Category Archives: Personal care hacks

4 realistic ways to find time to read

Over the last year or more, I have been listening to podcasts that have filled my mind with so many ideas, so many possibilities.  But what I have found, is that without my fiction books, I can’t relax.  The nonfiction books get me so would up, so excited.  I need something else to calm me and help me rest at night.

I used to be a one-book-at-a-time person.  Then, for a while, I felt I had no time to read.  With work, kids, dog, exercising, there just didn’t seem to be any time.  But I’ll share with you how I manage to have time for multiple books at one time.  Currently, I tend to have a nonfiction audio book to motivate me to try new things and improve my life.  I also have a fiction book that I read at night or when I’m trying to unwind.  I sometimes have an audio fiction book as well.  These work especially well on family road trips and for family members who get car sick and can’t read while the car is moving.

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The following 4 suggestions give you the tips you need to squeeze in that extra reading time.

  1. Try to go to bed at least 15 minutes earlier than normal.  I read for the last hour of my night (or less if I fall asleep reading!).  This helps me unwind and helps me fall to sleep easier (bonus!).
  2. Listen to audio books or podcasts while commuting, doing chores or exercising.  I do not recommend nonfiction for exercising.  I find that there are often things I want to write down and it distracts me from my exercise (but apparently not from my driving?  Hmmmm……
  3. Once you get used to listening to audiobooks or podcasts, try listening to them at a faster speed.  This gets through some of the dry material at a better pace.  Increased speed is usually a pace where you kinda have to listen closely so, at least for me, I’m more likely to pay attention.  It also gets you through more books.
  4. I read on my phone.  This has increased my read time dramatically in many ways.  First, I can read when I’m waiting in line, or when I’m walking or at the doctor’s office.  I don’t have to remember to bring my book with me.  Also, I can read any type of book, anywhere.  People don’t need to know I’m broke or reading a romance novel or getting a divorce or having major health issues.  I don’t have to wait until I’m at home, hiding those books, to read them!  Second, I can read as I’m falling asleep, in bed, at night.  I know this is not recommended.  Bad on eyes, supposedly viewing electronics at night keeps you awake.  But after years of trying to find good ways to read in bed (head lamps, lighted bookmarks, etc.), I can tell you, this is the answer to my prayers.

Still think you have no time?  I find the hardest part, is starting.  Just start a book.  If it’s a topic you like or need, you will suddenly find the time to read it.  Despite being used to my system, I find that I still sometimes struggle to start the next book.  But once I start, I’m off and running.  Sometimes I’ll download a few books just to keep things moving.  It really is easier the more you do it.  You find you don’t want to watch TV or waste so much time on Facebook when you have a good book to read.

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Next week I will be discussing places to get free books to enable this reading habit!

So my challenge to you is to see how many books you can read next month.  All you have to do is just get started!

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The EASIEST way to overcome a BAD mood

25Have you ever walked by Jasmine and suddenly felt rejuvenated?  Have you ever walked into a store because of the smell coming out of it?  Our sense of smell is powerful.  It can bring back memories.  Good memories and bad.  It has the power to change your mood.

Essential oils are one way to get smell into your system to help your mood improve.  And this applies to all moods: grief, anger, disappointment, lethargy.

Most people know their favorite smells, whether it’s citrus or flowers, grass or baked apples.  But what smells will help you when you feel overwhelmed, grumpy, insecure?  Enter the doTERRA App called Determine Your Mood.  The App is free and easy to use.  All you have to do is enter how you feel, on a sliding scale.  The more you feel an emotion, the more you slide the little bar to the right.  They have a total of 18 moods to choose from and you can pick as many of the mood choices as you are feeling.  So no need to worry if you are confused and angry.  Enter both.  They will help you out.

Once you’ve chosen your feelings and “ranked” them, it will tell you what oils will help you with that mood!  The good part is, you don’t have to own all these oils either.  It gives you a few options.  So you can choose the one(s) you have.  Or if you know what oils are in the blend they recommend, you can grab those and mix them up as best you can.  They get you in the ballpark, the rest is really just a matter of matching up the oils you may have to the answers they give you, as best you can.

So let’s get started.  First pic, is what you will see when you enter the Determine Your Mood App.  (By the way, I know there are only 6 emotions listed here, there are 18, but my screen would not show them all to you, sorry!).

For this next picture, I decided to feel discouraged (among other things), so you can see the recommended oils for that.

 

After I chose the emotions I was feeling, I scrolled to the bottom of the list and hit the

“Show Results” button.

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As you can see, they recommended Motivate and Citrus Bliss as the most likely to assist me with my mood.

 

 

If you click on the arrow to the right side of the listed oils, your screen will look like the picture below.

 

Easy and fun!  I LOVE having them give me an easy answer.  Let’s try again.  This time I’m going to be angry instead of gloomy.

 

 

And you can see below, the oils are different.  There often is overlap because, for example, Citrus Bliss is very uplifting.  So it can help with a lot of issues.  But, every situation is different.  So let’s try another one!

 

 

This time I’m going to have more of an anxious mood.

 

The recommendations for these moods are more lavender based than the ones above because lavender usually makes people feel calmer.  In this case, we don’t need to be uplifted quite as much as we need to be calmed down.

 

In this last one, I’m going to be sad in the sense of grieving.

 

As you can see, this one has a few lavender based oil blends, as mentioned in the last mood.  But Elevation is a citrus blend.  So this answer truly leaves it up to the individual as to what they might need.  Most likely, a calming lavender but possibly, depending on if they need to be uplifted, they might need the citrus.

 

I love this App because if I’m in a bad mood, once I know why (sometimes it’s just harder to tell than others), I can enter what I’m feeling and it tells me what to try.  And if I don’t have the recommended oil, I look at the second or third choices.  Or, I figure out what the first oil blend is made of.  If it’s citrus based, I grab whatever citrus oils I have and don’t worry about their exact recommendation.  I just need them to get me going in the right direction

While extreme emotions won’t just go away with smelling an oil, it does help.  I will give you an example.  I was very angry at a friend a while back.  The App told me to use the blend called Forgive.  I did.  And while I was still angry, I decided I wasn’t going to kill anyone.  After a few days of using a lot of Forgive (like I said, I was very angry!), I calmed down.  And I made my coworkers happy because they all got to smell my oil that week.  As they said, “It smells like a spa in here!”

If you have any questions about the App, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.  Or, if you give the App a try, and it works for you, I’d love to hear about it.

If you need to buy oils, you can get them here: https://www.mydoterra.com/blackbourn.

If you have questions about the oils, just let me know.  I’m always happy to help.

 

 

 

Bullet Journal Fails!

Bullet Journal Fails!

You may have heard of this new fad, the bullet journal.  They are essentially daily journals/calendars that are flexible.  So instead of buying a pre-made calendar, you use a blank slate and cater it to your life.  You aren’t really supposed to go ahead in time.  It’s a day by day calendar (give or take).  You make up your to-do’s as you go.  But it’s also a long term goal-maker.  So you can list movies you want to watch, books you want to read, projects for the house, crafts for the kids, etc.  And there is no timeline.  Just a list that moves along with life.

The problem is, they really aren’t just lists.  They are beautiful, multi-colored, coloring pages.  Instead of listing books to read, you draw a bookshelf with books and write the titles on the books.  And your daily/weekly/monthly chores are in little charts with highlighters for the different chores, their status and so forth.  For example…..

Seriously, I don’t know how these people have the time to draw the birds, stars, dogs and whatever else I’m seeing on these things.  The point of a calendar or to do list is to get things done!  How are these people getting anything done when they are drawing so much?!  And how is it that they are all such good illustrators?  Now I have seen some people using stickers.  But again, who spends all this money on stickers just so they don’t have to write the words, “chore list”.  Another one….

What’s funny is this apparently was not at all the original idea.  People have just gone off the deep end with this.  Here’s a link so you can see just how simple the original idea really was.  http://bulletjournal.com/

So little did I know that I kinda created a bullet journal last year.  I had a blank journal and I decided to use it to list all these different projects I wanted to do and ideas I had.  I had no idea about the bullet journal craze.  This year I learned about the bullet journal and decided to start one (again, not realizing I already started one).

Here is what I learned:

  1. I can’t draw.  OK, I already knew that.  But seriously, I can’t.
  2. I have horrible writing.  Yeah, I already knew that too.  But I’m working on that, kinda.
  3. I am not going to invest in colored pencils and all that jazz.  I have some colored pens.  That’s where that ends.
  4. I am not going to invest in stickers.  It will take me 10x longer to look at stickers, buy them, and use them, than to just write the words!

But then, my journal isn’t pretty.  So here’s a few pics of my journal.  As you can see, it really is not pretty at all.

Do you see the difference in my chart and the ones above????  Um…yeah….

This is what I call a successful day.  Pretty, isn’t it?  (Don’t comment).

And this is the reality.  Apparently I don’t know what year it is.  How can a person be expected to make pretty tables when they don’t even know what year it is?

So all I’m going to say is that if you see millions of these articles and pictures telling you that it’s so great and all you have to do is blah, blah, blah….. well, the idea is great.  The execution is fine and can be adjusted, as needed.  But, the beauty is not practical, quick or easy.  It is a whole different ball of wax.  So definitely, if you have a lot of ongoing projects or to-do’s, give it a try, but don’t necessarily expect your pages to look like those exploding all over the internet.  And even if you try for that lofty goal but fail, cheer up, mine is probably way worse.

Of course, if you are worse than me, I would LOVE to see it!  And if you have a quick and easy way for me to improve, please let me know!  I’m loving how efficient and easy this idea is, but it is NOT pretty!

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2 Mammogram Alternatives 

Whether male or female, as we age, there are annual or semi-annual exams we should get. A few years ago I heard about an alternative to a mammogram. While it’s taken a few years, I finally did the research. I was rewarded with not one, but two alternatives. 

Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound is probably more comfortable than a mammogram. It is often recommended for women with finerous or dense tissue breasts as it can help to avoid misunderstanding dense matter that would show up on a mammogram.  However, it is not useful for detecting the microcalcifications seen in early breast cancer. 

Ultimately, women, unless told otherwise by their doctor, should simply get a mammogram. And some of those women may need an ultrasound thereafter. 

Thermography 

It appears thermography would also be another, more comfortable alternative to a mammogram. I found these amazing quotes that said thermography, “has 99% accuracy in identifying breast cancer in women in the 30 to 55 age group.” “Thermography can detect abnormalities from 8 to 10 years before mammography can detect a mass”. 

However, it appears this is incorrect. The FDA has not approved this method for breast cancer detection and there are cancer patients out there trying to warn others to not use this method as the only detection system. 

Thermography is a color image of your body. The colors help detect denser mass in your body. But it seems there are issues with the accuracy. So until the science behind this is more concrete, it appears women just need to get a mammogram if they want the highest accuracy and earliest detection for breast cancer. 

If you know of any other alternative, let me know!  I love learning more. 

The above info was obtained from the following sites:

Healthxchange.com

Breastcancer.org

Nbcbayarea.com

The 4 Best Essential Oils for the Sick

So I’ve barely been posting this month. I’ve been so sick. I’ve been multiple types of sick too. I used to think that essential oil users never got sick. Wasn’t that the point?  Apparently not. Oil users are not super humans.  

So considering I’ve been sick for 3 weekends in a row (3 different issues), here’s a list of the oils I used and how I used them. 

Peppermint

This is great for fever reduction and helping with headaches. I rub a drop on my temples or sniff it. 

OnGuard

This blend is an immune system booster. I rub this on as much as every 15 minutes. It doesn’t leave my bedside, unless I leave my bedside. I also gargle with it. It can help clean out that junk in the throat. If I feel a post-nasal drip, a gargle of this can sometimes stop its progression. 

Eucalyptus 

I will heat water in a mug, put a drop of this into it, and inhale.  This opens up the passageways. I recommend the water be warm, not hot. 

DigestZen

This is a blend often used to aid digestion. But if you rub it on your chest, it can help with breaking up mucus. I rub it from stomach to collarbone. It really is amazing. 

The main argument I see for not trying the oils, is the cost. But if you buy over the counter meds, 1-2 types per sickness, the cost is at least $10 per med.  The oils don’t expire like OTC meds. They will cost more up front. But they will last you through many illnesses.  And most importantly, they work!

For more information on oils, message me or visit http://www.mydoterra.com/Blackbourn. 

Quick tip: The difference between lemon water and lemon essential oil in water

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#lemonwater, #lemonessentialoil, #doterra

I love lemon in my water.  More recently, I’ve noticed that when I drink lemon essential oil in my water, I feel more hydrated.  So I’ve been wondering what the difference is and if I could get the same results from lemon in my water as I do from the essential oil drop.  I know they don’t taste the same.  But what is the actual difference?  Well someone, somewhere must have been listening to me because in the doTERRA magazine, Living, they wrote about just that.  If you are able to get a copy, it’s the Fall 2016 volume.

So the first, and most obvious, difference is that lemon essential oil is a concentrated version of the fruit.  It would take a lot of lemon juice to match the potency of the essential oil.

But lemon juice and lemon essential oil are different in that the liquid is not from the same part of the plant.  Lemon juice is squeezed from the pulp of the lemon plant.  Lemon essential oil is made from the rind being cold-pressed.

Lemon essential oil has a higher concentration of limonene than lemon juice which is what can really help the consumer with digestion, respiration and internal cleansing.

Additionally, there is no citric acid in the oil so the lemon essential oil may be easier to ingest for those with sensitive stomachs.  So for those looking for assistance with internal cleansing their body, this may be a gentle way to go.

I know for me, when water alone is not hydrating me, or when I’ve had dehydrating drinks (such as alcohol), the lemon water makes me feel balanced and hydrated.

So how to use the oils?  First, you must have a brand that is safe for internal consumption.  It will state that on the label.  If it says for aromatic use only, don’t drink it!  The brand should obtain their plants from organic fields.  Read the labels!  You don’t want to drink chemicals.  Then, you would only want about 1 drop per tall glass – about 8oz.  Lemon oil comes out quickly, so until you really learn how to drop the oil out, you may get a few drops.  That’s OK.  You will get better at pouring them out.  But just prepare yourself a tall glass or even convert it into a pitcher, if need be.

The oil I use is doTERRA.  You can get it here:  http://www.mydoterra.com/blackbourn.  Or you can message me with questions.  The important thing is that if you are going to consume an oil, that you are safe about it!

 

 

 

 

2 All Natural Cancer Treatment Supplements

apple-juice-1055331_1920Doctors act like chemotherapy is the only way to treat cancer.  Or worse, they sometimes advise that a patient cannot be treated.  But there are options.  These options can be instead of other treatment (if the patient chooses) or in addition to it.  I know of two options, although there may be more out there.  Both rely upon plants.  One is essential oils and the other is The Gerson Diet.  There is a lot of information on these options with respect to cancer.  There are hours and hours of Youtube videos and documentaries that can be watched on Netfix or TV.  I’m posting some shorter videos that cover the basics of how each theory works to give you an idea.  You can then do your own research.

Essential Oils

 

The theory on essential oils is that a concentrated version of a plant can provide the benefits of that plant to your cells.  Because the plant is so concentrated, the benefits are too.

A series on Youtube that has hours of information is The Truth About Cancer series.

Gerson Diet

Gerson has a book that is all you need to follow the diet.  But if you want to go the facility, it is in Mexico.  There are non-Gerson facilities in the U.S. (and probably elsewhere) that follow the same theory, but are just not part of the actual Gerson family.  I was originally introduced to The Gerson Diet via the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.  There are many other documentaries about this diet.  The basic theory is that if you overpower your body with nutrients via properly juiced fruits and vegetables, you can overpower the negative forces in your body.

Both of these methods support other health issues as well.  Any chronic condition can benefit from eating better and supporting your system.  The Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary does talk about juicing helping with migraines and other health problems.

The key is to learn about these things before you need them.  Once your are diagnosed with a chronic condition, you probably won’t have much time or energy to figure this all out.  I have personally seen both of these methods help people.  If you have too or if you have any questions, please comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

For more info on oils, go to: https://www.mydoterra.com/blackbourn/#/.

For more info on the Gerson diet, go to: http://gerson.org/gerpress/.

 

Life Hack: 6 Exercises For Your Drive

los-angeles-1396606So I spend a fair amount of time in the car.  Not all of it is commuting.  I drive all over L.A. on the weekends.  The beach, various events, visiting people on the other side of L.A. (which is no small feat).  So I was researching exercises for those drives.  What I found were many recommendations for passengers, but not for drivers.  The following are specifically for drivers, although some may require that you are stopped momentarily.

Stretch & Squeeze

Place your hands against the roof of your car and push upward.  Squeeze you abs simultaneously.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Release.  Repeat as much as possible.  This will work your core, arms, shoulders and back.

Arm Twist

Open your window and straighten both arms to the side.  With your one palm up and the other down, start switching the direction of your palms.  If possible, do 50, rest 10 seconds, start again.  This tones the arms and shoulders.  Sorry short people, this may not be possible for you!

Tummy Suck

Pull your belly button in towards your spine as if you are trying to suck in your tummy to put on a tight pair of pants.  Hold or, breathe out quickly about 20 times. As you breathe out, contract your lower abs even harder which will flex your abs in and out.

Breathing Ab Exercises

Keep your shoulders down and back.  Do not arch your lower back. Breathe normally.  At the end of your breath, contract your Kegel muscles as you draw your navel back into your back as far as you can go. Hold this position for a 5 seconds.  Release.

Hand Grip

Purchase a hand grip at your local sporting goods store. Squeeze the hand grip, alternating hands.  This will work you arms. And is a good one for stress release.

Mini Bicep Curl

Purchase a lightweight, rubber dumbbell.  Slightly bend your arm.  Move the weight towards your body until your forearm is in a vertical position while keeping your elbow stationary.  Hold this vertical position for at least one second, then slowly bring the weight down.  Repeat 10x.  In more limited spaces, the bicep muscle can also be tightened with the weight held outward for an isometric version.

I’ve tried some of the movement free ones in church too.  They really can be done anywhere. Meetings, weddings….

There are so many more exercises that can be done if you are a passenger in a car or on public transit.  Some of those exercises can be found in the below links.  I’d also like to thank the following websites/blogs for their contributions to this article.

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/02/18/exercise-while-you-commute.html

The Car Workout: 3 Exercises Perfect for Road-Trips & Long Commutes

http://www.livestrong.com/article/485206-unique-exercises-to-flatten-your-stomach-while-you-drive/

http://www.symptomfind.com/healthy-living/exercises-while-driving-to-work/

 

 

 

Life hack: 5 EASY morning routines for better health

 

There are so many things a person can do to increase their metabolism and detox.  A lot of it has to do with morning routine.   Below is a quick list of some of these items.  For more details, the links to additional articles and where some of my source material came from, is listed below.

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Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is definitely something you have to work on.  You may only be able to keep the oil in your mouth for a few seconds but you can easily add time to this routine with a little practice.  And this is something you can do while getting ready.  It requires no extra time on your part.  Just put a very small amount of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around for up to 20 minutes.  MAKE SURE YOU NEVER SWALLOW THE OIL!  The oil will soon contain your toxins.  Do not swallow it.  Spit it out!

Oil pulling is known to whiten teeth, increase energy, detox the body, assist with hormonal changes, reduce headaches, keep skin clear and assists with oral hygiene.

Drink cold lemon water

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So drinking a glass of cold lemon water also takes no time so it can also be added to your morning routine without a problem.  Some of the benefits of doing this are: freshens breath, gives your body vitamins, reduces feelings of hunger, and aids your digestive system.

Eat a high protein breakfast

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Eating at least 35 grams of protein for breakfast can help control appetite throughout the day by helping you to feel fuller throughout the day, thereby reducing unnecessary snacking and large meals.  Of course, the type of protein you eat is important too.  Bacon is not going to help with your overall health.  Focus on eggs or spinach or a protein shake.

Eat fruit for breakfast

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Another breakfast recommendation is eating fruit.  This is shown to help with feeling full, detoxing, stimulating the digestive tract, reducing bloating, waking up your body, boosting your immune system, losing weight, creating an alkaline environment for the body and strengthening the heart. The natural sugars in fruit are much healthier than the sugars you get from coffee and pastries.  You can get fruit in your breakfast by actually eating fruit or drinking it via smoothie or juicing.

Exercise

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So this may take a bit of time.  And this may be the hardest one to do.  But just think of all the times you were going to work out at night and then got distracted, tired or just decided not to.  The benefits of exercising in the morning are actually greater than exercising at night, so this is something you really should try.
Some of the benefits of exercising in the morning include: enhancing your metabolism, improving your physical energy, improving your mental energy, improving your sleep and helping you reach your fitness goals.

For more information on all of the above, feel free to read the following articles:

http://greatist.com/health/high-protein-breakfast-benefits

7 Benefits of Morning Exercise, Plus 5 Tricks To Actually Love It (even if you hate mornings!)

Quick tip: How to ease into the school year!

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So there are a lot of emotional issues surrounding the whole back to school thing.  You’ve got fear of a new teacher.  If you are changing schools, you have fear of how school works.  You’ve got excitement to see everyone (and fear too).  You have exhaustion from failing to retrain the family to go to bed earlier.

So let’s work on those things together.  I’ve used the following oils to help with those emotions.  As an adult, I can play around with these things and note if they are working or not.  But children are often running around too much to fully notice.  Half the time I have noticed that if they are wound up, even just trying to get the oil on them turns into a game.  They seem to think I’m going to tickle them or something.  They sometimes relax and calm down even before I can put the oil on, simply because they have become so focused on the oil, they fail to be stressed about the other stuff.  So either way, I say they work!  So…which oils to use….

Fear

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The oils most highly recommended to assist with feelings of fear are Juniper Berry, Cassia, Cinnamon, Jasmine, Birch, Cypress, Lavender, Myrrh, Arborvitae, and mixes that are known by various brands as Reassuring Blend, Inspiring Blend, and Comforting Blend.

The Reassuring Blend is known in DoTERRA as Peace, Inspiring Blend is known as Passion, and Comforting Blend is known as Console.  A lot of the above listed ingredients are in the mixes.  Personally, I like Console or Peace for fear/anxiety type of issues.  They have lavender in them and smell great.  I think lavender is key for a calming effect.  That is a fairly wide known fact and the oils really bring that fact to life.

Exhaustion

If you are trying to reenergize, basil is the key oil.  It is known to possibly strengthen adrenals and restore the body it its natural rhythms of sleep, activity and rest.    It increases energy, naturally.

If you are too exhausted to sleep, I recommend Vetiver.  This can’t stop you from jumping up and down 10 times as you remember all those things you forgot to do before you laid down.  But it can help you slow your mental wheels.  If you are at a point where you can lay down and rest, this oil seems to help keep you there.  My sleep seems deeper.  I’m a very light sleeper and I don’t feel like I hear as much when I have used this oil.  (Although, I’m not saying that it affects hearing.)

Here’s a video of Dr. Josh Axe talking about this.

 

Focus

Lemon, Peppermint and Focus Blend, are all oils that can assist with better focus.  In doTERRA, Focus Blend is called In Tune.  This blend has oils that assist with calming the mind as well as activating it.  This may sound counter productive, but it really can help with attention span.  Basically, it helps you focus!

Protection

All those kids have germs!  Boost your immune system with Protective Blend, or On Guard.  This blend has ingredients your grandmother used to use herbally to help fight off sickness.  Use this before the exposure starts!

So for this back to school, in sum, I recommend On Guard, In Tune, Basil, Vetiver and a lavendar blend (Console or Peace).  A few oils will go a long way toward back to school sanity!

Aside from my experience, much of this content was learned from the following book: Emotions & Essential Oils. I’ve learned a lot from this book and put off purchasing it for way too long.

You can get a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Emotions-Essential-Oils-4th-Resource-ebook/dp/0990696510/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470718775&sr=8-1&keywords=emotions+%26+essential+oils

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact me, comment or visit https://www.mydoterra.com/blackbourn/.