Tag Archives: health

Self-Care Parent “Bucket List”

How do you get your own bucket filled so you can pour into your family when you’re feeling like there isn’t much left to pour out?

 

Below I share a few ideas for quick pick-me-ups to help when you’re running on empty.  But I am fully aware that there can be such a deep dark pit that it takes more than just a few quick bucket-filling ideas to make much difference.  Please do not give up hope and do not give up searching and reaching for the help that you need.  It’s there.  Keep looking and keep looking up (to God and his help and ginormous love for you)!

 

I found some things were not so helpful before things began to be noticeably different.  Some things were helpful, but it took a while.  If you are interested in more of what helped me rise up out of the deep, dark pit I found myself in not too long ago, please reach out.  I know not everyone’s situation is the same and there will be different needs.  So I don’t presume to know exactly what your situation or needs are.  I’m certainly not a medical person so nothing I say here is intended to diagnose, treat or cure.

 

But I do know everyone needs Jesus.  And he is the great healer.  He can use all manner of resources or none at all!  That said, here are some quick and easy ideas for bucket-filling on days you need a little pick-me-up.

Self-care “Bucket List”

Dawn’s TOP Ideas for Re-filling a Poured-out Parent’s Bucket

As a mom of seven, I am familiar with the constant need for parents to pour themselves out for their families.  I’m also familiar with the feeling that you are running on fumes. That bucket is feeling pretty dry at times.

 

We sometimes tend to feel like we are being selfish to do something for ourselves that is more than tending to basic needs.  I’ve felt that way myself at times. But I’m learning that I am my own best resource. And taking care of me as a good steward of my resources is necessary to offer the best I can to those I hold most dear.  When taking care of yourself means taking better care of your family, I don’t think that’s selfish or self-centered.

 

What exactly is Stewardship?

 

“stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all-encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves.”  ~ Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics    

 

When our self-care is from a motive and perspective of stewardship rather than selfishness we can then understand that taking good care of ourselves is our responsibility.  As a Christian, I know that I am not my own. I belong to God and have a responsibility to him to do the best with what he has given me. If I am an emotional wreck or sleep-deprived shell of myself, I may need to do some adjusting.  

 

Without further ado, here are a few of my top ideas for getting that parent bucket filled.  You can use this as a jumping off point to add more ideas of your own that will likely be even better as they are personal to you.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

 

#1 Connect with a (non-judgmental) friend.

If you can do it it’s great to connect face to face; otherwise take a few minutes to connect in the best way you can whether that be a call, text or video chat.

#2 Let something go so you can get more/better sleep.

However you do it whether you go to bed a bit earlier, sleep a bit later or slip in an afternoon nap it’s ok to get some rest!  Do you know that sleep time is very important for certain hormone production?

 

At night, I like to use essential oils to help me relax and get some shut-eye:  One of my favorite sleep blends is Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Lavender together in a diffuser or roller bottle topped with a carrier oil like olive oil or in a bedside cool mist diffuser.

 

#3 Read or watch something lighthearted.

Laughter is good medicine and can be just the thing to lighten your perspective.  Watching a fun movie with the family can be a good way to soften built up tensions with a shared experience.

 

#4  Indulge in a special snack.

It doesn’t have to be the most calorific snack or anything guilt-laden.  But just as a snack can diffuse the “hangry” in kids, it might help us too!

 

#5 Deep Breathing.

At one point, during a particularly stressful time, I set alarms on my phone to take a few moments and do some deep breathing throughout the day.  . . . In 2, 3, 4 . . . out 2, 3, 4 . . .

 

#6 Take a luxurious bath (or at least a long shower break)!

Self-care may be getting back to the basics if you’ve been in survival mode.  Using delightfully scented soaps, shampoos, and bath salts and following up with a light lotion or skin oil can make you feel pretty pampered.  

 

I like to use toxin-free soaps and shampoos infused with essential oils.  

 

#7 Get Moving!

Perhaps it’s not resting you need as much as to get moving.  Exercise, even just a little, can be a good pick-me-up. Plus, as an added bonus, exercise can even help you to sleep better —  provided it’s not too close to bedtime.

 

#8 Drink something.

Even slight dehydration can get you feeling yucky.  So drink water or another hydrating beverage to stay hydrated. *One of my favorites is Ningxia Zing!  

 

#9 Go Outdoors!

For eons, parents have known to send their kiddos outside for better health all over the world.  Guess what? It goes for adults, too! Fresh air and the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D) are necessary for each of us.

 

#9 – Listen to Happy Music!

Alone or better yet – – with the kiddos – – listening to music (and even sing and dance along) is a great way to bring on the smiles.

 

#10 Take time to read a Bible passage and pray.

This is important to me as a Christian.  The Holy Bible is God’s Word, his messages to us.  I speak to him through prayer and he speaks to me through his Word.  

 

Would you like to know more?  I’d love to share how you can become a Christian and have this personal relationship with one-on-one communication with The God of all Creation!  

 

And if you are interested in finding out more about how you can get started with essential oils and related products, let me know.  The ones I use and recommend have the Seed to Seal commitment that is an important quality control measure that puts them head and shoulders above the rest.  

 

See my Virtual Business Card for ways you can contact me for more.

~Dawn

 

Help! My Adopted Child is Terrified of Sleep

For the first year or so home, my youngest (adopted) child literally screamed himself to sleep.  One of my adopted daughters would often yell out in her sleep (still does occasionally after 10 years), never fully waking up and never remembering it in the morning.  Another one of our adopted children used to get to sleep okay, but get up during the night or wee hours of the morning, unable to fall back to sleep (and wander the house which also caused problems).

Adults may be able to self-talk and work through their night-time anxieties, but kids have less experience and big imaginations!  Even as adults we understand that worries, fears, concerns often loom larger at bed-time, weighing on us.  But children from traumatic backgrounds may have an even harder time with all of this.  It’s harder for them to separate what’s real and what’s not, especially at night.  And it can really affect their sleep which affects their days and the rest of the family, too.  The cycle can spiral downward if it doesn’t stop.

Lack of good, restful sleep on an ongoing basis can affect a number of things and can be detrimental to their health.  It is during sleep that our brains make a clean sweep of accumulated toxins, so among other things we can think clearer the next day.  It’s during sleep that production of several hormones rises, including growth hormone.  Ever hear that children grow in their sleep?  Lack of growth hormone can impact not only growth in height but even cellular repair.  Another hormone, lack of melatonin, the sleep hormone can cause greater sleep problems.  A strong immune system is supported by good sleep.

Sleep is should be restorative and our children need even more sleep than we as adults do in order to function optimally during the day.  I recommend making sleep a priority for your entire household.  Try not to deal with stressful issues near bedtime.  If you can table it until morning, do so.  If there is always conflict over pajamas or tooth brushing, drop the issue or do a workaround – – maybe brush teeth right after dinner so it’s over and done long before bedtime, for example.

We are super careful not to use supplements with food coloring or msg (an excitotoxin to the brain).  But using melatonin has helped so much, as well as other supplements depending on the person,  and specific essential oils that are beneficial for sleep either for calming or with a sedative effect or to help alleviate racing/troubling thoughts.  Some are effective to help with pain that may seem worse at night and be a hindrance to getting to sleep.  There are different ones for different issues.  With my large family, we have had lots of sleep issues which vary from person to person.  I know I personally cannot take anything that will up my blood pressure.  Essential oils have been a huge help to me, too as well as my kids.  Wish I had had them sooner!

I want to emphasize that there are a lot of reasons you or your child may have difficulties sleeping.

IMPORTANT:  I am not a doctor and nothing in this post is meant to diagnose, treat or cure anything.  Please see your healthcare provider for any medical issues.  I am not giving medical advice here.

And please don’t give up looking for the right solutions.  There ARE solutions and it IS important.

When you become your own sleep detective you may gain new insight as to what you can change in your daily routines for optimal sleep to take place.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools. 

Contact me to request my free “Sleep Detective” PDF booklet to download.  It’s a fun way to help your child or teen start to focus on their need for sleep and empower them to be an active force in making positive changes.

And if you like the content on this blog you might like to check out Yesterday’s Orphan on Facebook with the link in the sidebar.

 

 

When Sleep is Elusive

I recently hosted a 5-day Sleep Challenge (my first time to host a Facebook challenge group experience!) and I want to share here about some key thoughts.

One, sleep is crucial.

It is not something you can really do without and still function at your best.  Sure you can burn the candle at both ends or pull an all-nighter once in a while and get by with it, but not as a regular habit.  Before long, the spiral downward will take its toll.   So getting a new mindset about sleep may be a big deal for you if you tend to view sleep as the enemy.

Two, a good night’s sleep starts early.

It’s not enough to decide to go to bed on time.  (Whatever time that is may need some analysis. We talked about this in the challenge group.)  You can make adjustments throughout the day that may be a benefit to your ability to get to sleep and sleep soundly through the night.  While I am all for napping, for instance, it may help to discern if your napping – – perhaps the timing or length of them – – is negatively affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep more often than not.  If so, it’s an easy (and free!) adjustment to make sure your naps are helpful, not harmful to your overall quality of sleep.  Some people may need to add a nap if their current schedule does not allow for their optimal amount of night-time sleep.  Guilt-free, of course!  Throughout our sleep challenge, I asked the participants to keep a sleep journal.  This helped to track items throughout the day that could possibly be affecting their sleep at night.  Some other possibilities were caffeine/stimulants; evening snacking; stress and worries; pain.  Of course, there are lots of things that can hinder sleep.  And none of this was/is intended to diagnose/treat/cure anything medical.  (I recommend you see your healthcare practitioner for any medical concerns.)

Three, there are solutions!

While not exhaustive, our sleep challenge pointed to possible solutions and at the end of the challenge I offered a free resource guide with my recommendations for products to help with sleep that I have gleaned from my own experience (and that of my large family who have had a variety of sleep struggles), and others recommendations.  As with our sleep challenge group (I told them they would become their own Sleep Detectives!) it can take some focus time to sleuth out the issues that are negatively affecting your sleep and put in place a workable plan that will address them successfully.

If you are in need of consistently better sleep, I would like to share my resource list with you as well as my Sleep Detective Journal so you can become your own Sleep Detective!

Hit CONTACT above and shoot me your email and I’ll send both documents right out.

Sweet dreams . . .zzzzzz

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools.

I have begun using some fantastic essential oils and other products that make a big difference in helping some of my family members with often overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus better.

Hit Reply (if you are reading this in e-mail) or Contact (if you are on the website) above or below to learn more about our toxin-free natural plant-based personal care products and dietary supplements and how they can help you and your family, too.

 

Staying Fragrant

This spring has been a banner year for roses.  My old (neglected) rose bush is blooming.  My neighbor with the green thumb said a bush that hasn’t bloomed in nine years is blooming this year! I remember as a child my grandmother’s double driveway was lined with beautiful roses through the middle and the scent was so lovely!   Pure Rose essential oil is a bit pricey, but no wonder!  It takes 22 pounds of rose petals for a 5-ml bottle of Rose essential oil.  Rose oil is one of the most valuable essential oils you can acquire! (Let me know if you want to order some from my online store.)

Spring time is a great time to focus on being fragrant – – and I’m not just talking flowers & fragrances here.  As we focus on the attractiveness and beauty of the abundant and fragrant rose blooms this time of year, we can draw an analogy to ourselves and how we want to “stay fragrant” in our relationships with others.

Let’s replace smelly, unattractive behaviors (ours and our kids’) with more attractive, fragrant ones!

I designed this poster to help us do just that  – – to help us think about and teach ways to “stay fragrant” this spring and summer.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~~Proverbs 22:6

With three key points, it can help us avoid being reactive in negative, even harmful ways and help our kids understand that people can respond in a more careful, intentional way that they purposefully choose, rather than allowing themselves to be controlled by knee-jerk reactions that are not well-thought out and not beneficial.

This colorful poster tells us to “stay fragrant” and to “Be the bigger (inner) person”.

stay fragrant poster YO

  1. Point one is to have Self-respect — with the affirmation: “I respect myself more than to speak or act in that way.  I won’t let you draw me into your misbehavior”  These affirmations may not necessarily need to be said addressed to anyone else and are meant mainly as helpful self-talk.
  2. The second point is Self-control — with the affirmation:  “I may feel upset, but I am not out of control.  I will feel better in a bit.”   Naming feelings out loud, such as in this affirmation, may help identify the feeling and help facilitate self-control, so though it is self-talk, speaking aloud might be useful, here, depending on the situation.
  3. The third is Personal Boundaries, Values & Commitments — with the affirmation:  “I choose for me. You choose for you.”  Allowing that others can have differing opinions and make different choices can help keep the peace and move forward in a number of different types of situations.

Save, print or jot these down as reminders to yourself and to teach and practice with your kids this spring.

And if you’d like a copy of the poster, I’d be happy to have one (or more) printed and mailed to you for $12 each.  Just contact me by email.

Hope this helps you and your family to have a smooth spring & summer!

Could Your Child have Parasites?

Parasites! Uggh!  

 

Who wants to think of the possibility that their child has a parasite problem?  But it is often a problem for adopted children, particularly internationally adopted children.  Overcrowded orphanages, poor hygiene and poor diet can contribute to the likelihood of a parasite infection.  

 

Testing & Treatment

 

Once home, your child’s doctor should do the recommended testing for parasites.  However it is not always that easy. I remember our oldest adopted daughter absolutely refusing to do the stool test at nine years old.  The most current recommendations I have see are for three rounds of stool tests. Signs and symptoms of parasite infestation are often general and vague, making it harder to recognize the connection to the possibility of parasites.  Vague abdominal signs could be attributed to any number of things such as new and unfamiliar foods, allergies, etc.

 

Two of my biological children have had parasite treatment through our functional medical doctor after Lyme disease caused them to have greatly lowered immune systems.  Even in the U.S., people with impaired immune systems are more susceptible to parasites. Many people do a parasite detox or cleanse once or twice per year. There are many options available over the counter, but I highly recommend requesting the CDC recommended parasite testing for internationally adopted children through your doctor if not already done and following the doctor’s recommendations for treating any positive findings of parasites.  

 

Tips for Parasite Prevention

 

As I have learned more about the prevalence of parasites and just how commonplace they are, I now understand that parasites are very opportunistic and can rapidly gain a foothold when there is a lowered immune system.  Therefore, keeping the immune system strong and healthy is key to keeping parasite infections from causing trouble.

 

Many, many things can lower the immune system’s defenses, even temporarily, giving any present parasites an opportunity to spread.  Illness, stress (as with bringing a new person into the family or moving into a new family), even vacations!

 

Good hygiene is imperative. To teach and enforce good hygiene from the get-go is an important step that I am sure you are already aware of.  Hand washing; Not sharing of utensils, hair brushes, toothbrushes, drinks; etc. Some of the things a younger child would normally have already learned may need to be taught your older adopted child, plus they may need to “un-learn” some habits and practices.  (Nail biting and thumb sucking are difficult to curb!) Mouthing objects like a much younger child can introduce unwanted “germs” (viruses, bacteria, and parasites).

It is worth it to spend the time to focus and really train good hygiene practices early on, as all through life a healthy immune system is going to be a good foundation for health and prevention of not only parasites but other health maladies.  

 

In addition, though your child may not show any definitive symptoms of parasites, they could be present and easily spread to the rest of the family.  We know when traveling to a foreign country where parasites are rampant, the local folks may not show symptoms but travelers are often advised not to drink the water or eat any uncooked vegetables.  Those who do are often hold up with some painful symptoms, unable to enjoy the remainder of their trip due to an acute parasite infection. So it’s worth it to zero in on good hygiene practices for the whole family (Hey, we can all use a reminder sometimes).  

 

Be aware also that there are gentler household products that clean as well or better than some of the commonly available products with harsh ingredients.  Some of the common ingredients can not only aggravate pre-existing conditions (our youngest adopted child had persistent respiratory problems and severely dry skin), but can sometimes do further damage to an already lowered immune system.  We avoid the now common hand sanitizers and either use good old fashioned hand washing with soap and water, or the waterless hand purifier available through Oils for Orphans that does not strip away the skin’s natural protectants.

 

Good nutrition is certainly a great way to boost their immune systems and help them get over some of the issues they may have upon coming home.  Of course with picky eaters it may not be as easy as it seems. And then the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) may be better than what they had if it was severely restricted, but yet not optimal.  If malnourished (and with possible parasites) even the food that they are eating may not be being utilized well in the body. You may ask your doctor about supplements and look into getting the most bang for the bite by offering nutrient dense foods more often and tweaking some of your recipes to include them.  Just google “nutrient dense foods list” from which to make your own list of foods to try. Just because your kid won’t eat liver doesn’t mean there isn’t something else that may become a favorite.

 

A transition diet may even be in order if they need healing time for gut health to improve.  Your doctor or dietician can give more help, but these are things to consider and perhaps ask about.  Being careful not to introduce harmful pesticides through serving mostly organic produce that is thoroughly washed is important, as is helping them flush out toxins that may have accumulated plus those they are continuing to accumulate.  A high antioxidant diet can be beneficial and can boost the elimination process. One of the ways parasites do damage is from the toxins they secrete in the human body, and eliminating these (as well as the parasites when they die) is paramount.

 

Supplements

 

While you are working on getting your child to eat healthy, a good multivitamin or at least a B-complex vitamin and/or multivitamin can give them a good boost, supplementing what they get in their food, and sometimes can be easier for the body to metabolize.  An enzyme supplement can help their bodies to break down their food more effectively as well as a good quality probiotic.

 

Oils for Orphans has a range of healthy supplements without unnecessary fillers and with proven ingredients from high quality sources.  Kids like our super-food high antioxidant drink supplement, Ningxia Red with micronutrients. With Ningxia Red you may want to begin with a half-ounce or quarter-ounce and work up to a recommended one ounce daily serving (two ounces for adults).  

 

Wherever you get your supplements, it may be a good idea to run them by your health practitioner if you are unsure.  If medical treatment of parasites is necessary, it may be unpleasant, but very worth it for healthy digestion and ability to break down and use the nourishment available in the diet.

 

______________________________________________

If you are interested in any of our children’s supplements or other products contact me and I will be happy to help you.  You can browse the Oils for Orphans website at http://www.oilsfororphans.com