How to Deal with Holiday Stress

Christmas music plays on the radio, green and red decorations cover stores and neighborhoods, there’s a cheerful spirit in the air–it must mean the holidays are here! This time of year can be full of warmth and memories, but it’s not always smiling rosy cheeks and a holly jolly spirit. The holiday season can be stressful as we rush to accomplish everything on our lists, a sad reminder of those we’ve lost, and an exhausting strain on our mental and physical health. Here are a few tips to deal with the struggles of the holidays so you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year:

Use the power of smells: Certain smells can ease stress, holiday stress tips provide energy, and even help strengthen your immune system. Harness the power of essential oils this season to help give you a boost when you need it .

Be okay with saying no: The holidays can put a big demand on our time and energy. You can’t attend every holiday party while finding the perfect thoughtful gift for every person you know while preparing to host a huge get together–and that’s okay because you’re human! Prioritize your health and wellness this season, and focus on doing less but enjoying more.

Express yourself: The holidays bring up a number of emotions and memories. Set aside a few minutes each day to work through these feelings. You can journal, engage in art therapy, write slam poetry, whatever helps you reflect.

Eat well: Eating healthy can be a challenge during the holidays with the abundance of homemade sweets and other unhealthy foods. You don’t need to avoid all treats, but do be mindful of what you eat. The healthier you eat, the better you will feel.

Take time to disconnect: It’s easy to get sucked into the holiday craziness-and stay there until New Years. Be intentional about taking some time away from the business (and the electronics) to help reduce stress. Try to meditate each day or set aside time to exercise so you can improve your mental and physical health this holiday season.

 

This time of year can be stressful, but with a little proactivity you’ll be able to work through the challenges to enjoy the blessings. From all of us at Sunstone, we wish you a happy holiday season!

Thieves Oil-Stealing the Ah-Choo and Flu out of the Holiday Season

The temperatures are dropping rapidly, we are pulling the sweaters out of the closets and although, yes, this means pumpkin spice lattes have made a debut, it’s not enough to make this mom look forward to the season.  Why am I so concerned for this cold fall/winter season you ask?  Jack Frost not only brings out the cozy winter wardrobe, but he brings along COLD and FLU season! And cold and flu season means this vicious cycle in the house where it ends up being shared through the entire family and it seems like someone is always sick. This is not the way I would like to teach my children the art of sharing—please keep your sick germs to yourself!  If there were something that all of you moms and dads could do to avoid sickness this season wouldn’t you be willing to try it?

I’m sure by now you have either tried yourself or know of someone close to you who swears by essential oils.  I was skeptical at first, as I am of everything, but it’s a tried and true addition for health and wellness in our homes, which is why I highly recommend you start implement them in to you holistic wellness approaches.  There are so many uses for essential oils, but with the winter woes on their way, I want to make sure you know about this one.

It is called Thieves Oil, and it has a tremendous impact on thieves oilfighting those cold/flu cycles that take over your home this time of the year. It is shown to boost immune systems and promotes a healthy respiratory system. As your bonus, you get a little history less about the name. Back in 1348, during an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, four French thieves formulated a special aromatic combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon, bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary, while robbing the dead and dying. A little morbid, but they actually found it to help protect them from the illnesses they were around. These oils includes powerful antiviral, antibiotic, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties.  The most common use is to place it in a diffuser in your home or work place.  You also could purchase a pre-diluted form for application purposes.

So instead of letting the cold and flu season take over, try to take charge and be a little proactive fighting those germy battles. What better way to step in and get your feet wet than with essential oils than with something will assist your family during this sick season?

Art Therapy Workshop

 

 

Play, discover, and create at our introduction to art therapy workshop! Absolutely no artistic background or art therapy experience needed. Just bring your wonderful enthusiastic self, we’ll take care of the rest by providing supplies and walking you through every exercise.

It will be a jam packed event with activities that encourage an exploration of your identity and feelings, while having a blast of course!

Three reasons to come:Sunn
You can improve your self-expression, self-esteem, and communication.
You can use the activities to help you express thoughts and situations that may be hard to express in words. After doing art therapy activities, many people feel a sense of relief and see improved mental health.
You can spend the morning reconnecting with your inner child by playing with finger paint, scissors, and magazines (it’s the best part of kindergarten all over again).

Art therapy is all about expression, so after each activity we will engage in a short discussion of our experience to help you reflect. By the end, you will come away with a better understanding of art therapy’s benefits and practical ideas on how to incorporate art therapy into your life.

Spots are limited, so sign up ASAP. The workshop will be on January 23rd from 10 AM to 1 PM and cost $100 per person. The location for the workshop is 1700 W. Smith Valley Rd., Suite B4 Greenwood, Indiana 46142. We’d love for you to join us!

You can register by calling 317.886.1000 or emailing office@sunstoneindy.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Deal With Stress in a Large Family

StressIn my last post, I walked through how to prevent stress in a large family. But some days, despite best efforts, family members experience stress. Kids feed off of the stress from their parents and siblings, so in a big family stress can spread among family members quickly. Parents can use stress management techniques to enable the family to combat stress and avoid the negative health effects prolonged stress causes.

 1. Interact with your loved ones.

Spending time with family members helps you avoid overreacting to the stressful situation, helps calm your nervous system by being around others who make you feel safe and loved, and releases hormones to reduce stress. Taking a moment to chat with your child about his day or playing a game with your daughter can help you, your child, or both manage stress.

 2. Play stress management games.

While physical versions of these activities are preferred, online versions can be a great tool for your kids (and you) to manage stress -check it out here. Online Zen gardens, creating kaleidoscopes, and playing with stress balls can be a fun way for your family to play and reduce stress at the same time. You can involve your whole family in a game, such as getting everyone to paint on an online easel and then share what they created.

 3. Go for a walk.

Exercising with a short walk offers many health benefits, particularly stress reduction. After a few minutes outside focusing on something other than the stressor, stress levels go down. Take a solo walk, or gather your whole family to spend time together outside.

4. De-Stress after work.

Be intentional about de-stressing after work. Don’t carry stress from work home with you, it can set a stressed out tone for your family in the evening. Moms and dads should take time to meditate, do an essential oils massage, or whatever they need to reduce stress after a long day.

With large families come a number of people who can become stressed. Using stress management techniques helps decrease the stress in the family member and keeps the stress from spreading. Play around with different techniques to see what works for your family, and remember a low stress family is a happy healthy family!

How to Prevent Stress in a Large Family

Stress is a natural part of life, but stress prevention and management are crucial to living a healthy life. All families get stressed, but too much stress can harm you physically and emotionally. The unique challenges accompanying large families can make it even harder to deal with stress throughout the day. Parents can take proactive steps to prevent stress in their large family household.

Jasmine flowers in water in a wooden bowl

  1. Create an environment that minimizes stress

Avoid the unnecessary stress of clutter: The sight of clutter can be mentally taxing, causing stress, frustration, and distraction from other tasks we should be focusing on. With a number of kids, it’s easy to quickly acquire many unnecessary items that add clutter and stress in a house. To combat this, take a day to purge any unnecessary toys, toiletries, closets, decorations, etc. Once you’ve removed inessential items, organize the leftover items in a place besides in the open where they cause clutter. If it’s a struggle for your younger kids to keep items in their place, post a photo of an organized cupboard/closet for them to reference.

Use aromatherapy: Scents can be used to create a calming atmosphere (if you’re new to aromatherapy, click here for an introduction). Pick soothing scents like lavender, jasmine, rose, and sandalwood to set a peaceful and happy tone for a room. (Read more about how to create a happy home environment here.)

  1. Create a time management plan

Use a calendar: With more kids in a family come more schedules to juggle. Using one calendar for everyone’s activities enables parents to plan ahead and avoid the last minute stress of coordinating transportation, meals, etc.

Use the 80/20 scheduling rule: Plan your days so that 80% of your time is schedule and 20% is left open. This gives you more time to deal with unexpected life events that pop up (such as taking your car to the mechanic) and builds in time each day for you to spend time on you. Taking a moment for meditation (link), a walk (link), or an essential oils massage (link) helps you rejuvenate and fight off stress before it happens.

Proactively find moments of togetherness with your family: One study found that families who looked for moments to spend with their kids experienced less stress overall. Encouraging your family to spend time together each day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, can help prevent stress among the family.

In the busyness of life with a large family, it can feel easy to get overwhelmed and stress. Taking a few proactive steps can go a long way to preventing stress in your family. For more information on essential oils, or for general wellness coaching, please contact us.

 

DIY Essential Oil Projects

Household cleaner, stress relief, aroma and energy, the list of essential oil uses goes on and on (and sounds like a health fanatic version of ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’). And for every new use, there’s do-it-yourself projects just waiting be done! If you’re unfamiliar with essential oils, check out my beginner’s guide. Below are some easy and fun projects you can do with essential oils.

  1. Aromatherapy Room Sprayessential oil

No need to pay a lot of money for a store bought room spray. All you need is a clean 4 ounce bottle that can spray a fine mist (make sure it’s glass or metal because essential oils can eat through plastic).

  • 2 ounces distilled water
  • 1 ounce witch hazel
  • essential oil of your choice

Fill the bottle with 5-20 drops of the essential oil (personal preference dictates how much you would use). Add the witch hazel next. Use the water to fill up the rest of the bottle. Shake well before you use it, since the oils often sit up on the surface.

You can also try combining essential oils together instead of just one scent. Try mixing chamomile and lavender for a calming scent, or peppermint and lemon for an energizing scent.

  1. Exfoliating Body Scrub

You can combine essential oils with a few basic ingredients to make a great body scrub. You begin with a base oil. For oil skin, try oils like grapeseed or jojoba. For dry skin, try macadamia nut or baobab. You can combine the oil with a natural exfoliant like sesame seeds or oatmeal (you can buy them at the grocery store and then grind them in a blender or food processor), coffee grounds, or even sugar. Finally, you need an essential oil. You can use lavender for its cooling properties or peppermint for its energizing properties. You can play around with the proportions, but a starting point would be two teaspoons oil, one teaspoon exfoliant, and 3 drops of essential oil. Mix together the ingredients and massage onto your skin. Rinse with warm water to rinse away the exfoliant and dead skin particles.

  1. Reed diffuser

You don’t have to buy a special diffuser, you can make your own! You will need:

  • 3/4 C grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon (or 75 drops) of essential oils
  • 8 ounce glass bottle
  • diffuser replacement reeds (you can usually find these in the home or candle section at a store or craft store)

Pour the grapeseed oil in first, then add the essential oils and mix until blended. Insert the reeds. After one hour, carefully pull the reeds out and place the dry side inside the bottle. Each day you can flip the reeds until the scent fades. Then add in the mixture (or try a new combination of scents).

Of course, to do these projects you will need to buy essential oils. While you can buy essential oils at some stores, make sure you research the product (not every option is good quality). You can buy high quality essential oils at Sunstone. To learn more about essential oils or to have a consultation with one of our specialists or call (317) 886-1000.

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

Wellness CoachWhen I heard about essential oils, I’ll admit I was skeptical. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is right?

Then a friend told me all about how she’s used essential oils as cold medicine, bug repellent, perfume, cleaners, and more! It got me curious, so one night I tried using a lavender essential oil to help me sleep. And it worked!

Since then, I’ve learned more about essential oils and realized how beneficial they are (which is why we sell essential oils at Sunstone). Since not everyone is familiar with essential oils, I wanted to provide a beginner’s guide to help you get started with this great health tool.

What Essential Oils Are

Essential oils are a substance extracted from a plant that holds the smell and characteristics of that plant. The oil is in a liquid form, but feels much less dense than other oils. Essential oils are highly potent, so you usually only need a small amount.

Benefits Of Essential Oils

The list of benefits of essential oils seems almost infinite! You can use essential oils to help you sleep, relieve stress, clean your home, nurture healthy looking hair, and more! Beginners often focus on using essential oils for energy or relaxation.

How To Use Essential Oils

There are three methods of using essential oils, but I recommend leaving the dietary method to the more experience (not all essential oils can be ingested and you should always talk to your doctor before ingesting them). Instead, focus on topical or aromatic methods. Topical involves massaging the oil onto your skin while aromatic involves inhaling the oil either from the bottle or from the use of a diffuser. Since essential oils are so concentrated, they are usually used with a carrier oil to help diffuse them. You can play around with aromatic and topical applications and see what works best for you.

Where To Get Essential Oils

You can buy essential oils at some stores, but make sure to research the product first. Not every option is of good quality. When you find an essential oil you like, don’t let the price tag alarm you. Remember that you only use a few drops, so that small bottle can last a long time.

You can buy quality essential oils at Sunstone (we offer doTerra and Young Living  products). We carry some essential oils at the office and offer the most common picks. If we don’t have the oil you want, we will add it to our bi-weekly orders. Because we are a distributor, we can get the oils at a discount and pass that savings onto you!

Whether you use essential oils every night before bed or occasionally on stressful days, they can be a great natural healthy option. For more information on essential oils, click here or call (317) 886-1000.

 

Take advantage of the benefits of walking

SomeWalking in the woods of history’s greatest minds, from Steve Jobs to Charles Dickens, realized walking daily helped them think, create, and innovate better. Walking for exercise just thirty minutes a day offers numerous health, mental, and emotional benefits, yet it can be difficult to get the motivation to get up and go. Here are some common roadblocks that keep us from walking, and how to overcome them.

We undervalue the benefits: When trying to decide between thirty minutes watching TV or thirty minutes doing something that’s ‘good for you’, it’s easy to pick the couch. Re-frame how you view walking instead to an activity that will decrease your stress, make you more productive, decrease your risk of heart disease, improve your mental well-being, etc. Focus on the benefits of walking, not on how comfortable the sofa is.

We don’t think we have the time: Yes, our lives can get hectic. But what we often forget is when we are intentional about finding time in the day, we usually can. If you really don’t think you can devote thirty straight minutes, break up the walk into chunks. A few minute walk in the morning, afternoon, and evening is better than no walk at all.

We don’t want to be alone: Not everyone loves the solitude of a nature walk. If the thought of a solo walk keeps you from going, find a partner. Your dog, friend, neighbor, spouse, just grab someone and go.

We don’t want to be bored: If walking for thirty minutes sounds, well, boring, there’s a simple solution. Make it fun! Download music or podcasts that you only listen to while you walk. Call someone who lives far away, a parent, old friend, or great aunt. Use the walk as a way to explore the city, such as taking a self-guided audio tour of Indianapolis. Walking each day can be a fun activity. You just need to find what makes it fun for you.

Easy Art Therapy Activities for the Artistically Nervous

Easy art therapy activities for the artistically nervousaqua color abstract stone

Art therapy is a great tool to express yourself, cope with a variety of issues, and improve your mental health. Some people hold the misconception that art therapy is only for those good at art. Not so! If a blank canvas isn’t your style, there’s plenty of other simple art therapy activities that you can try.

Build off an existing painting: Print out the Mona Lisa, American Gothic, or any other picture you like. Now add to it. Be creative and make the piece your own.

Make a color collage: What emotion are you currently feeling? Now assign a color to it. Cut out photos predominantly that color from magazines and junk mail to make a collage. You don’t have to create any of the individual pieces, and you still are creating something new and expressive.

Color a mandala: A mandala is a form of art involving a circle with a patterned design. Many religions, cultures, and therapy practices use mandalas for meditation. Simply print out a mandala from online and color it in.

Draw in darkness: Gather your art supplies and then turn out the light. Focus on creating something without worrying whether it looks like you imagined. Express yourself without allowing yourself to criticize what you made.

Black out poetry: Find a newspaper or magazine article and a pen. Now black out words you don’t like. After a while you are left with a poem you created. Nonsensical poems are fine, just focus on creating.

If concerns about your artistic ability are keeping you from art therapy, remember art therapy is for everyone! You can try one of these activities to get the benefits of art therapy without worrying about what you created. If you’re interested in learning more about art therapy, check out our art therapy services.

Finding Your “Zen Moment” Every Day

Life is stressful. Period. It’s easy to get caught up in running around, getting to meetings, rushing to pick up the kids, sitting in rush hour traffic, killing yourself to meet deadlines…the list can feel endless. But the good news is that there IS time for you to have your daily moment of Zen, I promise. So let’s get started.

Wellness Coach
First, define for yourself what you want your Zen moment to look like. Do you want to commit to meditating ten minutes a day? Have you wanted to start taking walks at lunchtime? Are you happiest when you take a time out with your favorite latte? Whatever it is, identify an activity you can do every day that’s for yourself and will make you happy. If that feels like a lot—start small.

Okay, now you know what you want to do, but you’re wondering how you’re ever going to find the time. You’re running around from the second the alarm goes off to the second your head hits the pillow. Easy. Schedule time with yourself. No matter what the activity (hopefully you’ve chosen something healthy!), put it on your calendar and commit to it. Treat it like any other obligation. No, that doesn’t sound very Zen-like, but if that’s what it takes to get you to be good to yourself, so be it.

It takes 28 days to form a habit. Stick to it and before you know it, your Zen moment will be a part of your everyday life. And you’ll notice that you’ll start looking forward to it. It won’t be something you’re forcing yourself to do because it’s on your calendar. It willfeel good to commit to yourself, to have some quiet time, time to just breathe and be with yourself. Plus, it’s so good for you.

Daily Zen moments will allow you to focus better, manage stress better and be an all around happier person. And who doesn’t want that!?