How to Love Your Pregnant Friend Well

Before I reached this season of life, I had no idea how to be a good friend starting from the moment a friend announced their pregnancy.  I would offer to help host a shower or bring meals when the baby is born, but now I’ve learned from being pregnant there are a few other ways that I can care for a friend even before the bump starts to show.  These ideas may not apply to your friends who have easy pregnancies and just love that magical time in their lives (I really am so happy for them), but others may be struggling, especially in that first trimester, and could use your support.  Here are some ways you can help those mamas:

Give them some ginger drops – a friend gave some of these to me and they were a lifesaver when I started experiencing pregnancy nausea a couple weeks after taking the test.  When it hits, you have no idea what to do/try; having these on hand was quite the gift and they worked super well.  Another sweet gift for this time would be a pair of accupressure wristbands or a box of peppermint tea.

Bring them meals – someone experiencing bad pregnancy nausea + food aversions would definitely appreciate a meal they don’t have to plan/think about/shop for/cook. This could be as simple as chick-fil-a, a yogurt+strawberry+banana smoothie or comforting mac n cheese.

Reach out to hang out – Similar to chronic pain/illness, suffering from pregnancy nausea / lack of energy can be lonely.  While your friend may not be up to the usual going out for dinner or drinks, try to initiate hanging out in another way that will be more comfortable for them. Suggest you spend a couple hours relaxing in the pool, get a mani/pedi, go to a movie or set weekly dates to watch a tv show together – I always looked forward to my weekly Bachelorette nights with my girlfriends in the first few months of pregnancy because it was a time I could hang out without exerting much energy.

Help them with their baby registry – If you are already a mama, this is the perfect way to help.  Trying to decide on strollers, car seats, and all the little things you need for a newborn is overwhelming.  Registering for a wedding gifts was so easy and fun; registering for baby items can be stressful.  Plan a date at a coffee shop, order yummy tea, find a registry checklist and browse for items together, providing your recommendations and wisdom as you search.  Or go to a store together and help as they scan.  For unique items, invite them over to look over your nursery stash- we are planning to cloth diaper and a friend took me through her whole collection, explaining what worked best and what she recommended- it was so valuable as I went to register!

Pray for them & encourage them often – there were days I just wanted to sleep all day I felt so bad and I really needed some encouragement as I was trying to make it through the work day.  Having friends and my husband tell me they were proud of me & praying for me, texting me throughout the day/week, was what got me through.  Also, if you know a doctor’s appointment or ultrasound is coming up, let them know you are praying for them – there can be a lot of anxiety leading up to those appointments, worried if the baby is healthy and growing.

Pregnant gals / mamas- any other ideas I should add to this list?

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RC Essential Oil Blend

As we approach the Fall, I wanted to share about one of my favorite essential oil blends you should consider getting to have on hand for the colds, coughs and sinus issues that back to school and a new allergy season bring.

The name “RC” stands for respiratory congestion – it’s energetic aroma will help open up your sinuses when you are feeling stuffy.  Apply it to your chest with some coconut oil as a natural version of Vicks VapoRub.   Or diffuse it in your bedroom. Many of my mom friends swear by this stuff – diffusing it constantly at home when the kids get sniffly.

It is a blend of oils and includes each of the individual oils below, creating a powerful combination:

  • 3 kinds of Eucalyptus oil – globulus, radiata & citriodora – eucalyptus plants have the highest levels of something called cineole which has been proven in medical studies to help reduce inflammation and act as an expectorant (source)
  • Myrtle – ancient Greek & Italian physicians used this leaf oil as an ingredient in children’s cough syrup
  • Marjoram – calming and relaxing to our sinuses
  • Pine leaf – a refreshing oil used for respiratory support
  • Lavender – read all about the benefits of lavender oil here
  • Cypress – acts as an anti-spasmodic to calm that throat tickle that keeps you coughing, and studies have found that active ingredient camphene limits bacteria growth (source)
  • Black spruce – Native Americans chewed the balsam and bark of this plant to help with respiratory ailments
  • Peppermint – read all about the benefits of peppermint oil here

BreatheRC smells very woodsy and invigorating.  I like to combine it with either Thieveslemon or orange oil to diffuse and it gives my house an autumnal scent while also helping to boost health.

When I feel congested, I also like to use a similar blend called Breathe Again that is pre-mixed with coconut oil and comes in an easy, ready to roll on bottle.

If you have any questions about how to use essential oils, how to buy them or are curious to try them out but not sure where to start, feel free to contact me by commenting below or start here.

Seasonal Diffusing Blends

Pumpkins on the porch, mums planted and the house smells like apple cider and cinnamon.  No more candles for me… I’m now diffusing essential oils to fill my home with fragrance AND get some added health benefits.

One of my favorite ways to use essential oils is through aromatherapy. Research has shown that the fragrance of essential oils can have a profound impact on the limbic system (our emotions), the hypothalamus (our hormones), and on the oxygenation & function of the brain.  Today, I’m sharing my favorite essential oil blends to put in my diffuser each season (but, of course, you can use them anytime!)

Fall BlendFall:

  • Citrus Fresh (3-4 drops) – This refreshing blend combines Orange, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, and Spearmint oils. It is purifying to the air and helps with focus and energy.  *If you don’t have the Citrus Fresh blend, orange or tangerine will work too.
  • Cinnamon Bark (3-4 drops) – This is a powerful oil for boosting the immune system and is perfect for the sniffles that Autumn brings.  For a variation, sub a couple of drops of Thieves blend for cinnamon as an additional immune boosting & disinfectant, with the added notes of clove and rosemary.

Winter BlendWinter:

  • Peppermint (2 drops) – Peppermint stimulates the mind, helping you focus. It is also great for the respiratory system and to soothe digestion.
  • Lemon (2 drops) – Lemon is an invigorating and warming fragrance. It helps to cleanse the air, to boost immunity and promote relaxation.
  • Valor (2 drops) – The Valor blend originated with Roman soldiers who put it on to promote courage before going into battle. It instills great confidence and promotes alignment of the spine. This blend contains Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy and Frankincense.
  • Joy (2 drops) – One of my favorite blends for the wintertime blues, Joy promotes positivity and hope.  It eases tension and brings harmony to the household for those days everyone is stuck inside. Joy contains a blend of some amazing oils: Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa and Rose. If you’re looking for a new perfume this Christmas, I’d highly suggest this fragrance!

Spring BlendSpring:

  • Ylang Ylang (2 drops) – This romantic oil promotes hormonal balance and confidence.
  • Clary Sage (2 drop) – Clary Sage has notes of blooms in a spring garden and is very calming.
  • Lemon (2 drops) – Adding this will be perfect to help with and complement your spring cleaning!
  • Stress Away (2 drops) – Absolutely could not live without this one… it brings peace and tranquility, taking the stress away. This has been a saving grace for my adrenal issues!  It contains a soothing blend of copaiba, lime, cedarwood, vanilla, ocotea and lavender.
  • Variation: If you add lavender and remove lemon from this blend, it is perfect for bedtime relaxation anytime!

Summer BlendSummer:

  • Peace and Calming (2-3 drops) – This blend is amazing at uplifting spirits and creating emotional peace.  I also hear it’s great for crazy children home from school for the Summer! It contains Tangerine, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Blue Tansy.
  • Lemon (2 drops)
  • Tangerine (1 drop) – Promotes happiness and relaxation, helping with nervousness (maybe about putting that swimsuit on?)
  • Lime (1 drop) – Reminds me of sipping a margarita by the pool, this oil is great for clearing the respiratory system.

Source: Essential Oils Pocket Reference

For more information on essential oils and why I chose the Young Living brand, visit this page.

P.S. It’s important to be careful how you diffuse essential oils into the air because when you heat them, it destroys the healing compounds. I use a cool air diffuser that uses ultrasonic technology to mix the oil with water and disperse into the air. This atomizer activates the healing effects of the oils and allows the aromas to stay in the air for longer.  Plus, it’s also a humidifier so is great to put by your bed when you’re sick.  When you order a starter kit from Young Living, it comes with an amazing diffuser – read here for how to get started.

Diffusing Seasons

Essential Oils: Where to Start

You’ve probably seen it all over social media… people are obsessed with essential oils.  Personally, I was really skeptical of the whole essential oil thing for awhile, but let me tell you: I tried them and I am now a believer!  They really are amazing and have helped me achieve better health naturally and safely.

If you’ve been wanting to try essential oils and just aren’t sure where to get started, I thought I would help provide a quick guide for you.  It can be a bit overwhelming sorting through all the information – what company to choose, what oils to start with, how to use the oils, and the list goes on.  I’ve done tons of research and I’m here to help!

What Kind to Buy? Does Brand Matter?

I’ve learned from experience that brand really does matter when it comes to the effectiveness of oils.  I’ve tried several brands and now only buy from a couple of companies I know sell pure, high-quality oils that actually work.  Many cheaper store brands use chemicals (in growing, distillation or bottling) or add filler oils and fragrances to the bottle.  Even if they claim to be “pure,” unfortunately, they often aren’t.  Young Living became my favorite company because they own their entire process from Seed to Seal – they grow the plants on their own farms (pesticide-free), distill and bottle the oils themselves.  I trust their oils to be safe and therapeutically effective based both on my research and personal experience.

What Oils to Try?

With hundreds of essential oils and blends to choose from, trying to figure out what to try first is probably the hardest part.  Here are 3 options for getting started:
  1. Free Sample – for my friends in Austin, I’d be happy to share a few drops of one of my favorites as a sample if you’d like to try something before you take the step to purchase.
  2. Try One or Two – Young Living has a product website where you can choose to purchase oils directly just like you would for normal online shopping.  You will pay full retail price for the items (unlike the option below), but you still get fantastic quality for the price.  Click here to create a Retail Customer account and then find products to purchase.
    • Which Oil(s) to Choose: I am happy to make personal recommendations based on what you’re looking to use it for – maybe you’re looking for something to help with allergies, with headaches, for energy, for non-toxic house cleaning, stress-relief, skincare… the list goes on – you tell me what you’re looking to tackle naturally!  You can comment on this post, use the contact form here or email me at healthyhopefulblog(at)gmail(dot)com.
  3. Start with a Starter Kit (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) – Young Living offers a discounted Premium Starter Kit for $160 that includes a selection of 11 bottles of essential oil that are some of the most-used, plus a diffuser that allows you to use the oils aromatically. It is a great deal worth over $300 and gives you the ability to try all different kinds of oils. See below for a list of what’s included.  BONUS: this option also gives you a Wholesale Membership, which gives you 24% off retail prices for future orders. Here’s the basics of what is means to be a member:
    • No minimum order or pressure to purchase – You don’t have to purchase anything after your starter kit if you don’t want to (though I bet you will!).  There is no fee to keep your wholesale pricing active; you only need to spend $50PV on products each year to keep it.
    • Compensation as an Independent Distributor – When you sign up for the wholesale membership, it automatically enrolls you as a distributor. There is no obligation to sell oils, but if you’re looking for some extra income, there are ways to receive compensation for sharing oils with your friends.
    • Optional Essential Rewards Program – Your membership gives you the option to set up a monthly order through this program. It’s totally optional to participate, but each order does earn you points towards free products and you also get reduced shipping rates.

New Starter KitWhat is Included in the Premium Starter Kit?
Here’s a list of the 11 amazing oils included in the kit and how I use them for some ideas of the ways they help*:

  • 1 – 5 ml Frankincense – the most expensive oil in the kit, it is amazing for the immune system. It’s also great for spiritual & emotional support. This oil has been used in worship for centuries and was given to Jesus by the wise men for a reason. I was really skeptical on using any oil “emotionally,” but upon studying its use in the Bible and then actually seeing the effects personally, I was convinced.
  • 1 – 5 ml Lemon – check out my blog post about all the ways I use it for health, hygiene and cleaning
  • 1 – 5 ml Lavender – this one might be my all time favorite – read my blog post all about it
  • 1 – 5 ml Copaiba – good for sinus headaches, digestion and a great pain reliever
  • 1 – 5 ml Peppermint – the best for headaches and nausea relief; read 10 ways I use this oil here
  • 1 – 5 ml R.C.™ – a blend for “respiratory congestion” – read my blog post here.
  • 1 – 5 ml Purification® – the name says it all – this stuff is perfect for ridding forgotten-laundry/front-loader washer mustiness, as an air purifier, and to clear up acne – read my blog post here.
  • 1 – 5 ml DiGize™ – helps aid the digestive system – read my blog post here.
  • 1 – 5 ml PanAway® – I use this blend for easing sore muscles similar to IcyHot
  • 1 – 5 ml Thieves® – incredible immune support and a must-have when you are sick – this blend of several oils was used by thieves (hence the name) during the plague to keep them from getting sick.  It can also be used to make a super effective, non-toxic all-purpose cleaner and home disinfectant. Read more here.
  • 1 – 5 ml Stress Away™ – the name says it all.. I wouldn’t want to live without this! Read more here.

Plus…

  • A Dewdrop Diffuser (regularly $80 on it’s own!)
  • AromaGlide Roller Top
  • 10 Sample Packets (to use when you travel or to share with friends & family)
  • 2 NingXia Red® 2-oz. samples
  • Product Guide and Product Price List
How to Purchase a Starter Kit & Get a Wholesale Membership
Click here to start then choose “Member” like the screenshot below.  My member #2343919 should already be filled in as the person who referred you. Thank you for supporting this blog!
Sign Up as Member

Next, enter your personal information.  Since being a member allows you to sell and receive commission, it will ask for your social security # for tax purposes only. The site is secure.


Then, choose the “Premium Starter Kit”

ChooseStarterKit
It will then give you the option to choose an essential rewards kit – you can skip this step for now and select “No, thank you.”  It’s better to sign up later if you are interested – feel free to ask me about the details.

Enter payment information and shipping details and submit!  In just a few days, you’ll receive your essential oils.  Plus, since you’ve signed up for a membership, you’ll also get these awesome resources to help you learn how to use your essential oils:

  • I’ll add you to a private Facebook group where you can participate in a community that shares and gives you a place to ask questions and learn how to use your oils from other experiences
  • You’ll have access to FREE webinars and classes that will teach you how to use the oils effectively
  • And I’m here to help – feel free to ask me any questions you have and find a list of my blog posts on essential oils here

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. I am not a doctor and any tips I share are not meant to diagnose or cure disease; I am just sharing ways that these oils have helped me personally.

10 Ways I Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint OilDon’t you just love the smell of peppermint?  So refreshing and invigorating.  Peppermint oil is would probably rank in my top 5 for most-used essential oils.  Here are a few ways that I use peppermint oil and see great results:

  1. Nausea – If I’m ever feeling queasy or nauseous, I either rub some peppermint oil on my stomach or breathe it in.  I’m always amazed at how fast it works and keep applying every 20 minutes or smelling it until I feel better.  This, along with activated charcoal, seriously saved me when I got food poisoning 3 times (why, oh why!?!) last year.
  2. Headaches – Whenever I get a headache, rather than popping not-so-safe aspirin or ibuprofen, I put some peppermint oil on the roof of my mouth, back of my neck and top of my forehead and within minutes, I’m back to normal.  *Warning: be careful to not get it in or close to your eyes or it will sting. If you do, wash out with olive or coconut oil rather than water.
  3. Anti-Itch – Last summer, when I got hives as a result of stress, peppermint oil was the only thing that would relieve the itching.  It’s also a great option for bug bites and sunburn as the oil is very calming for skin inflammation. You may need to dilute peppermint oil with coconut oil before applying directly to your skin as it can irritate sensitive skin in its concentrated form.
  4. Allergies – Peppermint oil is great at helping clear out my nasal passages and reducing sinus inflammation caused by allergies.  I use this in my essential oil allergy blend LLP (Lavender + Lemon + Peppermint) and diffuse all the time during allergy season. Read more about how I fight allergies naturally here.
  5. Energizer – Afternoon slump or just need to focus at work… I diffuse peppermint at my desk at work and it does wonders for getting me through the rest of the day.
  6. Fever Reducer – The couple of times I’ve had a fever in the past few months, I’ve used peppermint oil on the back of my neck and forehead with a cool compress and brought my temperature down to normal without medication.
  7. Decongestant – When I have a cold, I mix peppermint with eucalyptus oil and coconut oil and applied to my neck and chest.  It acts as an expectorant and helps open up airways and clear out sinuses.  This was especially helpful to me when I was coughing a lot.
  8. Muscle Pain Relief – Anytime I have sore muscles, I use peppermint oil to help relax them and relieve the pain.  It’s also a main ingredient in one of my favorite blends of essential oils for pain relief – the Deep Relief Roll On. This was amazing to rub on my feet and legs each night after walking miles a day at Universal Studios & Disney World.
  9. Oral Care – Of course, peppermint is a well-known breath freshener.  I mix it with a bit of water and use as a mouthwash.  It’s also in my beloved brushing blend OraWellness – read more here about why I will never go back to using regular toothpaste!
  10. Bug Repellent – Ticks & mosquitoes apparently hate peppermint, so I use this in a pest-repellent spray for my dog every day.  For some reason, bugs don’t like me, so I don’t have to use anything personally, but you can use it for people too. For my pup, I mix up distilled water with a few drops each of peppermint + eucalyptus + Thieves + citronella + tea tree in a spray bottle; besides protecting her from fleas & other bugs, it makes her smell great.  Here is an actual recipe for homemade bug spray that’s very similar.

I’m so grateful to have added a variety of essential oils to my “medicine cabinet” and to now have a safe, effective way to address symptoms immediately when they arise.  I have chosen to buy the Young Living brand of essential oils because I’ve done my research and I trust the source and the purity of the oils they grow & produce. If you are interested in trying out essential oils, visit this page on my blog for more details or leave a comment and we can chat more.

Have you been looking for a natural way to address any of the symptoms above?  Do you use peppermint oil in other ways that help?  I’d love to hear about it!