Mindfulness & Stress Reduction
From massage tools, bath salts, and oils to support the digestive track. These are tools I find helpful for me in managing my everyday stressors as well as supporting the focus on relaxation and self care.
Now, many of you know that I am NOT someone who actively meditates. The struggle is real for me. And, I mean, meditation works. I know it. I have seen it. I watch what happens when my husband has not had time to mediate for awhile and how meditation allows him to lead his life from a more balanced place. AND, I am just slowly working on building up my capacity to do it myself. What I like about Headspace (and to be clear, I just have the FREE version right now on my phone) is that the meditations are short and pointed at particular target areas (sleep, anxiety, athletic performance). PLUS, and this is what I really like…they create awesome animated videos that talk through these concepts and while i may not be meditating, they allow me to tap into the concepts of thought stopping and challenging and behavioral recognition so that I can feel more balance, even if for just a moment. Is Headspace right for everyone? No. AND, I think they are worth checking out because they offer so much more than just a guided meditation. Who knows, maybe we could all join the meditation club together?
Relax Massage Oil
I have tried a ton of different massage oils but always find they are too oily (yep that is a thing) or absorb too quickly or the smell is either too weak or strong - and no this is not a Goldilocks poem where I tell you this one is "just right". But I think it is a really good oil. I use it frequently when I am rolling out or rubbing sore muscles, especially my neck and jaw where I get TMJ flare ups and I love the way it feels on my skin and especially the calming smell. It is my favorite massage oil to use with the thumbsaver and scraping tools I talk about below too.
Dr Teal's Epsom Salt
In reality, Epsom salt is Epsom salt...you can buy it anywhere and sometimes off brands are significantly cheaper than this (which I go for deals too when the quality is not too different). But the reason I love this brand and slurge for it every few months is that you can get scents like Lavendar or Eucalyptus without having to spend a ton of money on the essential oils themselves (which you tend to not use too much of anyway).
If you have the oils already or dont like the smell of lavender when taking a bath, for sure, get the lowest cost Epsom salt! But if you are like me and like to take a "fancy" bath or foot soak and the smell helps you relax or calm down, then this one is my absolutely favorite brand!
Thumbsaver Massage Tool
When my husband first showed me this tool he bought from Amazon, I wondered which direction the conversation was going to go (don't lie, the name and appearance seems weird to you too). But after he showed me how to use it when rubbing your back or legs or even feet, I was immediately in love. It helps you be able to create a much deeper pressure, especially when working on trigger points on the body, without having to exert as much energy and it also runs really smooth (especially when you use your favorite massage oil) across your muscles so it doesnt catch or push too hard in one spot. This is now my go to every time Jordan asks me to rub his back or when I need to get deeper into my own muscles - especially my back or my neck.
Throat Coat Tea
In reality, the real push here is if you like tea, drink it! Any kind :) There are so many types and kinds and, I have heard that, for many people, some teas can be helpful in combating a variety of health issues (something you would want to talk to your doctor about if you think it may have an impact on you). For me, drinking tea is a way I ensure I stay hydrated - water gets "old" after awhile - but as someone who works as a "professional talker", it is also important my throat doesn't get soar or dry from overuse. Throat Coat tea has proven to be the best tea for me in terms of the flavor and effect on my throat throughout the day - and believe me, I have tried dozens of types of tea. The licorice root and fennel are fantastic flavors and almost mimic a honey coating feel on my throat. Plus, if you want to add a little local honey, you can not only help with your throat but also help desensitize you to local allergens.
So again, it is not about buying this specific tea - just drink tea if you like it and it helps you stay hydrated or soothe your throat. And if you are like me and had a hard time finding a good one for you that helped your throat stay moist and lubricated, try this one :)
Scraping Massage Tool
When my husband first bought this tool, I was not excited. No one wants to hear the words “massage” and “scraping” in the same name, do they? Well, I am happy to attest that my imagination ram way too far down a rabbit hole of worry and that this was TRULY not the case when using this tool. Have you ever felt that gritty feeling in your muscles? You know, it kind feels like the muscle fibers are all tangled together like a long chain or necklace strand that seems to always be jumbled? Well, this tool is specifically designed to help you get through that gristle and smooth out the muscles (please note, this is definitely not a technical term I am using). If you are actively moving your body, this tool can support your recovery and help ease that tension in your muscles by getting in and “untangling” it.
I have dealt with a lot of little pains throughout my life - both as an athlete and as, well, a human. Throughout various times needing to work with a Physical Therapist, la crosse balls became a fast and true friend. These balls can work like a massage ball but are able to get in to smaller spaces, littler muscles and let you work out that tension and tightness in your muscles. I get some muscle and nerve pain in my hip/leg and have found this to be one of the only tools that allows me to really get in and work on that area. Plus, they travel really well so after you get off of a plane or a long car ride and you fell, as my mother-in-law would say, “all jammed up”, this is a great tool to aid you in the “unjamming” process.
Double Lacrosse Massage Ball
Ditto to everything I said above. The only reason I have this one listed is because this design allows you to better attack the muscles in your neck and upper shoulders. laying on this and allowing it to put pressure into those areas allows me to release the tension I hold throughout my neck. And as someone with severe TMJ, this has been a lifesaver as we all know, stress leads to tension which leads to tight muscles which, in my case. leads to intense pain throughout my jaw and neck.
Peppermint Oil Capsules
I have struggled with digestive issues for most of my life. I have been diagnosed with IBS and a spactic colon, I have been told that my body cannot break down grains easily (and thanks to 23and me, I can now see that part of that is due to genetic variations I have that don;t necessarily mean I have Celiac’s or other diagnosable concerns but show that my body just has to work a lot harder than some to process food), and, spent a little under a decade living with an active eating disorder that does all kinds of f*cked up things to your gut. And in all of this, I have tried every medication and remedy that my providers have prescribed, usually feeling flustered and frustrated every time.
Then, Jordan (my husband) told me about the new research coming out about Peppermint Oil in supporting digestive issues and had me start taking this every day, about 20-30 minutes before a meal. I didn’t think too much of it, other than it gives you very minty burps, and just figured if it did not work, it was only $15. But after a few weeks, it was clear that there was something to this product. My digestive seemed less unpredictable, I felt infinitely less bloated and felt like my energy was shifting. And now, I have shared this with several friends with GI issues who have all come to swear by it as well. That being said, stress and anxiety naturally activates the GI tract and can cause discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and more. If any of this ever happens for you, then I suggest talking to your doctor/provider* about whether or not this might be something to try.
*Note, I am not a medical provider so am unable to give you direct advice to take this supplement. Please be sure to talk directly to your provider before starting any new supplement.