Some days it feels impossible to catch your breath. For me, yesterday was such a day. With the minds of three little boys to sharpen, with the hearts of three little boys to shepherd, with clothes to be ironed, with groceries to shop for and food to prepare, with dust bunnies accumulating in every corner, with thoughts and prayers burdened for struggling friends, with year-end accounting and taxes looming on the to-do list, with commitments to keep and seemingly no time to tend to them, sometimes it just starts to feel like I can’t catch a break or a breath. Know the feeling?
This perceived struggle to breathe has nothing to do with faulty lungs, but it has everything to do with the need to relax. To let go. To find peace. To realize that all I can do is one thing at a time. To just breathe. To do what I can do and not worry about the rest. So today I’m sharing what I’ve learned about how to relax: it is absolutely essential for health, it takes conscious effort, and the easiest way to relax is to just mindfully breathe. Continue reading
In the middle of all of life’s craziness, some days you just want to feel like a princess. Your stress level is a little high, your skin is dry and dull, and a little extra pampering never hurt anyone, right? Give your skin (and yourself) a little treat with a luxurious herbal facial steam. Continue reading
Perhaps one of the most frequently overlooked and undervalued recommendations for good health is to drink more water. I suppose the fact that it is such a simple substance makes it seem inconsequential. We all know we need to drink water – and most of us know the standard recommendation to drink 8 glasses a day, but I am quite confident that people who are actually sufficiently hydrated are still in the minority. We may not be so dehydrated that we need to be hospitalized, but our bodies are certainly not operating under prime conditions.
Why Do You Need to Drink Water?
According to Know Your Body – The Atlas of Anatomy by Emmet B. Keeffe, M.D. (2001), the body is made up of approximately 70% water overall, with certain tissues, such as the brain, containing as much as 85% water. Water makes up 80% of the body’s blood, which of course is responsible for transporting nutrients throughout the body. Water is therefore instrumental in the proper and effective functioning of every system of the body: the circulatory, digestive, excretory, and musculo-skeletal systems to name a few. Without water, blood circulation is compromised and we become lethargic, we get headaches, we don’t think as clearly. Without water, we become bloated and constipated and toxins are not properly eliminated from the body. Without water, muscles and joints become stiff and prone to injuries and inflammation.
In spite of the obviously essential need to drink sufficient amounts of water, various studies (1 & 2) show that 10-24% of the American population does not drink plain water at all and the majority of the remainder do not drink enough. It’s really no wonder that so many of us have chronic “little problems” when we don’t properly supply our bodies with the one thing that they are mostly made up of: WATER.
Think back to the days of ancient civilization. A world untainted by pollution. No grocery stores packed full of frankenfoods. Just good, clean living off the earth’s bounty and hard work. Some might say we have it much easier these days. Allow me to make some generalizations of our current cultural situation? For a lot of people, work means doing something that requires little to no physical exertion. Our bodies are in poor physical condition. Most people do little more than heat up their meals, much less grow and harvest them. Everything we need to make it through our day is conveniently prepared and packaged for our use at the nearest grocery store. These “foods” are full of unhealthy fats, added sugars, excessive salt and other chemical additives and preservatives that our bodies can’t process. We are overweight but undernourished. As a result of our depleted health, we get sick too often. But not to worry, modern medicine has a “solution” to help us get through any symptoms of illness we might experience. Don’t worry about the potential side effects listed on the label…when that problem develops, there will be another great option on the drugstore shelf to help you deal with it.