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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tips for Staying Well

Let me start by saying I'm a mom, a home care aid and a massage therapist - I'm not a doctor and these are simply things that I have found to be helpful to fight the general crud that goes around. You should do your own research and consult your own doctor who knows your particular health circumstances. These ideas may or may not work for you and I make no medical claims or promises. Plus - I am not selling or promoting any brand or products. 

I started this list one day while talking with my son and his girl friend.  She is away at college and was sick with a cold or flu bug. I was trying to think of things that she could do given her limited finances and things she might have on hand in her college dorm room. I find myself often encouraging people who are struggling to maintain or achieve wellness.  I am coming at this subject from a Christian perspective believing that Jesus already paid the price not only for our salvation as believers but also for our healing and deliverance. Sadly too many receive salvation but no one ever let them know that he purchased our healing and deliverance as well.  I see God heal the sick through prayer and laying on of hands, I have seen people set free from a lot of emotional baggage. I have seen miracles. I think God wants us to do more than just get healed and go back to doing the things that caused us to be sick in the first place. We must learning to walk in wellness, it is a matter of trusting and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would lead us into all truth. I believe that truth includes wisdom and knowledge for health and wellness.

There are two books I would recommend by Cal Pierce the founder and director of the International Healing Rooms. I have posted book reports that I have done as a student at the International Healing Rooms School of Transformation and you can use the links to get to them if you are interested.
• Healing In The Kingdom
• Receive Your Healing and Reclaim Your Health

I love this quote from Receive Your Healing by Cal Pierce. "To be sick, you just do what feels good, which seems effortless, right? But your "effortless" choices never satisfy and require more and more from you, ending in pain, sickness, doctor visits, drugs and medical expenses your cannot afford. Now that's effort."

I personally have struggled for many years with what would start as a cold and then stay with me for most of the winter. I realized that I needed to make some changes to build up my immune system. I have also learned that if I catch and kill off those germs, virus and bacteria early I can keep them from building their miserable strongholds in my life.  It may take a bit of effort and preventative, proactive action on my part but being well is far better than being sick.

It is easier to win the war if you never allow it to start, and if it does start you want to get on it early while it is still just a minor skirmish. If you let it become a full blown battle its much harder to win back that lost ground.

So what follows are some easy tips of things that I do and encourage my family to do.

At the first sniffle of tickle in the throat I start gargling. Everyone has salt and gargling salt warm salt water helps kill off the germs before they start moving in and setting up camp.  In a cup of water I only put about a 1/4 a teaspoon of salt. If you are not a fan of salt water you might try GSE or Grapefruit Seed Extract that you can get at most health food stores. I use a drop or two in a cup of water and gargle. Generally if I get it early enough it only takes doing it before I go to bed that night and I'm fine the next day. If not I gargle more often.

Start with your hands wash them well and often. Clean your door knobs, light switches, counter tops, bathroom with a disinfecting cleaner. I just use the clorox wipes on all the surfaces that might transfer germs. There is nothing worse than recycling a bug through your home from person to person over and over again.  This is a good place to use essential oils like lemon, tea tree, lemon grass and many others are great to add 5-20 drops to a spray bottle with distilled water for disinfecting.

Hydrogen Peroxide:
I also put 3% hydrogen peroxide on a q-tip and swab inside my ears. Let it bubble for a minute or so. I have been telling my children this for years and I recently found it on line at this link. Actually the whole article is full of great suggestions. Here's the quote from that article that confirms what I have been telling my family for years. "Another treatment that is surprisingly effective against upper respiratory infections is hydrogen peroxide. My patients have had remarkable results in curing the colds and flu within 12 to 14 hours when administering a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into each ear. You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and possibly slight stinging.
Wait until the bubbling and stinging subside (usually 5 to 10 minutes), then drain onto a tissue and repeat with the other ear. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide in 3 percent solution is available at any drug store for a couple of dollars. It is simply amazing how many people respond to this simple, inexpensive treatment."

Drink More Water: Every system in your body depends on water and we so easily get to a somewhat dehydrated state and all those systems get stagnated and backed up.

Emotional Trauma:
If you are stressed and upset it depletes your immune system. When I start feeling under the weather I try to do a heart check to make sure I have not collected a bunch of offenses, or upsets.  I make sure to take some time to search my heart and see if I need to forgive myself or others. I try to take responsibility when I know I've handled things poorly and make appropriate amends or changes. Some times its just a matter of taking some time out to journal and process all the things that have stacked up. You might also talk to a friend or a counselor.

Cut the sugars, grain and dairy from your diet for a bit to cut down on the foods that create mucus and are inflammation producers in your body.  Eat more of the dark green leafy veggies and proteins.

Hot tea feels so good but there are many teas that also have healing benefits. I try to keep Elderberry, White Willow Bark, Slippery Elm and Peppermint on hand. Each deserve their own post White Willow Bark helps with pain, Elderberry is supper high in antioxidants, Peppermint calms the stomach and slippery elm will help your sore throat feel better.  I'm also a big fan of ginger that helps with nausea and muscle pain and turmeric which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Vitamins: Take them if you have them on hand. One of the enlightening things from the article linked above was "Vitamin D is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi." They say it is the number one way to fight a cold. In the dark winter months it is very easy to get depleted of Vitamin D. In my state in the winter it gets dark at 4 in the afternoon. I take daily vitamin D just because I know we don't get enough vitamin D from sunlight. I am excited to learn that it is also good preventative care for warding of cold and flu bugs.

Essential Oils: Sadly not everyone has them including my son's girlfriend. In my opinion every medicine cabinet should at least have Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, and Eucalyptus. I suppose this is another article.  Rub them on your feet and hands or put them in a diffuser.
Lemon and tea tree are great for disinfecting things. When you ache Peppermint and coconut oil makes your poor muscles feel better.  Stuffed up  Eucalyptus and coconut oil rubbed on your back and chest helps clear up congestion. Lavender helps with relieve stress and wow does it make burns feel better. They are amazing oils from plants and in their very concentrated form with many ways that they can be used to promote better health and wellness.


I would rather take a personal day and rest before I am sick than have to take off a week or more once I have caught something. You might try to take a nap or to go to bed an hour earlier to allow your body some extra time to rest.  Listen to your body it wants to heal it self but it needs your help.

Words: I believe they are powerful things they Bible even says they have the power of life or death. Your body responds to the words that come out of your mouth. Don't own your illness. I hear so many people saying "my cold", "my cancer", "my aching back". Its harder to get rid of something that belongs to you. Speak health and life over your body. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then your healing has already been paid for. Often we don't fully realize all the benefits Jesus has made available to us. I will try to post more on that in the future.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Coloring for Stress Relief.

My new pencils
Some great books I've gotten
A page from my sketch book
You've probably seen them at the grocery store, or the book store or craft stores even places like Costco.

Adult coloring books that have intricate coloring designs of things like, nature scenes, animals or mandalas. I bought several and even invested in some really nice colored pencils at the art store.

Look they can't keep the shelves full
I decided I wanted another option to mindlessly watching Netflix. So I bought a few coloring books and a sketch book because my artist, son reminded me that I could create my own designs as well. Which has been a lot of fun as well.

 I've tried to include photos of some of what you can buy just about anywhere as well as some of my own artistic drawing work. There is one of my sketch book pages with peacock studies I was drawing just above. Turns out that not only is coloring fun it is a wonderful stress reliever as well. 

Eight card designs I drew and created for Christmas
A page I colored
"When coloring, we activate different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres, says psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala. "The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills (the coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress."

16 Nautical Theme Cards with Bible verses I drew and created
I have created some small 3x5 nautical designs with accompanying bible verses.  You can see some of them in the photo below. I'd love to send you the whole set of 16 for you to color as a thank you for supporting this blog for any donation of $10 or more. After you color them they are nice to include with gifts or just as a way to cheer up a friend or to let someone know you are praying for them. You can read more about the project that I created them for at my other blog. The post is called Sailing into a New Year. The designs include shells, boats, lighthouses, fish, and many others. 

Coloring allows us to switch our brains from other thoughts and to simply focus on the moment. It is excellent for stress and anxiety relief. Combined with Gods Word it’s a great way to take our thoughts captive and to pray. Coloring is a wonderful self care option. I hope you will give it a try. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Essential Oils and ADD/ADHD

Its funny, I write these posts never knowing for sure if anyone is even reading them. Recently I had three people let me know on the same day that they like it and are finding it interesting and helpful. One of the three asked if I could post about ADD/ADHD and what essential oils may be helpful. Another decided she needed some self care and contacted me about getting a student massage. Your feed back and comments mean a lot to me. 

Let me start by saying essential oils are amazing. I use them for everything. I don't have personal experience using them for ADD/ADHD, nor am I a doctor so I really can't give medical advice. What I can do is share some of what I found that may be worth considering for those wrestling with this issue. 

My first thought is for those of you who are mommies dealing with ADD/ADHD children. You probably need to be reminded to take care of your selves as well. You know when you are on an airplane the flight attendant holds up the oxygen mask and tells you to put your own mask on before trying to help someone else. When we don't take care of ourselves our ability and effectiveness in helping others quickly diminishes. 

What do you do to relax, to take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually? Essential oils are great for self care. You can add them to bath water, put them in a diffuser give yourself an aroma therapy pick me up. You can add them to a foot bath and have a little personal foot ritual. You might add them to massage oil or lotion or better yet, get a massage from someone who uses essential oils in their practice. 

Step 1 use your essential oils to take care of yourself first. Then you will have the presence of mind and a better attitude to deal with others in your life with ADD/ADHD. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in seven boys are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD by the time they are 18. Those are pretty staggering statistics. This epidemic explosion has happened over the last 30 years. There have been a lot of things that have changed since I was a child that are probably contributing to how children's brains develop. So we will touch briefly on some of those things as well. 

“Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all American children. It interferes with a person's ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate inhibition (cognitive alone or both cognitive and behavioral). Some of the warning signs of ADHD include failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and school work, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details. … ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, although the condition can continue into the adult years.”                ~

Things that may be contributing to ADD/ADHD. Chemicals, some reports are linking food dyes to hyperactivity. We have food dies in everything from toothpaste to vitamins and in lots of foods. One might consider the preservatives added to our foods, or the pesticides that are sprayed on produce and grains. The amount of sugar and artificial sweeteners are another suspect in this mystery. About thirty five years ago we decided fat was bad and got rid of it but then the food tasted bad so we added more sugar. Kind of makes you wonder if a large part of many of our problems might be diet related. 

Another possible culprit could be allergens: Some of the most notable are wheat, milk, nuts, eggs, fish, soy. You might try eliminating them one at a time to see if there is a difference. Another possibility could be salicylates, a natural substance found in apples, cranberries, grapes, tomatoes and almonds. This is probably not a one size fix, fits everyone. Different people can have sensitivities to different things. 

On to essential oils. Some people with ADD/ADH may be sensitive to odors. Especially when dealing with children it is a good idea to include them in the process allowing them to choose from a selection of oils.  

I would probably start with Lavender because it is inexpensive and is very calming. We use it to calm our dogs, and my oldest son likes to use it in the defuser to help him focus while studying. 

Next I would try Frankincense because it has the ability to pass through the blood brain barrier and work on a deeper cellular level. It also stimulates the brain's limbic system. 

Clary Sage would also be a good choice. It is an antidepressant, good for your nerves, helps you relax, helps with anxiety. 

Next you might consider Roman Chamomile because it helps remove toxins from the system. It is both an antidepressant and a stimulant. Helping one feel less depressed or sad and to feel happy and in a good mood. Some people my want to use this with caution if you have ragweed allergies. 

There are probably others that could be considered as well but this is a good starting place. Remember essential oils are super concentrated and should be mixed with a carrier oil except when using them neat on the feet. Give a calming back rub using the oils along the spine. Behind the ears is a good place to apply them to reach blood, brain and nerves more readily. 

Again I'm not a doctor and everyone's situation has a variety of factors. What I do encourage you to do is to begin to educate yourself. Take the four oils I listed and look them up and learn more about them. You could use them separately or combine them to create your own blend. Keep a journal of your discoveries. 

Thanks Jenifer for your question about ADD/ADHD and Essential Oils. I want to write about things that readers are interested in knowing more about. Your comments and questions help me know what to write about. Hope this gives you a starting place for your own discoveries. 

Blessings, Margot

Friday, December 5, 2014

Do Yoga With Me

My Yoga Space
I have been walking up stiff in the morning. Its cold out and I have not wanted to go out walking. The Nordic walking really helps my lower back feel better and I did get some fleece tights to wear under my jeans to help keep my legs warm. But I'm a bit of a wimp when its cold.

I've known I needed to find some indoor way to stretch and exercise my body.   I decided to see what might be available for free on line. So I searched "online exercise" and found 10 Free Workout Sites You'll Love  I will try some of the others when I get a chance. The one that sounded like something I'd enjoy was called Do Yoga With Me. It turned out to be a excellent site. I've tried  the beginner workouts and they were wonderful stretches and not too difficult to accomplish or to keep up with. Afterwards I always feel great. My pain or stiffness level was about a 4 on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the worst when I started and afterwards I would say it was about a 2 which is a nice improvement the first day. I'd say it's about a 1 at this point.

They have a huge variety of classes or workouts at Do Yoga With Me, here's the link.  You don't have to register or pay to use the site although donations help support the sight.

Im delighted that I can now do yoga as an indoor exercise, just me and my lap top. They have videos for beginners, intermediate and advanced. I of course mostly do the beginner options. In my 20's I did a lot of yoga - thirty years have past and I am now revisiting things I enjoyed but for a variety of reason stopped doing. I was really pleased to find this site with its wealth of yoga offerings.  Thank you to the folks at for making self care available to anyone with a way to be on-line. I am recommending the site to you as a wonderful self care option. I really enjoyed it and have it bookmarked so I can get to it easily.  It is set up as a pay what you want and you can make a one time donation or give a monthly amount. They feel the benefits of yoga should be free to all and simply invite people who enjoy the site to help out if they can.  That is true for my blog sites as well. I have not added the annoying ads help off set the time it takes to create and maintain the site. No one pays me to write If you enjoy these posts consider giving a little if you can to help. I've added a donate button on the left side of the home page. If you enjoy this site and others that offer free content help them to keep doing what they do for free.  I am grateful and impressed with what I discovered at Do Yoga with Me. I will be doing more yoga with them and letting my friends and clients know about it as an excellent self care option.  I will also make a point to support them as I am able. A little bit goes a long way if we all help out.

Some self care benefits of yoga according to the Yoga Health Foundation here's their link if you want to dig deeper than my brief list.

• Helps decrease chronic back pain
• Improves mood and decreases depression as well as boosts GABA
• Increases lung capacity
• Lowers blood sugar
• Helps decrease and manage stress and anxiety
• Wonderful relaxation and stretching benefits
• Helps people with Asthma, Cancer, Heart Problems, Diabetes, Obesity

There are probably many more benefits that could be listed. I wanted to write about yoga today as a viable self care option that you can do in the privacy of your home or with a few friends.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Where The Mullein Grows

I wrote this a while ago and then never got it posted. Better late than never - right?

I've been meaning to go out and harvest Mullein for most of the summer. Today was finally the day. I took my Nordic Walking Sticks and my collecting bag and headed off on a short walk to a place I had noticed Mullen growing. It seems to like abandoned lots or places where the earth has been turned and then let to sit. I have driven past this location just about every day this summer, thinking I should stop and pick some. Today it seemed right to walk the couple of blocks. I was thinking I would only be able to get leafs and roots but was surprised to find about a cup's worth of flowers.

You are probably wondering why I would even be interested in this weed that you've probably seen and passed by numerous times. You might be surprised to discover that many of theses wild plants have wonderful healing benefits.
We are quick to run to the doctor or the drug store when many times there are so many things in nature are available.

I am not a full fledged expert on the subject Mullien but I wanted to pick some so I can experiment
with using it in various ways. You can go pick a whole stalk of Mullien and hang it upside down to dry for later use in the winter. It is often infused over night to make a strong tea about an once of dry Mullien to a quart of water. That tea is then used with equal amounts of milk and a touch of honey to help with respiratory problems. Some people just smoke it and get its healing benefits to the lungs that way. The flowers can be infused in oil to make a sedative that helps with ear aches and head aches.

Whats amazing about this plant is that you can use every part of it for various healing remedies. I am using mine to make infused massage oils. I wanted to try three infused oils made from the flowers, the leaves and the roots. I am also drying some of the leaves so we have them for the winter to help with coughs.

Since I wrote this article I have made and have been using my infused Mullen Oils. Can't say I love the smell of the root oil. I do like the leaf and flower oil and use them regularly.

Here are some article links I found to be interesting regarding Mullein.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Discovering Bergamot Essential Oil

My essential oil collection
If I take my present essential oil collection in alphabetical order, the first oil is Bergamot. This one always surprises me because it has a wonderful citrus smell. The name does not say citrus to me like lemon, orange or grapefruit. Bergamot is from the citrus family and the essential oil comes from the fruit rind. The oil is obtained though cold compression rather than steam distillation. The Bergamot Orange is the size of our regular oranges but is the yellow color of a lemon with a slightly pear like shape. It is grown in Italy and France for making essential oil or tea and in Turkey for making marmalade. It's is named for a town in Italy called Bergamo. It is not grown for it's juice which is like overpowering super sweet lemon juice. It is used to flavor pipe tabaco.  I've never actually had my hands on this fruit and am passing along tid bits of information that I have gleaned from the internet.

You may not think you are familiar with this oil but if you take ordinary black tea and add bergamot  essential oil it becomes the well known Earl Grey tea. Actually Earl Grey tea is this oils claim to fame.  Did you know "Drinking Earl Grey tea could help guard against heart disease, it has emerged, after a study found that bergamot extract - a key ingredient in the hot drink - is just as effective as statins at controlling cholesterol. " The Telegraph Health News

In aromatherapy Bergamot is uplifting, energizing and can help with stress and depression.

Used with uv light therapy it is thought to help people with psoriasis. One article I found gave 39 uses for Bergmot Essential oil but the one that I found most interesting was that it was found helpful for people with brain injuries if they put it on the back of their neck several times a day. Really search pintrest or the internet and you will find lots of ideas for ways to use essential oils.

You can generally use essential oils in the following ways.

Aromatically: Put a few drops in a defuser, or candle burner, or inhale it directly from the bottle or on a piece of cloth or tissue held near the nose.

Topically: Applied to the skin using a carrier oil. My rule is I try not to put any oil or substance on my body that I am not also willing to eat. Your skin is the largest organ of the body and one should take care what is used on it. I generally use rice bran oil because of its high vitamin e content. Olive, coconut or grape seed oils are others I use as well.  About  2-3 drops to a couple of tablespoons of oil is a pretty good ratio.

Internally: On this one you need to be confident of the quality and purity of your oil brand. You can add a drop or two to a cup of tea or purified water or to a spoonful of honey. I suggest you research this further before trying it this way. I am not making any medical recommendations here. It is simply listed as a way essential oils can be used.

The last way is called Neat: That means to apply the essential oil directly to the skin without a carrier oil. Generally the skin on the bottom of the foot is considered a safe area for this type of application. People have differing skin sensitivities to essential oils so some caution should be used. If you do use it "neat" and have a reaction you should quickly apply a carrier oil to help dilute the essential oil and to calm the skin. Many people feel the feet are like a map of the body (think Reflexology). Applying the essential oil on the feet or massaging it into various areas that correspond with a reflexology foot chart may be helpful.  You might also put a few drops on the palms of your hands. Rub your hands together and then cup them over your nose and inhale the aroma. Then you are getting the benefits of the oil through the skin and through the lungs.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs Bergmot essential oil is "Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, deodorant, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, rubefacient, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vulnerary"

In that list there are a few words I did not know. For example vulnerary means a plant or medicine used for healing wounds. Anthelmintic, means used to destroy parasites. Febrifuge is something that is used to reduce or dispel a fever. Rubefacient is an agent that causes the blood to flow to the skin, causing it to redden. This aids the body in absorbing the healing properties of the essential oil.

So its too late to try this tonight the idea for deodorant I found using bergamot. So I am using an easier option that I could quickly take a photo of. I try to use just my own photos for this blog which is why you don't see a photo of bergamot fruit. Just search it and you will find plenty of photos of this interesting fruit.  My candle is on my desk and is adding a lovely aroma to the room. I just added a few drops to one of the pretty shell candles I had made on another occasion.  You could use a store bought tea light or other unscented candle.

By the way I am not endorsing any particular brand. It is important that you find good quality 100% oils that have not been cut down with other products. I buy my oils from my local health food stores or I order them online. I have been happy with my purchases from Mountain Rose Herbs but I receive nothing for mentioning them in this post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Self Care Ideas for Depression

I was going to look at an individual oils but I thought in light of Robin Williams recent death that we should look at self care ideas and tips for depression. Robin Williams was truly special I am sorry to hear he suffered so intensely from depression. 

As an artist I can empathize with the dark uninspired unsettled time between projects. It is really hard for highly creative people in that place. You've been go go go, often running on adrenaline and then the project ends. I know during those times feel like I am adrift and at a loss for what to do next.   Its hard to reach out to others because everyone is still gushing over the previous project and can't begin to fathom why one could be depressed. There is tremendous pressure to do something bigger and better and just thinking what that might be is exhausting. Plus add to it the fear that you may have already done your best work and the loneliness of feeling no one understands - it creates a perfect storm for depression. I love the beginning middle of projects. I get anxious towards the end and I hate the space in between. My faith in Jesus is my anchor in those times and while I don't intend to be preachy I also can't cut out what is central to who I am and how I navigate life. That faith relationship has gotten me through a number of difficult times. 

 “Depression is an illness that requires a good deal of self-care,” according to psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, in her book Living with Depression: Why Biology and Biography Matter along the Path to Hope and Healing.

If you are depressed, I am in no way advocating that you stop seeing your doctor or quit taking your meds. These are ideas that are helpful actually for all of us. It is easy when you are feeling depressed to just let everything slip. You might normally eat well, exercise and get adequate sleep but when you are depressed its easy to fall into a state of hopelessness and think why bother. Sometimes we are so stressed that the idea of taking care of our self seems impossible or at best just another thing to do.

I look at my whole life as art, projects are more than just the art that I create. There are life projects that come to an end. Friends move away, jobs change, people divorce, kids grow up, loved ones die.
Even good changes like a new job, buying a house, going off to school, meeting that special someone, all add a certain level of stress and unsettledness and can leave one feeling alone and overwhelmed because of the change from normal to the new normal. The space in between often feels very awkward.

Tip 1: Get enough sleep. Which came first the chicken or the egg is much the same with sleep and depression. Was the lack of sleep a contributor to depression or is the depression keeping you from sleeping. "Insomnia is very common among depressed patients. Evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. Depressed individuals may suffer from a range of insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), difficulty staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), unrefreshing sleep, and daytime sleepiness. However, research suggests that the risk of developing depression is highest among people with both sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia." ~National Sleep Foundation

Tip 2: Eat well and take your vitamins. I'm not her to give you diet advice or to tell you what vitamins to take. I am here to say your body is a complex system and a deficiency in vitamins or minerals can cause a lot of problems. As an example, here in the Pacific North West we don't get enough sunlight much of the year as a result people are often found to be deficient in D vitamins. According to the CDC, in 2006 a whopping one fourth of the population was deficient in vitamin D. Eight percent were "at risk" for vitamin D deficiency illnesses and one percent had levels that were considered imminently harmful.  Psychology Today said "Canadian researchers reviewed 14 studies, consisting of 31,424 participants and found a strong correlation between depression and a lack of Vitamin D. The lower the Vitamin D level, the greater the chance of depression. But, the big question is still causality. Does one get depressed because of a deficiency of Vitamin D, or does depression lower the vitamin level?" This is just one example vitamin to consider. Our food and the nutrition we get can be a big factor in our over all health and wellness not just when you are depressed.

Tip 3: Stay connected to people: When you are depressed it is easy to isolate yourself. Who are the positive people in your life. Can you make time to be with them particularly when you are feeling depressed. Perhaps there toxic people that suck the life out of you? Take a break from them if you need to but don't isolate yourself from the people that encourage and build you up. We need each other.

Tip 4: Try some Essential Oils: These are thought to be helpful for people suffering from depression. Many essential oils are able to cross the blood/brain barrier. Some that are thought to be helpful for depression are Bergamont, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger,  Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Pine.  You might apply them to the bottoms of your feet, or add drops to your foot bath or soaking tub or put them in a aroma therapy diffuser.  In my massage practice I use them in my massage oils.

Tip 5: Kefir and Cultured Foods: I can't say enough about the benefits of Kefir and other cultured foods.  "Easily digested, it cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. Because kefir is such a balanced and nourishing food, it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer. Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)."~

We need that good bacteria in our gut.
Donna Schwenk of Cultured Food Life says "I have witnessed first hand those with ADD, anxiety, depression, and despair turn completely around when they fixed the microbes in their gut.
90% of the body’s total serotonin is produced in the digestive tract. Only 5% of serotonin is produced in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which influences many aspects of your behavior, such as mood, appetite, and pain sensation. The right amount of serotonin in the brain produces a calm and happy feeling."

I could keep going on self care tips for depression but there are plenty of articles out there if you want to research more on your own. These are all things that I have practical experience with and use for my own self care. This is just to start you thinking. It is sad for me to think that someone like Robin Williams who helped so many of us laugh could be so depressed that he killed himself. I think that depression is a much more serious problem in our society than we are willing to admit and perhaps part of Robin Williams legacy will include raising public awareness about depression.