The Final Graduation: A Bittersweet Ending & Beautiful Beginning

“What she tackles, she conquers.”

-Richard Gilmore

Tomorrow, I will attend my final graduation. I easily get nostalgic, so the other night I decided to pull out my 6th grade yearbook. Each student wrote a paragraph about where they saw themselves in 20 years. Here is what I wrote:

“In twenty years, I Kayla Brown, will be 32. Hopefully, I will have a two story house with a huge garden in my backyard in Rome, Italy. I will maybe be married with a daughter and a son. I will have a beagle and and a golden lab. I will have a Bachelor’s degree in either interior design or architecture from UNR. When I retire, I will travel throughout Europe and write a book called, Within Europe. It will include the best sights to see, dining areas, overnight stays in suites, and places to have fun. This is where I’d like to be in twenty years.”

Let me know when you have finished laughing. Obviously, I have always loved planning ahead. Way ahead. While my fellow 6th grade classmates were writing about owning “19 boats and 1 yacht” and being “single and rich,” my 12-year-old self was already brainstorming the travel book I would write during retirement. I do not currently reside in Italy, but thankfully I have a decent chunk of time before I turn 32 to start working on that.

School has always been an important and essential component of my life. My parents never pushed me hard in school, it was always a choice I made to challenge myself. I have always admired the work ethics of both my parents and I knew I wanted to be just like them. They work hard and deserve every bit of the lives they have made for themselves. My parents are my biggest supporters and I would not be where I am today without their unconditional love and encouragement.

It is so hard to say goodbye to something that has always been a part of my life. I love the structure that comes with school and knowing exactly what I need to accomplish in order to reach the ultimate goal. But then I also have to remind myself that many of my favorite memories came from times when I did not have every minute planned out. By not creating specific expectations for my life, I know that I am allowing for the potential to experience a life that exceeds my wildest dreams. It might be cheesy to say, but anything is truly possible.

For those of you who have been reading my blog posts, you are probably wondering how I am going to incorporate essential oils into this post. Well…I am not.

Tomorrow, I will attend my final graduation. I will not need lavender to calm my nerves, nor will I need wild orange to uplift my emotions.

Tomorrow, when I attend my final graduation, the only emotion I am going to feel is pure and simple pride.

Pride is a direct result of hard work; it is not a feeling you can fake. Everything in life is only worth the time you put in to achieve it. The last year and a half have been the most challenging, yet rewarding years of my life. There were days when I doubted myself. There were days when I realized I had taken on too much. There were days when I felt disappointed when I fell short of the expectations I had set for myself. There were days when I cried (more than I care to admit).

Ultimately, was it all worth it?

Yes.

Yes, a million times.

The confidence I have gained, friendships I have developed, and self-development I have experienced is worth so much more than each and every obstacle and setback along the way.

For the first time in my life, I do not have an exact plan. Yet somehow, I feel more prepared for the future than ever before.

Tomorrow, I will attend my final graduation—a moment in my life that represents both a bittersweet ending and a beautiful brand new beginning.

Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano is known as the Oil of Humility. This empowering essential oil “dispels materialism and attachment that hinders an individual’s growth and progress.” Oregano encourages true spirituality and the elimination of toxic relationships and activities. Additionally, Oregano promotes humility, the willingness to be strong, and clears negativity. The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with some background information in order to establish a basic understanding of Oregano essential oil.

Oregano comes from the Labiatae botanical familywhich is the fancy, scientific word for mintThe main chemical constituents found in Oregano are phenolswhich contain antibacterial properties. The extraction method for Oregano essential oil involves the steam distillation of the herb. If you are interested in learning more about essential oil extraction, check out my blog post here, which covers the basics of essential oil extraction and the importance of quality.

The primary uses for Oregano essential oil include athlete’s foot, calluses, canker sores, carpal tunnel syndrome, fungal infections, immune system support, inflammation, intestinal parasites, MRSA, muscle aches, parasites, pneumonia, ringworm, staph infection, viral infections, warts, and whooping cough.

If you would like to do some additional research and learn about the studies that have been conducted on the primary uses of Oregano, the U.S. National Library of Medicine website is a fantastic resource!

Oregano essential oil can be applied via three application methods­—topical, aromatic, and internal. Topical: Oregano essential oil should be diluted before it is applied directly to the skin on the area of concern or on reflex points. Dilute using a 1:3 ratio (1 drop of Oregano with 3 drops of fractionated coconut oil). Aromatic: Oregano essential oil can be inhaled directly or diffused. Internal: Oregano essential oil is great for cooking! Tip: 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil with 1 drop of Oregano essential oil = 1 teaspoon dried oregano!

Everyday Uses:

  • Are you starting to feel a little under the weather? For a quick immune boost, add 2 drops of each of the following essential oils to a veggie capsule: Oregano, Lemon, Frankincense, and Melaleuca
  • Looking for an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner? Add 10 drops of Oregano to a 16-ounce spray bottle filled with water to clean your sinks, showers, and bathtubs!
  • Struggling with rough cuticles while you are trying to get ready for sandal season? Mix about 6 drops of fractionated coconut oil with 1 drop of Oregano and rub on cuticles/toenails!
  • Are you one of those people who always has cold feet? Right now I am raising my hand. Mix about 6 drops of fractionated coconut oil with 1 drop of Oregano and massage onto your feet to instantly warm your body!
  • Is your throat starting to feel a little scratchy? Add 1 drop of Oregano to a shot glass filled with water and gargle to soothe your irritated throat!

Where do I get most of my information from? The sources I completely rely on and fully trust are Modern Essentials and  Emotions & Essential Oils: A Modern Resource for Healing. Check out these books if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Oregano essential oil!

What are some of your favorite ways to use Oregano essential oil? How do you incorporate this essential oil in your daily routine to regulate your emotions? I would love to hear your thoughts!

DISCLAIMER: this website is for general health information only. This content is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health condition or problem. You should not rely on this information for your own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own healthcare provider.

Melaleuca Essential Oil

Melaleuca (tea tree oil) is known as the Oil of Energetic Boundaries. This empowering essential oil encourages one to relinquish self-betrayal and assists in purification practices. Melaleuca “helps break the negative ties in toxic relationships so that new, healthy connections may be formed that honor one’s personal space and boundaries.” Additionally, Melaleuca promotes respectful connectionsresilience, and developing new energetic boundaries. The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with some background information in order to establish a basic understanding of Melaleuca essential oil.

Melaleuca comes from the Myrtaceae botanical family, which is the fancy, scientific word for Myrtle shrubs and treesThe main chemical constituents found in melaleuca are monoterpenes, which contain antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The extraction method for Melaleuca essential oil involves the steam distillation of melaleuca leaves. If you are interested in learning more about essential oil extraction, check out my blog post here, which covers the basics of essential oil extraction and the importance of quality.

The primary uses for Melaleuca essential oil include acne, allergies, athlete’s foot, bacterial infections, bronchitis, canker sores, cold sores, colds, coughs, eczema, flu, fungal infections, gum disease, hives, infection, inflammation, lice, MRSA, mumps, nail infection, pink eye, rashes, ringworm, shingles, sore throat, staph infection, sunburn, tonsillitis, varicose ulcer, viral infection, warts, and wounds.

If you would like to do some additional research and learn about the studies that have been conducted on the primary uses of Melaleuca, the U.S. National Library of Medicine website is a fantastic resource!

Melaleuca essential oil can be applied via three application methods­—topical, aromatic, and internal. Topical: Melaleuca essential oil can be applied directly to the skin on the area of concern or on reflex points. Aromatic: Melaleuca essential oil can be inhaled directly or diffused. Internal: take in a veggie capsule!

Everyday Uses:

  • Are your nails feeling weak and brittle? Apply Melaleuca to your nails after showering for both purification and strengthening benefits! 
  • Experiencing annoying acne spots? Add 1 drop of Melaleuca to your daily moisturizer for enhanced cleansing properties!
  • Trying not to itch your bug bites or irritated skin? Add a few drops of Melaleuca to moisturizing body lotion to relieve discomfort!
  • Razor burn? Apply Melaleuca directly to your skin after shaving to prevent irritation! 
  • Do you have minor cuts or scrapes from an outdoor adventure? Apply Melaleuca to the affected area to cleanse and promote healthy healing!

Where do I get most of my information from? The sources I completely rely on and fully trust are Modern Essentials and  Emotions & Essential Oils: A Modern Resource for Healing. Check out these books if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Melaleuca essential oil!

What are some of your favorite ways to use Melaleuca essential oil? How do you incorporate this essential oil in your daily routine to regulate your emotions? I would love to hear your thoughts!

DISCLAIMER: this website is for general health information only. This content is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health condition or problem. You should not rely on this information for your own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own healthcare provider.

Managing Motivation

“She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans.”

My name is Kayla and I am a motivation addict. I currently work full-time in addition to attending grad school as a full-time student. I have a hard time remembering what “free time” feels like and my planner is my lifeline (yes, I still prefer to physically write down my schedule despite the pressures of the digital world). Even though I usually feel completely drained by the end of each day, there is this tiny part of me that continues to feel both encouraged and empowered by my overwhelming schedule.

What really motivates me? I love achieving my goals because the feeling of accomplishment provides me with a sense of purpose and pride. Regardless of the task at hand, I always pour 100% of myself into every single thing I do. I do not believe in minimal effort or creating the illusion of hard work. Most days, I love that I have a motivated mindset as it leads me to feel very productive and accomplished. However, there are days when I wish I had a just a few extra hours to cross a few more things off my never-ending to-do list. As a result of my busy schedule, I do occasionally experience burnout. Therefore, I must continually remind myself that it is of the utmost importance I work towards balancing the seven dimensions of wellness for the sake of my sanity.

If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated, here are some tips to get you back on the motivation train:

Identify your Motivators: It is vital you understand what motivates you. Are you motivated by money or recognition? Or maybe it is the pure feeling of accomplishment? If you are having a difficult time identifying your motivators, ask yourself what encourages you to get out of bed each morning? Once you have identified your motivators, structure your goals around these triggers. When your goals align with your motivators, it will be much easier to pursue your goals.

Scale your Goals: If you find yourself feeling discouraged, break down your goals into smaller, clearly defined actions. As you begin to accomplish these attainable goals, you will feel further encouraged to continue working hard towards your long term goals. Do not forget to reward yourself when you reach your milestones. Rewards are a great reminder that you are accomplishing BIG and meaningful goals.

Etched in Stone: Okay, okay…you can call me old-fashioned, but I refuse to give up my planner. I love writing down my schedule and the tasks I need to accomplish because it feels more permanent. If I make a quick note on my phone, it is so easy to delete that note when I feel strapped for time. Writing in my planner also gives me a visual of the total workload I am facing. Additionally, a planner is a great visual reminder of all the things you have accomplished, and the fun you were able to squeeze into your busy schedule. Plus, who doesn’t love writing with different colored pens and using fun sticky notes?

Incorporate Essential Oils: Did you know there are essential oils that can lift your spirit and revive your intentions? When I begin to feel worn out and unable to press on, I grab my “encouraging blend” for an instant boost of energy, confidence, and motivation. This motivation blend includes Peppermint, Coriander, Clementine, Basil, Yuzu, Vanilla, Rosemary, and Melissa essential oils.

Interested in reading more tips for staying motivated? Check out this post here for additional strategies!

What are some of the ways you motivate yourself to reach your goals? Are there any specific essential oils you incorporate into your daily routine to promote feelings of encouragement? I would love to hear from you!

Emotions, Essential Oils, & Escaping Anxiety

“The body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness.”

Nearly 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety disorders. Social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder, just barely tap into the range of anxiety disorders people struggle with every single day. Did you know that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the nation?  What is even more astonishing is that the majority of individuals who struggle with anxiety disorders do not seek any type of treatment. Even if you do not have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, it is likely that you too have experienced anxiety at some point in your life.

I frequently struggle with anxiety because I tend to overthink things, I put a lot of pressure on myself, and the idea of change can be frightening. When I let my anxiety take control, my chest gets tight making it hard to breathe, my stomach feels like it is tied in a bunch of knots, and my mind races with all sorts of fears. I find it extremely difficult to verbalize how I experience anxiety and I know that I am not alone in feeling embarrassed to talk about my anxiety. Even more, it makes me feel weak knowing that I continue to battle with balancing my emotions and taming my fears. Discussing anxiety is not easy and that is why I believe so many individuals try to function with their anxiety and allow their symptoms go untreated.

When essential oils were introduced into my life, I was completely unaware of the immense emotional support this natural health option could provide. Now, I am no brain expert (I knew after a frog dissection in my biology class freshman year of high school that I had no aspirations to end up in med school). However, I do have a basic understanding of the brain’s limbic system. I promise to keep the science of this short and sweet, but if you want more scientific evidence you should check out this website. The limbic system is responsible for our emotions, memories, thoughts, and hormone production. So, why is this important? Essential oils directly impact the limbic system. 

I hesitate in using the word aromatherapy because a lot of people associate aromatherapy with “patchouli” and “hippies” and then they quickly begin to lose interest in the conversation. I wholeheartedly believe you will not truly understand the potential power of aromatherapy for regulating emotions until you experience the aromatic benefits of essential oils. When I start to feel extra stressed, experience low energy, or have difficulty sleeping–I reach for my oils. Essential oils have provided me with the opportunity to regulate my anxiety and uplift my emotions.

The moment I took control of my health and began to regulate my emotions with essential oils, I began to feel more optimistic and inspired. I have learned the hard way that I am unable to control everything that happens in my life. However, I do have complete control over how I choose to react to what happens in my life. Proactively approaching the physical and emotional dimensions of wellness will provide a sense of empowerment that will seep into other aspects of your life.  I was able to harness that strength and confidence to raise my expectations. I then began eliminating toxic people and activities that were creating negativity in my life and ultimately, bringing me down.

In case you missed it, you should check out my blog post here on the seven dimensions of wellness!

As we begin to explore the many types of essential oils available, I will emphasize which oils specifically help improve our many emotions. What natural health solutions have you found to be successful in combating anxiety and regulating your emotions? I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Basics of Essential Oils

And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

-Revelation 22:2

Essential oils are the unique, aromatic compounds that are produced through the extraction process of plants.  Natural extracts come from the leaves, stems, roots, barks, flowers, fruits, and seeds of plants. How do essential oils really work? What we perceive as the simple fragrances of plants, are actually the aromatic compounds which provide plants with protective, reproductive, and regenerative properties.  People can also benefit from the chemical constituents of essential oils through aromatic, topical, and internal applications.

The Importance of Quality: The quality of an essential oil is directly affected by the geographic location of the plant, the time of year the plant was harvested, and the method and quality of the extraction process. Pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils reflect the same properties of the plants from which they are derived and humans can benefit from the same protective, regenerating, and immune-strengthening properties. Therefore, it is important you only use pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils as they will exhibit the chemical constituents of the original plant, maintaining the integrity of the desired plant properties.

A Brief History: Essential oils have been used for centuries by many cultures around the world for a variety of applications.  Did you know that essential oils are referenced in both ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts? Additionally, essential oils have religious connections as they are mentioned throughout the Bible. If you are interested in learning more about the essential oils mentioned in the Bible, check out this list with specific bible verses!

Extraction Methods: There are two main methods through which essential oils can be extracted.  The amount of each plant required to produce a specific quantity of pure therapeutic-grade essential oils varies, which accounts for the range of prices for essential oils.

  • The primary method for the essential oil extraction process is steam distillation. Through this method, the plant material is placed in an extraction chamber and the chamber is then infused with steam.  The vaporized water and essential oil will exit the extraction chamber through a cooling system which separates the water (condensed from the steam) and the extracted essential oil. Steam distillation accounts for over 90% of essential oil extraction. This method is effective as essential oils are volatile and hydrophobic. Essentially, this means essential oils are easily evaporated and they repel water.
  • The other method, cold expression (or cold pressing), is utilized to extract essential oils from citrus peels and rinds. Citrus essential oils include Lemon, Wild Orange, Lime, Bergamot, Grapefruit, and Tangerine!

Okay, okay…I will wrap up my little science lesson. I believe it is critical you have an essential oil foundation before you begin using essential oils.  Gaining some basic knowledge will be immensely beneficial as you begin incorporating your new “oily” friends into your life. However, if you do want to geek out on the science of it all, I highly recommend investing in this bookModern Essentials dives into the nitty gritty details of the chemical constituents and how they work with the human body.

I know you are probably getting excited to learn about the many essential oils available and how they can enhance your life! Trust me, our exploration process will begin soon! But first, I want to make sure we really enhance our knowledge about holistic health and personal empowerment before we jump into playing with the oils.

What are some unique facts you know about essential oils? 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!