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!

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 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!