Some tips are so simple we wonder why we didn’t think of them ourselves. Some we’ve even heard about forever, yet we never tried them. We’ll I’ve got five tips for you to cover the next five days that are easy to incorporate into your daily or weekly routine.
365 Simple #20 – Drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning. Before coffee or anything else.
Seriously, just drink water? Yes. If you don’t already do this you will be amazed at what a difference just 16 ounces of water make. When we sleep we are losing water through breathing. No surprises there, right? We all wake up a little dehydrated, some more than others. Drinking water immediately upon awakening helps to restore the water we lost during the night. I love my coffee in the morning. My coffee pot has a timer that is set to go off about 20 minutes before I wake up so my coffee is fresh and hot. Yet just grabbing that cup of joe isn’t doing me any favors. It is actually working against me as caffeine is a diuretic. Simply adding a couple of cups of water to my morning routine before getting a cup of coffee gets much needed hydration into my body and the effects are felt almost immediately – as in I gotta go #2! Lots of people think that they need their morning coffee to stimulate a bowel movement. I’d venture to say (just my observation since I’m not a doctor, I don’t even play one on TV) it is the act of putting liquid down our gullets that stimulate the bowel movement and that coffee isn’t the best choice. Water, however, is the best choice. We’ve all heard that 8 glasses of water a day is the goal, well maybe yes and maybe no. Some people require more water than others. You’ll know by your bowel movements, whether your skin is dry and flaky, whether you always feel thirsty, or whether you’re prone to headaches or your thinking is just fuzzy. All are signs of possible dehydration. So try it out for yourself. This super simple tip could make a huge difference. Of course you’ll want to make sure you drink an adequate amount of water the rest of the day as well.
365 Simple #21 – Apply lavender essential oil to the soles of your feet before bed.
Okay, this tip kind of blew my mind the first time I tried it. I’d attended an essential oils “party”. I didn’t sign up as a distributor or buy the $150 starter package with diffuser. Actually I didn’t buy anything at all. Instead I came home with a couple of tips I wanted to try out for myself. The first thing I tried was to simply rub a few drops of lavender essential oil on the bottoms of my feet before bed to stimulate my brain and body to relax. I also rubbed a bit on my neck and breathed the essence from my hands as suggested. The first night I tried this I fell asleep quickly and slept so hard that I actually felt like I’d taken a sleep aid because I was so groggy in the morning. Really! I hadn’t slept that deeply in years! I’m in the throes of menopause and falling asleep is difficult. Add a husband that snores and a tiny dog that thinks my bed is her bed (yes, I wear earplugs, no, I won’t put the dog in her crate at night), and getting my body and brain to cooperate and fall into LaLa Land is difficult, at best. If I do manage to fall asleep I will wake several times during the night with night sweats, then I have a hard time falling back to sleep. Well, I have to say that since I’ve been applying the lavender essential oil to my feet and neck each night I have slept very well. I still wake up melting into a puddle, but I’m able to quickly go right back to sleep and the occurrences of night sweats seem to be fewer. Perhaps this is a placebo effect. Don’t know, don’t care. It’s working for me. I’d highly suggest you give it a try and see if it helps you as well. If you don’t like the smell of lavender there are other essential oils that may work for you; orange and lemon oils come immediately to mind. Just do your own internet search and experiment to find what works for you.
365 Simple #22 – Try magnesium citrate before bed to help your body relax.
Do you ever suffer from restless legs when you’re trying to fall asleep? It seems the women in my family are prone to this. I remember my grandmother complaining about this when I was 5-years-old. My mother, my sister, and I all get that twitchy feeling in our legs just as we are starting to fall asleep. It really drives me crazy! I’d read somewhere that magnesium helps with restless legs. I’d also read a recommendation for magnesium citrate as a great way to calm your mind and body in the evening. Plus, magnesium citrate helps with bowel elimination (yes, I’m still talking about poop!). I bought some from a health food store and I felt immediate relief from those crazy restless legs. However, I also discovered that the recommended dosage caused me to have cannon butt! Yep, just what it sounds like. Too much calcium citrate will have you running in the morning and perhaps throughout the day and not in a good way. I take half of the recommended dosage of two rounded teaspoons (1 tsp or less) and I still get the desired results. There are two brands that I’ve tried and I can recommend; Calm and Magnesium Serene. Both come in various flavors. I’ve found they dissolve best when I use a bit of hot or very warm water and stir, then I add cool water so I can knock it back in a few swallows. I take this with me when I travel since travel can get anyone’s system out of whack and the magnesium citrate keeps everything moving along……..if ya know what I mean.
365 Simple #23 – Oil pulling.
Never heard of oil pulling? It is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that goes back a few thousand years. Simply put – oil pulling just means to take a small spoonful (begin with a teaspoon and work up to 1 tablespoon) of oil – coconut oil works great due to its antimicrobial properties – into your mouth and gently swish around for as long as 20 minutes to pull the bacteria out of the crevices of your mouth and from under your gums. For some it takes time to work up to 20 minutes without gagging. The oil doesn’t taste bad but the act of swishing it around causes the oil to foam up and it triggers the gag reflex in some people. I’ve never had that problem. I try to do this a couple of times a week. I’ll start off with the oil in my mouth before I shower. Then I’ll shower and shampoo and do all that stuff. Usually 20 minutes is up by the time I’ve dried and dressed. I just don’t think about it too much, just swish away. Do NOT spit the oil down the drain in your sink lest the oil accumulate in the pipes somewhere and contribute to a clog. I spit the oil into a tissue and throw it in the trash can.
365 Simple #24 – Washing your face with oil.
I mentioned this last week when I talked about the wonders of coconut oil, but I love this tip so much that it bears repeating. I actually wash my face with oil! I know it sounds counterintuitive, especially if you already have oily skin, but it really is a great way to remove dirt and grime from your skin and leave it feeling soft and supple. Even the major cosmetic companies are getting wise to this and have created oil washes that are now being heavily marketed. You can read my original post, or you can read the list of ingredients that I currently use in my own face wash. You’ll have to experiment to find out what works best for you. Some people love straight coconut oil. Other people use a combo of olive oil and jojoba oil. Some use coconut, olive, and jojoba oil or sesame oil, almond oil, or avocado oil. Find what works for you. If your skin has a reaction then by all means try eliminating one of the oils at a time to see what might be the culprit. It stands to reason that if you can’t use an oil in cooking or eating due to an allergic reaction then DO NOT use it on your skin! I find I like heavier oils in the winter and lighter oils in the summer. Here is what I use presently, this could change as my skin adapts or as the seasons change:
Oil Face Wash
1 oz vitamin E oil
1 oz extra virgin olive oil
4 oz jojoba oil
20-30 capsules of 10,000 IU vitamin A (prick with needle and squeeze out, of course)
Okay, days 20 through 24 are done! We’re almost a month into this 365 Simple journey. Having fun yet?