Healthy Lifestyle Changes (6 Years Later!)

Healthy Lifestyle Changes (6 Years Later!)
It’s been 6 years since I ordered “that kit.” It was somewhat of a whim—my husband said we didn’t have much to lose, so why not try it? At least the house would smell nice, right?! And maybe, just maybe, it would help our family stop dropping like flies every time someone came home with a sniffle.

Little did I know how life-changing it would be for all of us. Little did I know I’d be learning more about science and how our bodies work than I ever learned in school. Little did I know how empowering it would be to have choices in the ways I support my and my family’s physical, mental, and emotional health—without harmful side effects.

This pic shows a few of my favorite things. A few came in that very first starter kit (well, refills obviously!) but are now counted as friends. What lifestyle choices have you made that are still part of your daily routine 6 (or however many) years later?

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Sleep, Glorious Sleep
You'd think with 9 children we'd be used to sleepless nights, and you're partly right! But we were spoiled, IMMENSELY spoiled, by the fact that our older children all started sleeping through the night at a pretty early age. By the time we got to kids 6, 7, and 8, things weren't quite as easy...having problems nursing them didn't help. But eventually everyone figured out that sleeping at night is a good thing, and life moved on.

And then we had Verity. Sweet little Verity. I haven't written much on this site about our special-needs daughter, though I may start posting more regularly on the blog I began writing when we learned of her Edwards Syndrome diagnosis in 2016. (You can view When My Soul Melts here.)

Without boring you to tears, let's just say Verity literally did not sleep. Ever. People didn't believe us when we said we were waking 4-6 times AN HOUR every night. Night after night. I truly do not know how we made it through her first couple of years but for the grace of God.

So, there were lots of issues unique to Verity's genetic make-up and special little physique, and obviously those needed to be sorted out before we could hope to get quality sleep. (And WOW, did life change for the better when we got a few nights of nursing coverage here and there!!)

But aside from all of Verity's particular needs, sleep issues are a problem for MANY folks. I've had teens suffer from insomnia, and my 11-year-old has recently complained of having a hard time getting to sleep despite being tired. The thing with sleep problems is that there can be SO MANY causes...it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. But I thought it was worth sharing a few tidbits we've tried over the years...maybe it will help you or someone you love catch a few ZZZs!

  • Limit screen time in the evening. This should probably be a no-brainer, but we tend to ignore it. Science shows definitively that the effects on the brain from our various devices wreak havoc with our ability to sleep. Watch a movie or send a last text message if you must, but try to put away your phone, tablet, and/or computer an hour or so before you turn out your lights and hit the pillow.
  • Have a nighttime routine. This is especially important for children, but did you know adults can benefit from a nightly routine also? Maybe a read-aloud with your favorite stuffed animal isn't your style, but how about relaxing with a real, page-turning book or magazine? Maybe a bath or foot soak, maybe simply washing your face and putting on a favorite lotion. Doing the same things at approximately the same time every night helps our brain realize that sleep time is coming.
  • Pay attention to your diet. Though our evening meal tends to be our biggest, that may not be the best for our bodies and brains. Try to sip water early in the evening, and stop snacking if you can help it. (I know! I like my evening crunchies! But I'm working on having NO snacks before bedtime...instead I take my probiotic to support my gut health while my digestive system works overnight!)
  • Don't check messages "one last time!" We already mentioned limiting screen time before bed...but how many times do we sabotage our sleep by looking at that text or email message that just came in? And then it's something that causes stress or angst?! JUST. WAIT. It can wait until morning. It's not healthy for us to be "on" 24/7.
  • Try some natural sleep aids. Our kids ask for Lavender and Cedarwood essential oils in the diffuser at bedtime because they've noticed a difference in how quickly they fall asleep. I love my Calm CBD roller across the back of my neck before bedtime also. And Verity? That little adorable stinker who kept us up in her early months/years? She falls asleep with her CPAP mask on with the lovely scent of Peace & Calming oil blend in her diffuser. (I sometimes wonder if it's because we diffused that blend almost constantly in the NICU room after she was born!)
I have another natural sleep aid I'll be talking about during this Thursday's Quick Class. Be sure to register to get the class meeting link! 

What about you? What are some ways you support healthy sleep in your home?

A Stimulus for WELLNESS

A Stimulus for WELLNESS
Chances are, we've never thought so much about our health as we have over the last month. With stimulus checks making their way to bank accounts, are we willing to invest a small portion of that money into our (and our family's) wellness? I'm talking about physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and yes, even financial health. This is something I'm deeply passionate about! I invite you to Zoom with me for a FREE class about ways you and your family can be proactive when it comes to supporting your body systems as well as your emotions and thought life. The first hour or so will address these aspects of health; then, for those who would like to learn about viable possibilities for additional income, we will look at a unique business model and give you tools to determine whether it's a good fit for you. Either way, you'll be learning about supporting ALL aspects of your health and wellness!

For more information, or to register so that you can receive the meeting link prior to the event, go to the event page! I hope to see you there!

Social Distancing from Social Media

Social Distancing from Social Media
Has it really only been a few weeks since COVID-19 awareness, social distancing, and online schooling became such an integral part of everyday life?! It feels like a lifetime. 

Our homeschooling family may have had an easier time transitioning since most of us were already learning from home. But we've experienced our share of changes...

  • Hubby is working from home.
  • College daughter and dual-enrolled son are finishing the semester from home.
  • We do church via livestream and AWANA and youth group via Zoom.
  • We are stretching our groceries (rice and beans, anyone?) and counting toilet paper rolls.
I could go on. 

As a rational person, I am appalled by the insanity of empty shelves in our local stores. I feel chagrin at our nation's economic systems screeching to a crawl, if not a halt. And I'm exasperated at the nonstop partisan bickering.

At the same time, as the mother of a special-needs child with a compromised immune system, I feel dismayed by what almost seems inevitable: at some point, say some experts, we will likely all catch this virus. And what will that mean for vulnerable people like my daughter? Will our nation experience anything like the overwhelmed Italian system, where people are dying by the hundreds every day for lack of resources? Or have we flattened the curve enough, giving us time to beef up desperately needed supplies?

I am alternatingly amused and angered by various articles, videos, and memes that cross my radar these days. And the nervous conversations in my Trisomy circles have me on edge as well. (It doesn't help that we've suffered some difficult losses of Trisomy kiddos in recent days, unrelated to COVID-19, but still...) 

I've decided...I need some social distancing from social media. (And yes...I recognize the irony of writing this on an online blog!)
  • I'm skipping past almost every article shared in my feed... 
  • Better yet, I'm putting away my phone for longer and longer stints.
  • Ultimately, my goal is to get past the addiction (yes, addiction) of being attached to my phone. 
  • I've stopped listening to my favorite podcasts, because as much as I enjoy the snarky commentary, I'm just plain weary of over-analysis of a topic I don't think anyone truly understands. 
In our home, we will continue our proactive measures to support all aspects of our health, which include vitamins and supplements, our healthy and yummy "red juice," probiotics, and essential oils. We also proactively use essential oils and oil blends for mental and emotional support. And of course we are using effective, non-toxic household cleaning agents to keep out the yuck.

What about you? How are you handling the "online overwhelm?"