Last Christmas I went totally off of my regular diet.
Several years ago, my husband and I made a Herculean effort to clean up our diets, and for me, that meant going mostly grain free. I don’t have any disorders that make me need to eat this way, I just get chronic headaches and digestive issues (that’s all I’ll say) when I eat specific kinds of grain. For years I endured these nagging headaches and treated them with ibuprofen. All the research I did kept pointing me back to removing grain from my diet, but, as you might imagine, I was reluctant to do it.
Removing grain is a HUGE deal.
Not at all easy. It’s time consuming, costly, and can sometimes produce a headache (stress and frustration) of a totally different kind. But at just 35 years old (at the time) I knew something needed to change. I was popping ibuprofen like it was candy just to try to get through life, and I knew my body couldn’t withstand that kind of abuse for another 35 years.
So I went grain free.
Within about 2 months, my headaches were almost completely gone. I still get the occasional sinus or stress headache here and there, but my life has been completely changed because of that one decision.
Back to Christmas.
Part of our overall mission to clean up our health was reducing sugars, and trying to eliminate dyes and processed foods. I’m just a regular girl who struggles as much as anyone to keep to her “feel my best” food choices over the holidays, and the Christmas of 2017 kicked my tail. Seriously. I made lots of poor food choices in the name of convenience and, “It’s the holidays! Let’s celebrate!” and my body began to notice.
I was also very stressed out. I hosted lots of family for holiday meals (TWO Thanksgiving meals in ONE DAY!), juggled extra kids’ activities, and my ministry obligations had gotten a little out of control (not to mention the stress of parenting kids all by itself).
Very stressful things were happening behind the scenes, stretching me too thin and causing me to live in a constant state of “just get things done.”
Just after Christmas, I started noticing that my heart rate was much faster than normal (thank you, iWatch!). At the encouragement of some friends, I headed to the doctor, and went through a series of tests to help diagnose the problem. In the meantime, I began getting my eating and stress levels back to normal. I cut out most sugar and caffeine, got my nose and heart back into the Word of God regularly, started diffusing and using essential oils, and my husband and I began trying to get in 10,000 steps per day, something my naturally sedentary life makes it hard to do.
Over time, the heart issues went away, and I knew that my choices to reduce the toxic load in my life was not only a good thing, it was a very serious thing.
As a society, we’re living more and more stressful lives and calling it good. Rest, recovery, and striving for more peaceful lives seems to be an outdated pursuit of the past. In fact, many of us have bought the lie that if we’re not busy and stressed out, we’re not working at our fullest potential.
Stressed out equals success. Or so we think.
Actually, being overly stressed can lead to things like heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, and even irregular heart beats, like I experienced (according to medicinenet.com). The Mayo Clinic says that stress can effect headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, sex drive, cause stomach and sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, anger, sadness, and overeating…just to name a few.
In other words, stress is big deal, it’s NOT the key to success, and we need to get it under control.
One of the main ways I supported my body naturally during this time was through the use of essential oils (EOs). If you aren’t familiar with them, EOs are the natural, aromatic compounds found in plants and they have many uses for our health today, including helping us to reduce stress.
Scent is a very powerful thing. God made our bodies to benefit from our sense of smell. I recently walked by someone in the grocery store who was wearing the lotion my grandmother used to wear. Just smelling that lotion lit up my brain and heart with sweet memories of her and my mood was instantly changed. When was the last time you walked by a rose bush or a honeysuckle tree and found your spirits lifted just because they smell so beautiful? That’s the way God made our bodies to work, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Join our Stress Study
If you would like to learn more about using essential oils to help relieve your stress I invite you to participate in one of our upcoming national, online essential oil studies. We host a new one each month, and can accommodate a limited number of people each time.
Participants must fill out an intake form, attend an orientation, ending survey class, and must not have a doTERRA wholesale account already. Participants also may not already be working with another doTERRA Wellness Advocate (that’s what I am) simply because our goal is not to disrupt already established relationships and methods of support. Once accepted into the study, you’ll be sent free samples of essential oils scientifically proven to help reduce stress and access to extensive education to help you as you go through the study process.
If you’re interested in participating, please join our waiting list by entering your email address here. You’ll receive an immediate welcome email with a worksheet I’ve created called “Ways to Reduce Stress Naturally with Essential Oils.” It contains much of the information in this article in easy-to-read, bullet point form (plus some fun extras)!
You’ll receive notification by email with details for our next study at the beginning of the next calendar month, so watch for it in your inbox!
Here’s to less stress and a healthier life. We can do this together for ourselves and our families! They're worth it!