxiety, but it only offers temporary relief and does more harm in the long run. If you are suffering from symptoms of anxiety or drug and alcohol dependency, seek help from a qualified professional and get started with a recovery program. Talk with other moms about your experience or join a support group and know that you are not alone in this battle.
If you, or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse in the postpartum period, please check out our resources and recommendations page for some sites with important information.
Ginni Correa is a Latinx writer and mental health advocate living in Orlando, FL. Her mission is to build awareness and promote resources that can help people transform their lives. She believes in the importance of ending stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse
Talking about postpartum depression is never easy, even when it’s to the one we love the most.
Many women struggle with explaining postpartum depression to their partners, friends, family or other loved ones. It seems strange that we would allow ourselves to be vulnerable around our closest people, except when it comes to mental health. When it comes to explaining postpartum depression to our partners, having the right information is important.
This guest post by Betti Wilson is a summary of some of the best info about postpartum depression to help you communicate with your partner.
Description:A baby has just been born, and you expected that only joy and tenderness would overwhelm you. You would soar with happiness. Instead, you are overwhelmed by fears; all feelings have become aggravated to the state of bare wire.
What is postpartum depression and how it is detected?
Such increased emotionality is characteristic of many mothers in the first months after the child’s birth. Moreover, it’s not only a constant lack of sleep, the fact that your life has changed a lot, establish breastfeeding, look after the baby, etc. While your child is tiny and still very closely connected with you, your usual psychological defenses are weakening, and this is normal.
However, if time goes on and your feelings deepen more and more, you may have experienced postpartum depression or even postpartum psychosis. It does not mean at all that something is wrong with you or that you are weak. Instead, this condition can be considered as a physiological complication after childbirth, like a postpartum hemorrhage.
In this article, we will give you the postpartum definition, tell you what postpartum depression is, how to know its symptoms, and help you understand how to deal with it. The more you know about the condition, the better you will be at explaining postpartum depression to your partner or others.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a violation of the emotional sphere, because of which, in the first months after the birth of the baby, the mother experiences strong negative emotions. Below we list the main symptoms of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can occur not only after the first birth. As a rule, it begins between the first and third weeks after childbirth. However, some women experience depression for a few months or even a year after giving birth.
If you are now in postpartum depression, remember that you are not alone. Your partner is likely more than willing to help you get through this. This condition is temporary, it should not be hidden, and when you get help, you will feel better.
Postpartum depression symptoms
To understand if you have postpartum depression or not, listen carefully to yourself. Here are the signs of postpartum depression:
Very sharp mood swings
Difficulties bonding with baby
Separation from family and friends
Increase or loss of appetite
Weakness and fatigue
Decreased interest in everything you liked
Increased irritability and outbursts of anger
Fear that you are a bad mother
Feeling of worthlessness, shame, guilt
Difficulties with doing routine activities
Constant anxiety and panic attacks
Thoughts about harming yourself or your child
Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
What causes it?
It is still not fully known what causes postpartum depression. The reason is a combination of physical and emotional prerequisites. Among them are:
Hormonal changes. After childbirth, the amount of pregnancy hormones — estrogen and progesterone — sharply decreases in the body. It can affect mood swings. The level of other hormones produced by the thyroid gland also decreases. That is why you can feel tired, depressed, and lethargic and you may experience postpartum hair loss.
Permanent lack of sleep. The body needs to recover from childbirth. However, you need to take care of the baby, so few mothers can generally relax and recover. Lack of sleep can cause physical discomfort and a constant feeling of fatigue. Moreover, this, in turn, triggers all the other symptoms of postpartum depression.
Emotional experiences. After the birth of a baby, a woman’s life changes dramatically. The body and self-identity are changing. It seems that your life has gone out of control and no longer belongs to you. All this, coupled with constant anxiety, also contributes to the development of postpartum depression.
How to deal with it?
Consult doctors with complaints of postpartum depression. They will tell you about possible treatment options, which include working with a psychologist and/or taking particular medications. These tips will increase the effectiveness of treatment and will contribute to your recovery:
Rest, and sleep. Set aside all household chores, and take time and attention for yourself. If your baby falls asleep, do not try to do all things during this time. Try to go to bed and also sleep. Ask your partner to take over for you while you sleep.
Simplify your life. Think about how and on what you could save energy and time? Do you often cook food for the whole family? It may be worthwhile to increase the volume and cook not every day, but a couple of times a week. Or make larger portions in advance and freeze them.
Speak with your partner. The child belongs to both of you and even if your partner supports the family, part of the childcare will fall on their shoulders. Explaining postpartum depression will help them to understand what you are going through.
Ask for help and accept it. All relatives live far away, and your partner disappears all day at work? You will be surprised, but help may come when you least expect it. However, it is essential not only to ask but also to be able to accept help. If you hear an offer to help you, do not rush to refuse out of politeness. Support can be very different.
Take time for yourself. As you know, if a mother is happy, then the baby will be satisfied. Make sure to practice self care daily and don’t neglect your needs, even with a demanding baby.
Stay in touch. Many mothers think that they suddenly found themselves in isolation, and they suffer from it. Make sure that the internet does not suck you in. Get acquainted with moms at the playgrounds, call friends to visit and do not be afraid to go out with baby. Found out are postpartum girdles safeand do not hesitate to go for a walk or to the gym.
Separate responsibilities. Your partner will be happy to help you – you just need to ask him for support. Explaining how postpartum depression affects you will open up the lines of communication. They will be more willing to help take on some of the duties around the house. Even short breaks a couple of times a week will help you feel better.
Postpartum depression is not your fault. Unfortunately, many women feel guilty or feel ashamed. Some indeed encounter misunderstanding or condemnation from others. Remember that postpartum depression is a violation of the emotional sphere, which requires contacting a qualified specialist for help, like any depression definition. It is vital not to experience it alone and share with your partner. By explaining postpartum depression to them, you will feel more supported. Soon everything will be fine, and you will enjoy each new day spent with your baby.
Betti Wilson is a coach for moms and a mother of three kids. She studied baby, mother behavior, and now teaches moms to deal with all difficulties at the beginning of the new life.
One new trend that is gradually taking over is detoxing.
In recent times, more and more people are venturing into this new, wonderful lifestyle choice to help cleanse their body. Oftentimes, many people do not know how or why they should even consider a detox. Other, more curious people will try a detox regimen without the proper knowledge.
A word of caution – a detox can be quite detrimental to your health if done incorrectly. Therefore, it is very important for you don’t follow the crowd into a trendy lifestyle without being informed; the more you know, the better a detox (or anything in life) will work for you.
Here’s what you need to know about detoxing.
What you put into your body and what is around your environment greatly determines your health and how well your body functions. Being aware of what types of food you eat and what amounts you consume and what environmental factors you should avoid will benefit your health. This is because eating too much unhealthy food, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and living in a polluted area can disrupt normal body function and deteriorate your health.
Many individuals are not ready to give up their guilty pleasures or are unaware how food and the environment affect their health. A detox is a great way to heal from unhealthy toxins we consume and the ones that surround us.
Presence of toxins in the body and their effects
The human body is an interconnected system of organs that require various enzymes to function properly. The actions of these enzymes can be impeded by the presence of toxins in the body.
Toxins are chemical or physical agents that are harmful to the body. For instance, toxins that accumulate in the brain can cause poor concentration, memory problems, and even mental decline. Residual toxins from excessive intake of alcohol have been closely linked to damaged brain cells, increased risk of dementia, liver failure, and nerve pain.
Generally, toxins deter the functionality of the body’s enzymes, causing them to become dysfunctional. In addition to the effect toxins have on the enzymes of the body, toxins also affect the body’s mineral composition, causing the bones to weaken. Toxins can also affect the DNA and speed up ageing and cell degeneration. Toxins are also known to cause hormonal disorders in the body since they inhibit hormones by blocking hormone receptors in the body.
Sources of these toxins
Ordinarily, the human body has its own way of eliminating basic toxic substances from the body through the process of excretion; e.g. carbon dioxide is considered toxic to the body when it combines with blood, therefore the lungs have the function of excreting carbon dioxide before this occurs. The human skin, the largest organ of the body, is also beneficial in eliminating toxins by means of perspiration. However, the body may not always be able to handle the release of these excessive amounts of toxins during a detox period after years of leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
There are general sources of toxins that are detrimental to the body:
Toxins obtained from environmental factors, such as industrial waste and fumes
Toxins obtained from unhealthy foods and substance abuse
Toxins from the body’s own metabolic processes
Other toxic substances that can affect the body include:
Detoxing is not a new concept; it is virtually everywhere in the health and wellness world. The question that is on everyone’s minds is ‘what exactly is a detox and what does it entail?’
Detox is a term that simply means dislodging your body of harmful toxins to improve the overall wellness and health of a person. As stated before, the body itself contains a self-detoxifying system which clears toxic substances that are harmful to us. However, as a high influx of intrusive and harmful substances enter the body, it becomes very important that your body be given optimal conditions to support continuous detoxification.
Undergoing a detox could mean different things to different people. For some, this means that specific diet plans are followed. For others, doing a detox is as simple as consuming more vegetables, water, and exercising more while getting an optimal amount of rest. To summarize, a detox aim is to get rid of toxic build-up from the body in a healthy way. This means changing your diet by incorporating detoxifying foods, gradual lifestyle changes (do not use extreme detox fads as these are unhealthy and dangerous), and buying products from respected and trusted merchants.
Why do I need to detox my body?
Detoxification of the body has been shown to help the body improve a lot of its functionalities and as such, increase the optimum well-being of the body. There are a number of benefits to be gained from undergoing a body detoxification as an individual.
Some major benefits include:
Assurance of an improved circulation
Promoting a higher level of toxin removal through natural excretion processes such as sweating, urination and defecation
Initiating a higher level of functionality of the liver
Normalization of metabolic activities in the body
How do I know that my body needs a detox?
The human body was designed with a special alarm system that tells us when it has a special need. However, this may not always be the case. It is better just to stay on a healthy course than to try to change your lifestyle when it’s too late. Still, a body in need of a detox may tell you in multiple obvious ways that it needs attention. There are some signs one can observe when the body is in dire need of a detox.
A sudden and continuous desire for certain food types can be a sign that your body is trying to pass a message across to you. Majority of the time when the body is in excess of toxins, a person experiences cravings for food substances that are harmful to the body. The most common craving by the body is an insatiable want for sugar; a diet high is sugar will raise leptin hormone levels, thereby enhancing the cravings.
As such, a detox will help refocus body functionality and decrease cravings for unhealthy food. Thereby reinstating the body back to its optimal state and making it ready to process useful and essential nutrients to support proper functioning.
Constant tiredness or fatigue
High levels of toxins in the body can disrupt your energy levels. For individuals who do have high amounts of toxins, no amount of sleep is enough to fight off the constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue.
Toxins in the body can also stress out your adrenal glands. This increase in stress results from high levels of cortisol which is released into your body because of toxins. In the long-term, high cortisol levels can lead to adrenal fatigue, a condition which causes a constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue.
Committing to a lifestyle that encourages a gradual and gentle detox will help reduce your likelihood of developing adrenal fatigue, and leave your energy levels untarnished.
This sign is one of the most glaring signs your body is in need of a detox. Skin breakouts like acne, pimples, boils, rashes and eczema are a result of a toxic state.
These symptoms result from the body trying to remove toxins through our largest organ — the skin. The skin’s main function is to protect the body from toxins, bacteria, and viruses hence these skin reactions. The body tries to remove these toxins by releasing them through the skin and by turning up the skin’s inflammation response.
A gradual period of detoxification will reinvigorate the body and help restore the skin back to its normal state, giving you a youthful glow.
Increase in weight
The body contains various bacteria that are good bacteria and bad bacteria. However, a high influx of harmful bacteria can affect specific functions in your body that help regulate fat. Bad bacteria can reduce your metabolic rate and increase your inflammatory response. As a result of these two functions becoming affected, the body will slowly create more fat, causing weight gain.
A hyper toxic state of the body is oftentimes a major cause of this overload of harmful bacteria. Also, certain toxins are lipophilic in nature, meaning they are often stored in fat cells in the body, which is yet another cause of weight gain.
Reduced sleep time
Your cortisol levels are a good indicator of how healthy your sleep cycle is. A healthy toxin-free individual ought to have a higher cortisol level in the morning, and should lower levels in evening, allowing sleep to occur.
However, a body with a high level of toxins will have a near constant high level of cortisol in the body. This high level of cortisol leaves you awake and stressed at night when you should be sleeping.
Direct exposure to toxins can cause severe damage to the brain. Specific toxins known for their damaging effect on the brain include monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame. These two toxins can be fatal to brain cells since they prevent oxidation in the brain.
Symptoms of brain toxicity include disoriented thinking and lack of concentration. These toxins can also cause frequent headaches in some individuals. Some people may find it challenging to remember intrinsic details of an event and may even have short-term or long-term memory loss.
A more serious occurrence of toxin build-up in the brain can cause a condition called leaky brain syndrome. This condition occurs when blood-brain barrier becomes damaged as a result of excess inflammation in the brain. A detox can help alleviate these symptoms and restore normal brain function.
Mood swings can be directly linked to a hormonal imbalance in the body. Certain toxins such as xenoestrogens are known to cause hormonal imbalances in women and men. Major sources of xenoestrogens come from industrial waste and plastic.
A sure sign of a hormonal imbalance caused by toxin buildup is usually erratic emotional behavior. To combat this imbalance, a detox can help restore the body’s hormonal system back to its normal state and thereby relieve you from erratic mood swings — but only if the mood swings are indeed caused by toxins.
The digestive system is one of the body’s systems that is majorly affected when it comes to the issue of toxins in the body. This is because most of these toxins are introduced into the body through the digestive system; they are mostly stored or can be removed through the digestive system.
Symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation are most often a sign that something is not right with the body. Many times, they are also indicators of the presence of foreign and harmful substances in the body.
As such, whenever these symptoms occur, it is a sign that the body is in dire need of a detox after which the body is restored back to its normal functional state.
Ways by which you can detox naturally
The amazing thing about a detox is that it is affordable for everyone. The most important thing is to ensure that your body is free from all sorts of sugary and artificial substances. The best way of ensuring this is by detoxing the body the natural way, and not by using short-term fixes that may be detrimental to your health.
Increase your intake of antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals that roam throughout the body. These free radicals are produced by an unhealthy lifestyle that includes alcohol and tobacco. If you do develop oxidative stress, you are more prone to develop heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening disorders.
Food and herbs rich in antioxidants can help control the production of these free radicals, decreasing your risk of developing certain diseases. And there are various easy ways you can incorporate antioxidants into your diet.
Fulvic and humic acids, a nutrient obtained from naturally occurring herbs grown directly from the soil, are full of antioxidants. A natural source of these acids are shilajit. The cleansing and reinvigorating effects of shilajit help reduce oxidative stress and slow ageing and improve overall health.
Increase your level of physical activity
Besides obvious advantages on the physical level such as reduced risk of non-communicable diseases and longevity, a higher level of physical activity is also closely related to eliminating toxins from the body.
Regular exercise helps activate specific systems in the body like the digestive and other excretory systems. Being active can also enhance the body’s natural detoxification system.
Increase your water intake
Water is a substance that its use in the body can never be over-emphasized. The body as a whole is made up of about 60% water therefore water is very much needed to ensure that the body maintains a functional state.
Water performs many functions in the body; it re-hydrates the body, it helps with temperature regulation of the body temperature, it enhances digestion and aids with excretion. Thus, it helps detoxify the body.
As such, more water should be taken in daily to boost the body’s detoxification systems and clear the body of toxic waste daily.
Add more sleep to your lifestyle
Rest is a very important state for the body to function optimally. During rest, the various body systems can function at their optimum state without becoming over stressed. Therefore, detoxification when the body is at its resting state is more effective. There are a lot of natural tips on how to get more deep sleep.
A body detox is a process that has been proven to have more benefits than harm when done properly. With a well-researched detox plan, you can have more energy for your everyday lifestyle and be more productive at anything you do. It is important to note that the most safe and reliable detoxes are ones that are gradual and do not ask you to do extreme dietary changes. And in order to get the full-effect, these detoxes should be implemented to your everyday lifestyle and not as a short-term solution. Always talk to your doctor or medical professional before you start a detox, especially if you suffer from a preexisting health condition.
I am Polly Telegina, a holistic health expert from Siberia. Ayurveda, yoga, and shilajit are the main areas of my knowledge. Deeply intuitive I find that true healing surpasses the boundaries of the physical body and embraces the emotional, energetic and subtlest layers of our being. I help people to know how to be healthy and beautiful using only natural remedies. I believe that nature is the best source of human health. To read more check my last article on how to boost the immune system naturally.
A cluttered home has become one of the staples of motherhood.
It’s quite difficult to keep up with the messes that come along with raising young children. And living among all that clutter can contribute to rising stress levels among mothers. Decluttering might just be the secret to better mental health and less everyday stress. But it’s not an easy step to take.
Rebecca Brown from Rough Draft shares some tips and information about decluttering both our minds and our homes for less stress and better mental health.
Clutter is generally defined as “a lot of objects in a state of being untidy.”People often think of clutter as a result of not having enough storage space, or enough time to keep things organized and tidy, but the reasons are much deeper, and lie in our mindsets, and in our culture.
A UCLA research of the middle-class American families and their homes proved that we’re a clutter culture indeed, obsessed with possessions. We stock up on things to reward ourselves and decrease the stress of our everyday lives but often end up even more stressed, as a direct result of the clutter we have in our homes.
This is especially true for women, who feel responsible for the tidiness of their homes – the very same research found a link in the way mothers talk about the clutter in their homes and their diurnal cortisol levels.
So having clutter in our lives, no matter what form it takes, is stressful. Moreover, clutter makes us feel anxious and chaotic, and it often makes us avoid our homes, just so that we don’t need to deal with it.
Sentimental clutter. We all keep memorabilia of our past and the people we love. If it’s standing in the way of our everyday tasks, memorabilia becomes clutter. Giving up on those items can be hard, and may feel like a betrayal.
Clutter without storage space. Purposeful things that are not trash, but still haven’t been properly stored, since our storage space is cluttered.
Trash clutter. Things that lie around your house masked as clutter, that you could easily throw away. Remember that pair of shoes that you’ve been planning to have repaired, for like six months? That’s simply trash.
Aspirational clutter. Items proving aspirations we have or had. That favorite pair of jeans you wore when you had 30 pounds less, and that is only filling up space in your closet? Is that a guitar full of dust that you’ve been keeping in your living room since your teenage days when you’ve wanted to become a rock star?
Abundance clutter. Things you’ve been stocking up because you know you’re going to use them one day. It’s never a good idea when it comes to food or clothing.
Bargain clutter. You might think it’s a good idea to make a good bargain, so you buy things you don’t actually like or use.
Declutter Your Mind
One of the best and most accurate definitions of clutter is “delayed decisions.”
We can’t seem to be at peace with the idea that we’ll probably never play the guitar or go skiing again, so we leave it for the “just in case” scenario. We have several baby blankets in the garage to remind us of our kids’ childhood, as we can’t seem to decide which one to keep. Our cluttered homes and our cluttered minds are deeply connected, enticing stress from our unaccomplished businesses.
To begin decluttering your mind, you can begin with the following:
Determine what your most important life goals are and define actions to achieve them. Make time for those actions.
Keep a journal to organize your thoughts better.
Spend more time in nature as it can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing, and help you distinguish your life’s priorities. Hiking is particularly helpful when trying to connect to and contemplate the essentials of life.
Limit media consumption. This is the only way to get rid of all the media related clutter in your mind, and the stress and anxiety it causes.
Declutter Your Space
“If you don’t love it, lose it. If you don’t use it, lose it” a simple motto by Margareta Magnusson, the author of “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” can be a good one to start with when decluttering your space.
Even though the idea of what happens with your things after you die, may seem a bit too challenging, the Swedish practice of döstädning is pretty much enlightening even for those of us who would rather skip this conversation.
Simply by thinking how the item that remains behind us would affect our close ones, can make a difference in how we value the things we cling on to, and whether we should choose to keep it.
If you are unhappy in your home because of the mess you live in, or you can’t find things that you need to function because of it, choose a rainy day when you don’t feel like doing anything else and start.
Throw away or donate things that you don’t need or use.
Don’t move to another item until you’ve made a decision about the one in your hand.
If there is an item that holds a sentimental value, that it’s hard to throw away –take a photo of it.
Never buy a thing that doesn’t serve a purpose or just because it’s a good bargain.
Don’t stock up on food and clothes. Many things can change until you decide to use them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the help of your friends or other family members.
While there is a clutter around, you can hardly feel relaxed – you’ll feel as if you have a constant reminder of tasks ahead of you that you’ll most likely never finish. By decluttering your mind and your space, your days will be less stressful and you’ll be happier too.
Author Bio:I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.
Women need to practice self care because they take on a lot. Whether it’s a mom juggling the kids’ school and activities or a college graduate in the thick of their thesis paper, life can be quite exhausting. All of this overthinking and overworking can have a real impact on our mental health. That’s why every woman needs a day to themselves from time to time.
To get you started, here are six essential self care tips for that special day all to yourself!
Get Good Sleep
Sleep deprivation can have multiple compounding effects on the body. So without it, our bodies fail to repair damaged tissue, metabolize hormones, and even create memories or simply retain lessons learned. So, while women are stressed at work or worried about their kids in some way, it’s hard to shake it off before heading to bed.
To combat this, one essential self-care tip is to change your bedtime routine. Avoid foods with caffeine and sugar and, instead, drink some soothing chamomile tea. Another nasty habit women tend to have before bed? Checking their phone and watching television. For many reasons, it’s important to put these devices away or turn them off and on silent. Not only do they stimulate your brain when you should really be unwinding, but the blue lights screw with our melatonin hormone, which, in turn, confuses our circadian rhythms and disrupts proper REM. Instead, read a self-care book or write in a gratitude journal.
Other than your phone, keep bedroom lighting to a minimum to achieve proper sleep. Use blackout curtains and avoid using a nightlight, even in conjoining bathrooms. To get the best rest of your life, it should be perfectly pitch dark!
Be Mindful of What You Digest
This goes for food and everything that goes along with it—like nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food is such a crucial role in how we feel, mentally and physically, and it can be affected on a daily basis. Reach for high-nutrient foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and brassicas (think broccoli and Brussels sprouts). The best way to be more mindful of what you digest is to know precisely what your body is absorbing. When you eat fast foods or takeout on a hurried day, you rarely stop to question what’s in it or from where it came. Instead, make sure you get the proper nutrients by creating a healthy meal at home, for family dinners or to carry into work for lunch.
Even if you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, you can have your local supermarket deliver weekly produce and ingredients straight to your doorstep. Not to mention, there is practically an endless variety of boxed meal delivery services from which to choose. Supplements can also improve our physical and mental health enormously. While it’s always best to first consult your physician or nutritionist, several supplements that could be beneficial are Vitamin D3, iron, omega-3, and even digestive enzymes.
Fresh air does more good for your body than you realize. So, it’s essential to remember to take a step outside every now and then. Seasonal Affective Disorder rears its ugly head in the winter as we tend to stay indoors, plan for the stressful holidays, and experience nothing but a cloudy gray haze. But it’s still important to get some sun and nourishing Vitamin D, which can be a real mood-booster.
You don’t have to go for a run—just a leisurely stroll in the park is enough. And, in doing so, you will also be getting some physical exercise, which will help clear your head and allow you to sleep sounder and deeper.
Organize Your Home and Thoughts
Sometimes, even the clutter we leave lying around can affect our mental state. It’s important to reassess the home every so often, declutter, and organize. Whether that means donating boxes to secondhand stores or gifting items to friends and family, tidying up your living space can leave you feeling refreshed. And that, in turn, can improve your mental clarity. Brightening up your space with new home treasures and décor can drastically change the look and feel of your home, bringing you a refreshing new outlook to your day to day!
When it comes to your thoughts, those need to be organized too, but in a different way. There are several ways to bring clarity to the mind. You can create lists as a way of “brain-dumping,” which can center or ground you, leaving you less overwhelmed about all the tiny menial tasks, and even big ones, too! Here’s a fantastic brain dump exercise to help guide you.
Slightly different than a brain dump, one essential self-care tip is to create a gratitude journal. It seems simple enough, but, by acknowledging the small moments and accomplishments you feel grateful for, you can let go of regrets and learn not to be so hard on yourself. You can start with morning affirmations and end with what you enjoyed about the day.
Meditate and Learn to Breathe Again
Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole range of mental and even physical health issues. However, according to some studies, meditation has been proven to alter our heart rate and blood pressure, reducing these stress-driven health issues.
And this lies in the relationship between our diaphragm and our sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. Breathing exercises that accompany meditation engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which essentially tamps down the “fight or flight” response that chronic stress brings. And, by breathing through the diaphragm, women can trick the mind and body into this parasympathetic response. Here are some beginner tips for developing a meditation practice.
Create a Self-Care Reminder
Every once in a while, a woman needs a day to themselves. And, with our hectic lives, it’s important to pencil it in, guard it, and cherish it. Make it a regimen and schedule it once a month, at least. But, until that day, also be sure to practice a little self-care in your everyday routine.
Author Bio: Carolyn Eberhart serves as the Digital Marketing Manager for Natural Life. Carolyn oversees all digital marketing efforts relating to Paid Social Media and Email Marketing remotely from Redwood City, CA. During the week she is passionate about her career, cooking, exercising and hanging out with her family and on Sundays you can find her cheering on the Buffalo Bills!
Parenting is a beautiful journey that we can pretty much compare to a roller coaster ride – filled with ups and downs that does not seem to end. Unfortunately, there are times when parents can feel excessively tired, cranky, unproductive, useless, and not enough. Have you felt the same way too? Then this means that you are suffering from parental burnout.
What is Parental Burnout?
Parental burnout exists and is becoming more prevalent lately. It is a term that describes resentment, physical and emotional fatigue, de-motivation, and even depression in some parents who are overly stressed with parenting and a pile of other obligations.
According to studies and research, the changes in our society and culture are huge contributing factors that brought about the rise of this syndrome. So how do you know if you have parental burnout? These are the signs that you need to watch out for:
Emotionally distancing from child
Lack of motivation to go on
Feeling useless as a parent
Easily angered by the child even for simplest and smallest reasons
The bad thing is that not only parents are affected by parental burnout. This can take a toll on your child, too and the effects can last for a long time. For this reason, moms and dads should partake in activities that allow them to “recharge” and prevent fatigue.
Having said that, I decided to ask other parents for practical solutions on how to cope with parental burnout.
How to Cope
If you feel like you can no longer take it all, here are some of the many suggestions from parents like you and I to avoid falling prey to parental burnout:
I shop for my son to de-stress. I usually do this with a mom friend so I have a chance to talk to another adult (and keep my sanity lol). This technique is like hitting two birds with one stone – shopping for things that my kid needs while socializing with other moms without feeling guilty of leaving my husband and kid behind. I feel invigorated after doing this kind of errand. You should try it, too.
Have a Vent Buddy
It is really frustrating for me every time my 3-year old son and I argue. I always remind myself that I need to understand his context because he does not always get my point of view… and shouting at him does not help at all.
Whenever I feel like I am about to explode, I take a break from arguing with my son and call or text a friend. I whine, and nag, and even swear if need be just to let everything out of my system. After this, I feel a bit better and all my anger has simmered. By the time I go back to my son, my head is already clear and I can better “hear” what he is saying. This way, we can better communicate with each other.
If I can’t reach anyone, I simply send an email to myself – the same thing I want to tell my vent buddy during a phone call or text message.
Relax and Watch a Movie
I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities – imagine another human being is fully dependent on me for everything. As a result, I worry almost every time even when I am near my kiddo. This is where parental burnout comes creeping in.
When this happens, I watch a movie – more than once a month. I choose movies that do not last for more than two hours. As I am engrossed with the characters in the movie, I temporarily forget about my woes and worries. This, honestly, feels like a mini-vacation for me. As soon as I go out, I feel like a different person.
Go for a Run
This is the same thing as having a vent buddy as this helps keep my head clear. Before I go to work, I run for 15 minutes to decompress and work on things that are stressing me out.
This 15-minute run might not be much but it helps me work something out on my head while keeping my body healthy and active. By the time I get home, I feel happier and, surprisingly, more patient.
Let Your Partner Take Over
Parenting on your own is hard. Plus, it makes you crazy as you incessantly want to control everything. Sometimes, I decide to take a step back. I tell myself to bail on some activities and let my husband handle it.
For instance, I let my husband take my son to the park so I can stay at home. I can clean, read a book, catch on my favorite series, or just sit down and relax. This rewards us both – my husband gets to bond with my son and I get some time to reboot.
Remember that parenting is not like a job wherein you can just resign anytime you want. You cannot give up or quit on your kids. But if you take note of the practical tips in this post that are proven effective by other parents, I am sure that you will feel happy. You will never fall prey to parental burnout ever again.
Author Bio: Elkyra Park is a first-time mom who can no longer count how many baby products she has reviewed for her sanity and her son’s sake. She discusses about the realities of parenthood and how to gracefully cope with the struggles over at www.easyparentinghacks.com
Ever considered using a doula to help you through labor and delivery?
There are so many benefits of doulas, and it’s not just for moral support. Science has proven that having the support of a doula through labor, delivery and in the postpartum period can lead to better health for mom and baby. For most women, the process of giving birth can be extremely frightening and stressful and a doula can ease some of that stress. Having someone in your corner that will put your needs first is something all moms can benefit from.
Let’s be truthful here, giving birth is no easy task. It’s called labor for a reason. First-time mothers experience it on even another level due to the fear of the unknown. To the dismay of many moms-to-be, the medical community took a natural process and made it into a sterile procedure to be feared. The birthing mom was isolated in a stark, cold room to give birth in an unnatural position, separated from loved ones, and without support. Fortunately, the medical community has finally begun to come around to what works for a new mom and her baby.
The scientific community began to realize that perhaps the ways of modern medicine did not work well for the most natural process on our planet, and that is giving birth. After many compelling studies, scientists discovered that stress-free labor had many benefits to both the mother and infant. They found thatdoulas played a significant role in providing a stress-free environment, aiding in an uncomplicated birth.
Mothers who received doula support during labor and the birthing process experienced less pain as well as a shorter labor duration. This was a result of the confidence they felt in their abilities, knowing that they had the full emotional and physical support of a doula by their side. In addition to this, they also had fewer incidents of cesareans, epidurals, and the use of invasive birthing instruments.
A mother who experiences stress-free labor without invasive intervention due to the support of a doula will also have a stronger bonding connection with her newborn. Both mother and child come together in the world for the first time in a positive atmosphere. Studies have not only shown that this type of birth increases positive mother-infant interaction but also boosts early breastfeeding scores.
Scientific studies have forced the medical community to realize that there are so many benefits of doulas for a laboring mother that it can no longer be ignored.
Here are 17 evidence-based benefits, including infants with higher Apgar scores, reduced postpartum depression, and fewer birth complications.
Neve is a pragmatic and encouraging natural birth advocate. She loves science and hates dogma, and she tries hard to empower women with information while steering clear of criticism and judgment. A mother of three, Neve is also chief researcher and editor at WeTheParents. You can catch her on Twitter and Facebook.
While it’s great that science is able to prove the benefits of doulas, it’s also just plain common sense. Even if you have a supportive spouse or friend with you, it doesn’t often compare to the experience of a trained doula. Having someone who is completely devoted to your care and well being during one of the most intense moments of your life is a luxury that all mothers should have access to.
Have you used a doula for your labor and delivery? We’d love to hear more about your experience. Feel free to contact us or leave a comment!