My High Needs Baby

I’ve had some dark days with Eden recently.  She has pushed me to the limits of my patience (and sanity).  This is hard to write because I love her to bits, but I feel like I have been challenged by her since the day she was born and this week as things have been really hard again I have thought, “when is this ever going to end?”

You might have already read Eden’s Story and her journey as a baby born with major gut issues.  It took us a while to realise what was going on with Eden and see a Specialist who knew what Eden was suffering.  A long time before this I read an article by Attachment Parenting guru Dr. William Sears, which really struck a chord.  It was about the “high need baby“.  Eden ticked every box!

Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha, coined the term “high need baby” when their fourth baby, Hayden, was born. While their first 3 children had been generally easy babies, Hayden was only happy when being held or fed. It was then that they realized that some babies are just truly high need.

While I totally agree, what I have also observed through my personal journey with Eden and through meeting other mums with babies/toddlers/young children that also tick the boxes of “high need” is that there’s definitely a connection to problems in the gut.

We know there is a dynamic interaction between the gut, the brain, and the immune system, starting from birth.  For example, immune cells reside within the gut and that was one of Eden’s big issues as a baby; her immune system was really compromised!

It feels like a bad dream now thinking about what we did go through with Eden.  In the grand scheme of things she is so much better, for which I am grateful!  I didn’t realise how bad it was with her (and how abnormal her constant cries and needs were) until I had my second girl Jade.  Case in point; no milestone, change, challenge, illness has ever got her like Eden got daily!  Eden’s physical and emotional being was so fragile, still is, and while her physical needs have reduced greatly thanks to the gut healing we have done, her emotional needs are still great.  Admittedly I forget this as we go about our daily life and so fall quite regularly into overwhelm when she overreacts or she gets overwhelmed.  Thankfully essential oils come to our rescue to restore our equilibrium. I would recommend them to anyone dealing with a high needs baby/toddler/child!

So what do we use?

There are 4 essential oils that I use regularly with Eden:

doTERRA’s Console, Serenity, Balance & Peace

To read about why I chose doTERRA, click here,

Read on for the benefits of each wonderful oil!

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1.  CONSOLE

One of the primary essential oils in the doTERRA Console Blend is Ylang Ylang, which is calming and balancing for the body and mind.  It also contains Frankincense Resin, Patchouli Leaf, Labdanum Leaf/Stalk, Amyris Bark, Sandalwood Wood, Rose Flower and Osmanthus Flower which are comforting and grounding.

I use Console in those moments when we’ve all ‘lost the plot’.  The tears are flowing, the tempers have boiled over, emotions are high… I put it in the diffuser or rub it within a carrier oil into our necks.  It is instantly comforting (and you guessed it, consoling!)

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2. SERENITY

The first thing to go out of the window for Eden when she is challenged emotionally is sleep.  Serenity is a beautifully calming blend of essential oils like Lavender and Roman Chamomile.  I diffuse Serenity aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment before bed, use a Serenity soap or bath melt in the bath, or massage as a balm I make myself.

Serenity is also great in those “lacking calm”moments! Just one drop to the back of the neck is instantly calming, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing!  I also apply Serenity to my brow when I need perspective on my situation with Eden in order to be more gentle with myself or seek answers about how to move forward in whatever challenge we are facing.

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3.  BALANCE

Balance has been a key oil in the Emotional Toolbox that has got me through severe anxiety problems.  It is extremely grounding and so is great to use every day to the bottoms of the feet when the high needs bubs/toddler/child is going through change or challenging emotions.  It contains Frankincense like Console, but also contains Blue Tansy, which ignites feelings of self-control, focus, and balance, and Blue Chamomile, which is quite sedative.

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4.  PEACE

Peace fuses floral and mint essential oils.  It is known as a Reassuring Blend, to promote feelings of contentment, composure, and reassurance when anxious feelings overwhelm your emotions.  I find Peace really good when Eden is anxious.  This actually happens a lot, but presents in different guises. Eden is affected by loud noises, new environments, too much stimulation or situations she lacks control in.  She presents as overwhelmed or even afraid.  Peace composes her.  I have started using Peace for my younger girl, Jade too, whose big milestones (she’s 1) are leaving her anxious when she’s away from me.

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I guess the final part of this blog is honesty around having to remind myself what I like about Eden when she does push me to the limits of my sanity.  Because maybe that might help you too.  Because maybe you’re feeling quite alone right now and utterly horrible for finding your own high need bubs/toddler/child horrible.

A beautiful friend once explained to me that what often happens with kids who are higher needs is that they have an appearance of calm, but actually aren’t.  She shared a thermometer diagram with me to explain what she meant and this has always stayed with me!  Basically, our children sit higher up the thermometer and so constantly sit at a tipping point, and this is why it takes only “little things” to tip them over:

So, one of the things I have promised myself I will do more of is project myself into her mind when we are in a situation that is escalating or at risk of triggering a chain of unwanted events… I ask myself:

  • What would she want me to say and do in this situation?
  • What can I change about the situation I am considering to ensure it meets her needs as well as mine and/or involves her?

It isn’t easy parenting these “high needs”, but it is possible to adopt more empathetic and appropriate responses.  I am still learning!

And the things I love about Eden?

She is resilient, with a warm heart, an inquiring mind and the strength of an ox.  She is independent and unique and beautiful.  I use Forgive essential oil to help myself move on from the soul destroying guilt I feel each time I lose my composure and feel overcome by her more challenging traits instead of these beautiful traits I love.

If you’d like to explore those questions above, as they relate to your situation and whatever brought you to my blog, request a free discovery call here.

If you’re curious now about the positive changes essential oils could make to your life, get my free eBook here.

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Much Love x x

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5 Ways with an Essential Oil TWIST to Ignite Joy in your Life Right Now

I have to admit that today I am feeling really low. I hate admitting that! I’m a Life Coach, your Life Transformation Coach for Health & Happiness, how can I possibly allow myself to get down?!

It happens, life happens! The important thing is how we respond because the longer we stay down the harder it is to come back up!

As a mum, I don’t have a great deal time to do the things I used to do to lift my mood – the long walks in nature, a massage, a relaxing bath, a little gift to myself or a night out with friends! So the following are instant ways to spark joy AND they are kid hanging off your ankles friendly.

What do I mean by joy? That warm feeling, that sudden need to smile, that assurance that all is well in the world, even the giddy feeling of being totally carefree for a few moments.

Firstly, just quickly, what specifically makes you feel good? Focus on it. How does it make you feel? That’s your joy! Now let’s ignite that feeling when you need it!

  • OPTION 1:  MAKE ICE CREAM! You’re a mum, so I am guessing you have frozen bananas in the freezer for smoothies and the like? What if you could whip these babies up into chocolate orange happiness in under a minute? Ice cream cheers you up, right? This is classic comfort food without as much sugar and with the magical uplifting powers of wild orange essential oil. Just combine a few drops of Wild Orange essential oil (get yours here) with a handful of dark chocolate chips and your frozen bananas (preferably small chunks) and whizz away in the blender for about 45 seconds. Serve immediately. Feel the joy (and the kids will love you too 🙂 )
  • OPTION 2: BE MINDFUL. I know I must sound like a broken record in these blogs, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to just be. If you struggle with this, grab my At EASE rollerball and try again (get yours here). It helps me no end when I struggle to stay focused in a task – including contemplating the fluff in my navel! (Or not contemplating it, as that would be thinking and mindfulness is a mind without thought 😉)
  • OPTION 3: DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING even if you’re surrounded by kids, the dog and your curtain twitching neighbour! Grab a sniff of Cheer (you can check this amazing blend out here), put on your favourite song and dance. If baby needs your arms, wrap her, if your toddler wants to play, dance with her. Dance like no one is watching until the smile comes and your worries float away
  • OPTION 4: WALK. It doesn’t matter where. Put a drop of Balance on each wrist (see why here), breathe in the grounding aromas, feel the tightness in your chest melt away and the furrows in your brows relax then hit the pavement. Again, this is one you can do with the kids. The important thing is just get out the house and breathe in the fresh air!
  • OPTION 5: THROW OUT THE TO DO LIST.  The washing will wait, you can last another day without the food shopping and the world won’t end if you don’t make it to Mainly Music. (OK, that’s a lie, your 4 year old’s world will end.) Sometimes we can get so busy it becomes overwhelming and our moods falls flat because life seems insurmountable! When this happens, stop. Grab Serenity essential oil, make the kids some playdough (and lace it with Serenity essential oil 😉 ) and just laze about.

You’re welcome 🙂

Much Love X X

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Eden’s Story

My journey with essential oils all started with Eden,  my beautiful first baby girl.  We knew something wasn’t right almost immediately.  Plunket told me it was “just colic”, but from 2 weeks old she had also developed eczema all over her body and used to cry constantly and arch her back violently when we tried to comfort her.  It was hard as a brand new mum with no idea of what was normal, only able to trust what those around you said.  From 6 weeks we tried a chiropractor, as Eden had been born by c-section.  After another 6 weeks she said there was nothing else she could try and Eden hadn’t improved, but a nutritionist at the practice had mentioned dairy could be causing her discomfort, so maybe try cutting it out.  I was sleep deprived and would have tried anything! Little did I know that in 24 hours Eden would already have turned a corner.  I guess from there our journey began!  It hasn’t been an easy journey.  While Eden improved without the dairy in my diet she went downhill quickly when I introduced solids.  I couldn’t stand to see her in so much pain – in her abdomen, usually from wind or food reactions – still arching her back, clenching her fists and pushing away me and her daddy, hitting her head.  It was like she didn’t want either of us and that hurt.  We would spend hours and hours pacing with her in our arms, unable to soothe her.  She would pass mushy, smelly, green, mucousy, bloody stools. She slept only an hour at a time at her worst point and would spend 1-4 hours crying at a time.  An elimination diet revealed to us the root of her problems and support from Pediatrician Dr Leila Masson  finally when Eden was 1 revealed signs and symptoms of an abnormal gut flora, which can cause intestinal permeability and food sensitivities.

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Today Eden is well on the road to recovery.  She still eats a diet free of gluten, dairy and soy.  We were able to successfully reintroduce higher fructose fruits (not dried though) and higher fructan vegetables and very recently eggs, but after continuing issues we have recently discovered that refined sugar is a no go and she reacts to citrus fruits and sulphites.  Healing has centred around healing her gut, boosting her immunity and soothing the symptoms that kept her awake at night – probiotics, other remedies and of course essential oils that have all been natural. As hard as those early days were, Eden’s journey has changed my life.  I have always slanted towards a natural approach to health, but I never knew its real capacity to heal and I certainly didn’t understand the importance of gut health, the impact of diet or how many toxic ingredients there are in the things that we use every day – soap, toothpaste, creams, lotions, washing detergents, air fresheners, candles; I could go on!

As all mothers, I sought to do what was best for Eden. I assessed the things contributing to our “toxic load” as a family, and one by one I cut them out and replaced them with things I made myself, using essential oils.

This is where this blog was born!  I share what I know and what has worked for us.  If you have stumbled across this blog in search of a lifeline for your own personal challenge, I hope that you can see a light at the end of the tunnel!  Browse my Mummy Munchies, website pages and feel free to contact me to talk directly

Much love,

Clare x x

New Zealand Inspired Diffuser Blends – Get Yours For Your Special Mum! #MothersDay

If you are looking for inspiration for Mother’s Day, look no further!  I have created the perfect gift for New Zealand Mums, to show how much we adore them!  And this gift is not only unique and special, it’s functional!

Like a trip away can reinvigorate the mind and body when you start to feel fatigued by life, these essential oil blends can recreate this benefit and trigger fond memories of the places, smells and experiences from around New Zealand that we love!

Used aromatically essential oils can:

  • Improve mood
  • Relieve stress and tension
  • Relax the body
  • Improve memory and focus
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Support the immune system
  • Clean and purify the air

So check these out!  Buy your essential oils at retail price here or check out at the end of the blog how you can open a wholesale account wiith me to enjoy a 25% discount

Lake Taupo

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Energizing to the mind, yet relaxing to the body

Will provide stabilization, grounding and security to your being, physically and emotionally!

For the mum that likes the fresh mountain air and a good view

Essential Oils you need

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Wellness Retreat

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Cleanse and purify; help reduce mental and physical fatigue; promote a positive mood; uplift the mind and body; reduce stress and tension; lessen anxious feelings and increase confidence!

For the mum that needs a pick me up

Essential Oils you need

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Omahu Valley

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Elevate your mood, reduce stress and leave your home smelling like a citrus wonderland!

Also, experience the health benefits of cinnamon, like a healthy metabolic function and immune system.

Essential Oils you need

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Aroha

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Show yourself some love with this popular proprietary blend from dōTERRA.

Essential Oils you need

Serenity  is perfect for stress, calming and relaxation!

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Tawharanui Beach

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Ever feel like you need to fly away to an exotic island? White sand, blue water, sea breeze?  Your happy place? A sweet cocktail?

These luxurious essential oils will take you away in your mind, while your body unwinds from within.  Ginger has been called the “oil of empowerment”; creating an inner fire and strength!  Come back from your happy place revitalised with this blend.

Essential Oils you need

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Manuka Honey

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Support a healthy immune function and cardiovascular health, purify the air, uplift the mind and body, and promote feelings of warmth and well-being with this sweet blend.

Essential Oils you need

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Nelson Break Away

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Imagine sitting on a balcony with the warm sun that Nelson is famous for on your face, with your favorite drink and the succulent smells of food cooking indoors.  This blend is warm, uplifting and will support emotional and spiritual balance. In fact, this delightful mix will demonstrates how Nature herself can help our body find balance as a whole.  Inspired by Greens Motel in Nelson.  Essential Oils you need
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To buy your Mother’s Day gift at a 25% discount you can join dōTERRA as a wholesale member for one year.  This will save you 25% on all their wonderful products, every time you buy!  Sign up is easy.  Click here and fill in your details.  You can select the Introductory Packet US$35 to buy your membership and build your own first order from the oils above, or you can purchase a custom dōTERRA kit and save on both the oils and the membership cost (it comes free with these handy starter sets!)

Subscribe to my newsletter if you want tips to understand how to blend your oils in the right quantities and receive offers, ideas, inspiration and notification of new blogs like this one!

Much love x x

 

I am suffering from adrenal fatigue.  It is something that has plagued me for a few years, which I can’t seem to fully recover from.  It is estimated to affect around 80 percent of people in the world and yet some doctors refuse to believe it exists.  The term ‘adrenal fatigue’  was coined in 1998 by a naturopath called Dr. Wilson, who wanted to distinguish between below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress and adrenal insufficiency caused by Addison’s disease and excess cortisol caused by Cushing’s Syndrome.  He wrote what is now a very celebrated book called Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome and described a condition that he had observed after years of working with stressed-out patients in the 1980s and 1990s.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a neurophysiologist at the private Nightingale Hospital for mental health issues in London and the author of Tired But Wired, has seen a 50 per cent increase in clients showing early signs of adrenal fatigue. “Ten years ago, about two people in a room of 30 would put their hands up. Now a fifth of my clients show signs.”

She describes the key early sign as digestion problems, “as stress takes blood and energy away from the large organs such as the intestine and diverts it to the muscles to prepare for ‘fight or flight’ during stressful situations”. This is a natural response, she explains, but it’s meant to be over quickly so the body can recover. “Today, most people live permanently in this ‘fight or flight’ state, constantly releasing stress hormones and never letting themselves recover.”

I believe my problems started way back in 2009 when I was suffering prolonged, chronic stress; the culmination of which ultimately led me to fall completely over, mentally and physically in 2010 and from that day forward I had to rebuild my life.  What we call a complete burnout, I guess.  Turns out my adrenal glands – two walnut-sized glands that sit just above my kidneys – also burnt out.  It is only recent studies that are corroborating this fact.  A 2013 study, published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, reported that those with burnout were found to have lower levels of cortisol because their relentlessly stressed-out adrenal glands had lost the ability to produce it.

The World Health Organisation recognised adrenal fatigue as a disorder in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, fatigue is one of the most common Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, but there are many other different ways it can present, both physical and mental, and people can present different “packages” of symptoms as well.

After my burnout I found it almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning and I spent most of my day feeling awful and fatigued.  I was also getting constantly sick.  I now know that consistently high levels of cortisol,  which present in the early stages of adrenal fatigue, suppress your immune response and leave you vulnerable to infection. I am now in a much later stage of Adrenal Fatigue, which presents as consistently low levels of cortisol.  This has an array of symptoms, including causing me to have really low blood sugar in the morning, which now does the opposite to before and wakes me up at sparrows because I feel so hungry!

My doctor explained to me that basically my adrenals have become unable to produce enough of the hormones I need, so my cortisol is low, along with neurotransmitters like adrenaline and norepinephrine.  This causes me to have constantly low blood pressure that makes me feel dizzy when I stand up (my midwife commented that if her BP was as low as mine was she’d be dead), decreased enjoyment in life sometimes and a low libido, my memory is foggy and my fuse is dangerously short and I use coffee just to keep going.  I also have other weird symptoms that I can only link to my adrenal fatigue because they are there when my cortisol is at its lowest:  weird dry skin around my finger nails, pain in my lower back, extreme tiredness an hour after I exercise, a constant need to pee and possibly the weirdest is a kind of numbness in my fingers that causes me to have a terrible grip, making me drop things I grasp for.

One of the most upsetting symptoms for me though, due to these hormone imbalances and especially because I am a mum, is the short fuse and my complete inability to handle stress; much more so than the low energy levels throughout the day that I cope with, even though on some days I feel a completely unrelenting tiredness.

It’s bad.  My life is busy and stress is unavoidable.  I have a nearly 3 year old who could contend for an Oscar for the drama she finds in most every day situations and I am working too and juggling that with her and my 3 month old.  For people not affected by adrenal insufficiency, when stress inevitably happens the adrenals release hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate the stress response and increase strength, focus and awareness. What happens to me is more like something out of a horror movie.  I lose it, I shout, I get anxious and then most often I feel deeply depressed about how I have reacted because my loved ones bear the brunt of it.  I used to see these emotions as my enemies and hide from them, dismiss them and pretend they never happened.  I have stopped doing that now in favour of a better way, which I will talk about in a minute, and I have committed to replenishing my adrenal energy, which has already made a massive difference to how I feel each day.

The first thing I did was remove hard-to-digest foods from my diet and toxins/chemicals from my environment.  As you’ll see if you follow Essential Mum I do really well with this latter thing!!  The diet took a bit of a hammering during my pregnancy though, where I slipped back into some really bad habits.  So in January I began doTERRA’s TERRAfit programme and it’s really helped me to get back on track with eating regular, healthy meals, especially nutrient-dense, refined sugar free foods packed with healthy fat, fibre, good quality proteins and as many organic mineral rich vegetables as possible, which is going to help me overcome this adrenal insufficiency.  I have also started using a magnesium spray every day and added himalayan salt to my diet (it has a LOT more minerals than table salt that benefit adrenal glands.)  TERRAfit also provides me with a comprehensive, effective exercise programme, although I have to be careful not to cause more adrenal fatigue by exercising too vigorously.

I am also trying to minimize stress.  Another really amazing thing about TERRAfit is that it motivates you to look at your health from the inside out and work on much more than weight loss.  I have taken time to focus on the things that make me feel stressed and how I can eliminate or minimise them and I have invested in me by identifying where I can dedicate some time every day to self care.  I am not going to deny that I still feel completely overwhelmed some days.  Luckily, I am one of these people whose default is to act like the completely opposite is true when someone asks “how are you”… cue big smile and the word “GREAT!” 😉  Luckily, this is also a journey in progress.

A big part of my journey has been the use of my essential oils.  There are a few that can help with Adrenal Fatigue, that I won’t list here, but instead share what is working for me.  I am using a healing combination of Serenity, Balance and Frankincense to de-stress and calm my nervous system, Wild Orange to stop anxiety in its tracks and perk me up in the afternoons, Bergamot when I feel down and for general immune support, adrenal support and to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and burnout, Slim & Sassy to regulate my blood sugar and finally, geranium for immune support and as a general overall tonic for stress, anxiety and mild depression.

There are 3 ways you can apply essential oils and timing/location is important.  For example, Frankincense is one I am now using every day.  It increases my ability to focus and grounds me.  I use it every day in the morning.  Serenity helps me sleep, so I use it every evening.

I make Geranium part of my beauty regime.  I use it as a moisturiser mixed with fractionated coconut oils and I rub it over my kidneys, which is where your adrenals are located.

On those days where I do feel completely exhausted I add in Rosemary to my routine.  It is a good strengthening tonic for the whole body.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use essential oils for emotions I am running a course this Thursday night, March 17th, in Bucklands Beach, Auckland, where I will talk in detail about  how to master your emotions using essential oils and we will make your very own action plan to integrate them and other emotional support and therapies, in order to increase your capacity to enjoy life, cope with stress, and focus on important personal priorities.

If you too are suffering from adrenal fatigue there are 10 things that you can do straight away to begin your healing journey, and in my opinion they are things we should do anyway for wellness!

  1. woman sleeping peacefully in bed, alarm clockRest when you feel tired; don’t try and be superman/woman and push through!
  2. Sleep between 8–10 hours a night
  3. Avoid staying up late and stay on a regular sleep cycle — ideally, in bed before 10 p.m
  4. Laugh and do something fun every day
  5. Minimize stress
  6. Eat on a regular food cycle, and reduce your caffeine and sugar addiction
  7. Exercise (even moderate exercise and walking can help)
  8. Avoid negative people and negative self-talk
  9. Take time for yourself (do something relaxing) every day
  10. Seek counsel or support for any traumatic experiences

Numbers 4, 8 and 9 are 3 things we will look at in the Emotions Course!  Thankfully, our bodies are made to heal, but the words we say and the things we do, especially in reaction to stress have a great impact on our body and its ability to heal. Before I said that I used to see my emotions as my enemies and hide from them, dismiss them and pretend they never happen.  Now I acknowledge them and I am kind to myself.  I assess why I reacted the way I did (both the situation that was causing the stress and my emotional state at the time), how I could have reacted differently, how I can react better next time and how I can minimise the stress that caused the reaction in the first place.  This isn’t causing change overnight!  This is a long journey and I am changing habits and healing damage that has taken years to create. So, I am being kind to myself. I am ridding my mind of negative thoughts and choosing to be around positive people and stay positive about myself as well.  And heck, sometimes now I am even able to laugh about those reactions, especially with the help of my little girl!  She really is a little too wise for her own good sometimes.  Her acknowledgement of my reactions, while horrible that she does see this other side of mummy, is a good thing because she is helping me to change me and be a better person and we laugh together.  And as we laugh and have a hug I feel the stress decrease and my whole body relax!  Don’t underestimate the value of laughter and enjoyment as a recuperative tool.

Click here to learn about buying 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils and why I recommend them.

To register for the Emotions course, visit Eventbrite here.  Click into the Facebook event page and select “interested” to learn more about the course and receive updates and offers.

Much love x x