Tag Archives: Health and Wellness

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?

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!

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!?

8 Reasons You Should Probably Try Meditation

CoachMeditation may not be the easiest habit to form, but it could be one of the most rewarding. Meditation has the studies behind it that prove it’s good for you to do. From personal experience, I can tell you that although it was definitely a struggle at first, meditation is something I began to look forward to. I noticed a difference in my mood, the way I reacted to work stress, as well as my general stress level. But if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out eight great reasons that studies show meditation is good for you

1. Lower your stress levels. Much like yoga, meditation helps to relax your nervous system. This helps to lower the level of cortisol in your system, and that’s a good thing. When you’re sympathetic nervous system is constantly engaged your body takes a beating. In today’s go-go-go world, it’s pretty common to live in a constant low-level stress state. Meditation gives your system a break

2. Sleep better. If you meditate before bed, it can help slow down the busyness of your mind, allowing you to fall asleep easier and stay asleep

3. Be more creative. Calming your mind, your body and your nervous system can help you focus, bringing greater clarity of thought. When you’re focused you’re freer to be more creative

4. Improve your mood. If you’re less stressed and are sleeping better, then you’re two steps closer to feeling better

5. Get a better handle on your emotions. When you meditate on a regular basis, you learn how to watch thoughts and emotions bubble up without engaging with them. This extends into your everyday life, so when you encounter life’s little obstacles, you’re less apt to react without thinking first

6. Improve your memory. Research proves that regular meditation can thicken the brain’s cerebral cortex due to increased blood flow. Learning, memory and concentration take place in the outer cortex, so meditating can help improve all three

7.Be your own fountain of youth. Every time you stress about something, cortisol is released and your body pays for it, becoming a little bit older. Lowering your cortisol level isn’t just good for your stress level, is also helps to save brain cells. High levels of cortisol can kill off those precious cells leading to cognitive issues. So in the same way it helps you better your memory, it also helps maintain the life of your brain cells and cells throughout the rest of your body

8. Increase your overall health. Better mood, healthier brain and restful sleep…it’s no wonder your overall health will improve. But that’s not all; studies also show that meditation can have a positive impact on your heart, as well as other organs throughout your body.

This is just a brief overview of some of the wonderful affects meditation can have on your body and mind. And maybe best of all—it’s free! All you need is you. So if you’d like to be calmer, happier and healthier, why not give meditation a try?

5 Superfoods to Super Charge Your Health

SuperfoodJust like Superman, the word superfood alone makes it sound like they’re going to come in and save the day. While they may not be a magic bullet for all that ails us, they can certainly help keep us, or even get us, on a healthy track. But just what is a superfood? And why does it seem like there are always new ones being announced?

Superfoods are foods packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamin and minerals. In today’s world of fast and processed food, most Americans could stand to eat better. Adding superfoods to our diets is a great way to start.

But why do they change? Like any other fad, a superfood’s popularity comes and goes, but that doesn’t change the fact that whatever is hot at the moment (or what was hot last week) is bursting with goodness for your body. And, the even better news about superfoods is that there are a lot of them. So if broccoli makes you cringe, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Here are just a few:

Aloe Vera: You may think of aloe as your go-to for cuts and burns, but aloe’s benefits go far beyond that. Aloe Vera juice is detoxifying, full of nutrients, is packed with immune-boosting polysaccharides and has anti-inflammatory properties—just to name a few of the reasons you should run out and get some.

Bee Pollen: If you’re looking for something that is protein packed, you’ve come to the right place with bee pollen. This stuff has more amino acids than beef, eggs and chicken. It enhances energy, helps with digestion and for you allergy sufferers, local bee pollen can provide relief to seasonal allergies. And since it’s super, you can bet the benefits don’t stop there.

 Cauliflower: You may think, “meh” when you think of cauliflower, but this little unassuming veggie has a lot going on. For starters, it provides you with 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Cauliflower is a good source of vitamins B1, B1 and K. It’s got omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and biotin. Plus, since cauliflower doesn’t have a strong flavor, there’s so much you can do with it in the kitchen!

 Chlorella: If it’s green, it’s generally good for you. Why’s that? Phytonutrients for one. Chlorella, similar to spirulina, can help detox heavy metals from your body, lower cholesterol and strengthen your immune system. So yea, green is good.

 Hemp: No, we’re not talking about the stuff you wear around your neck. Hemp seeds and hemp milk are becoming quite popular and for good reason. Hemp milk is more digestible than cow milk, has omega 3’s and 6’s, it’s rich in vitamin E and helps boost your immune system. So the next time you’re sitting down for a bowl of cereal, consider trying some hemp milk.

Other superfoods include: almonds, apricot, amaranth, apples, artichoke, avocado and asparagus. And that’s just the letter A!

Interested in more guidance for living a healthy life?  Get in touch with our wellness coach here!

Why Diets Don’t Work

If you walk into a bookstore on any given day, chances are you’ll see a section designated specifically to diet books. The newest trend diet that promises you that you’ll drop fifteen pounds in two days or that you’ll have rock hard abs in less than 24 hours. Only cabbage soup? Microwaveable meals that are chock-full of processed chemicals and preservatives? If you’ve been in the ring for a while, knocking yourself out with one diet trend after another, you’re probably beginning to realize that a book claiming to zap your pounds away is not the answer.

Unfortunately we are conditioned to believe that we must be a size zero or look a certain way and apparently the media does a marvelous job at marketing these tactics to us via diet trends, social media, celebrity figures, etc. It’s no wonder that we’ve lost touch with our wild, human and might I add, feminine nature. How is it that no other species, but us, relies on a diet book or doctor to tell them what to eat? If you go outside right now, you will be surrounded by wildlife. Wildlife that is functioning in perfect alignment with what is truly innate to it. Frolicking in the sun. Eating what is provided by nature. Moving the body and taking appropriate amounts of time for restoration.

I’m going to share a not-so-secret secret with you: diets don’t work!

Why Diets Don’t Work

1. Diets are created simply to attract us to these ideas. The more extreme, the more likely it is to have a following just for that reason. The truth is they are not sustainable over long periods of time. Our bodies are incredibly resilient, but they can only take so much negligence. Eventually your body will begin attacking itself and a number of horrible things can transpire. Weight gain, lackluster or acne-prone skin, or even worse–autoimmune deficiencies, disease or even cancer can result from not taking care of our precious bodies.

2. The key to unlocking good health relies simply on dropping the idea that you can lose weight, improve your skin, or whatever it may be, through the newest diet. The answer is to listen to your body and make a lifestyle change! This may sound strange to you, but imagine battling your cravings by actually understanding what you are craving, why you are craving, and how you can emotionally, physically or spiritually release that craving. Typically when a person craves sugar, for example, we don’t even think about the fact that we are even craving it other than the mere seconds it takes for us to swallow a candy bar whole. By making a lifestyle change you begin to realize what your trigger cravings are, what nutrients may be lacking or over-abundant and what foods or activities it will take to heal that craving.

3. If you are craving sugar, it is entirely possible that your craving has nothing to do with wanting sugar, but wanting something to give you instant energy. The downside to consuming sugar is the immediate spike in blood sugar, which ultimately leads to a quick crash, thus perpetuating the cycle of needing even more sugar. Perhaps what you really need is extra or better quality sleep at night to lessen your chances of being energetically deprived during the day. Or maybe you simply need foods that will nourish your body with vitamins and minerals that will actually give you sustained energy without the painstaking crash later on.

4. Eating food should be about pleasure, nourishment and of course fueling ourselves with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It should not be about deprivation, starvation, skipping meals, or loading up on processed, chemical-laden “low-fat” or “sugar-free” foods. Taking a more mindful approach to healing your body will help you release your fear of making a lifestyle change–which is not just about what you eat, but how you live your life. A lifestyle change requires an open mind and heart, a positive attitude and a willingness to experiment with new ideas.

5. Keep in mind that each person on this planet is unique in what is needed to heal on a body-mind-soul level. The foods that nourish one may sicken another. Get familiar with eating only fresh, organic whole foods. These are foods that are provided to us in their natural form, straight from Mama Gaia herself! Whether you choose to nutrify yourself with animals products or not is up to you. I encourage you to experiment with all whole foods and find what makes you glow and what doesn’t quite sit right in your body. Keep a food journal each day and write down what you ate, how it was prepared and how you feel minutes and hours after consuming it. This will help you find out which foods trigger allergic reactions or sensitivities.

why diets don't work

Lifestyle Changes

As mentioned before, a lifestyle change is not just about nutrition. It’s about your life as a whole. Take some quiet time each day to check in with yourself. A few moments of deep breathing, meditation, or reflection on a daily basis will help you relax and find inner peace. We often forget how to simply be. We focus too much of our time on being perfect and getting copious amounts of work done. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but it is completely necessary to have time to just be as well as time to devote solely to yourself! Practice some yoga, journal or snuggle up with a good book and a green smoothie.

Moving your body daily is just as important as eating delicious whole foods. Skip the judgment and do something you love! Did you have a blast hula hooping as a kid? Order a dance or fitness hoop online and release your inner goddess! Perhaps you enjoy swimming? Hit the beach and frolic in the waves or dive into a pool at your local gym! The possibilities for movement and play are truly endless. Just focus on having fun, working up a sweat and releasing the glow from within!

Another crucial factor of a lifestyle change is getting ample amounts of high-quality sleep. High-quality sleep is delicious! This kind of sleep can be described as deep, uninterrupted, soul restoring, clutter releasing, nourishing and energizing. Once you have this kind of sleep you’ll never want to go back to late night caffeine binges, midnight snacks or hours of mind-numbing television. In order to have better, more restful sleep you should skip eating late, drinking little to no caffeine or having small amounts early in the day, and turning all technological devices off a few hours before bedtime. Having nighttime rituals like yoga, deep breathing, hot tea or a warm bath might help you sink into deep, enticing sleep.

Want to know another easy tip to long-lasting health? Drink more water! Yes, water is ultra healing if you didn’t already know that! Our bodies are comprised of mostly water, which we lose through bodily functions like sweat and urination, so it only makes sense to hydrate with more water in order to replenish those lost minerals. If you find drinking water to be difficult, try adding some berries, cucumber, lemon or lime slices to a mason jar and top with water and ice. You can start a challenge with your friends or colleagues to see who can drink the most water, or you can carry a water bottle around with you as a reminder.

Changing your lifestyle habits doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take patience, lots of love and kindness towards yourself. This is a journey and we are all in this together. If we continue to listen to our bodies and take action to heal, then we will always be in alignment with nature and the cycle of life.