How to peel back the layers of your #anxietyonion & get to the core of what you need

Having anxiety when you are a mum can be challenging because we often put everyone else first, meaning focus on our own wellbeing can be lacking.  However, I’d like you to see this blog as a message of hope because my recovery began when I became a mum.  Having Eden gave me all the reason in the world to recover and was the beginning of my becoming positively selfish (you can learn more about this in my podcast, here).

However, if I have learnt anything from my 10 year long relationship with anxiety, it’s that recovery is not straightforward.  It transcends our physical, mental and spiritual state.  I’ve learned to think of it like an onion and I’d like to help you unpeel its layers.

So if you are feeling anxious right now, or have been diagnosed with anxiety, or are navigating the complex recovery process, or are supporting somebody else to do so, this blog is for you.

I am not a doctor, I am not diagnosing you and I’m not even really making any recommendations, I am just sharing what happened and what worked for me in the hopes it helps you.

The external layer of your onion – your anxiety’s cause

A cause of anxiety is something that caused your anxiety disorder to be a part of you in the first place.

For some people there is no obvious cause, but for others there is a clear link to your situation and your anxiety starting.  For me it was a pressured work environment.  Don’t get me wrong, other things contributed in the lead up to it, which broke down my resilience, but the long-term, persistent stress was the tipping point for me and was the catalyst to my long-term anxiety issues. I have had friends and family members who have developed anxiety after living with cancer, and others who have developed anxiety after troubled relationships or loss.  My first step in recovering from my anxiety was to get away from its cause.  Obviously this is not possible for everyone, but if you can move away from the cause of your anxiety, I really recommend that you should, to open up the space to heal, which for me started in my physical state, rather than my mental state.

The next layer of my onion – my physical state

I am sharing this as a really important layer of everyone’s anxiety onion (should I hashtag that? #anxietyonion?) because it wasn’t until I had become physically more healthy that I realised that my physical health had played such a significant part in breaking down my mental resilience to cope with life. Of course, the persistent stress was also damaging my physical health, so it was a revolving cycle; a mess.  My recommendation is that if you are having anxious feelings right now, make an extra effort to do the following things:

  • Clean up your diet
  • Kick out the processed stuff and replace with clean, homemade food that is low in sugar and other rubbish like preservatives
  • Add in a probiotic to your day
  • And start taking a good multivitamin.  (I take these.)  B Vitamins, magnesium, vitamin d and other vitamins, minerals and even amino acids like Tryptophan can all have a positive impact on your anxious feelings.

The third layer of my onion – Counseling/Coaching

Counseling is one of the first things a doctor will offer somebody who is suffering with anxiety (alongside medication), and for some it works really well. For me I felt it was a load off to talk about the the things that were bothering me, but that was all it was, a load off.

Then in 2016 I was offered a sponsorship to train to become a life coach. As part of this I received a lot of coaching and it was transformational. Read more here.

And if coaching or counseling is something you haven’t tried yet, give it a go. Talk to me about the difference between the two and what might serve you best.

The fourth layer of my onion – are my daily actions nourishing or draining?

How we spend our time can massively impact our anxious feelings.  If we spend all of our time around noxious people, sit in front of a screen all day, never get outside, listen to bad news and lie awake all night fretting, we are going to feel low and drained, which is like swinging the door open for the anxious feelings to come in.

If we instead try to do things that lift us and make us feel good, it gives us the resilience to keep those anxious feelings out.  I didn’t know any of this in the early days of my recovery.  It was in my personal development that I learned about our personal energy and how everything we are is energy and about how we can either vibrate high or low.  And it’s the nourishing things that keep our vibration high, which keeps anxiety out (mostly).

I started to learn about Gratitude Walking and Earthing and the power of nature and sunlight. I started to look critically at the people I was spending most time with, the things I was reading and listening to and paying attention to what made me feel good so I could do more of it.

Kickboxing has always been something that has made me feel better. Exercise gets our heart beating and increases our good hormones, and helps us sleep (which is also important to how we feel.)

Prior to my life coaching I’d started kickboxing because someone had recommended exercise to ease how I was feeling and I literally tried the first class I saw a sign for on the way home from work! I was instantly hooked. I never intended it to be anything more than a hobby, but after Eden was born I ended up saying yes to a fight! Turned out to be transformative in how I looked at my anxiety disorder. For all this time I had been experiencing this irrational fight or flight feeling and then suddenly, there I was heading into real combat with a real reason to feel my cortisol burn. And yet, by focusing on the trust in my training and the end goal I was able to control the feeling and function. It wasn’t until my life coaching that I understood the power of this perspective and how to use it in my daily life to face the fears that didn’t exist outside of my mind.

The final part of my onion – the core

I refer to this as the core of my onion because it took a state of real self-awareness to understand it, and that self awareness mainly came from all the other work I did on myself, as I peeled away the other layers. However, the other reason it is a core issue, is that without getting a handle on this, however many times you think you have a handle on your anxiety it will always trip you up again. It’s the panic attack that takes you by surprise, the sudden fall from Zen to chaos and the middle of the night when you suddenly can’t sleep and it feels like the hands are closing round your throat. This sudden return to anxious even if you have had months of being OK is caused by triggers. This is different to the cause of your anxiety, you may long have moved on from that, but it is like your body remembers how it feels to be in certain situations and puts you in the state of fight or flight all over again. For me it was the multitasking that juggling motherhood with a business brought, the chaos that unfolds with small people and the pressure of success. It was crazy because I’d be under pressure on the Monday and feel nothing, then multitasking on the Tuesday and feel nothing, then do nothing on Wednesday and be hit with a panic attack! It wasn’t until I started wearing my Helo that I started to identify the triggers that were causing my heart rate to rise and my breathing to hasten way before I spiralled into a panic attack. To figure things out I started to journal what I was doing each day then I would reference that with my Helo data that gets stored in a Lifelog, so you can see exactly what every single one of your bioparameters is doing at every moment through the day; even down to your mood and energy levels. I saw very quickly that there was a clear pattern between trying to work from home when the kids were there and my spiral into an anxious state, so I was able to make simple changes to my day that had a big impact on how I felt! I also used my Helo to stay on track because if I slipped back into bad habits, my bioparameters reminded me to take a look again at what I was doing. I don’t think I could have progressed as quickly as I did without this sort of accountability!

HOPE

What if our experiences are exactly what we need?

I ask this question because my anxiety disorder changed my life, in a good way.  It got me to question certain things and make changes and ultimately get to a better place of health, mental calm, spiritual awareness and now I am helping others to do the same.  If we can alter our energy about the things that are happening to us we immediately change our vibration and this helps us to feel hope.  It helps us to find the motivation to move forward and helps us set the intention to make positive change.

Much Love x x

Has this blog been helpful to you?  I would love you to reach out in the comments.  And please contact me directly if you would like to discuss any of the information above.

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Antioxidant support from Essential Oils

I have been wanting to write a blog about DDR Prime Softgels for ages, but I just haven’t felt like I understand the product deeply enough.  doTERRA created DDR Prime to help promote repair to damaged DNA.  Research and studies have shown over and over again that essential oils work on a cellular level, meaning they can penetrate the cell walls and work within the cells, and one of the most fascinating abilities of essential oils is that they can differentiate between a healthy cell and a bad cell.

DDR Prime is meant to reduce oxidative stress, an imbalance between the production of free radicals and our body’s ability to counteract them. It’s a  natural process, but it can greatly influence our overall well-being.

When I first started taking DDR Prime I had never heard of oxidative stress.  I read that DDR Prime was full of antioxidants and I’d heard of those! (Antioxidants are molecules that are present in cells. These molecules donate electrons to unbalanced free radicals in order to balance them and stop the cycle of cellular degradation.) While antioxidants are found in abundance in many whole foods, it is often difficult to get the amount and specific types of antioxidants our body needs for peak cellular health.  I also knew my chronic anxiety had taken a toll on my health physically as well as mentally, and this was enough for me to give them a shot.

The proprietary blend of essential oils in DDR Prime includes CloveThymeWild OrangeFrankincenseLemongrass, Summer Savory, and Niaouli, because they offer antioxidant support for protection against oxidative stress.

Frankincense, Thyme and Lemongrass are chosen to prevent against DNA damage because of their preventative processes.  Lemongrass, Clove and Niaouli (a form of Melaleuca) are chosen for their ability to destroy unhealthy and irreparable cells. Lastly, doTERRA looked at oils to guard against oxidative stress. These included clove, wild orange and summer savory. Clove essential oil is particularly powerful because it has the highest level of antioxidant properties ever known in a substance, making it a powerful support to anyone’s daily health routine.
DDR Prime Softgels make it easy to get your daily serving of free radical fighting essential oils for optimum well-being.

If you’d like to learn more from doTERRA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hill, watch the following:

From the doTERRA Blog:
“What Makes DDR Prime Softgels Unique?
The power of DDR Prime Softgels is in the proprietary blend of essential oils. Alone, all of the individual oils have been shown to provide support of cellular integrity, but the synergistic effects they provide when combined together is even more powerful.* FrankincenseWild Orange, and Clove oil have all been shown to promote a healthy response to free radicals.* Thyme and Niaouli essential oils support cellular immunity and overall cellular health.* Summer Savory has been shown to support our body’s natural mechanisms to deal with oxidative stress.* Lastly, Lemongrass oil can protect against environmental threats.* Combined, this exclusive combination of essential oils offers unparalleled support of the body’s natural free-radical defense systems.*
DDR Prime Softgels Uses and Benefits

  1. As mentioned, the support of healthy cellular integrity is important for overall well-being. DDR Prime Softgels help support cellular immunity and cellular health.* The proprietary combination of essential oils in DDR Prime Softgels promotes healthy responses to oxidative stress for optimal well-being.*
  2. DDR Prime Softgels are also known to promote a healthy response to free-radicals.* The disruption of free radicals can cause a myriad of negative health effects. The essential oil blend contained within DDR Prime Softgels supports the body’s own defense mechanisms against free radicals.*
  3. DDR Prime Softgels provide a simple, no-mess, convenient way to get the benefits of DDR Prime Cellular Complex, anytime anywhere. Simply place a bottle in your purse, travel bag, or on your desk at work and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of DDR Prime Cellular Complex when you are crunched for time, away from home, or in a hurry.”

So here began my journey with oxidative stress! I have since become a self-proclaimed mitochondriac. It’s like most of today’s common complaints can be brought back to the health of.our cells. All cells need three primary things in order to stay healthy: energy, primarily metabolic energy, protection from outside and internal threats, and resiliency.

In today’s world our diets do not provide the nutrition we need to provide the energy our cells need. Our cells are under attack from electromagnetic waves and toxins. Providing our cells with daily protection, while we reduce the toxins and threats in our environment, is a great way to enhance our body’s natural defense. The third way we can help our cells and maintain great health is to support the resiliency of our cells, so that whenever they are under attack,  they can bounce back to where they should be. DDR Prime is a great place to start!

Talk to me today about how to get DDR Prime at a discount or buy now from my doTERRA store. This is not a blend you can go another day without! To learn more about oxidative stress and it’s impact on your body, click here

Much love x x x

The Truth About #Beingmum

Today I want to drill down deep.  This is a blog I have wanted to write for a while, but just couldn’t find the right words.

You see, the truth about #beingmum, for me and maybe you too, is confronting.  It is everything that I expect of myself and cannot be: successful and mindful.

What do I mean by this?

Let’s start with “success”.  What I mean by this is the constant expectations we set and have for ourselves and what we achieve #beingmum and how in this way we often set the bar too high and end up feeling like we’re failing.

Here’s some examples:

  • There has to be a healthy dinner on the table every night
  • We have to think of a creative, educational, stimulating activity for our children to do every day
  • Our house has to be spotless
  • We are never going to yell or lose our temper
  • We are going to respond positively to our children’s every need

Because your mum.  Because that’s your job.  Because that is what is expected of you.  And ultimately it’s what you expect of yourself.

But is it always realistic?

I’m glad you asked.

My belief is no.  What I am finding as I coach different mums is this common factor of expecting way too much of ourselves in the time that is available to us, in the reality of the chaos that is #beingmum.

This inevitably leads to punishing feelings of guilt and failure and adds to the pressure we put on ourselves to do better.  It makes us stressed and feel overwhelmed.  It pushes our life out of balance, limits our happiness and can ultimately make us ill.

Now let’s talk about mindfulness.  The truth about #beingmum is that it is terribly hard to be mindful when you are a mum.  We are pulled in so many different directions that I reckon our brains actually rewire to always thinking about the next thing we have to get done, instead of enjoying being in the moment.

And the worrying thing is that a lack of mindfulness and constant pressure causes stress and mums are just as prone to stress related burnout as any other woman.  The 4 walls of our homes and the arms of our loving families do not protect us from the mental health issues that are now prolific in our society.  The difference is that mum can’t “fall” and so the burnout manifests in different ways – a functioning exterior that covers a depression, low self-esteem, disconnection from partner and friends, or just a daily living hell as you fail to cope and feel constant guilt and anxiety, but you maintain a smile for those around you.

Why am I writing about this?

Because I want to help you. I’ve been stressed, I’ve been anxious and I’ve definitely been overwhelmed more times than I’d like to admit, but through these experiences I found a way out to the other side…

I believe life is beautiful (2)

And here’s the thing: Everything that pulls our attention in many directions, many of the things that challenge us and the even some of the things that cause us stress are normal parts of daily life #beingmum.

So we need to find a way for the pressures of #beingmum to exist in non-harmful ways and work on being more mindful.

How can we do this?

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1. Notice More

When you have a moment, instead of thinking or scrolling your phone, notice what’s around you. Enjoy the soft fluffiness of the clouds, study the smile in your child’s eyes, see the colour in the trees around you. Take the Zen Mum Challenge to learn an easy, useful mindfulness activity that you can practice every day

2. Commit Less

Can you really do all the things you’ve said you’ll do in one day (without ending up exhausted?) A good test is to see if you’ll have at least one 2-hour block somewhere between 9 and 5 without doing something. If you haven’t, you’ve over-committed. (There’s method in my madness – check out one of my Time Management workshops if you don’t believe me).

3. Look Within

When we manifest our deepest intentions, we stop falling out of the moment because we’re not ruminating over the next decision/action. The result is a satisfying and fulfilling life that we want to be present in and self-insight that helps us get clarity of what our expectations of ourself should be and focus on how to achieve them.

4. Just Be

Say you did get that 2 hour block with nothing in it; the housework is done, the children’s cups are filled with touch, love and attention and you don’t need to check your emails because you’re on top of the work to do list, could you just be?

Try it. Turn the phone off, have no agenda and just go with the flow. Say yes to the children, sit and play/read/cuddle. Be fully present in whatever you do for that 2 hour block. Each time you feel obligated to do something else, put it out of your mind, breathe and smile. Be proud of being in the moment.

To support these actions, try my Roll Easy Rollerball System. As you know, I recommend essential oils to support the work we do in coaching.

These rollerballs are a natural way to support mindfulness, calm and peace.  Check out how they work here.

They are formulated with doTERRA’s certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, so contain no fillers, preservatives or other synthetic chemicals that are often used in essential oils used for flavoring and perfume. They have a strong therapeutic response and are even tested to be free of heavy metals, herbicides and insecticides. So you can be confident that what you roll onto your skin is completely natural.

(To see my Roll Easy System on Facebook, click here.)

I am about to launch my signature coaching experience, Design Your Life, if you’d like more information, please give me your details here.

I know you are thinking of a heap of reasons now why you don’t need to design your life, but I want you to ask yourself the question, if this blog has resonated with you, how close are you going to get to burn out or real unhappiness before you start making changes in your life?

I’m one of the unfortunate who has fallen over the edge and boy have I paid the price in the long-term.  The damage that chronic stress does to your body runs deep. For example,  I’m now the not so proud owner of adrenal fatigue, which has challenged many areas of my health. Thank goodness for my essential oils that are supporting my recovery in a big way!

So, I’ll leave it here and hope to hear from you soon…

Much love X X

Essential Mum

5 Easy Ways to Take a Breath from Life this Weekend

We’ve all done it.  Overcommitted ourselves, said yes to everything, tried to please everyone and got to Friday feeling drained, grumpy, anxious and ready for the floor to open up and swallow us!

Here are 5 easy ways you can take a breath and enjoy your weekend with your family, greeting Monday feeling refreshed and energised!

1). Don’t be afraid to say “no”

Gift yourself this weekend for you.  Don’t feel afraid to say no to those who want to encroach upon it, even if they are family or friends!  Say something like, “I would love to (do so & so/help you), but let’s organise it for when I can devote my full attention to you, OK?” Then, when you feel rested and ready you can set a date moving forward.

2). Identify your needs, and fulfill them!

We all have basic needs that need to be fulfilled for us to be content. I am actually an introvert.  I require time by myself, on my own, otherwise I feel a little crazy.  I don’t get that much anymore now I have 2 children, so I end up feeling a little crazy a lot!

You might need to be surrounded by others.

You might be an introvert like me who has a close friend who needs to be constantly surrounded by others… you see where I am going with this right?

When our fundamental needs aren’t being met we start to feel frustrated, bitter and burnt out.

Take a moment this weekend and identify the top thing you need to feel happy, fulfilled and unstressed:

  1. More downtime
  2. More ‘friend time’
  3. More sleep
  4. Something else?

Now figure out how you can get it!

3). Disconnect after baby goes to bed

As a business owner, the minute my children go to bed I start working because I feel overwhelmed by what I have missed during the day.  This leads to late nights, an overactive brain and a grumpy mum the next day!

You might not have a business, but feel all those unfinished tasks from during the day (folding washing, a phone call, the dishes, food prep, etc) need to be done now you have time.  What if I told you that time could be taken for you to wind down (or connect with your partner) and there is a way to support tasks not going unfinished during the day?

Make sure you hit me up on that question because I will answer it for you!  For now, just take one night this weekend to switch off and focus on you and what you want to do.

 

4) Set aside time for breaks in your day

This is a big one, especially on a holiday weekend like this one when the kids want to do the Easter Egg Hunt, your partner wants time to do some DIY, you need to make sure the cupboards aren’t bare because the supermarkets are shut and the Mother-in-Law has to have family dinner this weekend.

Stop.

Breathe.

When can you set aside some time to go for a small walk or do your favorite stretches/yoga poses/exercises ALONE?

Fresh air, some meditation and some exercise are the most re-energising things I know.  The challenge is to commit to doing them, so start the good habit this weekend of taking some time out for you.

5) Identify what you love & who you love and do & be with only that

This is another big one.  In my Design Your Life Coaching Programme we look really hard at these things so you spend more quality time doing what you love and being with the people you love, rather than feeling obligated to do stuff you don’t like and waste quality time with people you don’t care that much for, but your kids love them, or you work with them etc.  I know it sounds a bit harsh, but our days (and lives) are so very short!  And we spread ourselves so thinly and feel obligated in so many different directions.

Spend some time this weekend thinking about your ideal life.  Who is in it, what are you doing?  I made a guided meditation as part of my Find Your Flame Series which is all about being the architect of your dreams and building your ideal life.  If you’d like to listen to it, email me nzessentialmum@gmail.com.  Click here to talk to me about the Design Your Life Programme.

If you feel like these steps might be a little hard for you to take right now, you might be interested in my Free e-book, Zen Mum Challenge, which gives you 14 easy daily steps to be more zen!

«« Click here to access »»

Much love X X

My Emotional Toolbox

The last couple of weeks have been really hard. Business has been a bit quiet after Christmas, so finances have been a little tight, my gorgeous husband has gone back to work after all of those fun family times at Christmas and my emotions have been up and down.

There has also been the additional stress of organising childcare for Eden, who is nearly 4 and totally ready for the transition, but I’m not. I also inquired about child care for Jade who is now one, so that I could increase my available times to coach and run the essential oil consultations and workshops, but ultimately I realised that is not why I set up Essential Mum!

When Eden was one, just like Jade is now, our financial stress was so much greater that I was forced to put Eden into childcare and reluctantly go back to work. Although I did love my job, I didn’t love it as much as I missed spending time with Eden and #beingmum (read my previous blog post ‘No More Moments Missed‘); I certainly didn’t go about my work with the passion and heart I do now! This time I realised I have the freedom to do things differently. And who wouldn’t want to with these two scrumptious faces?!

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However, this has required a change of mindset and a reworking of my old ways and habits.  As an anxiety sufferer my go to emotion was panic in situations where I feel overwhelmed or have to make big decisions. Instead of thinking rationally and calmly about the options open to me I would panic, get into a flap, and usually make a knee jerk decision that was not the right one!

It has taken some work on myself with the coaching and essential oils to rework those old habits and remain calm under pressure. I have a Mantra that I have started to share on Facebook:

“Remember to use your oils!”

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It is so easy when you start to feel better after using essential oils for anxious feelings and other negative emotions to forget to use them again when you have a slip. So, in the last couple of weeks I have remembered my essential oil rituals and started using them again and this has brought me back to the right emotional space to employ my new way of approaching decision making, with a clear mind and a focused goal.

So what I’m going to share with you now is exactly that emotional toolbox, so that you too can use essential oils to manage negative emotions when life challenges and to help stop you slipping back into old patterns.

Make the oils that are right for you part of your routine and habit, so they are an integral part of your life and happiness.  The five in my toolbox are just a small selection of the emotional aromatherapy available.  To fully understand the potential of using essential oils for your emotional balance, and to get started <<click here>>

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Much Love

Essential Mum x x

What it’s like to live anxiety free… and the things that helped to me get here <3

I’ve seen a lot of posts from friends and acquaintances recently about their personal struggles with anxiety.  I also have many people come by my market stall to ask which oils can help. Chances are you are one of them and you may or may not have read this far because I know when anxiety was an integral part of my life I would have felt terribly bitter reading a title like this one, from “one of those people” who finally kicked their anxiety for good; because at the time that felt impossible.

Looking back now to the way I felt day in day out, I’m not sure how I survived it. From the minute I opened my eyes in the morning I felt this nonsensical feeling of urgency and fear. I couldn’t lie in bed and ignore it, but getting up to face the world felt unbearable. My hands would shake and I would feel nauseous. I distanced myself from friends because I thought they’d think me crazy if I explained how I was feeling (and didn’t have the words anyway). Normal things (and when at my worst this included opening the curtains) would get me into a terrible state – a few too many people in the supermarket, the bus, a meeting. The commonality was people, but that didn’t explain why I’d wake up in the middle of the night anxious or begin to hyperventilate when walking alone. One day at my lowest point I almost ran my car off the motorway to escape from what I was feeling. My hands started to turn the wheel, but I came to my senses, took my foot off the accelerator and careered to a stop on the hard shoulder. I can’t remember exactly when my anxiety started, I do understand why it manifested, but boy I remember the day I realised it wasn’t there! It was only this year. I was sat breastfeeding Jade, tv was off, it was quiet. Usually in this instance I would turn the tele on to distract myself from the anxiety biting at my throat and basically be unable to just sit, but this day was different.

I was relaxed, fully relaxed, present and I felt in control. You see, the best way I can describe living with anxiety is like a cup almost filled to the top all the time. It only takes the tiniest of things to tip the cup over, whereas ‘normal’ people, those without anxiety can take a lot more before they tip.

So, what had changed?

  1.  The first step was to take myself off the medication I was on – beta blockers for the anxiety. I also chose to come off my contraception pills and take a much more natural approach to illness
  2.  I then made a life changing choice to move away from some of the triggers of the anxiety. I don’t believe this has to be as dramatic a move as I made, but disconnecting yourself from obvious triggers is worth it, in my experience
  3. Something that followed this step, although it wasn’t an intentional recovery step, was some gut healing. Simple things like probiotics. dōTERRA do a great one called PB Assist.
  4. When we moved to New Zealand it was much easier to access holistic resources and solutions and it was here that my real journey of healing began. My advice to you would be to reach out to a holistic doctor and talk to them about what’s going on. I learnt all sorts of things and techniques, like the importance of sunlight and fresh air, using a simple walk somewhere green and exercise as relaxation anchors, how to breathe into the depths of my belly instead of my chest that was causing me to hyperventilate, meditation and more
  5. In 2016 after I’d had Jade I undertook a dōTERRA Challenge called TERRAfit to lose my baby weight and it really changed the way I was eating, which I think also helped. I don’t think we place enough focus on how the fuel we put in our body helps and hinders our mental health. TERRAfit is all about eating clean, so no heavy metals, pesticides, sugar and other things that play havoc with our system.
  6. In 2016 I also branched out with the essential oils I was using to help with my anxious feelings. Lavender was always my go to, but with dōTERRA I discovered a blend called Balance. It contains Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Osmanthus, Blue Chamomile; all the grounding oils, which helped me to start the day in a place of calm and focus. I applied 2 drops to my feet every morning and reapplied to my wrists as I needed throughout the day. When I felt suddenly panicky I would apply Wild Orange, which I felt stopped that first domino of anxiety in its tracks, so the other dominoes didn’t spiral out of control. I also used another blend called Serenity to help me relax and sleep and Bergamot to help my emotional healing journey. Essential Oils became part of my daily routine and for a while I was glad to have dōTERRA’s loyalty rewards to help pay for so many oils!
  7. The turning point from managing my anxiety to taking control of it was life coaching. I guess a big part of my anxiety was wanting desperately to make changes in my life, but lacking the confidence and self-esteem to make them happen and so sitting there feeling anxious that they weren’t happening! The coaching helped me reframe my anxiety and its symptoms and change my perspective of stored memories. I also created more integrated beliefs, improved clarity and confidence and decluttered my physical space because, heck that clutter was adding to my anxiety!
  8. The final step has been supplements, as certain deficiencies can really worsen anxious feelings.
    • The B vitamins help with nervous system functioning, and being under a lot of stress can deplete your levels.
    • Magnesium is a nutrient that plays a part in more than 300 of the body’s biochemical reactions, and regulates the release of stress hormones.
    • Studies on both humans and mice have shown a strong connection between magnesium levels and depression and anxiety.
    • Tryptophan isn’t a vitamin or mineral, but rather an essential amino acid. It is the number 1 supplement purchased for stress and anxiety.
    • Tryptophan converts into a compound called 5-HTP, which then converts it to serotonin (the “feel good chemical”), which plays a huge role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep.
    • Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because its main source is sunlight.
    • Research has shown that individuals with depression and anxiety disorders also commonly have low levels of Vitamin D.
    • Calcium. The nervous system needs calcium in order to operate properly, so mood issues and anxiety very often result from not getting enough calcium.

My journey with supplements began with the dōTERRA Microplex VM, which is a balanced blend of vitamins that includes antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; an energy
complex of B vitamins; and natural vitamin D3. It also contains a bioavailable blend of essential minerals, which includes bio-available forms of the bone nutrients calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, and chromium. Finally there is a blend of essential trace minerals for cellular metabolism, communication, and regeneration and a great blend of polyphenols such as: grapeseed extract, quercetin, pomegranate fruit extract, resveratrol, and more for their great antioxidant power.

The tryptophan I took from natural sources and pea protein.

In the last 2 months I have added dōTERRA’s omega mix and cellular vitality mix, plus a blend called DDR Prime.

DDR Prime contains frankincense, wild orange, summer savory, niaouli, lemongrass, clove & thyme to help protect the cells in our body from oxidative stress.   When there is an imbalance in our body between the creation of free radicals and the neutralization of them via antioxidants, our cells become stressed and age.  DDR Prime supports the body’s process of the cell’s destruction or repair, rather than just having it hang around impaired causing other issues. I really do feel exponentially better with these last two supplements on board and I’m keen to get my bloods redone this week to see whether DDR Prime has improved my thyroid and adrenal function, which have suffered from years of ‘fight or flight’.

There’s a lot here, I know. If you’re struggling, please do reach out to me. I offer a free 30 minutes to see how Life Coaching can support you. To book, click here.

Or, to understand the potential of using essential oils for your emotional balance better, and to get started <<click here>>

Believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and if you want to talk to me, just shout.

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