adhd baseline

Essential Oils-Part I

It's time to talk about Essential Oils!

I'm excited about this topic. Because there is so much info to share, I'm breaking this post into 3 parts. For Part One, I just want to talk to you about how this all began for me. Why I started investigating Essential Oils (EOs) and what I've discovered.

First a little background info. I am one of those people that enjoy taking an active role in my health. I like to feel that I am doing something to help improve my condition, whatever condition I may find myself in. I don't want to take medications if they aren't necessary and appreciate having a Dr. who gives it to me straight. There are times she's said, "It's probably a virus. Let it run its course. Wait it out. Antibiotics won't help. In the meantime, try a steamy shower and maybe some over-the-counter ______ (fill in the blank) to help relieve symptoms." Whenever this would happen, I would run to Pinterest, and put in the words Natural Remedies for _____ (whatever it was that was bothering me). I would find myself telling my family "hold on, there's a Pin about that!!" and trying some natural remedy.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago and I was attending the Holiday Home Tour in East Sacramento. One of the homes was filled with a scent that was indescribable! There must have been 10-15 of the same candle lit throughout the house. Every single room smelled amazing. It instantly shifted my mood. It made me smile on the inside. I jotted down the name of the candle, scouted it out, paid the $30 for 25 hours of burn time and added it to my favorites in Amazon :-D  If this company ever discontinued this particular candle, I was doomed. I began lighting it at home, when I felt down, when I didn't want to do something, when I needed to add a little pep in my step, I'd light the candle. I started to pay attention to what I was doing.  Here's what I noticed...

I noticed how I would use it to bring in a little joy. I enjoyed watching the flickering flame dance around. Little did I know at the time, while I was getting the benefit of the scent, there was virtually no other benefit. Zero. Zilch. In fact, whenever I blew the candle out, there was a long trail of black smoke that followed. That couldn't be good. I started thinking, was there something that would offer the benefit of a captivating smell, that would not end with black smoke and may even support my health and wellness in other ways? I began seriously investigating essential oils (EOs).

I had always been curious about them. I loved the smell of Lavender and Citrus. I guess I'm just a person for whom scent plays an important role. I remember buying a bottle of Frankincense at a church retreat a long time ago and loved how it smelled during my quiet time. Essential oils intrigued me. I liked the variety of scents available. They seemed a little pricey for the small bottle they came in. I wasn't sure how to use them without a diffuser (which I didn't have) and a part of me wondered if they were just a "fad". I decided to follow a few EO Instagram accounts and facebook pages and just kind of lurked in the background paying attention to what was being shared. Little by little I started learning more of what they are all about.

I've learned:

  • EO's can be part of an overall wellness plan and used along with and as a support to traditional medicine.

  • Not all oils are created equal. The EO industry is unregulated and because of that there is tremendous variance in the quality of oils that are out there.

  • Some 100% Therapeutic Grade oils are Generally Regarded as Safe for ingestion and topical skin application.

  • The higher quality Therapeutic Grade Oils can be used Topically, Aromatically, Orally, Internally and in recipes.

  • There is scientific evidence that shows EO's can offer support to healthy living, by helping the various health systems to function at optimal levels.

  • Just as we are all unique individuals, EO's can be combined in unique ways and what works best for one person may differ from what works best for another. There are general guidelines as far as what oils are known for and what system of the body they may support, but much of the process is trial and error. In other words, for highly creative persons!

  • EO's can be overwhelming and a little scary at first because of all of the information available. It's helpful to have someone to talk with when you are first getting started. I'd love to be that person if you have questions.

  • EO's are power packed! Meaning a little bit packs a large punch. You get amazing bang for your buck which is always important to me. If you are freaking out about the price, let's do a little "girl math" together and you'll see just how inexpensive these little drops of goodness can be.

  • EO's are certainly not a fad. They have been around for a very long time. In fact, they were mentioned as far back as Biblical times. They are making a bit of a comeback, I believe as people search for ways to counterbalance the high amounts of stress, toxins and pollution that we are constantly exposed to in this day and age.

Check in tomorrow as I share a week in the life of Essential Oils.  I will let you know when EOs come to mind for me (all the time), some of the ways I've been using them and how to learn more.  I will share that I am now a Young Living Independant Distributor.  I was looking for oils that I could use with my wellness and coaching practice and after much research, they felt like the right company for me.

What has been your experience with EO's? I'd love to hear! If you have a question about essential oils feel free to set up a 30 minute chat session with me.  Click the button below to access my calendar:  

ADHD and Alternative Therapies

I want to take a few minutes to share my perspective on the role that alternative therapies can play as a part of an overall treatment plan for someone with ADHD.  

First I want to make it clear that medication and therapy have been scientifically shown to produce the best treatment outcomes in the management of ADHD.  In addition, coaching has been shown to be very helpful in the areas of goal setting, support and accountability.  With that being said, for different reasons, there are people that may turn to alternative therapies as a way to either complement more traditional treatments, or as a first stepping stone to deciding how to proceed with treatment.  There are some people that do not tolerate medication well, or that may have another underlying medical condition that prevents them from using medication.  Should you decide to experiment with alternative therapies, I encourage you to discuss it openly with your Dr.   

ADHD affects people to differing degrees and in different ways.  For each individual the remedies can look as different as the symptoms can.  For me personally, I have never tolerated medications very well.  I can probably even count on both hands the number of times that I have taken aspirin.  Not because I don't like the idea of it, more that I would always experience a side effect (no matter how mild) that just made it "not worth it" to me.  This pushed me to look for other ways to feel better.  

My whole purpose in doing this project, of taking small steps to improve my ADHD baseline is to find out a few things.  For example,

if I tried all of the things or suggestions of things that can potentially help me to feel better in general, how would I then experience my ADHD? Would it shift on the scale of how disruptive it is to me?

As it is, I find my days varying greatly. Some days are fantastic, others are a struggle, some are exhausting, more than a few feel unproductive, others feel like a sprint and some feel like a marathon.  I get that some of this is to be expected, even "normal", but in my world, the ADHD world, these seemingly small things can throw a person greatly off course. 

Would improving my overall wellness baseline help with continuity? Would it help to pull together some of those extreme variances into more of a steady constant?

I'm curious by nature and so have decided to test it.  All of it.  And then share the results with you.    

Acupuncture, essential oils, meditation, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, biofeedback, flower remedies, exercise, music, Reiki, Craniosacral therapy, the list can go on and on.  What truly helps? What doesn't? My guess is that it will be different for each person.  I am trying what I'm curious about and sharing how I feel about it.  If there is an alternative therapy that you are curious about, submit a request to me via email and who knows, you just may find a blog post about it! Stay tuned, more next week.  ~Shaun

The Wonder of Weighted Blankets

So have you heard of weighted blankets? They have been around since about 2008, but are really making an appearance right now.  They are commonly used by Occupational Therapists and can have a calming effect on children experiencing anxiety disorders, or children that have autism, sensory processing disorder or adhd.  I find them intriguing for a few reasons.  

First, when my son (who is ADHD Inattentive like me) was much, much younger (around the age of 2-3 years old) he would end bath time by asking me to "wrap him up like a taco".  It was a game we played each night.  He would get out of the tub and do this little dance, hopping around from one foot to the other, and say "mom,  mom, wrap me up like a taco, please"! I don't remember what started this, but the way this worked was I would lay his towel out on the floor and he would lay down on one end of it and I would roll him up in the towel fairly snug. I'd then scoop him up until he dried off.  Something about the blanket wrapped around him was comforting.  I remember he just loved it.  We laugh about it now.  As a side note, in 6th grade he announced that his dream job would be to work at Taco Bell.  Fast forward to the age of 18 and he still loves tacos, but that's where the taco obsession ends.

I've also noticed that I have always liked to be snug in my bed.  It's the way that I sleep the best.  Even when the weather's warm, I'll turn the temperature in the room down so that I can sleep with a heavier blanket on top.  Also, if I'm sitting downstairs watching tv with my hubby, I always have a blanket on my lap.  It just feels, more comfy.

I've not really ever made the connection between these things and weighted blankets.  I have to say, it does have me curious.  Weighted blankets are not hard to find, but they are pricey! Although if they do what they say they will do, they would be well worth it. As a general guideline, your blanket should weigh about 10% of your ideal body weight if you're an adult.  If you are making or ordering the blanket for a child, it should weigh 5% of their body weight + 1 or 2 lbs.   

A few places to look for a weighted blanket are Etsy and Amazon.  There's even a DIY version that I'm gonna try and make.  You can find the instructions here on the MamaSmiles Website.  I'll do a follow up and let you know how easy or difficult that is and to share the pictures of my completed project.

For more information, check out this short video that I shared last week on my Facebook Page. What's been your experience with weighted blankets? Have you heard of them before? 

Happy Friday! ~Shaun