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Self Care Benefits Of Indoor Plants August 31, 2018 07:42

The first time I started feeling like a responsible human was when I got my first plant. We had family pets as a child, but they were too high profile for me to be solely responsible for. My plant, however, was my own to care for and keep alive.

Just knowing that this living thing was reliant on me for its well-being made me want to step up and do my best for it. It made me feel good to ensure it was nourished, watered and trimmed.

And I loved the plant's will to thrive and grow. Even if I accidentally trimmed off too many leaves, it was always replacing them with new ones.

As an aside, my father was really cross with my mom for something I can't remember, and probably isn't important anymore. In a fit of spiteful rage, he cut off all the leaves of her favourite indoor plant right at the root, but this plant grew back voraciously and was more beautiful than ever before :)

I found this to be really profound. 

Plants always uplift the atmosphere in any room, and I thought I'd look into why.

Reducing Stress

Countless studies have shown that proximity to plants and nature increase general well-being and happiness. Since we spend so much time indoors, it stands to reason that indoor plants will help reduce stress.

Moreover,  research has shown that there are microbes in soil which are known to boost mood and reduce stress levels. Of course taking a walk in a natural setting will expose you to these microbes, but simply being near a potted plant will have a similar effect.

Improved Air Quality

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, thereby purifying the air.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many building materials and cleaning products are the primary cause of both acute and chronic diseases.

A study conducted by NASA indicated that indoor plants can remove up to 87% of VOCs from an interior environment over a 24-hour period. 

Colour Therapy

There is a school of thought which maintains that along with blue, green is the best colour for creating a calm atmosphere. So the colour of indoor plants is believed to stimulate both the brain and the digestive system, and even reduce stress.

Psychological Benefits

Caring for plants by pruning, watering and cleaning can become very therapeutic.

Just be sure to choose the right plants for your particular environment based on the climate and amount of light in the space, or your poor plant may end up withering and dying.

 

Do you have a favourite indoor plant? I'd love to see some pictures of them in your space.

 

Sources:

https://gardencollage.com/heal/mind-spirit/houseplants-improve-mental-health/

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/the-surprising-mental-and-physical-health-benefits-of-houseplants

https://www.property24.com/articles/why-indoor-plants-are-good-for-your-health-and-mental-well-being/25844

 


Homemade Body Products July 27, 2018 00:00

I love supporting South African small businesses, but I love making my own things even more.

There's something so satisfying about making your own beauty products. It feels like you're taking extra special care of yourself by carefully selecting ingredients and choosing your perfect fragrance.

I am not qualified in any way to make body products. These are just some very simple recipes I use for myself after some research and trial and error. Maybe they'll also work for you!

To start off with, find a few great essential oils you love. You need to test these on your skin to make sure they don't cause an allergic reaction and perhaps it's a good idea to check with your medical practitioner before continuing if you're afraid you might have an adverse reaction to them.

I have some family and friends in the States, so I'm lucky enough to get DoTerra oils which are incredibly pure and can even be taken orally. I also use Soil organic essential oils, a proudly South African brand.

My favourites are grapefruit, bergamot, lavender, black pepper, cedar wood and citrus bliss. Depending on my mood, I'll open smell them all and then just decide which I'm drawn to on that day, and mix them accordingly. Most of the ones I like are mood enhancers.

Hand Oil

I've played around with so many variations with this one, using avocado, grapeseed, coconut, almond and olive, but in the end, my favourite is just the simplest.

I pour some extra virgin olive oil into a glass spray bottle I saved, throw in my essential oils and voila! I have perfectly moisturised hands and cuticles immediately.

I find the olive oil sinks into the skin beautifully after just a few minutes, and the effects definitely last the longest for me.

Hand And Body Exfoliator

Melt some coconut oil in a saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the stove and add an equal part of fine Himalayan salt, and your favourite essential oils.

Let everything cool and then pop it into the fridge for the coconut oil to solidify.

Once it's solid, whip it up with a hand beater. The air you beat into it makes it much easier to use.

Decant it into a glass jar and use as needed! The salt exfoliates and the coconut oil helps moisturise as well. Double whammy!

Luxurious Body Butter

Melt equal parts shea butter, cocoa butter and olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat and remove.

Add your fav oils.

Wait for it to cool and then pop it into the fridge to solidify. It might take quite a bit longer for this to happen than with the exfoliator.

Whip it with a hand beater and decant into a glass jar. 

This mixture has saved my skin from the dry Jozi Winter. I can't do without it!

 

Do you have any special lotions or potions you make for yourself? I'd love to try your recipes!

 


Pets and Self-Care July 19, 2018 19:10

I recently had to put my cat Audrey down. She was 14 years old and had massive tumours on her kidneys.

She was really thin when I came back from my trip, and seemed to gain weight in the week after I returned, but her health just suddenly deteriorated.

I was an awful way to start the week having to make such a decision, but I'm really glad the option was available to me. She was so ill and I could see she was in a lot of pain, so instead of putting her through more tests or surgery which would've ended with the same result, I stood with her while she quietly slipped away.

And even though I knew it was the right decision, watching the life drain out of her because of a decision I made was really awful. As they injected her I momentarily, but strongly, wanted to undo it.

This whole experience got me thinking about how our pets help support us emotionally, and how so much of my self-care is tied with taking care of them.

There's been a lot of press recently about people taking flights with their companion animals, most notably a woman's emotional support peacock was banned from a flight.

I understand that pets are a little different to companion or support animals, but I think they're just as valuable.

Google brings up hundreds of reasons why pets are beneficial to you. This is what I have found to be most beneficial in my life.

 

They Are Always Happy To See Me

No matter what your day was like. Whether you ran out in a hurry without saying goodbye, or if you were a little agitated when they insisted on sleeping on your legs, you are always greeted with joy.

I Am Always Happy To See Them

There's never any residual resentment or expectation. I feel free to love them wholeheartedly and without limitation, and that feeling alone is so liberating.

They Don't Judge Me

If you've had a spat of critique or feel like you can't seem to get things right, my pets have always reminded me that I am enough as I am. I don't need to change. I don't need to be more or less than I already am.

They Remind Me Of Simple Pleasures

Whenever I lose my way in the mire of adulting, they remind me of the pleasure of stroking their soft, velvety ears, or how soothing it is to have a cat purr on your lap, or the shared joy of a dog fetching a ball.

They simplify a complicated life by reminding me that just being in a moment is more than enough.

They Make The Best Company

Just knowing that another creature is around, makes me feel part of a little core family. I feel we belong to, and look after, each other.

They comfort me when I've had a bad day, because somehow they intuitively sense my mood.

 

Do you have pets? Have you found having pets enriches your life experience?

 

 

 

 

 


Feel Great Naked - some self-care tips August 25, 2017 09:00

If anything could be considered subjective, it’s definitely how you feel naked. We beat ourselves up over so many things, but being naked really strips down all the layers (pun intended) and leaves us completely vulnerable. Perhaps that’s the beauty of it – that there’s no armour to hide behind, no emotional toughness, just you and your personality. 

And then of course, the “I’m naked and all my flaws are on display” thing comes up. I think it takes someone with confidence of steel not to feel overexposed at least in some way, and even then I’m not sure I’d buy it. Or perhaps these are all just my own issues…

So while I love being completely natural and I enjoy being naked, I also have my own little home-spa routine. Once a week I like to spend some time grooming. Here’s my (very personal) routine, which (surprise, surprise) I do it while lounging around in my favourite kimono.

 

  1. I usually start by putting a hair treatment in my hair. I love the Dr Hauschka Strengthening Hair Treatment which works its magic on my hair and scalp while I carry on with the rest.
  2. I never go for manicures or pedicures. This may or may not have something to do with me being a perfectionist (but you didn’t hear it from me) and I feel I do a much better job than anyone else could. I have my own fantastic cuticle cutter and pusher which make this job (somewhat) fun. I file, trim, clip, buff and push until I don’t have any snags. I follow this up with my own exfoliator which is basically melting coconut oil over a low heat, then adding fine grain sea salt. Once that’s cooled and hardened, I beat it so it’s all frothy, and store it in a mason jar. I use this every day and it leaves my hands feeling soft and moisturized.
  3. Next I apply the Skin Creamery Facial Cleansing Powder as a mask.
  4. I run a lovely deep bath and add some delicious smelling essential oils and Epsom salts to ease my muscles that usually have to work very hard for me – I love exercise and am very active.
  5. I scrub up with Mies Body Scrub, and wash with Kalyan soap.
  6. Then of course comes all the depilation. I shave the old-fashioned way, using a safety razor. I’ve found it so much better and more cost effective than any other method. Hair removal creams just smell awful and waxing has always given me ingrown hairs, no matter what I tried.
  7. I wash my hair with Africa Organics Baobab Shampoo.
  8. I make my own body butter which feels so luxurious, I want everyone to try it. I melt over a low heat, equal amounts of cocoa butter and coconut oil, and add my favourite essential oils. Just bear in mind the cocoa butter smells very chocolatey, so use oils that’ll complement it. Once it’s cooled and set, I beat it up until it’s frothy and store it in a mason jar. Yum!

 

But besides all these external things, what makes me feel best naked is a brisk walk, preferably with my dog, and eating seasonal fruit and vegetables. And even beyond all that, what makes me feel fantastic naked is knowing that my body is a magical feat of engineering that should be honoured and treasured no matter what aesthetic I feel pressured to impose on it.