5 Ways To Recharge After Traveling

Within a weeks time span, Jared and I traveled through two states, a continent and innumerable time zones. Our total flight time was less than 24 hours, but when you include the driving time to airports, the shuttle rides to pick up and drop off the rental car, porting our luggage to and from, etc, you end up with some long days. I LOVE traveling, but find that most trips lead to temporary feelings of disorientation and fatigue.

At least that’s how I felt when we landed in Melbourne last Tuesday night at 11:30pm. My higher self told me to ease into the week and focus on finding my footing and self care. My ego told me to get after it. This post is titled “5 ways to unwind and recharge after traveling” and in fact, I didn’t start doing any of them until a few days ago. I knew what I needed to do to stay healthy, but I turned against my intuition and actually ended up getting a nasty head cold (which I’ve been fighting for the entire week!)

So finally, I’m listening to my instincts and following my own advice when it comes to taking care of myself post travel.

 5 Ways To Recharge After Traveling - view from the plane, Honolulu, Hawaii

1.) Yoga, Yoga, Yoga:

There are so many ways travel can wreck your body - like sitting cramped in an airplane for hours or sleeping on a mattress that’s a lot firmer or softer than the one you have at home. Do your muscles, ligaments and spine a favor and streeeeetch them out. You don’t even have to leave the house if you don’t want to! The online platform Yoga Glow allows you to take classes on the go and is great if you’re a persistant traveler.

  • You can register for a free 15 day trial here.

2.) Catch Up On Zzzz’s:

Even if you had the most relaxing vacation possible, your body needs to start prepping for your normal routine and reality. Plan your trip so you get back on a Friday or Saturday and have at least one or two days to get back on schedule. I’ve made the mistake of booking a flight back home on a Sunday night and turning around to be at work Monday morning and it wasn’t pretty. This will be especially important if you’re changing time zones.

  • Do you have trouble falling asleep? I’m a huge devotee of yoga nidra. This sleeptime practice by Elena Brower is my favorite. If you love podcasts, try listening to Sleep With Me (episodes are 1-2 hours long). The host takes a story and edits it, than goes on tangents to make it extra boring to help lure you to sleep.

3.) Simplify Your Diet:

Does your diet change when you travel? Mine does! I still stick to a (mostly) pescatarian diet but I do indulge in eating out and am much more relaxed about sugar (I love going to bakeries and just can’t say no to almond croissants and chocolate chip cookies!) My 98 year old grandmother says “everything in moderation” and I try follow that advice when it comes to food, but when I finally get home, it feels good to spend the first few days cooking at home and eating more simply.

4.) Diffuse Relaxing & Grounding Essential Oils:

After a few days or weeks of exciting, spontaneous travel adventures, I am so ready for calming and stabilizing energy. Diffusing essential oils can help you connect with the present, get your thoughts center and refocus back on routines. I use doTerra’s Balance blend which combines Spruce Leaf, Ho Wood Leaf, and Frankincense Resin for a sweet Earthy smell. Other great groudning oils include Sandalwood, Myrrh, and Ylang Ylang.

5.) Limit Digital Intake:

Travel often involves a lot of stimulation, especially if you’re going somewhere with a different language and culture to navigate. Just exploring a new city or neighborhood takes mental energy! I rely on the internet a lot when I’m traveling to research the best coffee shops, yoga studios and restaurants, not to mention Google Maps is perpetually on to help me find my way around. Once home, I do my best to stay clear of technology until 8am and power down after 5:30pm. It’s SO hard to do but I feel calmer and sleep better when I limit my screentime.

Give these a try after your next travel and tell me how if any of them work for you. If you have additional ideas on how to unwind and recharge after travel, leave them in the comments below. :)

Top 5 Essential Oils to Support a Healthy Immune System

It’s common to come down with a cold/ the flu as the season changes from fall to winter. Did you know that the drop in temperature actually permits a different group of viruses to flourish? Unfortunately, it also creates conditions that help germs survive and thrive.

It makes you want to shut out the cold and protect yourself indoors right? But indoors you’re actually exposed to more germs! They love to live on doorknobs, keyboards, sink faucets, toilet handles, countertops, and a slew of other items. Combine all of that with a weak immune system, and the body has a hard time fighting off illness.

 Top 5 Essential Oils to Support a Healthy Immune System - doTerra Oils for health and wellness

To avoid getting sick, the most commonsense advice is to eat healthy, stay hydrated, get 6-8 hours of sleep at night, and wash your hands well and often. But there is another, easy way to boost your immune system and help protect the body from viruses and bacteria.  

Add essential oils to your wellness toolkit!

Before we dive into which essential oils are best for supporting the immune system, let’s define what an essential oil is and a few different ways you can use them.

Essentials Oils and How to Use Them

Essential oils are the highly concentrated version of the natural oils in plants.  The oils are obtained by distillation (most commonly by water or steam), where many parts of the plant including plant roots, leaves, stems, flowers and bark are being used. The oil has the fragrance and properties of the plant, including the smell, as well as the plant’s healing properties.  

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their therapeutic and healing benefits. If you haven’t added them to you natural medicine cabinet yet, the time is now.
Here are a few simple ways to incorporate essential oils into your daily life.

  • Home Diffuser: One of the easiest ways to attain the benefits of essential oils is to use diffuse them throughout your home. Diffusers are relatively inexpensive can help with relaxation, reducing congestion and inflammation and keep illnesses away.

  • Inhalation: Another simple technique is to place 1 or 2 drops in your palms cup your face and take a few rounds of deep inhales and exhales. When you inhale or breath in essential oils, they head straight to the lungs and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. *Note that some essential oils may cause skin irritation. Do your research before applying directly to the skin.

  • Massage Therapy: The skin is the largest organ of the body, and some essential oils constituents can permeate the layers of the skin and be absorbed into the bloodstream.They are absorbed more slowly when added to lotions or carrier oils but you’ll still reep the benefits. Take 1-2 drops of your preferred essential oil, mix it with coconut oil and work on areas of tension like feet, neck and shoulders.

  • Natural Cleaning Products: Instead of reaching for that bottle of Clorox, add a purifying essential oil to water and use it to clean surfaces around the house (and leave your rooms smelling pretty!)  

 doTerra oils for mental and physical health. Essential oils for the immune system.

8 Essential Oils to Support a Healthy Immune System


Each essential oil has their own unique therapeutic benefits. Listed below are a few of the top oils that support the immune system by fighting off viruses, soothing  the nervous system, and reducing stress.

  1. Eucalyptus: Does your breathing feel constricted? Reach for Eucalyptus! This essential oil is known for its ability to support upper respiratory health and promote clearer breathing. Eucalyptus also stimulates your antibodies to help fight infection and studies show it’s effective in easing tension. As we already mentioned, tension and stress weaken the immune system, so keep Eucalyptus close to promote feelings of relaxation.
    Application: Add a few drops to a soothing bath, add 1-2 drops into your palm, cup over your face and inhale a few times, or add to moisturizer and apply to skin.

  2. Melaeuca (Tea Tree): Known as the oil with limitless applications, tea tree is notorious for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It’s antiviral properties also helps to cure viral infections like the common cold and influenza. Get ahead of the curb by using it to boost immunity before you begin feeling sick.
    Application: Remove the germs in your household by using tea tree oil as a cleaner. Combine tea tree oil with lemon, water and distilled white vinegar to create your own natural antimicrobial household cleaner. Or, add a few drops to a pot of water and heat until it begins steaming. Drape a towel over your head and take take breaths for a few minutes to help alleviate inflammation and open airways.

  3. Frankincense: The “King of Oils” is here to save the day. Frankincense supports healthy cellular function, reduces pain and inflammation and promotes feelings of relaxation.  All things you want when battling an illness. Research has shown that the antiseptic and disinfectant oil has immune-boosting abilities that can help combat bacteria and viruses, and it’s an antiseptic and disinfectant that has the ability to eliminate flu and cold germs.
    Application: Diffuse in the house, add 1-2 drops to the palm of your hand and inhale several times, or apply to the bottom of the feet with a carrier oil to promote feelings of relaxation.

  4. Rosemary: Rosemary oil helps with detoxification and encourages the cleansing of the lymphatic system, which is responsibility for cleansing out cells and clearing the body of waste. Rosemary also works as a potent stress reliever. Stress, as we know, is one of the main culprits of poor immunity. So if you’re feeling or  anxious or fatigued, break out the Rosemary and try to restore a relaxed state of mind.
    Application: Add a few drops of oil with a carrier oil and give yourself a lymphatic massage or add a few drops to a relaxing bath.

  5. Cinnamon:  It smells good, tastes good, and it’s good for you! Cinnamon oil is more potent than the dried spice and has additional unique compounds. The health benefits can be attributed to its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and astringent properties. These work together to support healthy metabolic function and maintain a healthy immune system. Stimulating the immune system with cinnamon oil will get you one step ahead of the cold or virus, or might help you recover faster if you’ve already caught something.
    Applications:  Add 2–3 drops in a spray bottle for an effective cleaning spray add 1 drop in tea or hot water to soothe an achy throat, or simply diffuse around the home.

**If you decide to purchase from doTERRA, I LOVE their proprietary On Guard blend which features; Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils.

Essential oils provide a natural and effective alternative for immune support. Help protect your body from seasonal threats by adding the oils listed above to your medicine cabinet and let me know if you have any other favorites that you use to boost immunity!  

Self Care Practices for the Fall Season

What does wellness mean to you?

Our personal definition of wellness may vary, but a look through advertisements and social media points to a culture that believes wellness can be bought. You’re on the path to wellness if you have the trendiest yoga leggings, drink matcha every morning, go on juice cleanses every few months, and are able to drop cash for a wellness retreat. Now just to be clear, I wear lululemon (and worked for the company for 2+ years), I think matcha is delicious (but will always choose coffee), I’ve gone through the master cleanse (never again), and lust over yoga retreats in Bali.

I’m not trying to label these practices as ‘bad’, but wellness is being commodified, and true holistic wellbeing can’t be acquired through products and purchases. More than that, when wellness is sold and priced almost exclusively for the privileged (eating organic, studio class passes, athleisure, all come with a hefty price tag) it turns wellness into a private club.

When I reflect on my own journey, I can pinpoint my well-being to things that are either free or don’t cost much money; getting out into nature, writing in my journal, soulful conservations with friends, meditation, practicing yoga, intentional breathing, and cooking meals at home all make me feel grounded, connected and balanced.

I believe wellness is for everybody. If we can strip away the detoxes, face masks and epsom salt baths, we can find self love and self care as a whole; body, mind and spirit. With that in mind, here are a few accessible self care tips for the fall season. And I would love to hear how you’re showing yourself love.

 Photo @howsheviewsit

Photo @howsheviewsit


Self-Care for the Mind

  1. Ask For What You Need: Seasons change and needs do to. Communication can be challenging, and the idea of asking for something makes a lot of us nervous. What if they think I’m selfish? What if I’m asking for too much? What if they think I don’t deserve it? What if they decide to leave? Shame, guilt, worry and the never-ending lists of “what ifs” often keep us from communicating our true needs. And it’s scary to say what you want. It’s vulnerable to ask for it. But clear communication and direct asking allows people to step up / into your life and help where you need it most.

  2. Seek Whitespace: Whitespace is breathing space, and I think we could all use a little more of that. We need solo quiet time so we reflect and create new ways of being. Are you uncomfortable with silence and being alone? Ask yourself why. What are you afraid of? Remember that you are not the thoughts in your head. You are not the noise that you constantly hear. Stop accepting and engaging with your craziest thought patterns. Find space in your day to simply sit, breathe and be with your thoughts without judging them.

3. Take Your Sleep Cycle Seriously: If you are looking for increased energy, a clear mind and improved productivity, make sleep a priority. Here are a few suggestions to adopt to your bedtime habits.

  • Go to bed and wake up each day around the same time.

  • Buy an alarm clock and remove electronics from the bedroom

  • Go tech-free at least 30 minutes before bed

  • Diffuser lavender oil or add a few drops to your pillow


Self-Care for the Body

enchantments11-min.jpg

1. Eat What’s In Season:  I hate saying goodbye to my smoothies and salads, but it’s time to move on to warming soups and roasted vegetable bowls. Specific crops and harvest dates of fall produce will depend on where you live, but generally, you’ll find a delicious group of fruits and veggies like apples, beets, carrots, peppers and squash at your local farmers market. Eating seasonally not only helps you to be more in sync with the natural world, it’s usually better for the environment because foods grown locally require less energy and resources to produce and transport.

2. Hike to See Fall Foliage: Here in Washington, hiking in fall rivals hiking in summer (some may even prefer it). The trails are quieter, the trees are bursting with color and pesky mosquitoes are a thing of the past. And of course, there’s larch madness. We have a short but sweet few weeks where the larch tree needles turn golden, magically changing the forest into an otherworldly site. Here are a few of my favorite fall hikes.

  • Lake Ingalls

  • Maple Loop Pass

  • Paddy Go-Easy

  • Cutthroat Pass

  • The Enchantments


Self-Care for the Soul

1.) Do Things That You Enjoy: And don’t feel guilty about it. Do you enjoy watching re-runs of Friends in your pajamas till 1pm on Sunday? Go for it! Do you want to read in a coffee shop by yourself? Or bake 4 different cookie recipes? Or peruse the flea market looking for vintage finds? Whatever it is, be mindful of the activities that bring you moments of gratitude and appreciation for your life.

2.) Meet With a Therapist: We visit physical therapists for our bodies, why not psychologists for our minds? Thankfully, our culture is having more conversations about mental health and going to a therapist doesn’t have the stigma it once did. A common misconception is that you need to be at rock bottom before you make an appointment. Seeing a therapist can be a preventative measure, especially in the context of our relationships. While sessions are usually on the expensive side, there are centers/practitioners who will work with patients on a sliding scale.

Your turn! What self-care practices are you engaging in? Leave your questions or comments below. 

Keep Reading - Health & Wellness Posts

Digital Detox | It's Time to Power Down

After the umpteenth time of mindlessly tapping into Instagram and resuming the routine scroll, I felt really fed up with myself. I had never contemplated the idea that I was addicted to digital media, but the unsettling feeling that occurred after every social media binge pointed to an unhealthy and unchecked habit.

But it wasn't just social media. It was the 15+ podcasts I subscribe too, the countless newsletters that arrive in my inbox, the marketing blogs I read, and the breaking news notifications on my phone. Without me physically removing myself from technology or setting boundaries, there was always something to have my eyes on or my ears open too.

The signs were so clear. I was too plugged in, distracted, and overstimulated. Sound familiar? 
 

On the one hand, I can't deny the benefits and advantages of digital media. I can thank the internet for several friendships, work opportunities, the ability to keep in touch with family, and the option to work remotely. On the other hand, I also can't deny that I waste a lot of time on it, and it often leads to feeling of comparison and inadequacy. In an effort to understand the way digital media is changing our lifestyle and to discern my own behavior with it, I started looking into research.

 Photo by Ben Kolde - Unsplash

Photo by Ben Kolde - Unsplash

BBC published an article earlier this year breaking down what science suggests about the impact that platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram have on our mental well-being. According to the article, 3 billion people use social media and spend an average of 2 hours a day on it.
— BBC

Not surprisingly, I found arguments for and against the use of digital media, in addition to positive and negative effects it has on our relationships, careers, children and society. 

The pros of digital media -  the ability to connect with people all over the world (and quickly), real time news and information discovery, social learning and knowledge sharing, a sense of belonging and the ability to meet new people/reconnect with old friends.

The cons of digital media - privacy issues, harassment and cyber-bullying, information overwhelm (aka too much noise), distractions and procrastination, sleep disruption and a decline in face-to-face interaction.

This is a shallow sweep of some increasingly serious issues. According to BBC"Early studies suggest that, as well as making us more connected than ever before and giving us exhilarating hits of dopamine, social media usage is associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety and loneliness in some people." Even Facebook executives admitted that the platform may pose a risk to users’ emotional well-being.

*The research done so far isn't conclusive and rely heavily on self-reporting which can often be flawed. But the mental health community has become progressively concerned about the ramifications of digital technology on our lives. 

 Photo by Ben Kolde - Unsplash

Photo by Ben Kolde - Unsplash


My Digital Detox Experience

At the end of the day, I think it's our responsibility to be cognizant in how we use, and how often we're connected to digital media. I've taken a few days away from the screen this year, the best being a 3-day unplugged retreat called Lodged Out, and more recently a 3-day backpacking trip last month.

The backpacking trip truly came at the perfect time. Nature forced me off the internet and I felt no desire to check in or share anything via social media while I was on the trail. What I did feel was present and relieved. Relieved not to be "on", relieved to not feel the impulse to be on technology, and relieved to focus on one thing, and one thing only. 

As we drove back into the city, I switched my phone on and heard the familiar ding of messages and vibrations noting new e-mails and texts. I quickly spiraled down the list of apps....

and I began to feel restless. The feelings of FOMO returned.
 

That night I decided I should continue with the digital detox for my own sanity and spiritual health. I couldn't go completely rouge (and I never will be able to unless I change professions), but I could stay off social for a few days. And it was easier than I thought. The time away gave me space to examine my relationship with it, and how and why I use it.  

With it, and when used with intention, I'm so grateful for the benefits it offers. And without it, or used with purpose, I find I feel more creative, more productive, and more in tune my feelings. It was also kind of amazing to see how I used my time when I restricted my digital media use! Here's what I did instead.... 


  1. My Damn Work: I got through double the work in half the time because I was in the flow and without the distraction of social media. Time opened up in front of me as I focused on one task at a time and moved through my to-do list without disturbance. This point alone is motivation to get my phone on airplane mode fora majority of the day! 
     
  2. I Devoured Print: It's no secret I'm a book nerd, but instead of pinning food recipes or watching uh-mazing dance choreography videos on youtube (so guilty), I went to the library and checked out more books. Here are a few titles I've gone through in the last month. 
 Photo by Florencia Viadana - unsplash 

Photo by Florencia Viadana - unsplash 

3. I Took More Walks: Do you know what Beethoven, Dickens, Darwin and Steve Jobs have in common? They all had a daily ritual of getting outside for a long walk. This time away from their work allowed ideas to percolate in a relaxed and organic way.  I'm also a fan of walks, but would usually take my phone with me and listen to a podcast or call someone. I was proud to be multi-tasking but have realized that a walk sans technology gives my ideas energy to grow and gives me time to check in with myself. 

 Photo by Heather Schwartz - Unsplash

Photo by Heather Schwartz - Unsplash

4. I Found a Passion Project: While flipping through The New Bohemians book by Justina Blakeley, I read about collecting herbs and making smudge sticks. Less than an hour later I was searching for lavender plants and cutting rosemary from our garden. I've turned a corner of our basement into a home for my herbs and love to lose track of time working with shrubs and flowers.

5. I Organized & Simplified: One morning I got the urge to go through my s$1T and really clean house. And I mean throughly clean like take things out of the freezer and organize cupboards and scrub the toilet type clean. I went through my closets and parted with items I no longer used or needed. I packed up 8+ bags for donation and finished feeling light and accomplished. I'm far from being the minimalist I would like to be, but it's definitely a start. Plus, the less time I spend on social media, the less I find myself wanting new things. 

At the end of the day, one of my main takeaways was this - my relationship with digital media can be as healthy or as unhealthy as I make it. The world continues to turn without me (or anyone) posting comments or snapshots or liking photos or retweeting 25 things a day. Mind-blowing I know.
Recognizing this re-energized my "why," my motivation to share content that's relevant, useful, positive and light-hearted.

What about you? What's your relationship to digital and social media? Share how it's helped you or challenged you in the comments below. 

10 Ways to (Naturally) Beat the Heat In Summer

Leslie+LaurainSedona(25)-min.JPG

  1. Choose Cooling Food & Drink: All food sources have their own qualities and can be categorized as either cooling, neutral/balanced or warming. Cooling foods clear heat and toxins, and help lower our core body temperature - super necessary as outside temps rise. Incorporate some of these foods into your summer meals to help stay cool and energized. 
  • Vegetables:  Cucumbers, radishes, celery, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant, spinach
  • Fruit: strawberries, mango, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, apples, banana, avocado 
  • Drinks: Coconut water, watermelon juice, water with fresh mint or cucumber 

Avoid Spicy or warming foods that will increase your core temperature; oatmeal, ginger, cinnamon, alcohol, sweet potatoes, chili, coffee. 

2. Breathe Like A Yogi: Summer heat can often bring emotions of irritation and anger (road rage x 10 anyone?) but a few rounds of Sitali breathing can help soothe you before you fly into a hot rage.
How To: Curl your tongue by pulling both sides upward toward the middle, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to 10 times. 

3. Use Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint contains menthol which provides a wonderful cooling sensation. Diffuse the oil throughout your house or make your own body mist by adding 3-5 drops of oil into a 2 oz spray bottle. You can also apply directly to the skin using a carrier oil to your wrists and temples. 

4. Know Your Bodies Pulse Points:  Pulse points are areas on the body where blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. The neck and wrist are well known points, but the inner thighs and tops of the feet work too. Getting these areas into contact with cold water can help your internal temp cool down quickly. Next time you're feeling a hot flash, try wearing a damp bandana around your neck or running cold water over your feet. Better yet, if you're near a body of water, just jump in. 

5. Avoid Being in the Sun during Peak Hours: Schedule your workouts and activities in the morning or late afternoon and try and stay indoors (where you can hopefully relax in air conditioning) from 10am-3pm. 

6. Take a Siesta: I wasn't a nap person until a few years ago. Now, I love closing my eyes for 25 minutes around 2:30pm. I wake up refreshed and with new energy to finish out the work day.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes. I can definitely attest to it's benefits! 

7. Opt For Cotton: Natural fibers like cotton allow air to circulate around the body while synthetics like polyester trap heat against the skin. Opt for loose clothing and bedding made of cotton to help regulate your body temperature. 

8. Pack the Sun Kit: When you're going to be spending time outside, pack the necessities;  sunscreen, plenty of water, sunglasses to protect your eyes, aloe vera, and a wide-brimmed hat. Try and find shade to hang out in or bring physical shelter like an umbrella to shield yourself from sun rays. 

9. Coconut Oil Massage: Coconut oil has been used for centuries in Ayurveda (India's 5,00 year old traditional, natural system of medicine) because of its healing properties and positive effects on the body and mind. Keep a jar of coconut oil in the shower and after you've soaped up, massage your lower and upper body, and face for 3-5 minutes.Pat dry and your skin will feel amazing. 

10. Relax in a Passive Yoga Pose:  Reach for your yoga mat and a pillow, and unwind in legs up the wall pose.  How To: Lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as is comfortable. From there, extend your legs up the wall so that the backs of your legs are resting fully against it. Stay for 10 minutes. This posture is super calming for the nervous system and helps cultivate a quiet mind.