Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Month: February 2016

Gratitude Review: February

rose-478801_1280     Hi there, Darling Hearts! I hope February has been kind and hasn’t dumped too much snow on you. It’s been a pretty mild Winter here. In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some days with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, so I’ve even opened the doors and windows to let stuffy, doggy smells out. As an Aromatherapy Junkie, I’m always grateful for that! I’ve been thankful for lots of other things this month, so whaddya say we get this Gratitude Review underway with some highlights?

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I’ve been getting lots of what I’m calling “guidance nudges” these days. Lately it seems like if I think about something I want for an extended period of time, I get a nudge to go check it out somewhere unexpected and it shows up even better than I imagined. I’ve wanted this hot, hot pink bag for over a year, and after a little guidance nudge to go to the store where I saw it and just look around, I found it on clearance for less than $10! I’ve also wanted to get back on my vegan nutritional shakes for a while (they give me energy and make me feel amazing), but I couldn’t afford the steep price tag while I’m paying for classes, so I had to cut them out of my budget. After some research, I discovered I could get a nearly identical product from another company for about half the price and set my sights on getting it. After one of my guidance nudges , I went looking for them while picking up some other items at Sam’s and discovered that they had just started carrying them and I could get twice as much for only a few more dollars. I saved a little more than $200 considering I now have almost a 2.5 month supply! I had the same luck while replacing a few items in my wardrobe and replenishing my essential oil supply this month, and I never would have found these things if I hadn’t heeded these nudges. On the heels of last month’s revelation about holding out on myself, these tiny splurges feel long overdue, too. I’m thankful for all of this, and even more thankful that I haven’t had to spend that much to take better care of myself. You can’t ask for much more, really!

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I’ve had the pleasure of getting together with a few of my best girlfriends this month. I’m always thankful for the fellowship of kickass, beautiful, smart and supportive gal-pals. That’s not to say that I don’t get that same awesome support from my guy friends! I totally do, but there’s just something special about what happens when good women circle. I’ve been able to go out to dinner and lunch, and even work on a super-duper-top-secret-side-hustle with one of my favorite lady friends. I’m really excited to see something I daydreamed come to life with the help and expertise of one of the best people on the planet. When I had the vision for it, I knew she was exactly the right partner to work with and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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I’ve also had an exceptional month for writing. I went through what I thought was a dry spell toward the end of the year. My ideas seemed to get stuck and never fully came to form, but it turned out to just be a call to rest. I took that to heart and spent most of November and December taking a break from all things creative and only focused on school, and it payed off. Starting late January and all this month, the idea tap seems to be on full-force and I’ve all but wrapped up several things I set aside until they were ready for me again. I think that happens a lot more often than we realize. We haven’t become who we need to be to finish a project and we assume we failed, but eventually inspiration (in the form of growth) allows us to finish it, and it becomes better than we ever imagined. That’s certainly been the case this month. I’m endlessly thankful for the lesson to fill my tank and for the flow of creativity returning to me as a result.

What happened to you this month that you want to give thanks for? Did you have any creative breakthroughs? Did you bargain-shop your booty-off? Did you get together with anyone special? Tell me about it in the comments below! Let’s celebrate together!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

Essential Oil Spotlight: Aromatherapy Aphrodisiacs

black-and-white-1031639_1920     I just love LOVE! Even when I was a single lady navigating the rough waters of Valentine’s Day by my lonesome, I still went home and watched romantic classic movies and daydreamed about having a hunky fella to pop the popcorn and light the candles. Now that I’ve had a wonderful man in my life for a while, I’ve been thinking about ways to keep things new and exciting. If you know me, you know that I’m an aromatherapy junkie, so I relished the opportunity to put together a few single oils for you to try and a blend that I absolutely love.

First though, a history lesson! Aphrodisiacs, a scent or substance that increases sexual desire or pleasure, was named after the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite was, of course, the Goddess of Love. Talk about a great title, am I right?!

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Now for some single oils! For the ladies I’m loving Rose. Yes, it’s a potent aphrodisiac, but it also opens your heart chakra! How awesome is that? It can be pricy, so if it’s not in your budget by itself, you can find it already in a carrier, like jojoba for far comfier price. You can also look for rose hydrosols which you’ll adore as a facial toner, too. I also really love Ylang Ylang, these days. I’ve been describing it to friends as euphoria in a bottle. Again, it’s wonderful for magic moments, but this oil is so, so good for anger! Use it to get close to your Honey, but keep it when you’re stuck in traffic and you want to beat your fists on the dashboard. It’s truly lovely and so easy to blend with.

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Guys, for you I’m loving Patchouli, a noted aphrodisiac that helps to release fears and decrease inhibitions. If your lover loves it, they’ll probably love it on you or in an aromatherapy candle. Just make sure you’re actually buying one made with essential oils to get the benefits! I use it in a linen mist, but because of its amber, resinous texture and color, I’d avoid spraying it on light colored sheets just to make sure they don’t stain. That’s decidedly unsexy. Sandalwood is another oil that’s a great mood setter. It enhances feelings of openness by opening the root chakra. It’s another exotic scent that many find very sexy. Both are popular base notes used in lots of men’s and women’s fragrances.

Of course there are other oils you could use to set the mood for romance, these are just a few of my faves. Part of the fun of aromatherapy is playing with the oils and discovering what works and what you really love. Just make sure you dilute your essential oils in a carrier of some type to make sure you don’t irritate your skin. Here’s a blend with a carrier built in that you can use to give your partner a romantic massage! This one is good for both men and women. Enjoy!

Amorous Massage Oil:

Ylang Ylang 2 drops

Bergamot 2 drops

Patchouli 1 drop

Jojoba Oil 1 oz

You could easily sub in any of the citrus oils if Bergamot isn’t your fave, but I would definitely recommend using Jojoba oil so you don’t change the fragrance of your blend. It’s unscented and it’s the carrier oil that most closely mimics human sebum, so it’s really easily absorbed and good for all skin types.

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I want to hear from you! Do you have a tried and true oil or blend that makes you feel all lovey-dovey? Share it in the comments below.

Wishing You Total Well-Being (and Romance),

Jennifer

Heart to Heart: Foods for Cardiovascular Health

 

HappyValentine'sDay!     Happy Valentine’s Day!  I love, love, love that you’re here and I want to share something special with you because you and your big, beautiful heart matter very much to me. This is an article I wrote for the February issue of Inner Child Magazine. Give it a read and take it to heart, yeah?  If you put any of these tips into practice, show me what you’re up to! Shoot a pic of your grocery cart or show me your culinary creation! I want to see you taking good care of yourself! <3

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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It’s February and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’re probably seeing hearts everywhere you look. While it’s absolutely lovely to celebrate love, it’s also a great time to support your own heart by taking actions to boost your cardiovascular health. Regular exercise, supplements like CoQ10, and taking important steps like cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking will certainly go a long way towards reducing the risk of heart disease, but keeping your ticker in tip-top shape can be as easy as modifying your grocery list. These simple tips won’t cause palpitations when you see the price tag, either. Let’s go shopping!

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Fruits – The pectin fiber in apples have been shown to lower cholesterol. If you’re more of a citrus fan, grapefruits have pectin, too. Bananas, high in potassium, are great for lowering blood pressure. If bananas aren’t your fave, but you still want the potassium, cantaloupe is another great source. Berries and grapes are packed full of flavanoids, which can protect against inflammation which may lead to heart disease. Struggling to get fruits in your diet? Blend them into a delicious smoothie and sip them all at once for a quick snack or breakfast on-the-go.

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Veggies – Asparagus is full of fiber, but it’s also an excellent source of saponins, a compound that may reduce cholesterol. Carrots are more than just good for your eyes. The cartenoids in carrots have been known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in those who ate at least one serving a day. The cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, are packed with lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant which can slow the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Don’t be afraid to add onions, leeks or garlic to your meals, either. They can help lower blood lipid levels and blood pressure. Just don’t forget to pack a mint if you’re going to be kissing your Sweetie afterwards!

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Protein – Cold water fish are one of the best things to eat for heart health. Tuna and salmon are loaded with Omega 3s, which have been shown in multiple studies to benefit both the prevention and reduction of heart disease. Vegan or Vegetarian? Walnuts are a great source of Omega 3s, so don’t worry! You’ll get those benefits, too. Want something a little more meal-worthy? Lentils and beans are packed with fiber, making them cholesterol-lowering powerhouses. Don’t forget to soak them for at least 12 hours before you cook them. You’ll reduce the sugars and starches that can cause gas and affect date night with your Darling.

 

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Extra Sources – Good fats, like avocados and olive oil, are heart healthy and add an indulgent richness to healthy meals. Green tea is an antioxidant heavy beverage that can ward off clogged arteries. Last but certainly not least, there’s dark chocolate! Dark chocolate, also loaded with antioxidants, may lower blood pressure and is the perfect gift to share with your Sugar.

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If you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease, take heart! You can take charge of your health without going broke, by filling your cart with delicious, healthy foods. You can even skip the restaurant reservation this Valentine’s Day and cook up something wonderful in your very own kitchen with someone you love. Change your diet and change your heart! Here’s to a lovely February.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Your Guide to Beating the Winter Blues

winter sadness     I’ve been thinking about you lately, Darling Hearts! These cold, dreary days have me wondering how you’re doing. I wrote an article about Seasonal Affective Disorder for Inner Child Magazine recently, and I want you to take a minute and read it. If it doesn’t resonate, no worries.  Keep being fabulous! If it does, promise me you’ll talk to someone you trust about it and take steps to feel better, okay? Depression, no matter what time of the year it happens, is no joke. I want you to be the very best you that you can be, and taking care of yourself is absolutely critical. I’m sending you so, so much love and light. 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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The cold weather and shorter days of Winter often bring cozy, toasty nights in front of the fireplace and lots of holidays to celebrate with friends and family. They sometimes also bring something that can make these chilly months a challenge. I’m referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a type of depression common in the cooler months. Typically starting in Autumn, and resolving at the first signs of Spring, SAD is more than just sadness or stress and understanding what it looks like and how to treat it can help keep the season bright.

The symptoms of Winter-onset SAD can include exhaustion, irritability, hypersensitivity to criticism and problems getting along with others, oversleeping, a feeling of heaviness in the limbs, changes in appetite that include a craving for carbohydrates, and weight gain accompanied by depression. While it’s common to experience these symptoms once in a while, when they keep you down for multiple days at a time and you find yourself not able to stay motivated to do the things that you normally enjoy, it may be time to seek help. The good news is, there are plenty of natural solutions to this common problem and knowing what to reach for can help you get back to sipping hot cocoa and making snow angels!

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Supplements and dietary changes are a great place to start for getting your bounce back. Things like SAMe and St. John’s Wort have shown promise in treating both general depression and SAD. Melatonin and Vitamin D can help with low-mood due to sleep disturbances and less sunlight from the shorter days. Another great option is Omegas. New studies have shown that Omega-3s, which are found in flaxseed, cold water fish, walnuts and eggs may be effective in treating depression, and are great if you don’t have access to high quality supplements or are watching your spending. Many also find relief from their symptoms by seeking acupuncture or aromatherapy, doing yoga or meditation, or through bodywork like massage, Reiki or Craniosacral Therapy. There is also traditional talk therapy and online groups and forums if you need extra support and the advice of professionals and people who have been through what you’re going through. While it can be hard to admit when we are struggling, it’s also a good idea to talk to your friends and family about what you’re going though, so they can check-in and offer a lending hand when needed.

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It’s also important to note that while most Seasonal Affective symptoms occur in the Fall and Winter, this type of major depressive episode can actually happen in the Spring and Summer months, as well. Symptoms such as increased anxiety, insomnia, weight loss and poor appetite that accompany depression in warmer months can also be a sign of SAD. Before making any diagnosis on your own, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the symptoms you may be experiencing and let them help you come up with a plan that won’t interfere with any medications or supplements you are already taking. This also allows them to make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing don’t point to anything else that may require a different course of treatment.

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I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but it’s worth repeating. No matter what this season holds for you, if you even think it’s a small possibility that you may be dealing with SAD or depression, please talk to a healthcare professional who can help. Keep in mind that while there are many wonderful, natural ways to treat depression, your local natural foods store employee can’t prescribe anything or make medical claims, so it may be necessary to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss which herbs and supplements will be best for you. Your health and happiness are important and you are totally worth it!

 

 

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