budget

Budget Decluttering: 3 Simple Steps

By on September 23, 2020

Hello friends! Today I am going to share with you how to declutter your budget. This is a way to look clearly at your spending and My husband and I just took a look at ours at the beginning of the pandemic and found that we could easily save $500-600 a month just in our grocery budget. I blogged about how we did it here

Life is rarely constant, so this is something that needs to be reassessed frequently.

Making a Plan

When sitting down to declutter your budget and make a plan, gather a couple of months of bank/credit card statements, receipts, some highlighters, a pen, and a notebook. 

Step 1: Look at the Past 

Go through you checkbook/bank statement and receipts for the previous month (or two) and record every single purchase that you have made.

Take an inventory of exactly how much your basic living expenses cost and write that number down. Mortgage/rent, utilities, vehicles, etc.

Step 2: Get Organized 

Categorize your purchases into food, entertainment, gas, necessities, etc.

If you do not have a plan, your default plan will be disorder – which leads to failure.

Step 3: Locate the Abundance in your Budget 

Look specifically for where you have spent money without thinking. Look at app purchases, subscriptions that you’re not using or that are unnecessary, drive-thru coffees, and other “mindless” spending. Write all of them down and calculate a total. Vow not to do that anymore and then start using the “excess” to pay down debts.

Awareness Leads to Change

In our personal budget, I found that we could declutter our grocery budget and random Amazon spending. I cut our grocery budget in half simply by having a meal plan, using what we already have (which cuts way down on waste and feels so good!)

This exercise puts into perspective what is a necessity, where there is room for compromise, and where there is not. For instance, we won’t compromise on our health and wellness but will on entertainment, junk food, or other things that do not support our ultimate goal for health, family, and wellness.

Another thing we’ve done is not spend money other than necessities for a month, just to see what it feels like. So much of our spending was “pleasure” spending. A shirt here, a toy there, etc.

We have all had instances where we cleaning out and donating just to make space for the new stuff and why do we NEED the new stuff? This is a practice in mindful spending and something that has helped me have a healthier mindset when it comes to saving or spending.

Tomorrow, I will share how to pay off debt with the excess you find in your budget. It is a simple formula that can be quite significant.

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budget | yoga

Financial Wellness: Tips to Reduce Stress

By on September 21, 2020

On this blog, I have talked about many facets of wellness. One component of wellness that I want to mention is financial wellness.

I am aware that many people are dealing with additional financial stressors right now. I know first-hand how damaging financial stress can be, so I will share any and all tips I have gathered over the years.

The Effects of Financial Stress

72% of Americans pre-pandemic reported financial stress. This is a huge percentage of people worried about paying mortgages or debt and struggling with personal financial wellness.

Stress takes a toll on health, and financial stress can be especially toxic. As a result, the stress manifests physically as migraines, heart disease, diabetes, or sleep problems. In addition, it is common to see relationship problems, delayed healthcare (to avoid an added expense), and poor mental health.

Over the next few blogs, I will share a few ways to cope with financial stress. Such as, how to trim spending, pay off debt, or even earn some extra money. 

Take a Breather & Make a Plan for Your Financial Wellness

Learning to improve your financial wellness and effectively manage your financial situation will allow you to feel more in control of your life, reduce your stress, and build a more secure future. The first step to solve any problem is to make a decision.

If anything I am writing today resonates with you, start your financial wellness improvement journey with this simple stress-reduction technique. I enjoy starting any new project with a clear mind, and this does the trick.

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit undistracted for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Close your eyes and just begin to notice how you are breathing. Feel if your breath is shallow or deep, if you feel constricted in your chest, or if you are relaxed and able to take a full, deep breath.
  3. Acknowledge your thoughts, and do not get hung up on your to-do list or your worries. Just breathe through it.

After taking your breather to clear your mind and open your heart, you are ready to make a plan of action!

In tomorrow’s blog, I will share with you how I learned to declutter my budget. This step only takes a few minutes and is quite enlightening.

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emotional wellness | yoga

Energetic Frequency: Protect & Nourish

By on August 8, 2020

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on a nature walk to learn about medicinal plants that are local to our area. It was fascinating to learn how we can use certain plants for food, for healing, and even for shelter. The first thought the naturalist and guide touched on was the energetic frequency of plants. How they are communicating and living on a much deeper level than we can see with our naked eye.

Energetic Frequency

What is the nature of energetic frequency? It is a measurable rate of electrical energy flow that is constant between two points.

As humans we have an energetic field that surrounds us– it extends about 2-3 feet around us and the typical frequency of the human body is 62-68 MHz. Our brains, during daytime hours, are running around 72-78 MHz. 

Everything has a frequency, although there are different types of frequencies. Most electronics in our homes run around 60 MHz. Frequencies are incoherent, coherent, chaotic, harmonic, direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC). Electronics and items that are manmade have an AC current which is chaotic. Humans, plants and other items found in the natural world are DC and harmonic.

When the frequency of our body dips, we become candidates for illnesses– the immune function is suppressed.

Facts about Frequency

  1. When the right and left lobes of the brain vary more than 3 MHz, a headache sets in. When they vary more than 10 Hz, that causes a migraine.
  2. A cold sets in at 58 MHz, flu at 57 MHz, candida at 55 MHz, Epstein Barr at 52, cancer 42.
  3. It has been measured that holding a cup of coffee can drop the body down to 58 and it takes about 3 days to get the frequency back to normal on its own. 

Things that negatively impact body frequency:

  1. Processed/canned foods= 0 MHz.
  2. Negative emotions/thoughts/words.
  3. The company you keep.
  4. Toxins/environmental disturbances.

Fun facts:

  1. Fresh food and herbs have a frequency of around 15 MHz.
  2. Essential Oils can have frequencies anywhere from 52-320 MHz.
  3. Applying an oil can change your frequency in 21 seconds.

I want to talk about the quality of our thoughts and what we surround ourselves with. We can think anywhere from 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day. 98% of those thoughts are often repetitive, and those repetitive thoughts are what establishes our beliefs. Out of those 98%, repetitive thoughts, something like 80% are negative for the average person. 

Negative thoughts carry low frequencies. I’m sure you’ve had days that feel light, happy and at ease. When your frequency is low you may feel dark, confused, or heavy. The quicker you can recover your “vibe” to optimal, the healthier you will be. Blame is an emotional state that has an incredibly low frequency– forgiveness has a much higher frequency.

It is important to keep your physical body healthy by eating foods full of good vitamins/minerals and life supporting frequencies. The company you keep is also vital. The 5 people you spend the most time with should be high frequency, positive folks, and music and media can also affect frequencies.

Protecting your Vibe

Ways to support healthy energetic frequencies:

  1. Get outside (without your phone).
  2. Eat high vibe food. Fresh produce (local if possible), pure water, avoid alcohol, and chemical additives.
  3. Practice gratitude– here’s a blog post I wrote about how to foster gratitude.
  4. Check your relationships and make sure you keep good company.
  5. Use essential oils. Oils won’t necessarily prevent your frequency from dropping, however it will help reestablish optimal frequencies very quickly. You can apply and your frequency will rebound in 21 seconds! Naturally, it takes around 3 days!
  6. Make your environment beautiful. Make a space at your desk that you enjoy, keep your home serene, reduce clutter, use color.
  7. Think positive thoughts. 
  8. Meditate/Breathwork. These practices calm the mind and nervous system, reduce stress and allow you to be grounded in the present.

So, the next time you start to feel low, or maybe begin to feel sick take a moment and think about the energy you are emitting and the energy you are accepting.

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breastfeeding

Simple Breastfeeding Tips

By on August 6, 2020

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and I don’t want to pass it by without mentioning it in this space.

I am passionate about breastfeeding and I am proud of the relationship I have been able to establish with all 3 of my kids. However, I am not saying this to receive a pat on the back.

I know for others this can be triggering. It may cause memories of anxiety, frustration, pain, or feelings of failure.

My intent with this little internet space is to help mothers and babies so that they can receive the support they need. I want to know where mothers didn’t feel supported and where they struggled.

For most mothers, breastfeeding does NOT come naturally. It is a learned skill— even for the baby. The education, the support, the care the mother receives has so much to do with the “successes”. I am going to share the tools that have helped me find success.

My 3 Favorite Breastfeeding Items

I am a minimalist when it comes to breastfeeding or baby items. In all honesty, that is probably why I am so determined when it comes to breastfeeding my kids— less stuff to pack and carry around! The items I am mentioning I only used in the early weeks/months but I work from home so I have a different situation than the working mother.

  1. An electric pump– I pump a lot in the early weeks to establish a supply and start to make a stash. These days, most insurance companies will cover a nice one.
  2. A haakaa is the coolest invention I’ve found! This is a manual suction device and is super inexpensive. I used this to help establish my supply and then help get past the early oversupply (I am a milk machine). The haakaa is great because you just attach it to the opposite breast the baby is feeding on and collect what would normally leak. I could easily collect a few ounces at each feed without using a pump.
  3. Nursing Tanks– In the early days, being easily accessible is the most important. I love wearing nursing tanks and yoga pants. They are comfortable, supportive, and allow easy access.

Tips for Getting Past the Early Struggles

  1. Latch issues– There is nothing better than having a good lactation consultant. I always make sure to see the one in the hospital before leaving and will often make a follow-up appointment just in case. A lactation consultant can help troubleshoot the latch issue, can help show different positions, and how to encourage baby to open wide and get adequate breast tissue in their mouth. Each of my babies has struggled with the initial latch and I’m not going to lie– sometimes it takes 6-8 weeks to become a “pro”.
  2. Keeping baby interested and awake. Learning how to read feeding cues and responding immediately is the most effective. I am a c-section mama and my babies are usually a little lethargic from the anesthetic so I have to make them uncomfortable. I undress them, get them a little cold, tickle their faces, or wipe with a washcloth.
  3. Supply issues. “Breastfeeding is a supply and demand relationship.” I have really found this to be true. With each of my kids, the more they want to nurse, the more milk I have. If they back off, my supply dips. So the more your baby sucks at the breast, with an efficient latch, the more milk you will produce. I avoid supplementing at all costs. The reason for this is that supplementing with a bottle or formula fills the baby and signals your body that baby isn’t needing this feeding, production will adjust to baby’s needs. The first day of supplementing likely won’t decrease your supply, however, after about 3 days of consecutive supplementation, the message will be received.
  4. Slow to regain birth weight— I had a few moments where my babies have lost too much weight or have been slow to gain initially. I remedy that by pumping AFTER a feed and immediately supplementing with my own milk, or collecting with the haakaa and using that collected milk as a supplemental boost. It can take a few weeks to get the hindmilk/foremilk balance regulated. I also buy a scale and weigh my babies at home and chart it out. This gives me peace of mind and is a visual that baby is eating and growing in between those well-checks.

Self-Care for Mama

Breastfeeding can be stressful, and I know this may sound a little crazy but mom’s state of mind has a lot to do with supply and confidence. Trust your body and know that you can feed your baby– and regardless of your choices YOU know what’s best for YOU and YOUR baby. I have written before about postpartum emotional well-being which elaborates much more on self-care.

Staying relaxed affects both you and your baby. I know that if I am stressed out or tense, my kids immediately feed on my energy and are stressed out or chaotic. Babies are smart and they are attuned to their mamas! I will have a chat with my kids when we are going through difficult times (even newborn) and tell them we are in this together and I’m here to provide their food. I promise it works!

  1. Affirmations are a powerful way to stay relaxed and confident in motherhood. I write affirmations down on post-its in the bathroom so I see them each time I look in the mirror or wash my hands.

I am able to provide all of the nourishment my baby needs. We are connected. I am enough.

2. Hydrate– Water is so important! 3-4 quarts of water per day is what a pregnant or nursing mother needs. This helps with mental clarity, fatigue, milk supply, and general wellness.

3. Essential Oils– I use oils to help with my milk supply, my mood, and my energy. It is amazing that these little tools can be so powerful for many aspects of motherhood.

4. Get outside– Fresh air and sunshine do so much! Having a new baby or a baby and other kids can make it more difficult to opt outside. A short walk around our neighborhood does so much to elevate my mood, so it is worth the effort to pack up the kids in the stroller and get out!

I think it is important we share our stories and I think that is what World Breastfeeding Week is about– bridging the gap so we can support mother’s who did not have the outcome they were seeking.

Let’s share our stories.

What worked for you, and what didn’t?

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women's health

How to Support and Maintain Breast Health

By on July 31, 2020

Today I was going through my notes and stumbled on a topic that I haven’t addressed on this blog. I really enjoy this information and think it is very important. I talk so much about toxic exposure and one area we often neglect in cleansing and care is our breasts. This post is to share a few simple ways to maintain breast health.

The Importance of Lymphatic Flow and Breast Health

Breasts are made up primarily of fat and lymph tissue. Lymphatic tissue is the natural waste and toxin removal system. Lymph does not pump though, so it is our job to encourage the flow. Unfortunately, we wear tight, underwire bras and use antiperspirants that impede the flow. This is something we accept and do from the onset of puberty and often daily throughout our lives.

Have you ever removed your bra at the end of the evening and had indentations from your underwire? Here’s a little bit about the anatomy of the breast. We have neurolymphatic points under our breasts. On the right side is one for the gallbladder and liver and the left for the stomach. Wearing a metal, covered in plastic, wire on top of those points can really interfere with their natural processes.

Commercial antiperspirant/deodorants are also damaging to our lymph system and quite the norm in our society. Antiperspirants are formulated with known carcinogens and neurotoxins such as aluminum, phthalates, propylene glycol, parabens, and formaldehyde.

Supporting Lymph Drainage

So instead of wearing constrictive, underwire bras, opt to be braless as often as possible and purchase bras that are wire free, soft, and non-constrictive. There are a ton of options these days, even for well-endowed women like myself.

Another great, simple thing to do is a lymph massage. I do this in the shower and lather up (with non-toxic soap) and massage the breast from nipple to armpit and armpit to elbow. The lymph tissue is encouraged to drain out of the armpit area and away from the chest. I do the same thing again at the top of the breast from the nipple to collarbone.

A powerful detox technique is called pfluffing. Pronounced like fluffing, and is simple and quite effective. The video explains and demonstrates it very well. Correcting posture is also a great way to encourage lymph drainage. We often round our shoulders forward and our armpits lose their natural hollowing shape.

There are several yoga poses that will support breast health. I will often practice holding my arms overhead, allowing my shoulders to settle into their sockets, and hollow my armpits by rolling my shoulders forward. The hollowing shape is very obvious in a mirror.

Early Detection

About 15 years ago, in my early 20’s I found a large lump. I was still breastfeeding my oldest son at the time and had some inconclusive results via ultrasound. Immediately the specialist wanted to remove and biopsy and I looked for alternative opinions.

Breast thermography was recommended to me, and I have chosen it over mammography as my method for early detection. It is the right call for me. The benefits are that thermography non-invasive, and radiation free. The link explains the hows and whys nicely.

DIY Recipes to Support and Maintain Breast Health

Many women have trouble finding a natural deodorant that does the trick. There are a lot of alternatives and I have found the few that are effective for many people. If you are having trouble finding a natural version that stops the odor, an armpit detox may be for you.

An armpit detox removes the chemical buildup from antiperspirant use, can reduce perspiration, and neutralize natural odor. Detoxing the heavy metals and other chemicals is important to maintain breast health.

DIY Arm Pit Detox

1 Tbs. Betonite Clay

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 tsp. water

Mix together, apply to armpits, allow to dry then wash off in shower.

Another effective way to detox armpits is to use one of the Young Living deodorants applied at night all along the lymph areas at night before bed.

Also, adding the supplement Multigreens can majorly neutralize odors. It supports the body’s alkalinity which reduced body odor.

DIY Deodorant

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. Arrowroot Powder

3 Tbs. Shea Butter

2 Tbs. Coconut Oil

1 Tbs. Baking Soda

2 Tbs. Bentonite Clay

10 drops essential oil of your choice ( I use Cedarwood and Lavender) (where to buy)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the shea butter and coconut oil. Slowly add in essential oils.

In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the whipped ingredients in 1/3rds until incorporated. The mixture will look like a dough. Roll into a ball and store in a small mason jar.

Some people really enjoy just a coconut oil and baking soda mixture, however I am really sensitive to this combination and need the other ingredients.

This serum recipe is fantastic and contains a lot of essential oils to support and maintain breast health. I apply after my shower focusing on the areas stimulate during my shower massage.

Breast Supporting Serum

Empty 15 ml essential oil bottle or 4 oz mason jar

Fill about halfway with carrier oil of choice (I use Young Living V6 or Cel-Lite Magic Massage Oil)

10 drops Frankincense

10 drops Cypress

10 drops Orange

10 drops Ylang Ylang

10 drops Grapefruit

Mix together and apply a few drops after shower to support lymph drainage and breast health.

These are the tips and tricks I have found over the years to keep the girls healthy and happy, lol. If you have not started using essential oils, understand how to get 24% off.

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