lifestyle

The Best Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

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Conventional cleaning products can be full of scary ingredients from ammonia to bleach and more. Cleaning products are the easiest thing to transition in your home to non-toxic products. Although it seems like a small thing to do, using non-toxic cleaning products really does make a difference in your home's health and air quality. Watch for my favorites. 

 

Learn more about Well-ing Your Dwelling here. 

Evening Self Care Routine

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Today I'm sharing my current evening self care routine. My routine lately has consisted of airplane mode on my phone, a nice shower and some Gua Sha. 

This video is sponsored by The Yellow Bird, who makes non-toxic body care products and are available on Amazon Prime. (cue: celebration!)

PRODUCTS MENTIONED:

*The Yellow Bird Co. Unscented Soap

*The Yellow Bird Co. Salt & Sugar Scrub

Skin Care Routine

Gua Sha Tools

Gua Sha Tutorial

3 Tips For Buying Non-Toxic Furniture

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Today I'm sharing 3 tips for buying non-toxic furniture. I am not physically able to have new furniture in my house due to chemical sensitivity so I've done a lot of trial and error to find safer, healthier, non-toxic furniture! This is also a tiny taste of my new course, Well-ing Your Dwelling. Click here to learn more about how to create your own, non-toxic home.     

Tip #1 - Avoid or sparingly buy pressed wood furniture. Opt for solid wood, glass or metal. 

Tip #2 - Avoid furniture treated with flame retardants. 

Tip #3 - Look to purchase a floor model when in the market for a new sofa or upholstered chair. 

My Postpartum / Stay At Home Mom Fitness Routine

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I've always really enjoyed fitness, but getting back in a routine post baby was not easy. My fitness philosophy is maybe a little more "woo" than you're used to. I think that fitness should fuel and energize the body, as well as feel good in the body during and after. That said, I totally still want to see some results from my hard work, but I no longer believe that I need to be in pain post workout for it to have been successful. 

I usually workout five days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I am still doing my favorite barre3 workouts, but since adding in a little extra boost of cardio and weights I've finally broken though my postpartum body plateau. Super exciting! Everything I'm doing still feels really good to me and is super flexible for my lifestyle as I can fit most of it in during nap time. 

This video is sponsored by one of my favorite natural deodorant brands, Green Tidings.  Green Tidings is Leaping Bunny Certified, manufacturered in the US and it works! You can also get free shipping on GreenTidings.com or from Amazon Prime. 

4 Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizers

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Today I'm sharing four of my favorite, non-toxic hand sanitizers! All of them are triclosan free. While triclosan has been now banned in hand soaps, it's still allowed in hand sanitizers. You may not know that triclosan is actually a pesticide! You don't need a pesticide on your hands to sanitize them. All of my hand sanitizer favorites use essential oils. 

Non-Toxic Nursery Products + Tour

Today I am sharing my non-toxic nursery products and a tour of our nursery. I have so many beautiful, non-toxic options to share with you all! 

 

PRODUCTS MENTIONED:

BabyMod Crib (Our model is Olivia. It looks like it's discontinued, sadly.)

BabyMod Dresser

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365 Diapers

Bambo Diapers

Parasol Diapers

Emily Skin Balm: http://amzn.to/2BE9wjX

Earth Mama Angel Baby Oil

Nook Changing Pad

Naturepedic Changing Pad

Land Of Nod Organic Sheets

My Green Mattress Emily Crib Mattress

Hanging Glass Planters

Flamingo Head

Flamingo Quilt

Large Cactus Print

Small Cactus Print

Pink Pom Pom Curtains

Floor Poof (Homegoods) Guava Bassinet

The Ultimate Guide To Air Purifiers

As a chemically sensitive person and a nontoxic home enthusiast, one of the questions I am asked most frequently is...

"What's the best air purifier?"

There are three that I quickly rattle of the top of my head to choose from. These are the best in the business and recommended by the expert building biologists and air inspectors that I know. I have actually owned or used all of them and am going to break them down for you. 

But real quick, you might be wondering if you need an air purifier. I tend to say yes, across the board, that just about everyone could benefit from an air purifier. Of the higher end healthy home upgrades, this one is my top essential. Why? 

Indoor air is actually more polluted than outdoor air.

If you have any allergy symptoms at all, if you live in new construction or a recently remodeled home or in an older home, near agriculture or in a city you could certainly benefit from cleaner indoor air. Want to know more about this? Check out my podcast with my Building Biologist, Martine Davis here.

For the type of air purification I need to control chemical fumes in my home and workplaces, I recommend those with carbon filters that soak up the chemical gasses and fumes. If there is an option for a HEPA filter in addition to the carbon, that's even better. However, I do not recommend HEPA filters as the sole filter. The carbon is what will control the chemical gas levels in the indoor air. 

On to my top picks for purifiers. 

Foust Co.

I have the Foust Co 160R2 Room Air Purifier. It is made of all metal and has 7 pounds of activated carbon filter that targets chemicals, fumes, odors, gasses, and dust. It has an option to add on a HEPA filter as well. I change my filter in this unit 1-2 times per year. It is best used for about 500 sq. ft. of space. It's in the mid range at $451 for the base unit. 

PROS: Foust Co. has amazing customer service and insanely fast shipping. The replacement filter does not cost an arm and a leg ($90-ish). They also have different carbon blends to meet your homes needs. 

CONS: This unit has a very industrial look to it and will not blend in with your decor. It also has one speed which is definitely of a noticeable, but not too loud, noise level. If this annoys you, you may want to consider a model with adjustable speed. The noise makes for great "white noise" in the bedroom if you like that for sleeping. The air comes out one large opening which I find to be kind of gusty. 

 

Austin Air

The Austin HealthMate Standard is a popular choice in the air purifier world. This unit retails for $539 and covers about 1500 sq. ft. It has a pre-filter for dust and pet dander, a second medium sized particle pre-filter for pollen and spores and 15 pounds of carbon to control chemicals, gasses and odors. This unit also comes with a medical grade HEPA filter. 

PROS: This unit is compact, particularly if you size down to the junior model. I think the both the standard and junior models are truly the most bang-for-your-air-purifier-buck if you only need coverage in a smaller space like a bedroom. If you only want an air purifier for a bedroom, I would go for their junior model. The models have three speeds and therefore three volumes. The stainless steel case has holes all the way around so the filtered air comes out evenly. It also has a number of filters for all types of air pollutants and it has wheels to make for easy movement.  In addition to the junior models and the standard, Austin also makes a heavier duty model for those with chemical sensitivity. If you have chemical sensitivity, please consider jumping up to the HealthMate Plus. The filters also last for FIVE years under "normal" use. I would personally change them more frequently, though. 

CONS: Honestly, I can't think of many. Austin is a great bang for your buck and the perfect first air purifier. If you are a more sensitive individual and have a larger budget, I would continue down the list to filters with more customization and ability to intake larger spaces.  The replacement filters are a little pricier (about $200, depending on model), but they do last for FIVE years. 

 

AirPura

The AirPura V600 was my first heavy duty air purifier that I purchased when I lived in my new home that was off gassing all sorts of toxic new construction gas. It really made a difference in the way my home smelled, my physical reactions and my quality of life. AirPura offers a number of carbon filter models and choices. Most of the filters are interchangeable if you purchase one unit and say move to a different home with different filtration needs down the line. You would most likely (there are a few exceptions) be able to just purchase a different replacement filter, rather than a whole new unit. The V600 is really made for VOC's and for people with chemical sensitivity.  Most of their units house an 18 pound carbon filter and a HEPA filter, which cover 2000 sq. ft. of space. 

PROS: There are a lot of options including filters for smoke, VOC's, UV light and more. (I personally do not recommend UV light as most UV lightbulbs emit ozone. There are some very high quality UV light bulbs that are rumored to not emit ozone if you really want this feature - but do extensive research if you do not want ozone in this case.)  This includes a cleanable pre filter, HEPA filter and carbon block in a stainless steel cylindrical case on wheels. It has a dial to change the speed so you can have it really quiet or quite loud if you need to get a chemical smell out of a room really quickly on high. The carbon filters are good for two years and the HEPA are good for five.. This unit also emits air in an even 360 fashion. 

CONS: Pricey. These babies will run you about $800. The replacement filters are about $250 and last two years. These are shorter, but a bit wide, so depending on your space they may not fit. 

 

My thoughts

For the average chemically conscious gal to the moderately sensitive gal, my choice would be the Austin. It's a great quality for the price and will last you a long time. There are several models and prices to choose from. 

For the moderate to extremely chemically sensitive gal, I would recommend the AirPura V600. Some websites describe this as a "pet" filter, but if you contact the company directly they will assure that the model V stands for VOC, as it filters nearly 400 different kinds of them! In the US, I found the easiest place to purchase from is Allergy Buyer's Club. 

Did you notice that I did not list mold as something air purifiers fix? That's because they don't. Many people ask me what filter to get for mold. While air purifiers can get out some of the toxic gas that mold emits, it will not fix the problem. For more information on this, be sure to listen to this podcast.

Lastly, I do not recommend that you purchase a $50 HEPA filter housed in plastic. This will probably not help and could actually release the chemicals the plastic off gasses. I also do not recommend UV light filters. As previously mentioned, UV light bulbs typically release ozone. You may also notice that I did not recommend any ozone machines in this list. I find these are kind of fading out of favor in the marketplace and for good reason. I have also used these and was once a die hard ozone fan. I no longer hold this view point. Ozone can be extremely harmful to the body when overused. I no longer endorse this type of filter. I believe that ozone has its place, but not in an air filter that runs 24/7. 

I truly believe that for the chemically sensitive, the carbon block is where it's at. 

My Favorite Holistic Pregnancy Resources

I started my pregnancy with the crunchiest of intentions. I was going to have the most healthy pregnancy and beautiful, easy birth where my baby basically swam out in the birthing tub and into my arms. Well, that didn't happen. 

But, let's not let all of my holistic pregnancy research go to waste! The business of giving birth and politics of pregnancy are confusing and hard to navigate for first time moms. Whether this is your first baby or maybe you've already had a baby and had a rough birth experience and are looking for something more, I've got you covered. 

From blog posts to podcasts and an online birth course, these are the best holistic pregnancy resources I found in my research. Which I did a lot of. 

Ina Mae's Guide To Childbirth (Book)
The Business of Being Born (Documentary - available on Netflix) 
Birth Baby & Life (Podcast)
Mommypotamus (Blog)
Mama Natural (Blog, Affirmation Cards & Birth Course)
GurlGoneGreen (Blog)
Interview with Suzi on Home Birth (Podcast)
Janny Organically Birth Plan (Blog)
Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth (Book)

 

For more pregnancy videos, check here.  

Healthy Meals You Can Keep In A Mini Fridge

 

 

 

As you may know, I've been living in a hotel across the country from my home for the past month. I've learned how to stock my tiny mini fridge with healthy food for breakfasts. It seemed daunting at first to be able to keep healthy meals in such a small space without being able to heat food. It turns out, it's pretty easy to always have healthy breakfasts ready to go while traveling. 

10 Natural Remedies For Migraine Relief

I've had chronic migraines for 14 years, nearly half my life. I'm not talking about an every other month migraine, or a beginning of my period migraine. On average, I have 4 a month. My best month was 2, but I've also had daily migraines at times. 

Migraines, as you know, are the actual worst. The drugs are usually not so great either. I don't know a migraine sufferer who doesn't have really unpleasant side effects from their migraine medication. 

I don't take a daily preventative medication, because I don't believe in taking daily pharmaceuticals that aren't necessary. I do have an emergency pain relief triptan, but often if I combine a few of these remedies I can get away without needing to take it. 

1. Daily Supplements For Nutrient Deficiencies. 

2. Seed Cycle For Hormonal Migraines. 

3. Caffeine Regulation. 

4. Epsom Salt Baths. 

5. Essential Oils. 

6. Relieve Stress Through Movement. 

7. Detoxification Through Sweat. 

8. Regular Chiropractic. 

9. Acupuncture Treatments. 

10. Hydration. 

Watch the video below to hear more details about each remedy and how they can help your symptoms, as they've helped mine. 

Maternity Ward Musings : My Water Broke At 24 Weeks Pregnant

When your water breaks, that means it's time to have your baby right? Not necessarily. 

Sometimes a woman's water can break as early as the first trimester. Sadly, in that case there is nothing a doctor can do. Past the 22 week mark, you and your baby might be able to be saved by extreme medical measures. While you know that Western Medicine isn't exactly my cup of tea, I am grateful for it right now. 

My water broke while on vacation across the country at 24 weeks pregnant. In this video, I'm sharing exactly what happened and how my first six days on hospital bed rest have been. 

I can't thank you enough for your kind words, prayers and contributions. It is truly mind blowing how generous you all are. I don't have the right words to thank you, but I wish I could send you each a thank you note.  

One thing I forgot to mention in this video is that there is no known cause for this happening. There's no way of predicting it. It's not related to any of my health issues. They say it's basically just bad luck. 

To stay on top of my day to day life in the hospital, be sure to follow me on instagram @laurasnaturallife. 

3 Surprising Causes of Acne + Natural Remedies That Help

Acne is often thought about as a topical problem. While things like using heavy beauty or skin care products, having a dirty pillowcase or chatting on your cell phone can certainly contribute to acne and breakouts, I think that acne is an internal problem. Most people know that acne can be hormonal, which is definitely a valid cause. But let's look at three other surprising internal causes of acne. 

Causes

1. Food Sensitivities. Gluten sensitivity can cause inflammation, which can be seen in the skin. However, I find that most acne that is related to food sensitivity is caused by dairy.  Dairy is a very congestive food and it is quite difficult to digest. To check out my thoughts on dairy in general, click here. 

2. Excessive Sugar & Yeast Overgrowth. Have you ever binged on ice cream and then had a massive pimple the next day? Sugar is a common cause of acne and breakouts. A bigger issue is when a person has yeast overgrowth - often described as Candida - throughout the body. Yeast Overgrowth can happen from antibiotic use, not enough good bacteria in the gut, excessive sugar, simple carbs and alcohol intake. 

3. Toxins. If your body cannot naturally detoxify the amount of chemicals that are coming in to your body, they pile up. Typically, toxins get stored in your bodies fat cells, but when they are trying to come out and your body is having trouble processing them - they have to go somewhere! That somewhere is often out though the skin, which may seem surprising, but your skin is actually your biggest organ and the body is just trying to put it to good detoxification use.  

Remedies

1. Ditch dairy for 3 weeks to see if your skin improves. 

2. Significantly decrease your refined sugar intake. Along these lines, it doesn't hurt to add in a high quality probiotic or fermented food to your diet to optimize your gut flora. 

3. Eat foods that are high in zinc, such as pumpkin seeds. Zinc can be a powerful acne preventative. If you feel like your acne is caused by hormonal imbalance, try seed cycling. 

4. Begin a regular detoxification routine. If you don't know why detox is so important, I can help you with that too! You can also see my favorite detoxification methods here. 

Don't forget!

If you want to get to the bottom of your acne or other wellness issues, you can work with me one on one, too! 

Bumpdate #2 - Non-Toxic Nursery Furniture, Eating My Placenta & Peeing My Pants

Well guys, I've made it over halfway! It's so weird how the time feels like it's going so slow, yet suddenly here I am. I still feel like baby is a long way away, but my pre-baby to-do list is immense. I'm sure she'll be here sooner than I think! 

Be sure to watch the video to hear how I've been feeling and answers to important viewer questions, like:

Am I going to eat my placenta? 

Am I worried about passing lyme onto my baby?

Have I found non-toxic nursery furniture? 

What resources have I been reading / watching? 

Any baby gear purchased? 

Click to view in youtube for links to any products mentioned. 

8 Benefits of Drinking Sole & How To Make It

If you've never heard of Sole, don't worry you certainly are not alone. I didn't know what Sole was until recently! I ran across it while I was researching Adrenal Fatigue remedies that were safe during pregnancy and realized that I had been doing the baby version of Sole for years. I made it right away and have been hooked since. 

What is Sole? 

Sole is water that has been completely saturated by high quality, unrefined salt. Think Ocean Water, minus the fish poop and pollution. 

Therefore, drinking 1 tsp of salt dumped into a small amount of water is not the same as drinking 1 tsp. of Sole water.  It takes A LOT of salt to completely saturate a small amount of water.

Before you freak out about salt being unhealthy, keep in mind that table salt is the bad guy here, not real salt. Table salt has been processed and refined, leaving only sodium and chloride behind. Real salt or high quality pink Himalayan Sea Salt (it HAS to be pink!) is chock full of minerals, like 80, because it has not been processed. The minerals are what make this remedy so magical. 

What Are The Benefits? 

1. Increases Hydration. You know how Gatorade and other sports drinks are super salty? That's because salt supports water volume and increases hydration. 

2. Supports Detoxification. Salt in itself is anti-bacterial, but isn't a super powerful detoxifier. The minerals in the salt support the body's natural detoxification processes. This will just enhance what your body already does, so don't worry you won't be taking anything too provocative. 

3. Increases Energy. The minerals help to support the adrenal glands, which when supported well, can increase energy. 

4. Stimulates Digestion. The salt helps to stimulate the digestive system to work more regularly and absorb nutrients better. 

5. Relieves Muscle Cramps. The magnesium in the salt can relieve muscle tension and cramps. 

6. Regulates Blood Pressure. All of the wonderful minerals in the Sole water can actually decrease high blood pressure! 

7. Improves Sleep Quality. The mineral content will also make your body relaxed and encourage a more regular and deeper sleep. 

8. Clears Skin. The zinc in the salt can prevent acne, and many of the other minerals can actually help with healing acne scarring. 

To learn why I began to take this during pregnancy for adrenal fatigue and to support my increased blood volume, be sure to watch the full video. 

To learn how to make Sole, keep scrolling. 

How TO Make Sole

To make Sole, you will need a glass container with a non-metal lid and high quality, unrefined sea salt. Popular high quality salts are this pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Real Salt. It is very important that metal never touch the Sole, as it could potentially ruin the mineral mixture. 

Making Sole Water is extremely easy. Enter your email address below to get my guide to Sole Water, including my recipe emailed directly to your inbox! 

4 Easy Hairstyles For Short Hair

Short hair can be so fun to play with, but a nightmare if you don't know how to style it. I feel like my short hair can either look amazing (when styled) or like I'm a member of The Beatles (when not styled). 

Here are four of my go-to styles that are super fast and super easy. For more all natural hair products and styles, click here. 

The Benefits of Collagen Featuring Vital Proteins

Collagen that you drink? I had the same reaction at first. Until I realized that there were real benefits to consuming collagen. In fact, collagen used to be a staple in our ancestor's diets! 

What's so great about it? 

Collagen contains vital nutrients that are the building blocks of our hair, skin, nails, bones and joints.  

Collagen can protecting soft tissues from degrading in athletes and therefore help to prevent injury. 

Collagen may help to increase bone mass. 

Collagen also helps to improve skin elasticity. 

Why am I so crazy about it? 

The Collagen Peptides from Vital Proteins have truly become one of my favorite parts of eating breakfast. They are simply grass-fed, pasture raised bovine hide collagen peptides. Nothing artificial about them! They also are a very fine powdery texture that blends seamlessly into anything and they have no taste! They also pack a whooping 18g of protein per serving. 

I typically enjoy mine at breakfast mixed into coconut yogurt and topped with granola and fruit.

My First Trimester Bumpdate + First Trimester Survival Tips!

Welcome to my very first bumpdate! To hear all about my first trimester experience including finding out and the twelve (twelve!) pregnancy symptoms that I experienced, check out the top video. For my survival tips, scroll to the second. 

By now you've heard that my first trimester was neither glowing, magical or easy. Here are my 11 survival tips: 

1. The "everything is temporary" mindset. 

2. Eat every hour! 

3. Eat whatever it is that your body will allow. Even if it's totally gross and against all of your nutrition knowledge. If you're struggling with this, I recommend checking out this podcast.   

4. Stock up on all forms of ginger, mint and sour things to suck on to alleviate nausea. 

5. Get some labs done if you're suffering or need reassurance. My brutal nausea become tolerable overnight when I increased my dose of thyroid medication. I also requested an HCG blood level prior to my 8 week midwife appointment for reassurance. 

6. Get some comfortable sleep bras! Your boobs will thank you. 

7. Establish a nightly relaxation routine. 

8. Sleep a lot and don't feel bad about it! On the flip side, say active when you can. 

9. Research! I specifically found it productive and helpful to research birth, however, you might enjoy researching baby products instead. My favorite resources for pregnancy and birth research are Mama Natural, The Birth Baby & Life Podcast and The Business of Being Born Documentary. 

10. Put on your own oxygen mask first! This is the time where it's totally cool to be selfish and do the things that you really feel you need to do. 

11. Comfortable pants! You might be surprised to learn that your high waisted compression leggings get crazy tight right away, but you also won't be able to hold up maternity leggings without a legit bump. I just ran out to Marshall's and found a pair of regular black workout leggings in a size larger than normal and they're still working for me at 16 weeks. 

The Best of 2016 Awards! Non-Toxic Beauty & Lifestyle Products

THE BEST OF 2016 AWARDS ARE HERE! I've got natural beauty, skin care, hair care, body care and lifestyle products that I loved during 2016 to share with you. And some new awards, too! Grab a snack, because this is a long one!  Without further ado, the awards! Be sure to check out the full length video below for details on each product. 

Beauty

The BEST...

Liquid Foundation: Gressa Serum Minimalist Foundation. See my review or the other liquid foundations that I enjoyed this year. 

Cream Foundation: Honest Beauty Cream Foundation. See my comparison of all the cream foundations that I enjoyed this year. 

Translucent Setting Powder: W3LL People Bio-Brightener Powder

Tinted Setting Powder / Powder Foundation: Zuzu Luxe Pressed Powder Foundation 

Full Coverage Concealer: W3LL People Bio-Correct Concealer

Lightweight Concealer: Nu Evolution Camouflage Cream

Primer: Hynt Beauty Skin Prep Primer 

Blush: Honest Beauty Cream Blush Truly Exciting 

Contour & Highlight Combo: RMS Contour Bronze and RMS Living Luminizer. Check out my review of these here

Brow Pencil: Honest Beauty Brow Pencil 

Brow Wax: Eco Brow

Eyeliner Pencil: Honest Beauty Brow Filler

Mascara: Lily Lolo Mascara 

Eyeshadow Palette: Honest Beauty Eyeshadow Trio 

Single Pressed Shadows: Root Pretty Eyeshadows 

Lipstick: Nudus Lipsticks. See swatches here

New Beauty Brand (to me): Nu Evolution Cosmetics

Beauty Box Subscription: Teri Miyahira Beauty 

New Beauty Launch: Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Line 

New Way To Transition To Clean Beauty: Clean Beauty Academy 

SKINCARE


THE BEST...

Cleanser: Aleavia Cleanser 

Lip Balm: Henne Organics Lip Balm Tube 

Facial Oil: Ko & Humble Passion Fruit Seed Oil 

Facial Serum: Kypris Antioxidant Dew 

Treatment: Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive 

BODY & HAIR CARE

The Best...

Bug Repellent: Badger Anti-Bug Balm Stick 

Deodorant (Baking Soda Free): Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Grapefruit Deodorant 

Deodorant (Baking Soda): Green Tidings Lavender Deodorant 

Body Lotion: Flourish Honey Blossom Lotion 

Hair Styling Product: Josh Rosebrook LIFT. See my full hair care routine here

LIFESTYLE

THE BEST...

Collagen Product: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides 

Protein Powder: Vital Proteins Cocoa Coconut Protein Powder 

Protein Bar: Rx Bars

ShopLNL: Detox & Chill Tank Top and The Drinks Market Bag

Fitness: barre3 Online Subscription 

Apparel: yogaoutlet.com 
 

Looking for a specific section? Check the timestamps below for sections. 


Face 1:12-4:18
Cheeks 4:19-6:13
Brows / Eyes: 6:14-9:52
Lips 9:53-10:35
Best Brand, Best Box, Best Beauty Launch: 10:36-12:29
Skin Care 12:30-15:12
Body Care 15:13-16:14
Hair 16:15-16:28
Lifestyle 16:29-20:30

Or check out my favorites from 2015. 

I have Chronic Illness…and I’m Thriving. Here are my 5 Tips.

I spent years feeling awful before being diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease & Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. I had migraines for nearly a decade (going on 15 years now), severe fatigue and more. Feeling so sick for so long took a serious toll on my psyche. 

 

My thought life was a war zone and looked a little something like this:  

 

"Why me?"

 "What if I never feel better?"

 "My body hates me"

"I'll never feel normal."

 "I'm miserable."

 "I feel like I'm going to pass out."

"There is no way I can make it through the work day again."

 "I hate always being in severe pain."

 

If you are one of the nearly 50% of Americans who suffer from a chronic health problem, I'm guessing you can relate. Maybe you've even experienced similar thoughts. 

 

If you're reading this you have gotten the diagnosis, you've read every book and internet article on your condition, you've changed your diet, and you most likely have a big old binder full of treatment protocols, lab results and other things.  

You've learned who to share your struggles with, and who not to. You've learned the difference between tolerable misery and intolerable agony. You take your pills, supplements, get adequate rest...but something's missing. You're surviving, but you want to thrive. 

 

I know, because I've been there, too. 

 

I’ve suffered from Chronic Migraines, Chemical Sensitivities, Hypothyroidism, Chronic Lyme Disease, and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (often referred to as Mold Illness or Environmental Illness) for years. When I was at my sickest, I turned to the internet for support.

 

It was the internet that brought me my first glimmer of hope in the form of women like Kris Carr and Jess Ainscough. These women had horrible diseases, but were living their lives to the fullest, within their boundaries. Inspired by these women, I began the upward battle of learning to thrive.

 

It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I realized I was enjoying my life again. I still have bad days, of course, and can find myself thinking negative thoughts, but I have learned some valuable tips along the way. 

 

Listen to your body

Learn yourself inside and out so that when your body tells you to rest- do it! When it's telling you to get the hell out of that moldy boutique - you need to run, don't go try on that dress you're eyeing. When it's tell you it's uncomfortable, but in your heart you know it's your emotions or fear holding you back and not your illness - push through it. Listen so that you know when it's time to worry and when it's time to suck it up. 

 

SHARE...OR DON'T

Figure out what and how much you want to share about your illness...and with whom. I'm sure you've told someone about your illness who was less than supportive, perhaps even disbelieving. Hone in on your support system. It's perfectly fine if your support system is online. I have made truly beautiful, supportive, real friendships via Instagram and Youtube! 

 

HOBBIES

Get back into activities that you used to enjoy. Or find new ones! Don't let your illness be all consuming. I know it's really easy to give in to this, but don't do it. Buy some flowers, try a new recipe or daydream about a vacation. Write down a list of 10 things that make you happy. Keep it where you can remind yourself of those things when the going is rough. 

 

MOVE

If you are well enough to move your body, do it. Even if it's just stretching. Exercise stimulates your lymphatic system, a key component of your immune system, and also releases endorphins. Endorphins are not overrated! Exercise might even relieve some pain, too. 

 

THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS

Pay attention to your self talk. What do you tell yourself? If it's more often than not something that goes like "why me" or "my body sucks" or "I can't do this", it's time for a self-talk revamp.

I didn't realize just how negative my self talk was until my acupuncturist recommended that I spend 10 minutes a day meditating with the mantra of "my body is healing". After a few days of this, whenever I noticed my negative thought pattern, I would interrupt the thoughts with that mantra. Sometimes I get really specific and think "I feel grounded" when I'm feeling off-balance, which is a common symptom for me. Another favorite mantra is "I am worthy of vibrant health". 

I know this sounds a little woo-woo to some of you, but I promise if you give it a whirl for a few weeks you will notice a difference. It wasn't until I made this change in my thought patterns that I started noticing physical improvements, as well! 

While chronic illness isn't always a walk in the park, it can be a catalyst to positive change. There's no better time to be true to yourself. You deserve to thrive, not just survive!