Widmayer Wellness LLC

Encouragement in Your Wellness Journey

Category Archives: Thoughts

Spring Break is Coming…But Oh, the Packing!

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Travel! We like to get away, but the packing. . . For me, packing takes #alltheoils for focus, courage, and stamina!  I admit it; I am high maintenance, and I like to have all my creature comforts when I am going on a trip.  Computer, phone, books, Kindles, notebooks, pens, coloring books and pencils, calendar, travel journal, crocheting, and snacks…lots of snacks. And let’s not forget oils. Wait, I haven’t packed the clothes yet, and the suitcase is full.

Last fall I took two long weekend trips to Chicago—one by car for business, one by train for pleasure. I took a carry-on suitcase, my purse, my backpack, and on the train trip, my crocheting project.  All the bags were heavy.  Everything I couldn’t fit in a suitcase ended up in my purse. Carrying all of it took some creative lifting and maneuvering.  Lifting my suitcase onto the train, while my shoulders and arms were loaded with my other bags, was impossible. My back was not happy with the weight of my backpack. I returned from those trips stiff, sore, and determined to be a lighter packer. However, wanting to pack lighter and following through on it are two different things.

Our spring break is coming up, and this trip is by car. I will be gone almost a month. The good news is the car holds a lot. The bad news is I still have to load and unload at each new venue.  We will be traveling through various weather zones, so I need outfits for all seasons. Maybe hotels should offer extensive wardrobe collections so people don’t have to pack. 🙂   Or maybe I need a personal assistant to carry all my things.  My husband has resigned from the job permanently.

Short of hiring a personal assistant, I am resolved to taking only few favorite outfits since there will be a washer and dryer available. And some of the creature comforts will have to remain behind.

Toiletries take up a lot of space, too, but I have found a great solution. Young Living’s Bon Voyage Travel Pack.  This little gem is really going to help me. It contains travel sizes of all my favorite things in one little zip up, and it has room to add more.  I am so excited about it.  Though I have tried making my own small containers for my personal items for previous trips, the quality of the bottles discouraged me.  Packing full size bottles of toiletries is not realistic when you are trying to save space.

The Young Living Bon Voyage Travel Pack provides TSA-compliant personal care products. Ten Young Living favorites come in an attractive toiletries bag, including

  • Thieves® AromaBright Toothpaste
  • Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier
  • Thieves Dental Floss
  • Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash
  • Young Living Toothbrush
  • Lavender Shampoo
  • Lavender Conditioner
  • Cinnamint Lip Balm
  • Morning Start™ Bath & Shower Gel
  • Genesis™ Hand & Body Lotion
  • ART® Light Moisturizer

Having a great solution for my toiletries is a good start to packing lighter.  For the rest of my packing, I’ve been reading up on tips.  Wish me luck!

Saying Thank You

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Expressing gratitude is a healthy habit that has been shown to increase a person’s life satisfaction.

Thank you—two little words that mean so much. They are among the first words we teach our children. And when we teach our children and grandchildren to express gratitude and appreciation, it reminds us to keep those words active in our own vocabulary.

But what about thank you notes?  It seems in this age of texting and social media, the art of writing has been lost, or at least diminished.  And while thank you notes are special, just remembering to say thank you is key.

Most people acknowledge gifts for weddings, showers, and graduations, but what about Christmas  presents? Are we in the habit of always practicing thanks?

I admit I often fail in this area.  If I receive a gift in the middle of the year or for a birthday, I am usually good about writing thank you notes; however, during the holidays with so many things going on, somehow the gifts that family give, while appreciated, don’t always get the proper thanks. Our immediate family members may not expect a hand-addressed stamped envelope to arrive in the mail, but expressing thanks to our family and extended family builds in us a habit to express thanks to others. A simple note stating thanks for the gift and appreciation at being remembered is adequate.  If the friend or family member is someone you saw at the holidays, expressing pleasure in having seen them is another nice addition to the note.

Writing thank you notes is just one way of expressing gratitude in our daily lives.  The decorations have been put away for another year, and many will return to work on January 7.  That marks the official end of holiday celebrations.  Take time to finish the season by expressing appreciation for the gifts you have received if you haven’t already.  Write a note, or at least take the time to make a phone call.  Be an example to your kids and grandkids.  No matter what their ages, a reminder about those two little important words—thank you—is a good idea.

And while we are on the subject, THANK YOU to my blog followers!  I appreciate you.

Happy 2019!

 

 

 

Did You Have a Good Christmas?

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“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” — (Scrooge)  Charles Dickens

Did you have a good Christmas?  This question is asked from December 26 through mid-January.  But asking people if they had a “good” Christmas or a “good” holiday requires them to evaluate it. And what rubric do we use to measure whether or not our holiday has been “successful”?

Christmas and holiday celebrations focus on traditions and provide the warm fuzzy feelings we associate with the satisfaction of a holiday well spent. We may measure experiences by our past Christmases, comparisons with others, or the perfection of a holiday movie celebration.  And often we come up short by comparison, which can lead to discontentment, disappointment, and depression.

Our disappointment comes from having created in our own minds a picture of what our holiday will or should look like, and when the reality doesn’t match the picture, we are disappointed.  Our emotions are close to the surface.  We may cry, we may argue with family members, or we may withdraw because things are not going the way they were supposed to.

The problem is no matter what picture we may have in our minds about what our holiday should look like, other family members likely have a different picture.  Even siblings have memories that differ or hold varied significance.  One may cherish the memory and smell of fresh baked cookies that are prepared before the holidays. Another may cherish the Christmas Eve candlelight service.  And a third may cherish the gathering of family and the games played around the dining room table after the food was put away.

Going in to the holiday season with an evaluation mindset sets us up for failure.  Our rational minds can process that that attitude is unhealthy, but our childlike wonder of Christmas is still looking for the emotional high, no matter how old we get.

Holidays and the traditions we expect, even when successful, will not remain the same forever.  Loved ones die, children grow; families may be spread out across the country instead of in the same town.  Christmas cannot be celebrated based on external trappings.  It is kept, as Dickens says, in our hearts.

What should we do to spare ourselves disappointment?  First, we should cast off expectations and approach the holiday with a mindset to experience whatever joy and pleasure the season offers.  Second, we should take responsibility for creating whatever traditions we hold dear, and not rely on others to fulfill our expectations.  And finally, and most importantly, we need to focus on the Reason for the Season. Jesus.

The first Christmas was a simple birth. A mother and father, likely tired from travel, disappointed in the lack of accommodations, excited about the birth of their first child, and worried about provisions.  We look at the stable birth and focus on the lack of physical provision.  But do you think Joseph and Mary had emotional needs as well? I certainly do.  They were no doubt at the end of their own strength; and therefore, totally looking to God and trusting Him for their needs. And God did provide.  He provided, among other things, a heavenly, angelic choir!

Jesus, God Incarnate, is available today to meet our needs.  Whether those needs are physical or emotional, He is able to help us.  We can find joy in the simplest expressions of marking a holiday. We can find peace in the Presence of the King of Kings. We can find love in God’s sacrifice of His own Son for us!

God extends forgiveness to all.  And we can extend that same forgiveness to our families and friends.  Our families love us, no matter their expression of that love.  Their love is imperfect.  Their love may disappoint.  But God is love. His love is Perfect.  He can fill those empty places where expectation and disappointment reside.

This year as we approach the week of Christmas, let us set our minds for success. Let us anticipate responding to “How was your Christmas?” with, “Christmas was great!”  It will be great because however we celebrate, Jesus is here. Not just for today, but for eternity.  Let us celebrate all our Christmases past, present, and future with a joyful heart.

Time in His Hands

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. . .” (Colossians 3:23)

I don’t have enough time. We are all guilty of expressing this sentiment.  Sometimes it is frustration, sometimes it is weariness, and sometimes it is an excuse not to do add more to an already busy schedule.

Colossians 3:23 reminds us to work at all we do with our whole hearts. We might find encouragement in that verse when we are teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, or taking a meal to a sick friend.  We are serving others when we do those things, and we know that work is for the Lord.  But what about the tasks we work on at home or our jobs? Do we take pleasure in housework, laundry, yard work, and grocery shopping?  Do we enjoy our jobs? Are we doing those unto the Lord?

And what about the added work that comes with the holiday season? Do you take pleasure in the extra cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, and shopping that comes with the season, or is it just something you do because of tradition or expectation?

I have always enjoyed preparing for the holidays, but I often resented my “regular” work because it was taking my time from doing the holiday things I enjoyed.  However, as I now have more time on my hands, I find those chores more pleasant, or at least less irksome.  That led me to the realization that it isn’t really the chores themselves that are the problem.  The problem is my possessiveness of my time. MY time! Do you see the problem with that attitude?  My time is not my own time; and if I operate in that mindset, of course I will be frustrated.

If we are walking the path God has set before us and being led by the Holy Spirit, our time is in His hands.  Psalm 31:14-15 says, “I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord. I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands. . .”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything, and we generally interpret this verse to realize we have seasons in our lives.  But what if we read it as there is time for everything?  Would we be less stressed and possessive of our time if we really believed we have plenty of it? What if you really do have plenty of time?

We know times goes quickly, and as we get older, the time seems to race by even faster.  We all have a list of things we want to accomplish—whether it’s today’s to-do list, this year’s goal list, or a lifetime purpose list.  But if God truly has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and He orders our steps, we do have time for everything.  Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,” but can you quote the second part of that verse?  “He delights in our way.”

If God takes delight in our way—in our daily steps, our mundane tasks, we can rejoice in Him and delight in our way ourselves.

Does that sound too easy?  Are you looking at your holiday to-do list and thinking there is no delight in it? It really is all about mindset. It takes a proper outlook and practice. It takes believing God’s Word about time is as true as everything else He has said, and then acting on that truth.

Here are some steps that may help you cooperate with God’s timing and bring the joy and delight back to your busy holiday season.

Set your mind. Cultivate a positive mindset. Rejoice in the day God has given you. “This is the day God has made! Rejoice!” (Psalm 118:24) You get to spend the day with God, the King of the universe!

Pray. Before you start your day or any of your tasks, ask God to order your day and give you strength. I have found, time and time again, that this is the best way to approach a day when I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks I need to complete.

  1. Ask God to order your steps. He has promised to do that. Remind Him of His promise. (Psalm 37:23)  Claim it for your life. “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but God establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
  2. Ask God to keep you from distractions. Explore these promises.
    • Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of every opportunity…”
    • Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
    • Proverbs 4:25 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
    • Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow…”
    • Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
    • Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Let your words match your mindset. We know words have creative and destructive power, so eliminate negative sayings, like I don’t have time; express positive things: I can do all things through Christ; My steps are ordered of God.You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Psalm 16:11)

Combine things you like to do with tasks you find challenging. Listen to music, a podcast, or a book as you work.  Count your blessings as you shop, thanking God for the provision to purchase groceries and gifts.  Check your email or social media while waiting for an appointment.

Rest and recharge. When your task list is long, make sure you schedule times for quiet, reflection, prayer, or just something you love to do. Don’t neglect that workout time, coffee date, or favorite holiday movie.  Psalm 23:2-3 reminds us God cares about our rest. “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides quiet waters; he refreshes my soul.”

When we look forward to time with family and friends over the holidays, it is rarely about what we do. We just take pleasure in being with them.  If we take that same approach to our time with God, then we can enjoy His presence regardless of the tasks we need to accomplish. And we can take pleasure in the tasks because we take pleasure in Him.  We can rest confidently in the knowledge that He is aware of our time and our to-do list, and He will make the most of it, helping us to redeem the time we have efficiently. There is a time for everything.

EASY DIY ESSENTIAL OIL GIFT IDEAS

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It seems I have no sooner put out my fall decorations than my mind turns to Christmas and gift-giving.  When I was growing up, my family was not very crafty.  We were not a family who made gifts for one another.  We were a shopping family, and I have very fond memories of holiday shopping with both my mom and my dad.

Then I met my husband.  His extended family tended to give more hand-made gifts.  Of course, when we first got married, we had a limited income as most young couples do so making gifts seemed like a great idea to my husband.  Even while we were dating, we started a tradition of making hard candy every year.  During our early marriage we continued to make things for extended family members.  One year I crocheted “holiday candles” that fit over a cardboard tube.  Another year, I made yarn wreaths on a coat hanger.  And for a while, my husband made bread to give to family members every year.

I found gift-making somewhat intimidating. Making things was, and still is, a challenge for me. I will only attempt the simplest of projects.  However, over the past few years, as I have begun using essential oils and been exposed to all kinds of DIY recipes, I have found a lot more easy, creative ideas for gift-giving.  I thought I would share a few I have found simple enough to tackle.

I realize that everyone has favorite essential oils, so I will give you a list of suggestions and let you experiment. You may want to make minor adjustments so that each gift you give is as unique as the person receiving it.  For containers, I use decorative Mason jars. Do not use plastic containers if you are using any citrus oils.

SUGAR SCRUB

Directions: You can use white sugar, brown sugar, or a combination of the two.

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. Honey, optional
  • 1 t. baking soda, optional, add more to achieve desired consistency
  • 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. Choose one or more of the following.
    • Fall scents – Thieves, Clove, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Christmas Spirit, Orange, Northern Lights Black Spruce
    • Citrus scents – Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Bergamot, Grapefruit
    • Christmas scents – Peppermint, Orange, Juniper, Cinnamon, Clove, Thieves
    • Relaxing scents – Lavender, Stress Away, Valor
    • Muscle soothing scents – Peppermint, Wintergreen, PanAway, Valor, Frankincense
    • Man scents – Shutran, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sacred Sandalwood

BODY BUTTER

Directions: You can use any base – cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, kokum butter, or a blend.  You can melt it first or just soften it.  Use a stand mixer to whip butter base to desired consistency.  Add liquid oil slowly. You may not use the whole amount.  Remove from stand and fold in essential oils.  Add to a Mason jar and seal.

  • ½ cup shea butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond (or grapeseed, safflower, jojoba, olive)
  • 20 drops of essential oil

RICE SOCKS

Directions:  Pour 1 cup of rice into a large bowl.  Stir in essential oils.  Add rice to tube sock.  Fill any remainder of sock with more rice. Close sock with a rubber band.  Shake the sock so the oil-infused rice blends with the plain rice.  Add a bow around the rubber band, if desired.  I personally find the bow is just a pain. Make sure you are using a rubber band or a band that does NOT contain any metal pieces because you are going to warm this up in the microwave.  You can always add more essential oils in the future if needed. These socks are, as far as I am concerned, genius!  I use my rice sock every day.  This would be a great craft for a Scout troop or a Sunday School class.

  • One cotton tube sock
  • 1-2 cups of white rice
  • One heavy duty rubber band
  • 5 – 10 drops essential oil
    • Muscle soothing – Peppermint, Wintergreen, or PanAway
    • Calming – Lavender or Stress Away
  • To heat: Put in microwave 30 seconds at a time to desired temperature, not more than 90 seconds total.
  • Do not apply directly to skin; use a cloth barrier.

SOAP

This is the easiest thing in the world!

Directions:  Melt the soap base.  Stir in essential oils.  Pour in mold.  Cool.  Remove from mold.  I have wrapped these in saran wrap and tied with a bow. I have also put them in small organza bags to give away.

  • Soap base – I have used a shea butter base and a goat’s milk base
  • Silicone Mold
  • Essential oils
  • Option – Dried petals – I tried adding dried rose petals to my soap. Though it worked beautifully, I found they did not hold up well. If I added them in the future, I would store the soap in the refrigerator; or, I would use dried petals in one batch and essential oils in another.

Whatever gifts you choose to give—whether store bought or handmade—may you embrace the spirit of the season, enjoy the preparations, and create lasting memories for the whole family.

Who Ruined October?

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Who ruined October?  Who decided we needed to start our January resolutions in one of my favorite months of the year?  I have received several invitations to join end of year challenges!  Start the new year early and work on your goals now.  Work on the goals that failed in 2018 because time isn’t up.  Get a head start on the goals for 2019.  Really, it’s a lot of pressure.  And it’s fall. Who wants to think about goals?

I love fall.  I love long pants instead of shorts and heat instead of air conditioning. I love Macintosh apples that are crisp not soggy.  I love cuddling up with a cozy blanket or crocheting without sweating.  I love the smell of campfires and crisp, cool autumn air.  I love football and seasonal movies. And I love socks.  Yes, weird.  But I am happy to put away sandals and be allowed to wear socks, whether anklets, knee highs, or tights. I want to keep my feet warm, and my children forbid me to wear socks with my sandals.

I also love Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And fall holidays lead into Christmas, and the holidays are such a busy time.  So, why would anyone want to think about goals?

It is common to “begin” a new year in September; as a teacher, this is still my mental start of a new year.  And January, despite being the real start of a new year, does seem a somewhat artificial time to begin new things. And yet, some schools start in August, some in September, and some are year round.  So, what’s the point of beginning in October? Why do people offer challenges now?

Because.  We really should be working on the goals we have set continually, and it is easy to lose sight of them in the busyness of students returning to school, schedules getting tighter, and the days get shorter. It gets dark sooner.  The weather begins to cool, and hibernating sounds like a great idea.   But instead of hiding out all fall and winter, we need to re-evaluate goals and make sure we aren’t coasting. We need to find balance. We need to enjoy life and accomplish goals.

So, I encourage you to enjoy October.  But I also encourage you to drag out that January goal list, dust it off, and see if you can finish one or two things you planned to do so they can be checked off as done!

Think about how good it will feel when you are taking a walk at dusk on a cool fall evening to know that your goal list is nearing completion.

There will be time for those new goals in January. . . or next October.

Changing the Routine for Your Mental Health

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[Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”        -–Mark  6:31

Summer is winding down. Did you have a chance to escape your normal routine? A vacation should be just that—a break from your normal routine. It doesn’t have to cost a lot; it just needs to be something you enjoy. Getaways are important not only for physical health to rest the body but also for mental health to rest the mind.

I just got back from a week with some of my family. I enjoyed sunshine, sun tanning, and sightseeing. You don’t have to go far away to get rest and relaxation, but getting away from your every day environment helps the brain to slow down.  It is hard to rest at home when there is a heap of laundry on the floor, a stack of dishes in the sink, and a pile of papers on the desk. Breaking your routine allows you to turn off that portion of your mind that is constantly thinking about what needs to happen next.  On a vacation, you don’t have to have a schedule.

Maybe you can’t take the time for a week of vacation.  Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Block out a Saturday, Sunday, or weekend to get outside and enjoy nature.  There is something peaceful and calming about considering Creation.  I love when my vacation takes me to a place where I can sit on a beach and view the ocean; however, I find the same calm come over me when I’m on my deck at home viewing a field of corn or the green grass and the trees that surround me.

Really all you need to do to rest your mind is get away from the usual to the unusual.  A family cookout, an hour at the spa, or lunch with a friend can bring refreshment and renewal to help you rest your mind.

As students and parents return to fall schedules and all that comes with them, I encourage you to take advantage of the late summer and fall days.  Get outside. Enjoy nature. Rest your mind. Refresh your soul.  Be renewed in your purpose.  Give your body and your mind the rest they crave. It is important for your mental health.

 

 

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