How I use essential oils

Essential oilsI only recently came to the world of essential oils through my exploration of alternative health supports. I have been in the western medicine field for over 30 years and have been looking for complementary therapies to create a more holistic treatment modality for a variety of ailments.

This article is how I use essential oils. As we are all different, so I can only say what works for me. You can look up other suggestions and guides but this is just my findings.

We all have something that can irritate or annoy us. Is there an oil for that? I’m learning there usually is. But do they work? I’m finding they do for me.

I have issues with quality sleep being a shift worker. I create all sorts of stress for myself with family, work and general life commitments. I can spiral off into an unfocused cascade of information overload and therefore not be effective. I can also find myself in unhelpful moods by allowing negative thought patterns rule my day. I need motivation to go from my “have to’s” to my “should do’s.” I go to work and perform all day but the motivation at home is lacking at times.

I started with a home essential kit from Doterra because of the local support and training that comes with it. I must admit it took me over a year to decide to give it a go (negative thought patterns anyone?) but in the last 6 months I’m up and running with it. I Absolutely love them and can’t imagine life without them. The learning process is easy and there is so much support out there its incredible.

You can google any problem and usually find someone who has found success using oils to support them through that. There are many books published to give you ideas on what oils may help what situation. They do not claim to cure disease in any way but can be used to support symptom relief with certain things. You may find your intuition helping you find the right oil that you need just now.

Of course, it may all be placebo effect but who cares. There are plenty of research articles published if that is your thing. Have a look at pubmed if you like the science reviews. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p…) The oils smell awesome and if the deep breaths you take to enjoy them is the only thing you do differently – that’s still going to help you right? Here’s what I have found in the last 6 months when using oils….

Sleep support

Sleep support

I have tried the usual medications to help me find a better quality sleep without benefit – other than learning what drugs do not agree with me. Having a regular bedtime and sleep pattern has been impossible for me because of my shift work. I love supporting women and newborns as a midwife and cannot do the job without doing all shifts, all hours. Women do not give birth in reasonable hours so midwives must be available 24/7.

So my latest trick to support what sleeping hours I get was to use essential oils. Now, not everybody reacts the same way to drugs as with oils. You have to experiment with what has worked for others and find the one or combination that works for you. The obvious one such as lavender works well for me so I’m lucky, but there are others (Vetiver, chamomile, Ylang Ylang, bergamot etc) that can help depending on the reason for your lack of quality sleep I believe.

It may be racing thoughts, lack of physical activity during the day, poor diet, use of other medication or drugs (yes, even caffeine was my downfall). Poor mood and belief you will sleep poorly as usual will absolutely affect your sleep quality.

It may be a case of applying the oils to your feet or hands before bed, or diffusing them in a diffuser in your bedroom. Some oils can be ingested but not all – so make sure you check how your choice of oils is best used.

Mood support

Sad puppyAlong with poor sleep can go negative moods. These can ruin a perfectly good day if you let them. But why would you want that when you can work on improving your mood and therefore your day. When I catch myself in a bad mood I try to think about what thoughts I’m living with – are they in a useless loop of gloom or is something actually processing, (Usually not).

If I can’t step out of the negative thought process, I use oils to elevate my mood. It’s hard to stay cranky when smelling the gorgeous scents of orange, citrus bliss, or whatever fragrance floats your boat. My favorite has been litsea – very citrisy – I just love it.

I put a drop into my hands, rub them together and inhale into my cupped hands. Beautiful. I also make up a blend in some coconut oil with balance, orange and Frankincense to put on the soles of my feet morning and night. I can tell when I have forgotten this practice – my day is not as productive.

There are many other essential oils to be discussed here when thinking about mood enhancement and I am slowly building up my supply of oils to try. It’s all part of the fun and achievement.

Immunity support

I’m not one for getting sick very often – I usually have all of the sick leave unused every time I finish a contract. But I have children and family who can often be complaining of some ailment or other to try my oils on. I made up a spray for my parents who’s’ skin is like tissue paper – tearing at the least insult. My spray contains a blend “on guard”, lavender, purify, Helichrysum (for bleeding issues) and Frankensence. It has already been worth its weight in gold in preventing the need for antibiotics and prolonged hospital stay for wound management.

For my own immunity I didn’t take regular vitamins and my diet is haphazard to say the least. The main reason I don’t tend to take vitamins is that they never made me feel any different – status quo with the expense and extra chore of taking a medication every day. Routine medications never really worked out for me (just ask my husband about conceiving 2 kids while on the pill) but I did want to try the Doterra lifelong vitality pack which has multivitamins, minerals and essential oils including omega threes. This is the first time I actually feel the difference when taking a medication daily. I notice when I don’t take them – both my mood and focus are depleted.

But its not just the capsules that improve immunity. Using infusers with the blend “on guard” or rubbing your throat and chest with the blend “easy air”. Other oils have been used for thousands of years such as frankincense, lavender and clove oil but there are too many to go into here. Sufficient to say – if you have a problem – there is probably an oil to support that.

Most oils need a carrier oil such as coconut to dilute them for better absorption and dilution of the hotter oils so make sure you check before using on your skin.

Gut support

tummyThe digestive blend contains oils such as ginger and peppermint (amongst others) which have a long traditional history of use for gut and digestion issues. I have found my gut function to be as diverse as my sleep pattern and food intake – so any support here is welcome. Some of Doterra’s best-selling products are not in bottles of pure essential oils but through capsules for ingestion or even tablets for indigestion. I am still in the process of working what works for me. There are many years of abuse to be reversed – I’m not expecting a result overnight but simply supporting the vital work the gut does every day. One benefit of a healthier gut is the increased energy and focus I notice now that I’m not full of sludge.

There are many essential oil advocates who are willing and able to answer your questions about how these can help you. What works for me may not work for you but there are many choices to try that will work. There are plenty of online resources to assist you in choosing which oils to try if the obvious are not right for you. Some people find themselves over sensitive to the scents while others thrive. Your journey is as unique as you are. I urge you to give it a go and see what helps your situation.

Conclusion

Essential oils are not all created equal. I find the Doterra oils company to have good quality oils that last and work. Some oils are only for topical use – usually added to a carrier oil such as coconut oil and rubbed into the skin. Some oils are ingestible and work through the alimentary system. Others can be diffused for the gorgeous fragrances they emit and mood altering states they support. I dare you to diffuse some lavender or calming blends and not settle down from an over excitable mood. Spray some on your pillow or rub into your skin and feel the mood changing. Let the kids (and therefor you) benefit from your experimentation.

Try some life altering essential oils today. They are easy to source at markets or online. You probably know someone in your contacts who sell oils. If not please feel free to contact me and I can help set you up with your own wholesale member account with Doterra. You won’t believe the change you can achieve in supporting your individual health needs. What would you like to support in your life today?

lavender peace

Night duty brain fog

Image result for post night duty blues

Have you ever worked night shift? Felt that bone weary illness and thought – why am I doing this to myself? Research shows it takes ten years off a persons’ life when they continually mess up their biorhythms with shift work. Your immunity is depressed, healthy diet and exercise is affected, and for some, the lack of natural sunlight in the day can affect the happiness hormones and much, much more.

But someones gotta do it right? You wouldn’t want those babies dropping to the floor because there’s no midwife on night shift! I don’t know why women can’t organize themselves to having their babies between say 8am and 8pm but it just doesn’t seem to happen.

Night duty brain fog is real. It’s like working while drunk – the words don’t come as easily or appropriately, your tolerance levels are lower, and fits of the giggles at inappropriate times have been known to happen to the best of us. Coffee is a two faced friend who is all bubbly and friendly but doesn’t shut off when you no longer need them around.

In Australia, nurses and midwives are contracted work 24 hour cover – morning, afternoon and night shifts with a third of their allocated shifts in each. So in one week we can start at 0630 or 1430 or 2245 hrs and do our 8 hour shift from there. We can get all three shifts in one week but at least one bout of night duty per fortnight or month.

Nursing in England is pretty much the same as here in Australia but America seems to have this one organized better where you are only employed for the one shift ever – 12 hour days or nights in a lot of places. It really makes a huge difference to home life when zombie time is reduced. It never seemed to bother me when I was younger but I’m pretty much over it now. The average age of the midwife in Australia is 53 so let’s get some of these younger ones up here and take a share.

Night duties

The house is all quiet, the family is tucked in their beds and that’s when I head off to work. The best thing about night duty is that a lot of babies are born in the wee hours and cuddle times may be necessary to relieve tired new mums from their restless babes for a well-earned nap. Sleeping like a baby is no great accomplishment but is still an enviable position at some point in the night.

sleeeping babe

There is far less management around so less unnecessary “looking busy” time required. Of course, there are always restocking to be done, and kits to be checked for completeness or out-of-date products, general tidying and other “quality” chores but that 3-4am time still hits hard unless the adrenaline is flying and activity levels are high. Eating helps reawaken sluggish bodies but a tired body doesn’t always want a garden salad at 2am so unhealthy habits are in danger of forming.

Keeping busy

One problem with the night shift is when the patients are actually sleeping – this is not a frequent problem in maternity wards, Emergency wards and many other units as the care goes on 24 hrs a day – just with less staff on the floor to help out. Women still pop in when they are in labor – they don’t tend to stay home until daylight for some reason. And Let’s not mention the full moon scenario (it’s definitely all true in my experience).

Day time sleeping

If you make it home with the equivalent of being a drink driver with fatigue, there are more obstacles in staying asleep once you finally get into you comfy bed or sanctuary. The tiniest sliver of light will find your eyeballs no matter the position of the bed/ sun/ curtains – it’s just a fact – it will happen so just get over it.

The kids / partner / stranger will suddenly need to contact you for something that can’t wait (in their opinion – if they are not dying it’s not important in my opinion). Guilt is also a constant companion when we are trying to sleep instead of joining family activities or conversations we would otherwise be involved in.

Try to imagine if you woke up at 11pm or midnight and just got up and started your day…… Not good for optimal brain function let me warn you. Please do not disturb a shift worker if actually sleeping – it is a very dangerous thing to do. Sleep is an important time when the brain reorganizes thoughts and lays down memories. It’s no wonder it can be used as a torture method – keep someone awake long enough or just prevent deep sleep and see their mental health deteriorate.

Life Balance

The day you get home after the night shift is called your day off – even though you worked from midnight to 7am. Even pilots have the grace to call it a “Grey day” and not a day off. I don’t know why it rankles about what it’s called but it does. If any other job required you to serve for 7 hours and call it a day off – I don’t think many would be signing up for that.

There are many ways to come off a night shift but I find I can’t pass up at least a couple of hours sleep before starting the day… Again…. The zombie feeling lasts at least most of that day and into the next day. Luckily you are probably back to work the next day so you can get back into getting up early or going to bed late all over again. No such thing as a circadian Rhythm.

Sleep improvement sites usually always mention using regular bed times as a way to improve your sleep pattern but this is impossible for our current healthcare shift workers. Poor sleep between shifts is the norm and it’s not until holidays that you realize how tired you have been for months

Conclusion

We are lucky we love our job so much. Being a midwife is a privilege and a pleasure most of the time. It can be high pressured, minimal breaks and eating on your feet but it can be sweet, awesome, and grounding all in the same shift. Being involved in the support of women in labor and the first few moments of a new life is a beautiful and awesome thing that is not for everyone. For those who also do the overnight work, or support their partners who do – I salute you all.

Megan

How to keep working on your goals

Believe

Do you think of your goals each year and think you will remember them as they are important to you? Do you ever get to writing them down? Fleshing them out? Make bit size steps you can easily achieve to feel your progress? We can be full of great intentions but we need to create accountability for ourselves if we want to actually progress in life.

Write them down

Find what works for you. Do you love fancy journals with inspiring covers that will entice you to open them every day? Great pens you love the feel of writing with them? Rather open the lap top or iPad and type or talk into it in a space created privately for you – or post it freely into the world and share your thoughts with anyone interested? Maybe have a white board or chalk board area where you can see it fully and update and change as needed. Guided meditation your thing? Find your medium, find your goals and get to work.

Break it down

Goals that are important to you become who you are. Make them part of your day to day life. See the big picture your goal will create and find all the little ways, actions, and steps you can do that will serve you in achieving them. They should not be huge time-consuming steps.

  • A quick text to someone,
  • throw out that broken stuff you will never need,
  • clean just one shelf,
  • search for an answer online,
  • go to a new cafe/ library/ walking track
  • give an honest compliment to a stranger

you can find a hundred little things to do that will accumulate to fulfill your ultimate goal. Achieve one thing today.

Keep them visible

Post your goals where you can see them.

  • Make it your screensaver on your computer,
  • post it notes on the fridge,
  • make a colorful poster and put it on your wall where you will see it everyday
  • reminders on your bathroom mirror and actually look at it while you clean your teeth
  • journal at your bedside with pen
  • write something on your hand if you have to but keep changing it up so you don’t gloss over it and not even see it anymore

sign

Schedule time daily

If you use a diary – block out a time each day to work on your goals. It doesn’t have to be big or time-consuming here. Just one small step will do. But chose a time – first thing, after work, in your lunch break or change it up and block out a different time each day to work on something you want. You will soon find what works for you.

Not a diary user? Find something you do every day and use that to guide you as to when to work on that goal.

  • Breakfast / lunch / dinner
  • teeth cleaning
  • shower time
  • driving to work
  • before you get out of bed.
  • Before you go to bed
  • before you check your email / mailbox /
  • daily walk time
  • feed the dog? / cat?

you get the idea – pick a time that will work for you and use it to remind you to work on you

Create celebrations for achievement

Each little step taken is an opportunity to reward yourself. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big achievement or reward. Just a mental pat on the back, a virtual self hug, or anything that floats your boat. You may have to work on your list of rewards that you can use so you can celebrate easily without having to add extra work to your day. What makes you smile or lifts up your mood – these are the things you can use. Don’t forget bigger rewards for the bigger successes. Keep it fun. It doesn’t have to cost money. Get your list ready… That could be your first step – choosing a reward!

Conclusion

Whatever your goals are, you chose them for a reason. Its important to you. What would happen if you didn’t achieve them? What would happen if you did?? How would your life change? How will you feel this time next month or year if your goals were well on their way to fulfillment? See that future and own it.

Megan

New Years Day – what excites you?

New Year

Does anyone else feel it? Like this is going to be an awesome year? I’m usually a fairly level-headed person, but I’m quite excited about this year. There is so much change in the world and I’m wide open. Maybe that’s it – ready; not only to be exposed to new things but dive right in where it feels right. The internet is growing so fast and everything is at our fingertips, just ready to explore. We can learn about anything we ever dreamed about and make those dreams come true. What have been dreaming about?

We should have a day like its New Years Eve and morning like its New Years Day at least monthly. What could we achieve then? Inner reflections, goal setting and revision of previous goals, start a new habit, stop an old one, declutter, forgive, become aware of what you are grateful for and tell your loved ones how much you love them. Imagine your life even a few weeks later, let alone next year.

Plan and do journal

Crack open that new diary, journal or internet blog and get writing. Free writing can open up a few new ideas you didn’t even know you had! (No-one needs to see this so let it flow!) Brainstorm feelings and where they are coming from, hobbies you used to love or want to try, pick a cupboard to tidy. Write it down with a date and time to achieve and then tick that off the list with a celebration.

Be kind

You are an awesome being – just listen to your heart! No matter your physical reality, you are in there and wanting to be listened to. Learn how to hear. Stop any negative thoughts – you wouldn’t treat others you love like that – be kind and gentle with yourself and feel the change happen. Do something today that feeds your soul.

love heart

Evolve

Remember what feelings you evoked this last year? Do you want to change that (or ramp it up some more)? There is a saying about doing the same things and expecting a different outcome being the definition of insanity which is appropriate right about now. If you want things to change – act differently. Fake it till you make it if needs be. Don’t be shallow here – explore your emotions and let things go that no longer serve you. Are you going to regret giving up those hours of feeling nasty because you held onto something you could have released from your life? I don’t think so.

Serve

There is nothing like the feeling of being useful for deep down satisfaction – unlike the shallower feelings that come with receiving. It is especially profound when the giving is anonymous. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Just be on the alert for where you can serve and do it without expectations.

flowers

Conclusion

Not everyone gets it. That you are the creator of your life. Some would rather not believe that. You have a choice in each moment to hold onto fear, anger or hurt and live there for as long as you can put energy into it. You also have a choice in that same moment to try to see things differently or from a different angle, or just choose not to react negatively. Let things go by without taking on the angst and see how your life changes. It may not happen overnight but its something to think about right? 

Think about any situation where you flared up and imagine how it could have gone if you let that one go.  Stress will kill you – choosing to relax will help you and those around you to find peace.  Learn what helps you relax and do that as often as you need.  Everyone benifits.  

This is the time of the rocking chair on the porch scenario – that’s you sitting there in your old age. What are you thinking about? Is it really that guy who cut you off in traffic once in 2017? Is it the words said by someone who was hurting at the time and not thinking clearly? Or will it be feelings you got from the great things you did or shared at every opportunity.

rocking chair

There is no such thing as perfection – we are all a work in progress. How do you want to see yourself from the vantage point of that porch? Who is with you? What’s the view like? What aromas can you detect? Feel the temperature of the day or night. Close your eyes and really be there and imagine what you would like to reflect over in your life. That’s where you need to focus your attentions today. Get going… Start today.

Thanks for reading.

Megan