Tag Archives: #selfcare

Want to Lower Stress? Add Indoor Plants to Your Home!

You’re on your own after your divorce…working, paying bills, and taking care of the kids and the house.  Of course you have stress!  So, why not instead make your house help you out a little bit?  By adding indoor plants to your home, stress and anxiety levels can actually be reduced!

Multiply studies prove that indoor plants not only look great, they also offer psychological and physical health benefits, such as:

  1. Improving your mood
  2. Reducing fatigue
  3. Lowering stress and anxiety
  4. Improving performance and focus on everyday home (and office) tasks
  5. Boosting healing and pain tolerance
  6. Minimizing the occurrence of headaches by improving air quality
  7. Easing dry skin and respiratory ailments by adding moisture to the air

Many houseplants absorb toxic substances such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, found in man-made materials that are known to “off-gas” pollutants into the air in your home (as well as in your office or in your school).  In addition, a study done at Virginia Tech led researchers to conclude that houseplants can reduce indoor dust by up to 20%. In effect, houseplants are efficient air cleaners.

NASA has done extensive studies of the role of houseplants in cleansing the air, hoping to capitalize on these benefits for future space stations. Their studies have shown that certain houseplants are exceptionally good at cleansing the air. (You can find a list on SwansonsNursury.com.) NASA recommends having 15-18 houseplants for an 1,800 square-foot house. While not all of us have room for quite that many plants, even just a few can be effective. Dr. Virginia Lohr, a professor of horticulture at Washington State University, suggests that filling as little as 2% of the room with plants will make an impact.

Indoor plants improve air quality in other ways as well. Plants release water vapor into the air, which increases humidity, and this can help improve respiratory and skin health by offsetting the drying effects of heating systems. This can be an incredible benefit to those with respiratory issues, headaches, and allergies.

Plants also increase oxygen levels in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during photosynthesis. According to a Seattle Times article, you can maximize your benefits by placing plants “in your ‘breathing zone,’ within 6-8 square feet of where you normally sit or lie.”

A positive effect of this increased oxygenation can be to improve our mood, energy, and mental focus. In fact, studies have found that when people were allowed to have indoor plants in their office space, their work performance improved! No wonder so many new tech offices are including indoor spaces reminiscent of forests and tropical oases. Not only are they beautiful, they also help people feel better and work better.

Humans have a strong connection to nature and bringing nature into your immediate surroundings makes you calmer, more content, and as we’ve seen, more focused. Outdoor activities like forest bathing and nature walks are shown to improve levels of stress and anxiety, and living with indoor plants can do the same. There are studies going on now that are testing to see whether having plants nearby in a hospital room can actually help patients better manage their pain.

Just having plants around you will obviously offer psychological benefits but the act of caring for your plants can also help decrease stress and anxiety. So next time you’re watering your plants, slow down, take a few deep breaths, and really focus on what you’re doing. Admire your plants’ leaves and flowers; touch them; maybe even talk to them! It will help both you and your plants thrive.

Reference: Aimee Damman, SwansonNursury.com

Over 50 & Experiencing UTI’s?

**Daily steps that prevent them!

Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) occur when bacteria, from the skin or rectum, enters the urethra. Infections can happen in any part of the urinary tract, but bladder infections are most common.

As women age, the urethra and bladder tissues thin out and become drier, making them more susceptible to infection.   

Common UTI symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Cloudy or dark urine
  • Urine with a strong odor
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor, who likely will prescribe antibiotics. 

But….. there are some daily habits that will help reduce your risk of a painful UTI:

1)  Stay hydrated. 

Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease your risk of UTI’s by making you urinate more often, helping to remove bacteria from the urinary tract. 

2)  Increase vitamin C.

Ingesting more vitamin C may decrease your UTI risk by making your urine more acidic, thus killing infection causing bacteria. 

3)  Drink unsweetened cranberry juice. 

Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for UTIs.  Cranberries work by helping to prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.

4)  Take probiotics.

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.  They are available in supplement form or can be found in fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and probiotic yogurt.  Some studies have shown that probiotics may reduce the risk of UTIs. These studies have involved the use of oral and vaginally administered probiotics, as well as different probiotic strains.

In addition, antibiotics, the main line of defense against UTIs, can disturb the levels of good and bad gut bacteria. Probiotics may be beneficial in restoring gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment.

5)  Practice good hygiene.

Do not hold your urine for a long time.  This leads to a buildup of bacteria.  Also, urinating after intercourse is recommended to prevent the spread of bacteria.  And we all know…. wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from spreading to the urinary tract. 

6)  Natural supplements.

There are some natural supplements that may reduce the risk of UTIs.  Here are three supplements in capsule form:

  • D-mannose – a type of sugar found in cranberries. 
  • Cranberry extract – like cranberry juice, this works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract. 
  • Garlic extract – research shows garlic and garlic extract have antimicrobial properties and may block the growth of bacteria, preventing UTIs. 

Source:  K.Watson/A.Sontos-Longhurst, Healthline, Dec. 13, 2022


Visualization is critical to staying the course on your journey to accomplishing your goals.  It’s a powerful skill that you can learn.  At first, it may sound like a far-out, space-age idea, but once you get started, you’ll likely get hooked – just like I did! 

So…why practice visualization?  Why is it so important? 

By learning and practicing positive visualization, you can change your beliefs about yourself.  It can give you confidence and make you believe you’re fully capable of doing what it takes to be successful and achieve that long-time goal of yours – that dream you’ve kept inside of you for so many years! 

Research shows Visualization is a powerful tool in achieving the results we want.

How do you visualize?

  • Go to a quiet place without distractions.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Put 3 – 4 images in your mind of your life when you’ve reached your goal. 
  • Focus on the 1st image and layer in the positive emotions you would be feeling in that image.
  • Then repeat with each of the other images.
  • It can take only a few minutes a day. 

For example, your goal may be to have an online business selling gift baskets.  You love being creative and have been making and giving personalized gift baskets as holiday and birthday gifts for years and you’ve always desired to turn it into a real business. 

To visualize this, go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes and picture yourself being successful at this.  What do you see?  Are you reviewing customer orders and placing items into pretty decorated baskets?  Is an assistant wrapping the baskets, boxing them, and then taking them to UPS for shipping?  Are you seeing yourself reading the excellent customer reviews and seeing the deposits in your bank account? 

Focus on the images one by one.  For each image feel the positive emotions.  Let the confidence and joy run throughout your body.  Feel yourself standing up tall and being so glad to have taken action and started this business.  Feel how proud you are that you are so capable of managing the details and you have made this a successful business! 

Based on research described in her teaching videos, Mel Robbins states that visualization is actually reprograming your brain’s beliefs.  She explains that your mind doesn’t distinguish between images and emotions that are real events or imagined ones.  When you visualize, you are encoding a real memory into your brain.  The more you visualize, the stronger the memory becomes.  This actually increases your confidence in your ability and your fear dissipates as you gain certainty about handling the steps it takes to accomplish your goal.  You also begin talking and acting like someone who has already reached your goal – which in the above example, would be having built a successful online gift basket business!  

The Power of Focus!

What you focus on, your body feels.  For example, if you’re thinking about when someone in the past did something to hurt you, you will physically feel the hurt inside, even though the event is not currently taking place.  Likewise, if you’re focusing on a possible future event that worries you, your body feels the anxiety and stress, even though the event has not yet happened, and may never happen.  And…stress is something we definitely don’t want to bring upon ourselves, as it has been linked to increasing the risk of certain health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, weight gain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, depression, and more. 

But, you can stop this inner pain and stress by changing what your mind is focusing on.  By changing your focus, you can change your physical bio-chemistry.

Your focus also plays a major role in the results you’ve achieved in life.  Your current environment is largely a result of what you’ve focused on in the past.  Change your focus, change your life.  To achieve your goal, you want to consistently focus on that goal.  By focusing, you stop your mind and emotions to be reacting to negative stimuli in your environment, demands of others, or thoughts of past unpleasant or hurtful events.

What you consistently focus on, you will achieve.  When you find yourself making progress towards your goal, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and joy, and you’ll also develop a sense of certainty about your ability to achieve the results! 

Consistent focus is a learned skill that can be mastered with practice.   When you notice a negative thought entering your mind, you can switch your focus by taking a deep breath and counting backwards from five…5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  This counting backwards interrupts your thought pattern, states author and motivational speaker, Mel Robbins.  In her book, The Five Second Rule, Mel further explains that when you get to “1” it is a signal to your mind for something to occur.  After you get to “1” replace the previous thought with an image of your future self.  Focusing on that successful, happy vision of yourself changes your bio-chemical state from negative to joy, pleasure, and fulfillment – which is where we want to spend our time and live our lives!          

Less Sleep Leads to Weight Gain!

Studies show being sleep deprived leads to consuming an average of +285 additional calories per day!

When you’re sleep deprived, cortisol levels are high and serotonin levels are low. This makes you crave starchy, sugary and fatty foods to help boost serotonin and calm you. At the same time, lack of sleep increases the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and suppresses the satiety hormone, leptin, which signals when we’ve eaten enough.

6 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Stick to a schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day creates a rhythm that your body will naturally try to maintain.
  2. Create a night-time routine. Doing the same tasks each night signals to your body to slow-down, sleep is coming soon.
  3. No big meals before bed. Stopping eating 3 hours before bed gives your digestive system enough time to complete its cycle, so the digestive process does not continue after bedtime, disrupting your sleep.
  4. Morning exercise. Exercise releases stress, making you fall asleep faster. It also produces growth hormones, which help your body to repair and revitalize itself. Best to exercise early in the day, however, because if you are exercising too close to bedtime, the adrenaline may prevent you from falling asleep easily.
  5. No late night drinks. Alcohol actually prevents you from getting your much-needed deep sleep. It also dehydrates you and can wake you up during the night.
  6. Go outside each day. A little Vitamin D every morning regulates your body’s production of melatonin and lifts your spirits. Dr. Michael Breus, PHD, advises getting outside for at least 15 minutes every morning.