Preparing For Spring: A Seasonal Detox

Monday, March 19, 2018

Don't you find the words "spring cleaning" to be the most wonderful thing you have ever heard? No? Just me? Spring and cleaning just so happen to be two of my favorite things. This time of year I begin to think of opening up windows, letting the breeze carry all the remnants of winter away, bringing dresses and skirts out of storage, changing the bedding to something a little lighter, and preparing my heart and home for the wonderful season of growth ahead.

To be honest, these past few moments of winter have left me feeling quite frustrated and down. I'm ready for the encouragement of a new season. These are a few things I'm doing to refresh my body, home, and soul.

There's nothing a good exfoliation can't fix. Honestly, it's so refreshing to treat my skin with care after months of neglect. Sugar waxing my scarily hairy winter legs and giving my body a good exfoliation afterwards is so renewing. It's almost as if I'm scrubbing away any residue of winter. These are a few things I like to use as exfoliators.
  1. Baking soda I like to take a small handful of baking soda and run it under water to create a paste-like consistency and exfoliate with that. It's gentle but gets the job done well. 
  2. Oats Like the baking soda, I just take a small handful of organic oats, run them under some water and wait for them to soften. This creates an exfoliator gentle enough to use on my face as well as the rest of my body. 
  3. Sugar scrub I love making sugar scrubs because they exfoliate and moisturize all in one. I have recipes for a lemon scrub, orange creamiscle scrub, and my dear friend Kate has a delicious recipe for lavender vanilla scrub! 
Moisturize and Hydrate
Of course after exfoliation, moisturizing is an important next step. I don't know about you but my skin took a major toll from the dryness of winter. I get quite lazy in winter and often times skip putting on any moisturizer after a shower even though it's the season when my skin needs it most. Now that it's getting warmer and people other than myself may be seeing my lizard skin, I'm trying to be better about moisturizing. These are a few things I'm loving.
  1. All natural moisturizer For moisturizing my body, I like to use organic unrefined shea butter or organic coconut oil. On my face I like to use organic hemp oil or organic unrefined shea butter (both a 0 on the comedogenic scale!) 
  2. Oatmeal bath Something else I have been loving is oatmeal baths. All I do is add a handful or two of oats to a bath and it is so moisturizing! Oatmeal baths are also extremely beneficial for those who have eczema or need some itch relief. 
  3. Drink more water Lastly, I have been making sure I am drinking a lot of water. Wellness begins from the inside out, so drinking more water is the ultimate hydrator. If you haven't already, check out The Truth About Your Drinking Water to make sure you are drinking the healthiest, most non-toxic water possible! 

Give your skin some love and care with extra water and all natural, toxin-free moisturizers. It's almost shorts season!

Detox! Another one of my favorite words. Eating seasonally is really important to me, but makes winter sort of rough. I feel like I've lived off of potatoes and oats these past 4 months. I am so ready to start eating spring foods, especially what we grow in our garden! I'm taking this transition period to do some extra detoxing of not only my space but my body as well.
  1. Detox bath Nothing beats a relaxing bath, especially if it's detoxifying your body at the same time! Check out this post to learn how to take a detox bath. 
  2. Detoxifying foods Lemon, apple cider vinegar, green tea, ginger, coconut oil, and fresh greens are great to incorporate into your diet and routine for a good detox. I like to throw all those things together to make a detox smoothie
  3. Onion on your feet overnight I apologize if this is about to be the strangest thing you have ever heard, but there are amazing detoxifying results that come from putting a slice of onion on the bottom of your foot overnight. It's definitely not the best feeling (or smell) in the world but it is so worth it. The bottoms of our feet connect with our vital organs (which is why putting essential oils on our feet is so effective.) Leaving an onion on the bottom of your foot pulls toxins from your body. This is a great thing to do when you are sick or just on the regular for a good detox. Many websites will tell you to wrap it with plastic wrap around your foot, but I highly recommend that you do not. Since we now know that the bottoms of our feet are extremely absorptive, its a bit counterproductive to use something toxic on our feet while trying to draw out toxins with the onion, ya know what I mean? I like to use a homemade beeswrap or simply just cloth to hold the onion to my foot and then double up on socks. Oh! And use an organic onion of course :) 
  4. Oil pull Oil pulling with coconut oil has many detoxifying benefits and even whitens teeth if done longterm! I talk about how to oil pull in this post. 
  5. Eat seasonally God created certain foods to be in season during the times that our bodies need them most, which is why eating seasonally is so important! Some examples of Spring foods include asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, fresh greens (like dandelions, lettuce, spinach, etc), garlic, onions, green beans, peas, sugar snap peas, radishes, strawberries, rhubarb, etc. A good way to tell if something is in season is if the price goes down at the grocery store or if it's on sale for a long period of time. 

A detox feels good after a long winter of solid, hearty meals. I'm ready for light, raw, and fresh foods now!

It is time to let go of physical and mental clutter that has built up over the winter. Taking time to clean up your home and your mind at the beginning of each season is important and will make a huge difference in your life. Think of it as a clean slate, a fresh start, newly tilled soil ready for seeds to be planted. By simplifying our space and our lives, we will give ourselves more time to enjoy what this new season brings. Here are a few areas to focus on in your spring cleaning.

Digital space
This one is my least favorite thing to declutter, but it's the most rewarding. Although it's very time consuming, nothing feels better than a clear computer and an empty phone. These are a few ways I clean up my digital space.
  1. Back up photos and documents. I store all my photos and documents on a hard drive, and then erase them from my computer and phone. I typically do this whenever a season is over. For example, now that winter has passed, I won't be posting those photos anymore so now is a good time to make room on my phone for this season's photos. This way I have my photos and documents if I need them but they really don't need to be in my immediate space.
  2. Unfriend/unfollow Unfriending or unfollowing on social media is something I include in my digital clean up as well. Now's the time to unfollow those accounts you're constantly comparing yourself to, accounts that bring you down, or simply unfollowing accounts that no longer inspire you. And don't feel guilty about it! An unfollow doesn't have to be personal. If we are using social media it should be a life giving space that inspires creativity and light. If something you see on your space isn't doing that- then get rid of it and don't think twice about it. 
  3. Deleting unnecessary social medias. Is there a social media platform that sucks your energy? Gives you negative thoughts? Makes you worry about news and current events? Delete it. Delete your account, delete the app. It's time to free yourself from anything that isn't life giving.
  4. Unsubscribing/deleting emails. All those pesky emails from companies that you no longer shop at or those newsletters from blogs you don't read, etc- take the extra few seconds to unsubscribe rather than just delete the email. It will save you more work in the long run. I like to do that and then go through and delete emails that I no longer need, and organize the ones I do need to keep into their own folders. 
My closet
I try to go through my clothes once a month and each time I do, I find more things to get rid of. My style, needs, and wants are constantly changing. Sometimes it will take a little longer for me to decide to part with a piece, but I do eventually. By simplifying my closet, I have created space for pieces and a style that I truly love and feel good in. Although I am still defining my style and wardrobe, simplifying is making this easy. 
  1. Transition your wardrobe from winter to spring. Now that the weather is warming up, it's time to trade in our bulky sweaters for lighter pieces of clothing. Put your winter clothes away and bring out your spring wardrobe. This is the most exciting part about spring cleaning for me. I love seeing my closet transition from shades of dark greens and flannels to bright whites and florals. 
  2. Go through clothes piece by piece. I spread out all my clothes of the current season and go through each one piece by piece. If I have to try something on to decide if I truly like it, I will do so. Something I've been working on is getting rid of the pieces I don't feel good in. It may look cute, but if I don't feel good in it, it's never going to get worn and there's no use in keeping it. 
  3. Go through shoes piece by piece. Just as you would with clothes, go through your shoes for the season each pair at a time. Try them on if need be. If you don't wear them, don't like them, or don't feel good in them, they go. Don't overthink this. 
  4. Go through accessories. I used to have tons and tons of earrings, necklaces and bracelets sitting in a box all tangled together, headbands I'd never wear, etc. It was pointless and just took up space. Now I only have 2 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings, a few rings, and a few bandanas. It's freeing to have a few good quality pieces because I know what I like and I only own what I actually wear. Don't forget to do things like hats and purses too! 
Bath and beauty products
I believe that a big part of simple living is simple ingredients. This is why I have not only simplified my belongings, but the food and products I put in and on my body. Maybe you've been feeling a call to do the same. (If so, please reach out! I'd love to help you get started.) Now is a great time to take inventory of what you have and what you'd like to begin switching out. 
  1. Makeup. Go through your makeup and throw out expired items, makeup you don't wear, empty makeup, etc. Maybe it's time to take the dive into switching to all natural makeup, so deciding what pieces to get rid of and to start buying natural would be a good thing to do. 
  2. Other products. Go through things like lotions, soaps, perfumes, etc and ditch what you don't use, things with harmful toxins, etc. Freeing yourself from chemicals that harm your health.
Storage areas
These are important areas to hit in the decluttering process because these are the spaces we don't see in plain view. Because of this, they tend to get a little messy and can often turn into the place we throw things that are not in use. Now's the time to really go through these things and toss what you don't use.
  1. Storage closets. Cleaning closets, coat closets, shoe closets, whatever it may be, go through everything one by one and ask yourself if you really use it or need it, if not, get rid of it.
  2. Cupboards. Kitchen cupboards with overflowing containers, stale snacks, mugs that aren't your style anymore, go through them! I plan to do a post in the future about applying simple living to your kitchen, but until then get rid of what you don't use or don't need. 
  3. Drawers. All drawers whether they be silverware drawers or junk drawers- should be gone through. Drawers tend to get pretty messy and collect receipts and tags and other junk that we really don't need to keep. Junk drawers are one of my least favorite things to organize but you will feel so good once it's done.
  4. Cabinets. Cabinets and storage pieces are important to clean because although you may not use the things in them everyday, when you do need them, you will be able to find them without opening the doors and having the entire contents of the cupboard spilling out on your lap! 
Your mind
One of my favorite parts about decluttering and living simply is that it means there is space left to think, grow, and just be. Take some time to truly think and organize what you want from yourself and your life in this upcoming season.
  1. Let go of a goal. Sometimes we have goals that we don't reach by the time we think we will. When we dwell on these, it hinders our ability to succeed in other areas. The idea of having to achieve a certain goal may actually cause more harm than good. Think of something that you've been hard on yourself about, and let it go. You did the best you could do, and now you have room for things that are truly meant for you. 
  2. Write down new goals for the season. Take time to journal and reflect on what you want to do, see, or accomplish this season. This doesn't have to be set in stone or something you have to follow strictly, but it's encouraging and motivating to have intentions. 
  3. Write down things you want to leave behind as we say goodbye to winter. Maybe there's a toxic relationship, a bad habit, a sin, sorrow, that needs to be left in the past. Reflect on this and free yourself from it. Allow yourself to begin this season with a clean heart. 
  4. Reflect on the good that winter has brought. Spend some time in gratitude thinking about the coziness of winter and the slow moments of hibernation and rest. Recognize what was most helpful to you in avoiding winter blues and take note of those things for next year. 
The more and more I journey down the path of simple and mindful living, I'm finding that God designed us to mimic nature. Each season and the different moods and elements that they bring are so thoughtfully put here for a reason. Each year I am learning better how to flow with the rhythms of the seasons, and that by doing so I feel more connected and aligned. I hope this inspired you to give your space and soul a refresh before diving into this blooming season.

With care,

Intentional Phone Habits

Monday, March 12, 2018

One of my intentions for 2018 was to learn how to learn my phone and social media in a healthier way. A way that is life-giving instead of energy-draining. Some days I do better than others, but the fact that I'm being more conscious and mindful has made a huge difference. These are a few healthy habits I have been implementing into my daily life with a smart phone. 

1. Only 1 hour of "for fun" social media time a day. (this does not include work-related responsibilities) Sometimes I use my time all at once, sometimes I use 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at night. But I always try to set a timer for myself and it helps a lot. I don't do great with this everyday, but I like to think most of the time I do pretty well 😜 Set a timer for yourself when you know you are going to be taking a moment to scroll through apps. This will give you a place to stop and help you monitor your time.

2. Take one day a week where you don't log on at all. After trying to be more aware of how social media affects me, I can usually gauge when it's about time for a break. Because I do this intuitively, sometimes I end up logging off during the weekend, other times I need a day away during the week. No matter when I take a break, I always come back feeling refreshed and ready to use my phone in a healthy and inspiring way.

3. Post what you need to post and log off right away. If I do want to post something on social media throughout the day (on my instagram story for example) I allow myself to do so, but I try my darndest not to scroll through everyone else's posts when I do. This is still very hard for me because it's so tempting with those little stories right at the top of the timeline! But I've learned that posting what I need to post and then turning it off until later saves me a lot of time and keeps me from getting distracted. Definitely still working on this one though!

4. Take advantage of airplane mode. (Or do not disturb mode but honestly I still can't quite figure out what that does?) Not only does this protect you from excess radiation, but it's helpful in staying focused and not being tempted to pick up your phone throughout the day.

5. Turn off push notifications. Seriously, do it. I haven't had notifications on my phone (other than texts or calls) for over 2 years and I can't even imagine how distracting and tempting it would be to be bombarded by notifications from social media all day. I also think I read something once that said phone notifications and dings and buzzes are actually linked to anxiety and stress. And I totally believe it. I always keep my phone on silent because even the dinging noise of a text makes my stomach sink every time I hear it. (Maybe that's a more deep-seated issue or maybe I really just need to get rid of my phone? LOL)

6. Set an electronics curfew. I now turn my phone off 2-3 hours before bed. I used to do 1 hour but that was never enough time for me because it takes me a while to wind down from things. Having a good chunk of time where my phone is off forces me to spend my evenings in a better way like reading or just hanging out with family. Now that our clocks have been sprung forward for spring, I'm thinking about trying out a curfew where there's no electronics until the sun comes up in the morning, and no electronics after the sun goes down in the evening. I think this is a mindful way to savor those beautiful, slow moments in the mornings and evenings. Setting a curfew on electronics is so helpful, especially if you do work related things on your phone or maybe social media is your work. Having a cut off time creates healthy boundaries and a better relationship with social media. 

I'm definitely still in the process of learning these habits and making them stick, but I after about 2 months of intentional social media use, I can definitely see a difference. There are some days where I'm like "did I really spend that much time on instagram today?!" and other days where I don't even remember to log on at all.

A lot of people suggested to me the app Moment which tracks your time on your phone and each app. I liked the idea but ended up deleting it because the notifications where driving me nuts. But if you don't mind that, Moment may be an app you can look into for tracking your phone time.

I hope these tips were helpful to you in some way! What did I miss? In what ways do you practice healthy and intentional phone habits?

With care,

Toxin Talk: Synthetic Fragrances

Thursday, March 8, 2018

As I get older, I'm realizing that I'm turning into a more extreme version of my mother. Which is...not exactly as planned 😂(Love you mom!) Back in high school during my major Bath and Body Works phase, my mom would always complain about how my candles and lotion would give her a headache and smell terrible to her. I totally didn't get it because I thought I was basking in pumpkin spice country apple vanilla swirl cucumber melon goodness. This was way before my journey to natural living and since then, I've parted ways with all things chemical, toxic, and scented.

Now that I try to live my life as non-toxic as possible, in the rare occasion that I do come in contact with synthetic fragrance such as a candle or air freshener in someone else's home, or someone's perfume or cologne, it gives me a headache almost immediately. Synthetic fragrance is one of the top cancer-causing toxins in our homes and should be avoided by all cost. I don't purchase anything scented unless that fragrance comes from 100% pure essential oils.

You see, "fragrance" or "parfume" is a Trade Secret Ingredient, meaning companies are not obligated to disclose what makes up their fragrance. This is a fancy way of saying that fragrance is a concoction of WHATEVER chemicals fragrance companies want to put in there. This is a list of a few extremely toxic ingredients that we are exposed to when we use products with synthetic fragrance.  These dangerous fragrances can be found in many household things from laundry detergent to air fresheners, to soaps, and almost every non-natural bath and beauty product out there.

One of the most common and most dangerous chemicals found in fragrance is diethyl phthalate also known as DEP. According to the FDA's website, DEP "does not pose risks for human health", but the FDA also once said that cigarettes are safe, vaccines are effective, and approved countless pharmaceutical drugs that have since been recalled. So I'll let you decide whether the FDA is a trustworthy source of information. But that is only one chemical. As of 2015 there are 3,999 different compounds that can be used to make a fragrance (source). That's nasty. 

These dangerous chemicals are linked to many health issues such as migraines, lung and sinus irritation, skin issues, as well as more serious issues like endocrine disruption, autism, birth defects, allergic and toxic reactions, asthma, and cancer. (This is not an exhaustive list.) Not only are these fragrances dangerous to us, but our furry friends as well. Perfumes and air fresheners can bother your pets and they have no way to tell you. Unfortunately often times pet owners will never know something is wrong until more serious health issues develop in their pets. Wearing perfume or having a home that "smells good" is not worth these health risks for us or our critters.

How to avoid toxic fragrances:
Use all natural bath and beauty products
Make your own household cleaners, soaps, detergents, etc
Use essential oils instead of candles and air fresheners
Always read ingredients and avoid any product that contains "fragrance" or "parfume"

It is important to protect our health by avoiding synthetic fragrances. Treat your body and nose with kindness by introducing real fragrances of nature that God created for us to enjoy and use!

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