essential oils for stress relief!

Welcome to Herbs on Tuesday! I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time. But, plants offer a wide variety of potential options for people suffering with mild to moderate stress. Essential oils are created from the herbs and plants. They are very potent and powerful. Do not take them lightly because they come from a plant. It is extremely important to buy essential oils from reputable sources that have a safety history, and good practices for creating their oils. I personally like Eden’s Garden, and Mountain Rose Herbs. Essential oils are not regulated by the government, nor have their been enough randomized trials to say they are absolutely safe for everyone. If you are pregnant, a child, have psychosis, trauma, or severe anxiety, severe depression, or any chronic illness you should only use essential oils under the guidance of a trained Aromatherapy expert. Essential oils can also interact with medications you may take, so it is vital that you always tell your doctor of any herbal, or essential oils you use. I took a certificate class on Essential Oils and while they are a great tool, caution should be used if you have any of the conditions I mentioned.

Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil used for stress. There have actually been studies done that show it’s efficacy. I think I am allergic to it, so I don’t use it, but my daughter uses it in a diffuser.

Another thing to consider with essential oils is pets. Some essential oils like Eucalyptus can cause your pets to become sick if they inhale it without realizing it, say via you using your diffuser. So, be sure and consider the safety of your furry friends when diffusing them, or other people that may react negatively to them.

Essential oils can be used in a diffuser, as a massage oil or cream, in shower products, and some people do choose to ingest them though few studies have shown this to be safe. Just putting some on a cotton ball and sniffing it can be enough. There is Aromatherapy jewelry, too. I personally grow Peppermint and it is great for indigestion for both humans and my dogs. I love Peppermint shampoo when I have a headache. I can put it in Coconut Oil and massage on achy muscles too. Not to mention fresh breath!

But, for Stress in particular there is quite a long list of choices of Essential Oils that can be used. Jasmine is by far my favorite, and it is also extremely expensive. According to Healthline there are 18 in total that can be used for Stress or Anxiety.

Essential Oils can make you more sensitive to the Sun, so you need to know which ones cause Photosensitivity. Also, when using a new oil on the skin, you should test it in a small area that will not be noticed should you have a skin reaction.

You can use Aromaweb, and NCCIH to learn more about the profiles, or monographs as they are called, for Essential Oils. Proper mixing ratios is vital if you choose to make your own. Also, never apply undiluted Essential Oils to the skin, or ingest. It is probably best to buy from a trusted company that shares their mixing ratios on their label with proper administration guidelines also on the label. The video below is for basic information only. It does not provide any safety or risk information for the oils it discusses.

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are you stressing your kidneys out?

Happy Self Care Saturday! I am trying to stream line topics so they are more direct to certain topics. I will continue with some of the fun ones too. Since April is all about Stress I decided to do some posts on how Stress affects certain parts of the body. Some of this is pretty complicated so I will share some more complicated article links, and articles that are easier to read. I tried to locate a Youtube video but none of them were exactly what I wanted. If you follow this blog, or read it enough, then you know I have CKD and I focus a lot of attention to bring awareness to the issue. So, of course I will start with how Stress effects the kidneys.

Remember that Stress is a feeling of tension and is also a response to various stressors. All body parts can have their own specific reactions to acute and chronic stress. Chronic Stress is the type that can cause harm to the body in various ways. For CKD, Chronic Stress can be a risk factor for getting Kidney Disease, but also Kidney Disease can be a risk factor for Chronic Stress. One of the most common way that stress can harm the kidneys is by increasing blood pressure, and heart rate. Likewise, already having CKD can cause blood pressure to rise which also can stress the body. Also a poor diet consisting of too much salt, fat, sugar, high protein intake, or too little nutrition causing Anemia and malnutrition can also cause stress that can damage the kidneys or worsen already existing kidney disease. When the heart rate and blood pressure rise this puts a heavier work load on the kidneys adding workload stress. This type of stress can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, or the filtering system. This can cause a progression in existing kidney disease or can be a cause of newly diagnosed kidney disease. Increasing blood pressure in the kidneys can also cause more sugar and fat in the bloodstream of the body which can worsen heart disease or Diabetes.

Stress is a complicated topic with all people having varying ways of coping, avoiding, or dealing with stress. What stresses one person out may not effect another. This makes it complicated to study stress in studies.

According the NKF there are 10 ways to help your kidneys and reduce stress:

  1. Eat healthier foods. I had mentioned this in a previous post. When we are stressed we may find comfort in food especially foods high in salt, fat, and sugars. My particular weakness is potato chips. Potato chips are extremely unhealthy for anyone, but especially for CKD, Diabetes, HTN, or Heart Disease. Eating a healthier diet and trying not to snack at all is the best option for keeping your kidneys healthy. If you have Diabetes you may need to snack. Not to mention all of the phosphorus additives used in packaged foods to keep them fresh. These can be very dangerous for CKD. Be sure to try and pick healthier snack options if you must snack. Avoiding take out, fast food, processed foods, pre made meals, etc. are all ways to eat healthier. When your body is not consuming good quality Nutrition it may be in a chronic state of stress.
  2. Limit salt and caffeine. Caffeine will increase your heart rate and too much salt will increase your blood pressure and cause water retention. This obviously will put more stress on your kidneys causing them to have to work much harder.
  3. Make me time. Relax, have fun, do something for yourself. Make sure you don’t let your job kill you. I tell my coworkers all the time any job will let you kill yourself with overtime and demands if you let them. Learning to say no, or I need a break is not a bad thing. Learning to not feel guilty because you need to de-stress should never be a bad thing. Take up a hobby is also a great way to ensure you are getting me time.
  4. Exercise at least 3 days a week. If you have a job where you are on your feet a lot, this is not exercise. Exercise is planned and something you do intentionally outside of work to improve your well-being. It can be something as simple as a walk in nature which can also add to your me time.
  5. Limit fat and sugar in your diet. This goes along with the other items I stated above. Higher amounts of fats and sugars in your body will lead to more stress on your body and the responses that come with it.
  6. Be positive! This one can be very hard if every day seems like a struggle or you are just slogging through your day. Try to always find something good in your day, find one thing you can be positive about every day, learn positive affirmations, start a journal, meditate, practice mindfulness and so many others to try.
  7. Talk it out! Don’t keep your feelings inside talk them out. You can hire a Health Coach, have a trusted friend, a pet, yourself, a journal, or whatever means you have to talk out your feelings and frustrations. Paint your feelings, or drawing them is another great way to relieve stress. Keeping your feelings bottled up is just another way to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and leading to increased stress on the kidneys.
  8. Sleep. Do you get enough sleep? You will be amazed at how fixing sleep issues can bring stress levels down. Ask me about my Guided Imagery or Distance Reiki sessions for better sleep.
  9. Set goals that are attainable. For example stating I never want to eat salt again is not a reasonable goal and probably will not be attainable. For one the human body needs some salt to function properly. Cutting out all salt could do more damage than good. However, setting a goal such as I want to learn to consume a 2 gram per day sodium diet is definitely attainable and reasonable. A Health Coach can help you.
  10. Listen to music. It doesn’t matter what kind of music as long as you enjoy it and it relaxes you. For bottled up tensions some good high energy music and singing at the top of your lungs can be great therapy. I love it!

If you would like a free coaching session related to reducing stress, click to read how to get one.

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are you stressed out?

Everyone experiences Stress, some good, some bad. How people respond to Stress is what makes us different. Stress can drive some people, and drag others down. There is no right or wrong Stress, or way of dealing with it. The trick is to learn to make Stress work for you, not against you. Stress is also different for different age groups. Since I tag myself as the Middle Aged Health Coach, my topics of discussion will center around this age group.

April is Stress Awareness Month here at Health Buddy Melissa. In the coming weeks I will discuss a lot about Stress. What it is, how it effects the body, and how to better manage it and even use it as a tool.

My coach freebie for the month of April is I am giving away 10 coaching sessions for 10 different people. How do you get these free sessions? See below.

How to claim a 30 minute coaching session for free:

  1. Your session has to be related to Stress.
  2. You must be at least 18 years of age, read, speak and write English.
  3. You must have a valid email address
  4. You must use the contact form at the end of this post to message me with the subject as Stressed Out.
  5. Allow me 24 hours to receive your initial email and respond. Once I have your request I will send you an intake form that you fill out and return to me via email. You may have to print it and scan it to return it.
  6. I will review your intake form and make an appointment with you to review it with you. This can be done via email, Facebook messenger, Zoom, or Google Chats. After the meet and greet we can decide if you want to proceed with the free coaching session. I will provide you with dates and times available to do the session. It is your responsibility to show up for your session. My business email for all client conversations and information is a paid gmail secure email.
  7. I do sign participants up for my Mailchimp newsletter.
  8. After your 30 minute session you can always choose to continue to work with me as your paid Health Coach.
  9. It is as easy as that.

Please follow the directions laid out above to receive your free coaching session.

Check out my short video to see how a Health Coach can assist you with Stress. These videos take a long time to make and I am still new to it. I really can’t do long live videos because I don’t have the correct equipment to do so. Maybe in the future.

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It’s Your heart Attack! Dealing with difficult people

Welcome to Thinking on Thursday! As I complete my Mindfulness Certification it becomes more clear that the only way to deal with difficult people is to control our own responses. There are difficult people everywhere. I would say in the work environment is where you would encounter difficult people the most. But, it can also be in families, friends, or just in the general public. There are two videos below. The first one is very good in talking about why we should learn to deal with difficult people. He very frankly states because it is your heart attack. We have all heard the phrase, stress kills. Stress management is a very important skill to have. Stress manifests in other ways besides a Heart Attack. Stress can cause stomach pains, ulcers, headaches, high blood pressure, missed work days, productivity issues and so much more.

Difficult people are everywhere. I encounter them all the time at work. I have been a nurse for 34 years and I have worked with all types of personalities. But, one must also take into account that they themselves may be a difficult person. I know I can sometimes be perceived as difficult, because I am persistent and ask questions. But, I am not trying to be difficult. I am just looking for answers to whatever I am passionate about at the time. I have had to learn to control this behavior of my own to build better and stronger relationships. Self awareness is the first step to any good relationship. Sometimes it is just an immaturity issue and other times it is a personality, domineering, manipulative type of issue.

So, what makes a person a difficult person?

1- It is all about them. They tend to be dramatic, loud, demanding and yes persistent. They tend to be the person who shares their whole life story, and it is similar to a soap opera. The whoa is me, poor me, type of person.

2- They never give favors without payback. They will always expect something in return for a good deed. There is no random acts of kindness for this type of person.

3- They live in a pity party. This goes back to the poor me, whoa is me, type of person. They are always a victim if you will. They are very skillful at manipulating others.

4- They whine, complain and gossip. This type of person is never going to be happy no matter what you do. I am sure you know at least one type of this person. They are in everyone’s business and make it a point to gather information from everyone, and anyone. They will later use any info gathered for their own advantage. This is a truly toxic type of person.

5- Last but not least the person who lives in their own little world of make believe. There is little reality to how they perceive the world.

Now, with all that said all of us can fit into these labels at one time or another in our lives. We can all be difficult and it all comes down to how we perceive the world and others, and then react to those perceptions.

So, how to deal with difficult people and avoid the stress, tension, conflict and yes even a Heart Attack?

1- Be self aware to how you are reacting to the person that is being difficult. Take note of your heart rate, breathing pattern, sweatiness, tension or any other reactions you are feeling. Take a deep breath and clear your thoughts. Be sure you are not making it worse by your reactions. This is hard, I know. How we react to people is just as important as their behavior.

2- If you need to take a time out, or walk away, do so. You can say I will be back in a minute. Or if it is something you can just walk away and ignore do so.

3- Deflect or distract away from the behavior or conversation.

4- Restate back to them what they are saying, but in a different way. Such as I am sorry you feel like, whatever it is. Or did I offend you when I did this? What have I done to offend you? Etc Good communication keys are vital to any relationship.

5- Try to see their point of view, or perspective, without agreeing with them if it is something you can not agree with.

6- Ask them to consider a time out, or walk away, if they continue to escalate.

7- Set boundaries and stick to them. This is especially difficult in the work place. I am often told I am not friendly enough at work because I do not share my family life beyond basics with anyone. I believe work relationships be exactly that work relationships, not personal relationships. This just keeps the boundaries clear especially if you are in a management, or supervisory role. My coworkers know they can talk to me about anything they need help with, but that it will be professional, not personal.

8- Don’t be part of the problem. What do I mean? If a difficult person has provoked you or said things about you, don’t retaliate. Don’t return their favor by doing the same. If you are being harassed, or bullied, however, then you need to follow the chain of command at your work place and make sure it is in the written record.

The two videos below are excellent and further explore this issue. Never think that you are not being difficult too. It often goes both ways.

Join my email list for special offers and freebies. If you would like to work on stress relief, or learning to deal with difficult people in a more structured coaching way, check out my new 30 day coaching plan. You can always contact me using the contact form at the end of each blog post.

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My Top 5 Tips For Staying Stress Free During the Holidays

Updated 1/6/2022: This is a great Thow Back Thursday post, and it doesn’t have to be just for holidays it can relate to any stressful situation.

LOL!  Who doesn’t love Grumpy Cat?  5 days until Christmas, and the seasonal stress is on the rise.  The holidays can be especially stressful for people with chronic diseases, like me.  I have CKD, and while I do not have high blood pressure, the stress of course can make my blood pressure rise.  That can affect my kidney function, and I don’t want that.  Not all stress is bad for you.  It motivates me and inspires me.  My kids scoff at me when I say that, but it is true.  I love a good challenge.  But stress that is just time-consuming, painful, or limits you, is bad stress.  So what are my top 5 tips for staying stress-free during the holidays?  Keep reading.

  1.  Know Your Limits.  What do I mean by that?  I mean know your strengths, weaknesses, what will annoy you, or stress you out.  For example I don’t do lots of people, or really loud noises.  Unless it is something very important to someone I care about, then I will make every effort to talk myself into it.  I sit on the outskirts of a crowd, never in the middle, and if it is going to be really loud I wear ear plugs.  We went to an Ed Sheeran concert recently, and even though we were outdoors it was still so loud.  If you know something is going to push your stress limits, like a Christmas party, for whatever the reason, just politely say you can not attend.  Shop on non busy hours, or shop online, if crowds or standing in line drives you nuts.  Traffic, family, friends so many things can be stressful, but it can be managed if you set some limits for yourself.  Don’t take on more than you can handle.
  2. Make A List:  What do you have to do, need to do, and want to do? I love lists I make a newst every single week.  Somethings I don’t get to, others I have to get to, and then there are things I want to do.  This helps me stay organized, and focused.  When I work, I keep notes, no personal info, just important things that happen in the day.  It is kept in a private notebook, and I can refer back to it when needed.  I only work 2 days outside the home, at an ALF, and trust me it is a lot to remember, especially when I have 3 days off until the next work day.  A notebook, or journal is a great way to keep your thoughts organized, and use for reflection.
  3. Stay Within Your Budget:  There is nothing more stressful than money issues.  There have been years when we spent so much on Christmas that we spent the next year paying for it.  This made no sense to me, and if you read my post from last week, then you know we have a 3 gift rule.  My husband did not stick to that rule this year, and while I am not letting it stress me out, I am not absolutely thrilled either.  If you have not made a budget for Christmas, be sure and do it next year, or any time of the year.  Living within  your means will relieve a lot of stress.
  4. Volunteer:  Helping others is a great stress reliever.  We volunteer for a local pet shelter, and the food pantry.  We also do a lot of things with our church.  Volunteering can be time consuming, so be sure and pace yourself, so the good thing doesn’t become a stress issue.
  5. Give It To God:  What do I mean by that?  I have been a Christian for many years, but still let the negative effects of stress bring me down.  Then I learned to give it to God.  You don’t have to be a Christian to do this.  Whatever your faith, or religion is, use it to your advantage.  God is a great resource, so use Him.

I hope everyone can have a peaceful, stress-free holiday season.  Be positive, kind, and remember why we celebrate Christmas.  Don’t forget next Thursday is the big reveal.  My price list, calendar, and available packages will be posted.  I have worked very hard on this, and I think potential clients will be pleased.  I will only be coaching up to 4 clients at a time.  Why?  Because, what kind of Health Coach would I be if I bit off more than I could handle.  Have a very Merry Christmas!

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