SLOW LIVING

Recently I've felt the need to further embrace the way that I was created. I've always been a "deep not wide" kind of girl. I'm very relational, but I prefer to have a handful of really close, meaningful relationships instead of being the life of the party. Even more so, I wasn't created for the rat race that we so often fall into when we're chasing our dreams and pursuing our callings. I've felt convicted and called to be more present with the people in my life. It's easy to get caught up in to-do lists, making a name for ourselves, or trying to be everything for everyone, but I know that we're called to something much deeper, much greater than the rat race. We're called to be present, to love deeply, to meet people where they are, to show up, to invest.

Over the years I've fallen into a lifestyle that some dub as "slow living." Basically, it's getting away from the mindset that more is more and shifting to the mindset that less is more. It means handmade, homemade, thoughtfulness, intentionality, sustainability, and the list goes on. For me, it means making space to breathe and remember that my worth is not tied to what I do or the amount of possessions I own. I'm no longer distracted by the latest trends or fighting to have the latest and greatest item that the world tells me I must have. No, I'm simply living life with good people, indulging in things like DIYs, and doing little things that mean a lot to others. 

I'm giving you permission to slow down as well. Look at your life and get rid of the things you don't like. Invest in people more and in to-do lists less. Take care of the people in your home and in your community. Let's get back to a way of life that fills us up instead of draining us to our core. Let's choose to live more intentional, meaningful, slow lives.

DETOX LIFESTYLE

Several years ago after I uncovered my gluten intolerance, I spent a solid six months doing research and began to understand the harsh, toxic chemicals that are allowed in our food, personal care products, and household cleaners - often without regulation. I started throwing everything out and switching to natural options. Just like anything in life, it's been a journey of learning what works for us and what doesn't.

Cleansing and detoxing are popular topics when you get into the "health world." I once tried a juice cleanse and thought I was legitimately going to die. HA! I've never felt so sick to my stomach and so, my juice cleanse lasted one day. I will never do that again and I haven't tried another cleanse since. However, over the last few weeks, I could tell that my body really needs some sort of reset. Overall, we adhere to clean eating with a whole food, gluten/dairy/soy/corn free diet, but I've been slacking here lately and indulging in more sugar and processed foods than usual (thanks, stress). Anyways, knowing that I wanted to do something to help my body reset a little, I picked up a copy of Goop Clean Beauty when I was perusing Barnes and Noble the other day. As I read through it, I thought to myself, "YES! This is such a healthy perspective." It's like all of my personal research wrapped up into one beautifully produced book; I highly recommend it!

image via caryn noel

image via caryn noel

Their approach to cleansing is to live a detox lifestyle. Our bodies were created to detox themselves, we just need to give it the right food, drink, and supplements to do so and avoid the things that get in the way of it going through the detoxing process (and what we put ON our bodies is just as important as what's going IN). Even though I feel like I'm doing a good job for the most part, I decided to go with their 10-day cleansing plan to tighten up the parameters and allow my body to do its own thing.

Here are their cleanse rules:

  • No alcohol

  • No caffeine (still going to drink matcha)

  • No dairy

  • No eggs

  • No beef, no pork

  • No shellfish, no raw fish

  • No gluten

  • No soy

  • No nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)

  • No strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, bananas

  • No corn

  • No white rice

  • No added sugar

  • No peanuts (other nuts are fine)

image via caryn noel

image via caryn noel

I'm looking forward to getting started with some of the delicious recipes they offer in the book and getting my gut and the rest of my body back in order! Self-care is so important and during this slower season I'm currently in, I've decided to take full advantage of the stillness and care for myself. We have so many amazing things in the works so I'm doing my best to establish healthier habits while I have the time in hopes they'll stick when life gets crazy again!

If you find yourself in a similar place, I'd love to invite you into this with me. Who wants to invest in their health + wellness for the next 10 days?

WORKING FROM HOME

I've worked from home for the last 4 years or so. It's had its ups and downs for sure. We moved into a new apartment over the summer. It has been a wonderful space to work from and really where much of Radiant Hope has been created, but unfortunately in December I began falling into a bit of a rut. It's been hard for me to stay motivated, focused, and productive. I find myself doing everything but what I need to do and it's also been affecting me emotionally as well. Needless to say, I'm in a bit of a funk! I started reading some tips and tricks online to help overcome this current state and wanted to share a few of the things I've started to implement. 

  • 15-30 minutes of yoga first thing in the morning. This helps wake me up and get me moving - I'm not a morning person so this is typically a challenge in and of itself. I've really been enjoying the Down Dog app though! 
  • Showering and getting ready for the day ASAP. When you're home all day, it's easy to put off doing your hair and makeup, but making myself do these things in the morning has been a great way to put me in 'work mode.'
  • Going for a mid-day walk. The fresh air is always good for the soul, but it also gives my mind a break and allows me to reset for the next tasks at hand. 
  • Working from a coffee shop 1-2 times a week. Whether it's for an entire afternoon or an hour, getting out of the apartment and into a new environment is always a good idea! 
  • Giving space for creativity. Sending emails or working on small administrative tasks are super draining for me. I need to ensure that I have a creative outlet so whether it's taking pictures or working on a graphic for oils or writing a blog post, it helps my creativity flow and often leads to more creativity for Radiant Hope as well. 
  • Accepting that I cannot sit for 8 hours a day and be productive. I don't know why, but this has always been so hard for me. I feel guilty if I'm not sitting at my desk for a full 8 hours, but the truth is that I'm so unproductive when I do that. I work best in spurts so giving myself permission to get out and do something I enjoy or simply taking a break and coming back to my to-do list is important. I'm a procrastinator to the extreme so if I put a little pressure on myself to get things done, I can conquer the world. Here lately, I've been creating a to-do list with everything I can possibly think of, grouping the similar or complimentary tasks together, and setting a timer for myself to knock out those 2-5 things. After it's done, I take a short break and come back to tackle more when I'm ready. It works best for me! 

Do you work from home? If so, what are some things that have worked well for you to stay productive, on track, and out of a rut? I'd love to hear more ideas!

NONTOXIC LAUNDRY ROUTINE

If you know me at all, you know that I'm passionate about living naturally and sustainably. With the help of essential oils, I've been able to create a nontoxic home for Ricky and I. When I'm mixing up a DIY potion, it truly brings me so much joy. It's simple, but it ultimately has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. I thought I'd share a few of the ways that I've switched over to a nontoxic, no waste laundry routine. But first... can I just say how much I LOVE this basket? My mom recently started a shop called Restored that carries ethical, sustainable goods and she sent this to me. I'm obsessed. It's beautiful, sturdy, and empowers artisans - it's one of those items that I know I'll have around for a long time. 

One of the easiest ways to reduce waste in your home is to ditch the paper products and plastic bags - this includes dryer sheets. They are often laden with harsh chemicals and contain synthetic fragrances. Instead, grab a set of these reusable wool dryer balls! I've had mine for over a year and they're still in great shape. You can either use them as is or put 1-2 drops of essential oils on each ball to add a soft, all-natural scent to your laundry. Some of my favorite oils to add to the dryer balls include: lemongrass, thieves, lavender, citrus fresh, ylang ylang, and so many more!

The next swap is fabric softener. It can be incredibly toxic and it's so easy to whip up an alternative. Epsom salt is super versatile so when I saw that it could be used as fabric softener, I was stoked! I already had it on hand so it took me less than a minute to put it together. All you need to do is grab a jar, add 1 cup epsom salt, 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oils (I did Thieves + Lemon), shake it up and store with your laundry supplies. Add 2-3 tablespoons to the bottom of the washer before you load your clothes. 

Laundry detergent can also be a very toxic item. It's important to note that your skin works as a sponge so what you put on your skin - including clothes - is so important! If you have switched your diet and reduced your intake of processed foods, you definitely want to make this switch as well. You might not be ingesting toxic chemicals through your food, but you might be ingesting them through your skin. The most nontoxic laundry detergent I've found is the Thieves Detergent. There are some other great options out there, but this is truly the most pure and natural one that I've seen. 

If you're curious where your current laundry products land on the toxic scale, the Think Dirty app is a great resource. You can scan or search for your favorite laundry brands and see how it rates on a 1-10 scale. I'm a firm believer in educating ourselves on the products we buy and being good stewards of that knowledge. Laundry may seem like a mundane task, but the products you're using could be impacting your family's health. From my experience, knowledge is truly power and can evoke lasting change in your life! If you want more information or have questions, please let me know. I love to share my knowledge with others. I hope you can implement these easy natural options into your own life as well!