Estrangement is a strange thing…(pun intended) There is such a distance between two strangers in a street, not in space but in meeting. If something would trigger the need to connect, interesting things can happen. Physical contact creates emotional response; check it out.
This is something I learned the hard way; after years of having my calendar solidly booked, day in and day out in a most merciless way, I crashed. I didn’t notice it coming, one day it was just there; a complete and utter emptiness in myself. Between running a company, caring for 4 children and a small homestead I had forgotten myself. I wasn’t suffering, not at all. I was enjoying being busy. It wasn’t dramatic in any way, my head just went blank, that’s all, and blank it stayed. I rearranged my calendar, cut down on my bookings and took a long hard look at my priorities: “What is the most important thing to me right now?” The answer was “my family”. Not me, which I seemed to have lost along the way, or my work but my children. And I realized that “me” was also my children, having time to grow with them, they were the one thing that could not wait and the only way I could be the best mother possible was by taking care of myself.
I started writing myself into the calendar; riding, baking, sewing…with the children. Such happy times and it didn’t matter that my head was blank, it just made it so much better. It was hard, at first, to say “I am busy” since I considered only work as being “busy”. My booked time for hanging out in the field watching ponies didn’t feel like a good enough excuse to not work, and I felt like a cheat. But I got over it. I didn’t leave empty spaces in my calendar because I would have booked them for work. No, I painstakingly wrote my diverse activities in there, just to block the space and make sure that I stayed as true to myself as to my clients. I learned more about myself and how we function as human beings during that time than ever before.
Now my children are all adults, my work is my passion and I can spend time doing just that; my work. I still book my private down-time in my calendar and stick to it even though I sometimes might be tempted to put myself in second place. I have learned that the more I care for myself, the better I can care for my work. You can only give so much without becoming lousy for your passion; be it your family or your work. So do it, book that bath, movie-time, hack, pottering in the garden, staring at the sky…all the things that make you happy and you’ll be the best thing that ever happened to yourself and others.
Geranium, Rose geranium Pelargonium graveolens (P. x asperum, P. odoratissimum,P. roseum). There are many hundreds of different geraniums, but I shall concentrate on P. graveolens since this is the one most known and used in aromatherapy. It originates in South Africa, but is now cultivated in Russia, China, Egypt, Morocco and Europe. Geranium Bourbon is cultivated in the Reunion and mostly preferred by the perfume industry due to its scent. Geranium was introduced to Europe as late as the 17th century. Most people know Geranium as a potted plant with highly aromatic leaves and small flowers that can be pink, red or white. These plants are usually of other species.
Geranium is a hairy shrub that can grow up to one meter high, the leaves are pointed and serrated, the flowers small and pink. The whole plant is aromatic and distilled for its essential oil. The scent is sweet and rosy with a herbaceous and refreshing touch.
Skin: A wonderful oil for all skin types. It is a very balancing and healing oil with anti-inflammatory properties; acne, eczema, burns, wounds. Incorporate in oil-blends for stretch marks. Geranium is considered anti-fungal and might be of help with verrucae.
Circulation: Its decongestant properties make it excellent for cellulite and oedema (water retention) as it stimulates circulation.
WARNING: Don’t use in case of oestrogen related tumours.
PERSONAL: This is THE oil for all PMT-related imbalances (including sore breasts). It’s wonderful in sweet blends as it brings a certain sharpness. Geranium is “the balancer” and I have used it with great success for clients who are changing lifestyles; foods, alcohol, tobacco. It evens out the peaks of high and low and make them better able to deal with cold turkey. Incorporate in any blend for emotional stress.
The Smell of Nature Is Almost As Good As the Real Thing, As Far As Our Brains Are Concerned
Mar 07, 2013
Researchers have been racking up evidence that when you can’t take a break and get into nature itself, looking at photos of it relaxes our brains in a similar way. Now, scientists in Tokyo are building a case that smelling nature — the bracing scent of forest pine or cypress, for instance — lowers our blood pressure dramatically and increases anti-cancer molecules in our bloodstreams.
For the past eight years, Qing Li, an immunologist in the department of hygiene and public health at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School, has been studying phytoncides, the essential oils and aerosols emitted by plants and trees, and their salutary effects on the human body. Studies had shown that nature visits reduce stress on the nervous system, overloaded as it is in the modern urban environment with its dense living conditions, industrial-grade fumes, and honking horns. Li’s early work showed that walks in the woods boosted natural killer immune cells that helped fight infection and cancer; eventually, he came to suspect that it was the natural scents of evergreens and other trees that did the bulk of the work.
While testing his theory — by sequestering subjects in hotel rooms, some with the benefit of cypress aromatherapy, some without; those who sniffed the phytoncides experienced significant drops in stress hormones and boosted immune cell activity — Li and others founded a Japanese organization to study forest medicine more formally. A few years later, it went global as the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine; last year, it held its first international symposium on the research and trends on forest therapy worldwide. Following the lead of the Japanese in using phytoncide therapy and other facets of “forest bathing” to boost health are the Finns — led by Liisa Tyrväinen, the Finnish Forest Research Institute is conducting a multi-year research program on forests and human well-being — and the South Koreans, who are opening a new $140 million National Forest Therapy Center in 2014. The wisdom is old: get outside when you can; when you’re stressed, aromatherapy can help. But now the hard science is finally backing it up.
I was asked to do a short presentation on the topic of stress-management…In 6 minutes! I had a good laugh at this, thinking they were joking, they weren’t. As I have always had a weak spot for challenges, I of course agreed. Then I got nervous. The whole area of stress is huge and I am very good at it, but how to pick out a 6 min package that would make sense? Finally I settled on personal responsibility. That we are actually all responsible for our choices and how to handle them. This was a business-arena so I had to address both sides of the story; bosses (companies) as well as employees. Here it is:
As a boss you need to be very clear what you expect from your employe, and make sure that he knows exactly what his duties are and what is expected from him. The employe, in turn, must fill his duties. Most people have looked for their jobs, asked for them, so they should be prepared to fill the shoes. If you choose a high-performance job you must be aware of the fact that it probably will eat most of your time and the monetary gains will reflect this. To be able to cope with the burdens of such a position you need to be highly organized and disciplined or you will succumb to all kinds of stress-related trouble. Take for example a professional foot-ball player; he is payed a fortune but his life will be a life of discipline or he’s out.
If, on the other hand, you find that you can’t deal with the pressure or you find that you need more time for leisure, family or hobbies, you need to change your expectations. The monetary gains will be less and you will have to down-size your life and expenditure. It’s all about choices, there is no judgment here.
Constant availability is talked about a lot and it’s rubbish. It’s an impossibility. If your high-performance job demands constant availability, you deal with it and it should be made clear from the beginning. If not, you are creating something that doesn’t exist. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. So turn of your machines and enjoy some peace and quiet…Choices.
Finally, I consider work-time being just that – worktime. If I know I have a heavy schedule, I go to bed early, prepare my stuff the day before, eat properly and maybe I pop some vitamins 🙂 I don’t crash during my lunch-break.
Sometimes life throws us unexpected things that need to be dealt with, that’s just life and we deal with it as it comes along. But basic line is: Do your stuff, pay attention and get on with it. More often than not I find people have all kinds of excuses why not to change their lives and the more I’ve heard the more I am convinced that it is a question of laziness and/or victimization ideas.
Let’s stick with Body for a while; the joy of body in well-being is severely underrated. It’s always about exercise, food, stay fit, don’t get too fat or too thin… I think a lot of people find this intensely stressful and have problems incorporating a healthy (and happy) body-view in their lives because it’s boring. Being fit and healthy comes from joy, if you don’t find joy in your regime, the body will not answer in a positive way; you will get crabby from not eating enough and pains from a training program you don’t enjoy. Or you will get so stuck in staying “fit”, that it blinds you.
For me it’s dancing and the work with horses, this keeps me fit. Not because I am looking for fitness, but because they are highlights in my life. Being fit, healthy and strong is the added bonus. I also like my short, intense interval trainings because I like the feeling of my muscles. 🙂 I don’t have to think too much about it since it is all “automatic” somehow. I eat because I get hungry and I sleep well because my body is happy to rest and my head gets quiet.
So try finding something you really like; walking, dancing, riding, running, drumming, football…Whatever. As long as it keeps you moving you will stay fit because your body and mind will wish for it. No more boring exercise and complicated diet-schemes. Clean up your food (easily done) and get that body moving. If this puts a smile on your face, stay with it. Our bodies are made to move and when you give body what it needs you can wave goodbye to hurtful stress, illness and depression. Moving body is the fastest way to an instant high…What’s not to like?
Life is a journey, we’re all agreed on that. But every journey has bumps, illness, disasters and what-have-you. If we plan our journey we will manage it better and end up with lots of new impressions, we grow. So if you travel to the jungle you dress accordingly and get whatever inoculations you feel you need and bring your moskito-net and band-aids. Agreed? Everybody gets this.
On life’s journey we will also bump in to all kinds of unexpectedness and we know it. This is where stress comes in. Stress is journeying through life without preparing. We do have control over it and there are always solutions. So instead of finding us stranded in the middle of nowhere dressed in inappropriate apparel, it would be good to be prepared.
The stress most people experience is a long time coming, wearing them down over time. And there is always choice in this. Traumatic stress that comes suddenly and unexpectedly is a whole different ballgame, this is when you cope or die. Also a choice, but a lot narrower and more drastic.
So when you know that you are looking at some hard work, prepare. Take extra vitamins, exercise, sleep, skip the crap and get yourself in gear. And if it is a never-ending story, maybe you need to change your life. If I am going to run a marathon, I prepare. So prepare for life; that means schedules, time-management and all the basic stuff that you already know and if you are too lazy, you must expect to feel sick and bad and low…Or change your life.