Environmental Wellness

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

-The Lorax

Happy Earth Day! In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be the perfect time to focus on one of the seven dimensions of wellness-environmental wellness. Environmental wellness incorporates learning how to engage in sustainable practices and understanding how our daily decisions impact the natural environment. Ultimately, all of our decisions, whether it is the foods we consume or the products we buy, will impact our lovely planet and home.

As much as we should enjoy the beauty mother nature has to offer, we must also take responsibility to protect our planet’s limited natural resources. I believe our decisions should encompass sustainability measures to ensure that we are not creating impossible problems for future generations. At the very least, we should be working towards identifying solutions for the environmental problems we are currently creating. The good news is that are many organizations who are investing in economic research and working towards solving some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. These organizations are led by individuals who exhibit growth mindsets and are future-oriented through their commitment to a better future for all people.

Food Choices: Did you know that more than 30% of the available food in the United States is thrown away every year? I won’t even get started on my “American food portions are WAY too large” rant. But honestly, I think we have a lot to learn from some of the healthier nations around the world.

  1. ReFED: a nonprofit organization that utilizes a data-driven approach to address the many inefficiencies in our food system. I started reading their report-A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20% and the first paragraph left me completely blown away…

    “By 2050, it is estimated that the Earth’s population will top 9 billion. This growing population will undeniably stress our food systems, natural resources, and ecosystems. But consider this: Currently, we waste up to 40% of our food globally. In the United States, this equals roughly 400 pounds annually for every American. Meanwhile, one in seven Americans are food insecure.”

    ReFED has developed a roadmap to address food waste because economic analysis has revealed this is a solvable problem. The necessary resources are available, but we need policymakers and consumers to get involved in order to achieve widespread change. A strategy to solve global food waste has been developed. Now it all comes down to the execution of the strategy, as well as global participation.

  2. The Better Buying Lab: this initiative was launched by the World Resources Institute to develop strategies to enable consumers to purchase and consume sustainable foods. Did you know that different proteins can impact the environment in a variety of ways? Meat and dairy production are more resource-intensive to produce compared to plant-based foods. Check out the World Resources Institute’s Protein Scorecard to learn more about how your diet impacts agricultural resources.

“The world’s population is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, requiring 70 percent more food than what’s available today. If we’re to meet the demands of the future, we must develop a sustainable way forward for food production and consumption.”

The three core focuses of the Better Buying Lab include transforming how the food industry communicates about plant-based foods, popularizing dishes rich in plants, and identifying the right environmental metrics, methods, and targets.

These organizations are operating at a global level, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved and bring about change as well!

  • Plant your own small garden! Backyard veggies always taste better and this is a great way to increase the plant-based food consumption in your household!
  • Start your own backyard compost bin! This activity will save you money and make the plants in your garden extra happy!
  • Purchase canvas bags and ditch those plastic bags! But really…it is time.
  • Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle! Once you start identifying simple ways to become more environmentally-friendly, you’ll be amazed how simple switches will transform into larger lifestyle changes!
  • For more simple ideas, check out the United Nations’ “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World” and get to work!

Product Choices: Businesses are aware that as the “going green” trend continues into the future, they must engage in sustainable practices to appeal to consumers. As consumers, we must acknowledge that many large corporations are not actually committed to reducing the environmental impact of their operations. We call this “greenwashing” and it occurs when a company spends more money on advertising that they are “green” than what they are actually investing to implement green initiatives. How crazy is that?! Fortunately, the Social Age has forced companies to become more transparent and this sneaky strategy will not lead to long-term success. There are methods to identify which companies are actually committed to reducing their environmental impact, you just have to do your research. The companies who truly care about their long-term impact on the environment are the ones I want to do business with.

How do you engage in sustainable practices? What are the methods you utilize to achieve a balance with nature and how does this impact your other dimensions of wellness? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Running Essentials

“Running teaches us to keep moving forward, one step at a time, especially in the most painful moments.”

I enjoy running. Okay…maybe I should rephrase that sentence. I enjoy running in nice weather, on flat courses, when I am in the “right mood.” I am a picky runner and I am perfectly content with that. I love 5Ks and I can handle 10Ks. However, after my last half marathon, I made a promise to myself that would be my last half-marathon without more than a week’s worth of training.

I struggle with training consistently because my schedule is just a tad crazy right now, so there is always some excuse to go running on a different day. I will be running a 5K in the near future, so tonight I had to have a serious talk with myself and start training. The first day back is always the hardest. My legs started aching about 1/8 of a mile in. Pathetic, right? I have to remind myself that what matters is that I am being active. At this stage in my training, it does not matter how fast I go. All that matters is that I am out there moving.

The wonderful thing about running is that once I get back into it, I remember that even though my body will experience some aches and pains, running makes me feel GREAT.  Living an active lifestyle makes me feel more energized and improves my emotional dimension of wellness. Running reminds me how important it is to set goals and work my hardest to achieve those goals. My first short-term running goal is to be prepared for my upcoming 5K. Baby steps. One day at a time. Progress matters. 

Thankfully, essential oils can be incorporated into your pre-running and post-running routines to improve both the physical and emotional dimensions of wellness.

Before Running:

  • Apply a few drops of Peppermint or the respiratory blend to your chest and/or wrists a few minutes before beginning your run. Peppermint will clear the airways and enhance alertness.
  • Inhale or apply the grounding blend to stabilize emotions and clear the mind of outside thoughts.
  • Did you know Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties? Apply a few drops to your legs to reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Apply 1 drop of Frankincense and 1 drop of Peppermint to the bottom of each foot for energizing and cooling sensations while running.

After Running:

  • There are a variety of essential oils that are wonderful to soothe muscle tension. Apply Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, White Fir, or Frankincense to your calves or other sore muscles to relieve tension.
  • Rehydration is essential! Add 1 drop of Lemon to each 8-ounces of water you drink to benefit from its uplifting and cleansing properties.
  • Take an Epsom salt bath with Lavender to soothe sore muscles and experience ultimate relaxation. If you missed my post on the importance of a detox bath, you can read it here!
  • Cypress supports circulation! Apply a few drops to your legs after running to promote blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Blisters? Apply 1 drop each of Lavender, Melaleuca, and Chamomile to speed up the healing process!

What are some of the natural solutions you utilize to enhance your running or workout experiences? I would love to hear your thoughts!

All-Natural Spotlight: Pantry Products

Welcome to my first all-natural product spotlight! I am always on the lookout for new, local products that align with my holistic health mindset. My birthday was a few months ago and one of my besties got me a few items from Pantry Products.  I instantly fell in love with their organic bar soap and bath teas.

First, I want to take a quick look at the unique business structure of Pantry Products:

  • Pantry Products uses only 100% natural, organic ingredients–plant oils, butters, therapeutic grade essential oils, and so on.
  • Michelle M. Czarka, Pantry Products’ proprietor, blends the products to reflect her love for the culinary and handcrafted arts. Additionally, all products are made in small batches by hand!
  • Pantry Products pursues a “reduce, reuse, and recycle” mindset. I am a big supporter of sustainability and I love seeing smaller companies taking the initiative to reduce their impact on the environment. Sustainability is an ongoing process and we all must engage in more mindful practices if we want to promote real, positive change.

I have not (yet) tried all of the available products, so I am only going to focus on the specific items I picked up during my last visit!

Image Source: Organic Facial Steam

Organic Facial Steam: Facial steams are fantastic at opening up your pores to eliminate toxins and dirt. If you are in need of a quick route to a peaceful evening, an organic facial steam is exactly what you have been looking for. Facial steams should last for about 5-10 minutes and they will keep your skin glowing if you incorporate them into your weekly ritual! If you want to learn more about facial steams, check out this post. Pantry Products has two variations of their Organic Facial Steam: Sierra and Sunshine. I am currently using the Sierra blend and yes, it actually has pieces of star anise!

Sierra blend: linden blossom + cinnamon stick + juniper berries + orange peel + star anise + eucalyptus

Sunshine blend:  lavender + chrysanthemum + calendula + chamomile + linden blossom + rose petal

 

Image Source: Soul Soother Bath Tea

Soul Soother Bath Tea: Bath teas are quickly gaining popularity. This proprietary blend is the ultimate “soul soother.” Not only does this bath tea have salts, but it also contains herbs and flowers (eucalyptus + spearmint + peppermint + lavender + roses), as well as eucalyptus essential oil. I have a Eucalyptus obsession, so this product truly speaks to my heart. In case you missed my post on the importance of a detoxifying soak, you can read it here! Insider tip: bath teas can also double as facial steams!

If you are still trying to figure out why this is called a bath tea, I strategically saved the best part for last! To prepare your bath tea, you add the bath tea blend to a reusable cloth tea bag and then “steep” your warm bath water for about 5-10 minutes!

Tip: For an extra calming bath, add 1 drop of Chamomile essential oil to the bath tea and sip on a steaming cup of chamomile tea! Trust me now, thank me later.

 

Image Source: Cold Process Organic Bar Soap

Cold Process Organic Bar Soap: The last product I am currently swooning over is the cold process organic bar soap. The amazing thing about this bar soap is that it actually leaves you feeling “squeaky” clean. Pantry Products does not use any of the chemicals found in most bar soaps and body washes, so your skin will actually feel both nourished and fresh! Organic coconut oil, raw shea butter, pure essential oils…need I say more?

With the bar soap, you have your choice of some very unique scents: calendula + chamomile | cinnamon + ginger | cocoa + mint | lavender + oatmeal | coffee + orange | orange + clove | rosemary + spearmint | sea salt + peony | seaweed + eucalyptus

My current bar is of the orange + clove variety and it is perfectly refreshing for a morning shower! Another great thing about this bar soap is that it does not get that gross soapy residue (due to the elimination of chemicals), so the quality of your bar will not deteriorate during its lifespan.

I just barely covered a small portion of Pantry Products’ all-natural product line, so you should visit their shop in The Basement Reno and take a peek at their beautiful website! Pantry Products is a small, local business located in Reno, NV. If you do not live in the Northern Nevada area (or even if you do), Pantry Products will ship products to you anywhere within the United States!

Now that you are aware of this fantastic company, I am counting on you to let me know what you think of their detoxifying seaweed sea salt soak, lavender-frankincense clay mask, or the warming chai milk bath if you get there before my next trip!

Have you tried anything from Pantry Products? Or do you have any other companies with all-natural products that you just can’t get enough of? I would love to hear your thoughts!

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

-Thomas Edison

Did you know there is more to wellness beyond the physical and emotional components? It is critical that we give sufficient and equal attention to all dimensions of wellness in order to pursue a state of holistic health.  Overall wellness is comprised of seven dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, intellectual, and occupational.

Now you might be thinking-How can each of these dimensions of wellness be considered equal? Have you noticed when you experience the loss of someone who greatly impacted your life, that you begin to struggle in other components of life beyond your emotional state? Your mourning period stemmed from the emotional dimension, but it also had varying levels of impact on your physical, social, and spiritual wellness, as well as the remaining dimensions.

The seven dimensions of wellness are completely intertwined. When you begin to focus your energy on enhancing the relationships among these dimensions, you will truly begin to thrive.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the dimensions!

Physical Wellness: involves making more informed lifestyle choices. Engaging in physical activity, improving nutritional choices, and getting a sufficient amount of sleep will benefit the physical state of your body.

Emotional Wellness: focuses primarily on improving how you feel about yourself and your life in general.  It is essential to learn how to regulate your emotions to create balance. This is the dimension that can often be the most challenging to regulate.

Spiritual Wellness: expands beyond the scope of religion. This dimension emphasizes finding purpose in life, understanding your personal values, and being open to developing connections to things that are much bigger than yourself.

Social Wellness: encompasses all types of relationships–family, friends, and significant others.  This dimension allows us to fulfill some of our deepest needs–to feel connected and supported by other human beings.

Environmental Wellness: incorporates learning how to engage in sustainable practices and understanding how our daily decisions impact the natural environment.

Intellectual Wellness: includes mental stimulation and pursuing creative outlets to challenge and open our minds to new ideas.

Occupational Wellness: promotes searching for a meaningful career and engaging in professional organizations and hobbies. Furthermore, it allows for the expansion of one’s skills and provides an opportunity to help others.

Essentially, holistic health requires you to view your health from the broadest perspective by focusing your energy on prioritizing each and every one of the seven dimensions of wellness.  It is vital you learn to understand your body, as well as the connection your physical being has with your mind, spirit, and the world around you. Trust me, this is quite the challenging feat and I continue to struggle with maintaining balance in my life through all seven dimensions of wellness. What matters most is that you make the decision to continually work to improve yourself.  

I welcome you to join me on this journey and together we will explore how a holistic health approach and essential oils can bring you pure, personal empowerment. How do you balance the seven dimensions of wellness? I would love to hear your thoughts!