Widmayer Wellness LLC

Encouragement in Your Wellness Journey

Category Archives: Thoughts

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.

 

 

My Cup Runneth Over

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Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Psalm 23:5 KJV

I pulled a mug out of the cupboard this morning. It is decorated with a Bible verse.  As I poured my coffee, I thought about how long I have had that mug, who gave it to me, and on what occasion.  It is one of the mugs I use frequently.  It was given to me by a church friend as a housewarming gift when we moved into our previous home, not the one we are in currently.  That was 30 years ago!  I don’t see that friend for years at a time, but I think about her every time I pull that mug down to use it.

That got me thinking about how many mugs and cups I own compared to how many I use on any regular basis.  I have two complete sets of mugs that match respective dinnerware. These mugs are rarely used.

A mug I use needs two things in order to be right.  It needs to have a large handle and it needs to hold an adequate amount of coffee. There are six in my cupboard that meet the criteria:

  • I have a mug that is decorated with a violet. I bought that one myself on a vacation.  I honestly can’t remember where, but violets and pansies are my favorite flowers.
  • I have a pottery mug that is a little large, but it has a round design and is different from any of my other mugs. I bought that at a craft show when I was with my daughters.  They each had a mug like it, and they had been raving about these mugs for a year; so I got one, too.  I think about my daughters and our day out when I use that one.
  • One of my favorite mugs is one I got as a gift when I visited a local church. It is black on the outside and orange on the inside. It is labeled with the church name. It does not match my kitchen décor, and it is not from my home church; so why is it a favorite? It is the perfect size and shape with a large handle. It is comfortable to hold.
  • I have a red and white mug that came from students one Christmas. It was filled with candy. The candy is long gone, but the gift reminds of me of my teaching days.
  • And I have a cup that says Nana given to me by my grandchildren.

These six mugs are the ones I use over and over.  Truthfully, I could probably get rid of every other mug I own.

As I write this and reflect on my six mugs, I realize they are even more significant because they represent the most important areas of my life.

  • The Scripture verse mug from my church friend represents church friends and my faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The violet mug I bought on vacation represents special time spent with my husband.
  • The pottery mug represents special time spent with my two daughters.
  • The red and white mug represents my teaching career.
  • The Nana mug represents my status as grandmother to five amazing boys!
  • The black and orange mug represents those people in our lives that touch us, even though the time may be fleeting.

Each morning I choose a mug, pour some coffee, and spend time in the Word of God.  These quiet times with my Bible, my coffee, and the view of nature out my window emphasize the many blessings I have in my life.  The simple pleasures that we sometimes take for granted are gifts from God.  When I meditate on His blessings, even after my coffee cup is quite empty, I can truly say, “My cup runneth over.”

Choosing the Right Exercise Plan

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When the New Year rolled around and I chose the word WELLNESS as my #onelittleword for 2018, I had to decide how I was going to get back to exercising for my physical wellness.  I had been limited to exercise in the previous six months due to an injury and surgery.  But let’s be honest—I had fallen off the exercise track before my injury.

Over the years I have tried lots of options.  I have a treadmill, stationary bike, an exercise ball, and free weights in my home.  I have had gym memberships and a personal trainer.  I have joined Jazzercise and gone to yoga classes.  I have tried videos in my living room and walking outside. All of it.  But consistency is hard.  We go through seasons in life when one method works better than another; however, physical fitness is important, especially as one gets older.  There is no more time to procrastinate. It’s use it or lose it!  Even my mother-in-law, who is well into her 89th year, attends classes at her independent living facility.  These classes do not have the same intensity as a young person’s workout.  The goal is motion.  They say, “Motion is lotion.”

The thing I have learned is that all of these exercise methods have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to type of movement, cost, times offered, and social aspects.  I believe when it is time to re-evaluate your exercise plan, writing a pros and cons list can help you choose the best option.  So, here are some things to consider.

  • What amount of money can you afford to spend on a monthly basis? (Now, before you answer, consider that you are investing in your health and are likely saving money you would spend for medical treatment if you are not in good health.)
  • How convenient is the location? Is it on your way home from work, close to your home, accessible on weekends?
  • How convenient are the times? Are there classes at set times; is it open 24/7? Is it really going to work with your schedule?
  • What kind of coaching is available? Are there trainers available, is there an added cost for trainers, or is it teacher-led?
  • Are you self-motivated? Do you have knowledge of fitness so you can exercise without injuries, or do you need guidance?
  • How important is social interaction? Do you have a friend to go with you; do you prefer to be alone? Do you like classes and large groups? Even if you are working out alone, are you comfortable having other people working out along with you?
  • Do you have accountability? A partner? A spouse? Someone?
  • Does the workout plan offer all aspects: cardio, strength, flexibility?
  • Do you have any physical limitations that eliminate some forms of exercise?

What is the variety of workout options? Here’s a few I’ve tried.

  1. A gym has many options—lots of equipment choices, on-site staff to assist, availability because they are open frequently. Some centers also offer classes, both exercise and wellness. Some facilities have a pool.
  2. Jazzercise classes focus on cardio but also offer strength and flexibility as a part of their routines. Zumba offers similar classes, I believe; however, I’ve not tried those.
  3. Yoga can help with stress, flexibility, core strength, and even cardio.
  4. A home gym – Will you use it? Can you afford to purchase equipment? Do you have the space? How does the cost compare with memberships over time?
  5. Video – There are many internet sites offering subscriptions these days—yoga, dancing, and probably others. There are also free videos on YouTube. Are you motivated to workout at home? Do you have space? A designated time?
  6. I know there are others I haven’t experienced. Swimming, karate, kick-boxing, organized sports.  What will work for you?

As I made my own list of pros and cons, it changed my decision about my 2018 choice.  For me, in this season of life, the best choice was a membership at a local community fitness center.  I did not choose the one closest to my home, which was less expensive, because it did not have extended hours and is closed at my prime work out time.  It offers some level of social interaction, even if I attend alone, and I am a social creature.  I also have a couple of friends who are already members. It has a gym and organized classes at various times of day. And as the “parent” fitness center, I can still attend the one closer to my home if I find it more convenient at times.  The advantages were worth the cost.

Though I have enjoyed both yoga and Jazzercise in the past—and they were the right choices then, the fitness center is right for me now.

I have gotten back on track with physical fitness in 2018, and I am motivated to continue to strengthen my body after recent surgery.  By thinking through this decision and weighing my options, I have been more successful than when I just choose something impulsively.  And as I have tried various machines and routines at the center, I have been more motivated to complement those with things I do at home on the days I do not travel to the gym. I have also realized my limitations and given myself permission to go slowly.  I will not regain all of my strength in a short time.  This must be a lifestyle for now and the future.

Though physical fitness is only one aspect of my goals in choosing the word “wellness,” I am happy to have made a strong start to my year.  This was the area where I felt weakest, so it feels good to have made this decision and stuck with it.

I hope my journey inspires you to start exercising if you don’t already.  Get out a pencil and paper, find out what’s available to you locally, and start making that list of pros and cons.  Find something that works for you now, and then stick with.  Put it on your schedule as a non-negotiable.  And if you can, find an accountability partner.  You’re on your way!

Happy Exercising!

 

 

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