16 Ways I encourage C A L M - part 2
Following on from last week where I shared the first 8 of My 16 ways to encourage CALM in my life, this week i'm sharing 8 more and these are some of my favourites!
Starting with this beauty...
9. LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
Lavender is the most BEAUTIFUL smell, possibly my favourite, and it to has a calming effect which is great for encouraging relaxation and sleep. I generally put a few good drops in my oil burner in the evenings and sometimes in the day, or rub just a little bit under my nose in the evening before bed. You can also do a few drops on your pillow before sleep and/or a few drops in your bath to unwind.
10. DIM THE LIGHTS & LIGHT CANDLES
I'm quite photo sensitive so I really enjoy low level lighting. In the evening i'll generally only have the lights on that we need (usually down lights and lamps) and i'll light candles and the oil burner. Also back lit screens and TV emit blue light which is really sleep disruptive. So I like to use the night shift option on my iphone to tint the screen to a red light after 7pm till 6am so if I do look at my phone it doesn't effect my sleep. You can find Night Shift on iphone in the settings - display & brightness - night shift.
11. PINK HIMALAYEN SALT LAMPS
Pink Himalayan salt lamps are beautiful to look at and they emit negative ions that improve our mood. They also cleanse the air and are great at absorbing EMF's (electro magnetic fields) from home appliances - more reading here. I have a lamp by my bed and a lamp in the living room by the TV. The light they emit is a soft pink colour which is really soothing and relaxing to look at. Be careful however as the salt absorbs water in the environment and can leave a puddle of water around it sometimes. I've discovered it's best to have them on when you can to keep them warm and dry.
12. EPSOM SALT BATHS
Epsom salts are full of magnesium, the great muscle relaxer. When I had a bath in our last place I would put about a cup in the bath water with a few drops of lavender oil and have a 20-30minute soak to help them work their magic. The magnesium soaks into your muscles and leaves you feeling super relaxed and you'll sleep like a baby. It also cleanses all the radiation off you from working on a computer all day. Plus it's detoxifying and contains sulphur which the third most abundant mineral in the body - more reading here. Sulphur is also found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage which is famously part of Dr Terry Wahls recovery program for healing MS. You can find epsom salts for cheap at the health food store or sometimes the supermarket.
13. MAGNESIUM supplements (if you dont have a bath)
If I know I need a good nights sleep and right now we don't have a bath, I'll take a magnesium supplement instead of an epsom salt bath - I wouldn't do both together. Just like the epsom salts they relax the muscles and give me better quality sleep. Use a good quality supplements brand and pop one a few hours before bed and you should start to feel more relaxed by bed time.
14. SELF LOVE is not selfish
I'm sure you'll all agree that once you get sick you realise you have nothing without a healthy body - so nuture the great gift that is your body, it works hard all day 24/7 and does a whole myriad of things for you.
Massage and facials are both great places to start or saunas if you can handle them. Anything you know will make you feel good that is relaxing and gives back to the body. Book it in so you know it's on, either set aside a day of the week or little things throughout the week. Since it's been colder i've been doing an infrared sauna once a week which makes me feel amazing the next day. Giving back to you will make you a healthier, happier version of yourself to give back to others.
Laughing eases pain and anxiety in the body and it quite quickly switches up your state to a more positive one. If I've had a stressful day then I make a conscious decision to watch something that night thats positive, funny and uplifting.
Yoga is a beautiful practice. It's meditation, breath and body movement all in one. It's a fantastic tool for healing and calming yourself and I think especially beneficial to those of us with MS. Yoga realigns you with your breath and your body, benefitting not only your mood but your posture and function aswell. I've unfortunately been unable to do yoga since my diagnosis and I miss it dearly, as dipping my head brings on nausea which is really unpleasant. But i'm positive i'll get back into it. There are modified poses aswell so speak to your yoga teacher as it is possible.
And last but not least! - mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being present in each and every moment of your life. Not living in the future which creates anxiety and not living in the past and feeling depressed. It's about enjoying right now - each beautiful moment that unfolds in the present. This is something I did a lot when I was really sick and it taught me so much about living-in and enjoying the moment, being present and really cherishing it. I could't afford to get too far ahead of myself and fret about worst case scenarios in my future because it might not even happen. I'm glad I taught myself mindfulness because I still use it and it's a great little hack to stop the worry loop from taking over.
So that wraps up my 16 ways (plus 1) that I encourage CALM in my life. A quick list below to recap...
Positive self talk
LiTERALLY shake it off with good music
Walking in nature/earthing
Daily GRATITUDE - stop and give me 20
Herbal Tea - Chamomile
oil burner / Lavender essential oil
Dim the lights & light candles
Pink HIMALAYAN salt lamps
Epsom Salt baths
self love - is not selfish
I use all of these little hacks all the time now and they've all become a big part of my life living with MS, and they make a big difference for me. When you do them everyday they have a cumulative effect to which is just the best.
Right now as i'm easing back into work I've been doing most if not all of these to help my body through the transition weeks - as well as the OMS staples like eating well, vitamin D and flaxseed oil. And they're really helping - especially for winding down in the evening and getting a restful sleep which is so valuable and healing for a productive day the next day.
I'd be curious to know if anyone else does what I do or has any other hacks that help them. Please feel free to leave comments below!
Have a lovely Sunday!