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Why You Should Do Something to Fill Your Cup

Let’s drill down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day.  At the centre of it is yourself.  Specifically a version of yourself where you spend time filling your cup.

I decided to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums to guest post.  Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side.  I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.

Meet my first guest blogger, Amy.  She is Founder of Powerhoop NZ and has even created a group from her own journey of filling her cup! My HAPPY 100 is a place where she inspires and motivates more people to do more stuff for themselves.

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What does filling your cup mean to you?

Self care.

How much of a priority is your own self-care in your life?

It is something I am truly passionate about and of course it is a work in progress for me.

Care to elaborate?

There have been times when I see my own life passing me by and I am not grasping it enough and making the most of it.   I was using being busy in my business and being a mother of three as a reason not to do a lot of things I would love to do. It left me feeling depleted. I was attending to the needs of everyone else before me.

self care blog 1Can you share an example?

I had been wanting to do things like take my kids away individually on a little holiday to create some memories together.  This meant so much to me, but each year would pass and I just wasn’t making it happen.  So, I decided enough was enough, I wrote a list of things I wanted to bring into my life this year. Not a TO DO list, more of a THINGS I WANT TO BRING INTO MY LIFE list. Because I wrote my list down, and shared it publicly, I felt really accountable for it. It is now half way through the year and I have already ticked off over 50% of my list. And there are 100 things on there!   I can honestly say this has been my best year yet and taking my kids away was definitely one of the highlights for me.   As a result of doing more things for me, I feel less stressed, way happier, and much more balanced in my life. My cup is so much fuller and I finally feel I am living MY best life. I am doing things for ME!!

Wow! So are you the only one who benefits from this?

Well of course I do benefit, but my kids also benefit from having a happier mum, my husband benefits from having a more balanced mum, my customers definitely get the best of me and my friends must see the difference too.

So, what’s your advice to mums out there who aren’t putting themselves first?

First I’d say, I get it.  It is all too easy to wake up in the morning and rush out of bed only to find yourself  zapping around at 100 miles an hour, getting everything organized for the day ahead. It is like a hurricane of packing school lunches, looking for lost socks, feeding the animals, walking the dog, messaging a colleague about something or another, catching up with world on social media, checking e mails, feeding the kids / family, pouring that first coffee down our necks and so on. And that just about covers the first hour of the day!  The rest of the day can look equally as hectic if we allow it, just rush, rush and more rushing.

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We rush to get to work, rush through the traffic, super busy at work, rush to get home to feed kids / family, outside activities to attend,  and get everyone all organised for the next day.  Coffee is the fuel that gets us through.  Or maybe that is wine?

It seems like we never quite  “get it all done”.  We never quite get to tick off our entire lists. We might tick a few off, but we have added more and more.    The end may feel like it is in sight, but it’s not, it’s just a mirage.

So, my advice is to turn around your thinking.  Accept, it will never end. That’s the truth. There will ALWAYS be something left to do.  And if we allow it, LIFE like this can take over and we can end up like FRAZZLED MARTYRS with no time really allocated to just US.

What do you think is the main obstruction to mum’s putting themselves first and taking care of themselves?

Time. We are far too busy looking after the needs of all of those around us to even consider taking time out for ourselves, there are far too many things to get done first. We often don’t value ourselves enough to invest the time to do more things that will bring us that joy.  Everyone else comes first.

Has there been a time that you didn’t fill your cup?

Yes.  Only a couple of years ago, I ended up in hospital.  I had let stress get to me again and I felt done in.  I had a lot going on at the time, emotionally, and I just put NO time into my own self care really.  Yes I was exercising and eating well, which helped me so much, but I was having no down time.  So yes, we can end up like a frazzled martyr if we fail to care for ourselves properly.  I also think if we spend too much time making everyone else happy to our own detriment, then we end up resentful too.  And of course that means those around us, get the brunt of that build up of resentment too!  We end up lacking in energy, feeling wiped out, possibly a little depressed, and turning to narcotics to get us through!  It did used to be like that for me.

So, how can the mums reading this start to fill their cups?

Do anything from exercise, to meditating, to going for a walk, to a massage, to spending time with a friend, or learning a new hobby. Truly something that brings YOU joy when you do it.

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Being a parent is when you need to be the best version of yourself,  which means it should be the best time to take more care of yourself. Because if you take care of YOUR needs then you are in a much better position to help others! It’s that simple. You will have more energy, more lust for life and be happier.  If your cup is full, then, you can help everyone else.

Finally, this life is for living now, we are NOT guaranteed any time here, so I reckon we make the most of our time. And the more we can do for ourselves, the happier we are. And the more EVERYONE benefits from it.

To read more about Amy’s Happy List, visit her website.

To read more about how you can Design Your Life, click here!  (I am taking enrollments for 2018!)

Design Your Life! (3)

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 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!

console

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!)

serenity

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.

Image result for doterra forgive instagram

Much Love 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 an Angry Dinosaur

This is me sometimes.  More times than I like to admit when I am stressed, tired or just over parenting for whatever reason.

I hate admitting this out loud!  This is probably the biggest cause of my mummy guilt.  I have yearned to break free from the hold anger takes in the moment.  One day it struck me that there is always an emotion underlying the response I have to whatever triggers an inappropriately loud or short, or just far out crazy response and when I identified that I started using my coaching skills to peel back the layers of the emotion and put strategies in place to respond/react differently.

And there, bazinger, came the feeling of being empowered!!!  And Mr Angry Dinosaur is taking a back seat to a calmer, kinder and more focused me.

I would like to share this feeling of empowerment and help you to be calmer, kinder and more focused with your children.

Let’s encourage our Angry Dinosaur to chillax back there in the “not of current service” to our lives box, deep in our brains!

I am going to be holding 4 group coaching sessions for mums each Wednesday from the 21st September, across 4 weeks. $20/person in a small, intimate, safe group at my new home in the Greenhill Health Centre, 253 Pakuranga Rd, Pakuranga, Auckland.

Please complete the form on my Workshops & Group Coaching Page to register for the next course.  If you would prefer a one-on-one session, these are also available.  Please call me on 022 1084 165.  Or email nzessentialmum@gmail.com.

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