Autistic Burnout

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If you know me personally, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about autism before. It’s no secret that autism is something I’m very passionate about. I’m very vocal about autism awareness, but something I’m not very vocal about is my own diagnosis. For a very long time, I’ve known that I was different from “normal” people, but I could never really explain why. Plus, it doesn’t help that it’s a lot harder to diagnose girls with autism than it is boys. Because of that, I didn’t receive my diagnosis until I was an adult. However, being diagnosed with Aspergers is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. As odd as it may sound, my diagnosis helped me begin my journey of self-love. My diagnosis gave me a better understanding of who I am.

I do want to make it very clear that autism is different for everyone. No two autistic people are alike, and just people I have autism, I do not speak for the entire autistic community. I can only speak to my struggles.

I’m not sure what I want this post to be, so please bear with my rambling. My hope is that this post will help people understand more about people on the spectrum. My hope is that this post will show people that just because someone is “high functioning” does not mean that autism doesn’t affect them. Autism is a disability, it’s often called the invisible disability because people on the spectrum suffer every single day, and often no one even notices. Just because you can’t always see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Please keep that in mind before you make assumptions about people on the spectrum.

Today I won’t go into too much detail about my diagnosis, but I do want to discuss something that a lot of “high functioning” people struggle with and that’s Autistic burnout.

Many people who are close to me know I’ve been struggling with a ton of health issues recently. I dropped around 15 pounds almost overnight, and have been plagued by migraines. After some extensive research (and blood work) I’ve come to realize I was suffering from autistic burnout. I’m recovering now, but I still have days where I feel unwell, and struggle just to make it through. Like I said before, no two autistic people are alike so the way I experience burnout will be completely different from the way someone else experiences it. However, I hope sharing what helped me get through it will help someone else struggling.

For those of you who don’t know, burnout is defined as “long-term exhaustion, and diminished interest in work.” The symptoms of burnout often mirror those of clinical depression. Symptoms of burnout for autistic people can often include regression of coping skills. Autistic burnout often occurs in “high functioning” people. It stems from mental exhaustion caused by an intense effort to seem neurotypical. For those of you not on the spectrum, I’m sure it’s hard for you to understand what I mean. I guess the simplest way to put it is, it takes a lot of energy for an autistic person to try to be “normal”. Especially for those labeled as “high functioning”. Recently I read an excellent post from Planet autism blog, which said, “Basically, the high functioning you are, the more others expect of you, and, the more you push yourself.”

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Like I said before, every autistic person is different so everyone’s symptoms of burnout will be different. For me, it presented has extreme tiredness, migraines, and a general lack of interest in things that are important to me. I spent a few weeks trying to deal with my symptoms on my own, but as they progressively got worse, my partner insisted I go see a doctor. I had a ton of lab work done, and everything came back normal so I was basically back to square one. I knew that I wasn’t depressed, and doctors had confirmed that there wasn’t anything medically wrong with me. I was despite for an answer, so I started googling my symptoms. I know, not the best idea but like I said, I was getting pretty despite. Of course, I ran into a lot of things that said I was dying, but then I found a ton of autistic bloggers that were writing about exactly what I was going through. I finally knew what was happening to me, and I cried for about an hour from sheer relief. Once I started reading more about autistic burnout, I realized that this wasn’t the first time that it had happened to me. I have dealt with this several times during my life, and I’m only 22 years old. The realization that I had dealt with this before kind of hit me hard. I really took some time to reflect on how I had handled burnout in the past. I’ll be honest, in the past, I struggled a lot with coping skills because I wasn’t diagnosed properly. I struggled a lot with anxiety, and addition, especially during a burnout. Obviously, I didn’t want to head down that path again, so this time I really focused on recovering from burnout a healthy way.

The first thing I did was try to relax. Honestly, this was the hardest thing for me to do. I’m a very high-strung person, I always have been. So, as you can imagine, relaxing is not something that comes naturally to me. However, I knew how important this step was. Stress was a big contributor to my burnout, so I knew eliminating stress was necessary for my well being.

The next thing I did was focus on doing more of the things I enjoyed. For me, that was blogging, or binge-watching YouTube videos until I fell asleep at night. Ideally, I would have taken some proper time off, but it just wasn’t possible for me. So, because I couldn’t fully abandon my normal routine, I changed more energy into the little things in life that bring me joy.

The last thing I’m going to mention is stimming, which is short for “self-stimulatory behavior”. Stimming is something that I think is extremely important for autistic people (if their personal safety isn’t an issue), there is a lot of debate about the topic but I think making time for stimming is vital for people on the spectrum. The stim most people think of when they hear the word autistic is head banging, or hitting. Obviously, this behavior isn’t healthy, and this energy should be channeled into a safer stim if possible. With all that being said, making time in my day just for stimming was a key part of my recovery. For me stimming is necessary. The extra sensory input stimming provides keeps me level-headed, and helps me control my anxiety.

I’d like to take a second to mention that clearly, I’m not an expert on autism. I’m only speaking from personal experience. If you’re interested in learning more about ASD please let me know. I’d be more than happy to write more post about autism.

If you made it this far, thanks for putting up with this long rambling post.  Your love and support mean the world to me.

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How I Cut My Grocery Bill in Half

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Some of you may know that I recently moved into a new apartment. This isn’t the first time I’ve lived on my own (meaning not with my parents), but this is the first time I’ve had to grocery shop for more than myself. Now I’m shopping for myself, Tyler, and our son Walter. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be that difficult. Boy, was I wrong. I never realized how different things are when you’re responsible for feeding more than just yourself. I’ll be honest, the first month we lived on our own, our grocery budget was a mess. We were spending an astronomical amount on food every week. We were buying too much of one thing, and not enough of another. I’m sure it’s easy to imagine just how much we ended up throwing out that month because he had been pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate wasting money! Plus, we’re like most families, and can’t really afford to be wasting any money. So naturally, something had to be done to get our spending under control. Of course, I’ll be sharing all my tips with you guys! I’ve also created a free printable you can download; the link is at the end of this post!

1.The first thing I recommend is meal planning. Honestly, if I could only recommend one thing it would be this. Having a battle plan when you go into the grocery is incredibly helpful. We started out planning all our meal for the week, but I quickly discovered that didn’t really work for us. So now instead of planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we just plan our meals for the evening. When we go shopping, we buy a few options for breakfast (that way we’re not eating the same thing every morning), maybe one or two things to snack on, and whatever ingredients we need for our dinners. We never buy specific items for lunch because we always have leftovers from the night before. This is the best system for us. If you’re buying for more people, you might find planning all your meals is more helpful. Play around with meal planning and figure out what works best for you.

2.Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! I like to pride myself on having fun and exciting meals every week, and if it wasn’t for Pinterest I’d never be able to make that happen. It’s no secret that I’m not the best in the kitchen. I really thrive on easy recipes, thankfully there are some amazing bloggers out there that share fantastic recipes. If it wasn’t for them, we’d be eating peanut butter sandwiches every night. I know elaborate recipes can seem intimidating at first, but the trick is the find recipes that make basic, cheap ingredients taste amazing!

3.Only buy the ingredients you need. This was the hardest thing for me to do at first. I really had to change the way I was writing my shopping list. Say a recipe called for carrots, well instead of just writing carrots, I write carrots x 2. This way I’m only buying exactly what I need. Also, only buying the things we need for specific meals helps us cut down on the food we waste. I have specific ingredients for specific recipes which means, by the end of the week our fridge should be empty.

4.Try shopping at the farmers market. I know this may not be the case everywhere, but our local farmers market is amazing. We’re able to get most of our produce for the week, and most of the time we stay under $15. Having local, organic produce is something that we’ve chosen to make a priority, but I also understand that it’s just not possible for everyone. However, if you do have access to a local farmers market, I highly recommend going!

5.Shop at a discount grocery store like Aldi, or Lidl.Lidl is where we do our weekly grocery shopping, once we’ve hit the farmers market. I can’t praise this place enough, we’re able to buy everything we need for the week all while staying WAY under budget. Since switching to Lidl we’re able to buy quality, organic products which was something we could never afford before. If you like Aldi, you’ll love Lidl! If you have one near you, do yourself a favor and check it out!

I’d love to hear about your grocery budget. Leave me a comment here, or head on over to the Facebook page! I’d you’re ready to get your grocery budget under control, download the free printable I have for you here. It’s super simple, but it’ll get the job done. If you only want to print it once, but use it over and over, make a DIY dry erase board by placing the printable in a picture frame.

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Surviving Croup

My son came down with Croup two weeks ago. Honestly, it has to be one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. Croup usually strikes in the middle of the night, as the infected child wakes up with a horrible barking cough. For Walter, it started around 1 in the morning. I could hear him taking short, shallow breaths then, he sprung up and let out a series of loud seal like barks. My first thought was ” OH MY GOD, HE’S CHOKING!” I snatched him up, jumped out of bed, and immediately started smacking him on the back. A few seconds later (once I was more awake) I realized he wasn’t choking. Honestly, it still hadn’t dawned on me that it was croup. His cough sounded so bad that we feared he might have whooping cough!
Like I mentioned before croup usually starts in the middle of the night, so it wasn’t like we could take Walter to the doctor right away. At first, we debated taking him to the ER, but we decided that was unnecessary. So that night, we did the only thing I could think of, which was to take him into a hot steamy bathroom. We turned to shower onto the hottest we could get it, and allowed the room to fill with steam. The moist hot air soothed his cough, and we were able to get a few hours of sleep. The next morning, we took him straight to his pediatrician just to be on the safe side. We were able to confirm his diagnosis and start a treatment plan.
Before I jump into our treatment plan, I want to explain what croup is. Croup is a very common airway infection. It blocks breathing and causes a very distinctive barking cough. Croup (laryngotracheobronchitis) is caused by a virus, so antibiotics can’t be prescribed to treat it. The virus usually last between 3 to 7 days, and often symptoms worsen at night. Ya know, because getting a toddler to sleep isn’t hard enough already.
I do want to add, that I’m not a doctor. These steps are just the ones I took to treat my son. If your child is ill, always seek medical treatment from a physician.

CROUP GRAFFIC
The first thing we did to treat Walter’s cough was creating a warm moist environment for him. We turned the show onto the hottest water we could get, put a towel under the door, and allowed the steam to fill up the bathroom. We sat in the steamy bathroom for around 15 minutes, then admittedly went out into our cool bedroom. Going from a warm environment to a cool one usually helps with croup. If you don’t keep your house as cold as we do, you can always step outside for a few minutes. The sudden change in temperature can help soothe a cough.
The next thing we utilized was a nebulizer with saline. The nebulizer really helped keep his airways moist. I’m sure anyone who’s familiar with a neb machine you know that it’s normally used with a bronchodilator. Since Croup is an infection in the airway, and of the voice box, a bronchodilator doesn’t help with croup. For the first 4 days or so we did nebulizer treatments every 4 hours. After the first 4 days, we only did nebulizer treatments when it really seemed like he needed it.

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The next step we took was putting a cool mist humidifier in our bedroom. Again, keeping the air moist is key when it comes to treating croup. Along with the humidifier, we ran an essential oil diffuser with lemon essential oil during the day. If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, you can check out the blog post I wrote right here. If you’d like to know the exact humidifier, and diffuser we used you can find a link to them here, and here. They were both purchased on Amazon, and they’re pretty reasonably priced. It’s been about two weeks, and Walter is feeling much better but we’re still using our humidifier every night. It was a good sent while Walter was dealing with croup, but it also has a ton of other benefits. Cool mist humidifiers help keep your skin from getting dry in the winter months, as well as preventing nosebleeds, and sore throat.
Next, we did everything possible to help boost Walters immune system. I’m still nursing so he was able to get the benefits from my breast milk. We also introduced more supplements, and homeopathics into his daily routine. The first thing we introduced was colloidal silver. This stuff is amazing! It’s a powerful antiviral and can be used for a multitude of things. We added ten drops of colloidal silver to Walter’s nebulizer treatments, and also placed it into his EO diffuser. You can find the exact brand we use here

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We also added a dose of elderberry syrup into his routine. Elderberries are a great immune booster, and where exactly what he needed to help him fight croup. It was pretty easy to get him to take because it’s really sweet. If you have older kids who put up more of a fight, you can try making elderberry gummy bears by mixing agar agar powder (or gelatin if you’re not vegan), and elderberry syrup. You can find the exact brand I use here. If you’re giving elderberry syrup to your kids, be mindful of the brand you use, some of them contain alcohol.

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The last thing we used to support Walter through croup where the Hylands tiny cold tablets. If you know me at all you know I swear by these things! The work within hours and they really helped with Walter’s cough. You can find them at most drug stores, or here online. Like I said, I swear by these things. We also use them whenever Walter gets a runny nose or a cough from teething.

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I’d love to hear what your must-haves are for a sick baby. Leave a comment here, or on my Instagram. I’ll be hosting a giveaway when I reach 1,500 follows on IG, so make sure you stop by @theholisticbee on Instagram to show me some love.

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All products mentioned were purchased by me. All opinion are my own. This post does NOT contain a paid Ad

Our no gift policy

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Hello, my sweet sweet friends! Many of you know, our little man’s first birthday was last month. I happy to report that his party was a complete success. If I’m being honest, planning this party was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I was so unbelievably stressed about it, looking back now I can’t understand why.  I was so worried about throwing the perfect party, I almost forgot to enjoy it. In the end, everything turned out better than I could have ever hoped for. Walter was surrounded by friends and family who love him, that sounds like the perfect party to me.

Now I’m sure some of you are reading the title like WTF does stressing out about a party have to do with gifts? Well you know me, I like to preach about being gentle with yourself ;). Plus, our decision to not allow gifts at our son’s birthday party caused a great deal of anxiety for me. In the few weeks before My son’s party we received so much negative feedback about our decision to not allow gifts. At some points, I was worried that we were somehow going to ruin our sons first birthday. During these moments of doubt, Tyler, my wonderful partner reminded me why we were making this decision. Hopefully sharing those reason will help bring a better understanding to all the people who thought we were crazy. I’m also hoping this will inspire other people to do the same.

  1. Being content with what you have

Like most kids, our son already has an unbelievable number of toys. Honestly, at some points he had so many he couldn’t possibly play with them all. This was a huge problem for our family. Don’t get me wrong, we want our son to have an amazing childhood. However, having 4 million toys isn’t going to make him happy. In fact, many studies have shown that too many toys can cause anxiety in kids. Too many toys also leads kids to become bored with what they have, leading to a constant cycle of wanting something new to entertain themselves. We really want to teach our son to be content with the thing he already has. To accomplish this, we only buy him things that he really needs, or toys we know he’ll enjoy. If he noticed he’s no longer interested in a toy we take it away for a few weeks. If he’s still showing no interest when we reintroduce the toy it gets donated. So having everyone who attended his party bring a gift we would have been right back where we started.

  1. No one is required to buy you a gift because it’s your birthday

I know some of you may not agree with me, but just hear me out for a second. Birthday gifts are a huge part of our culture. We’re so used to bringing something to a party that we often feel uncomfortable coming emptyhanded. We want our son to know from a very young age that No one is required buy him gifts. People buy gifts to show their love for someone, but that’s not the only way you can show someone love. We don’t want gift giving to become so “normal” for him that it loses it’s true meaning. We don’t want party to automatically equal gifts in his mind.

  1. People shouldn’t feel uncomfortable if they can’t afford a gift

This is so important to me because I’ve felt this way numerous times.  I know how embarrassing it can be to turn down a party invitation because you can’t afford a gift or worse spending money you don’t have because you feel obligated to bring something. I never want to make someone feel that way. To keep everyone on the same playing field we told everyone to come without a gift. This way no one was singled out.

  1. Gift shaming

This one ties into number 3 but I felt like it was important enough to mention on its own. I sure it’s normal for people to open their gifts in front of party goers. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this by itself but often this allows for gift shaming. This is something I find unacceptable, but it’s something I’ve seen so many times. Someone will open a gift only to have a party goer make fun of it. Either because it’s something the birthday boy/girl doesn’t want, or because it’s not as good of a gift as someone else’s. No one should ever feel embarrassed about the gift they bring to a party. Like I said before no one is obligated to buy someone a gift, and you never know when someone has spent their last twenty dollars on something only to be made fun of because their gift isn’t grand enough.

  1. Giving gifts can be wasteful

It’s no secret that I’m passionate about the environment, and only consuming what you absolutely need. Often, gift giving means wrapping paper or gift bags, tissue paper, or cards. These things are great, but they’re all single use items. They’re designed to be used once and then they head straight for landfill. On top of that people always seems to gift babies a ton of plastic toys. Plastic is toxic, and it’s something we really try to limit in our son’s life. If we were to have everyone bring him gifts, we’d end up with a lot of toys we’d never allow our son to play with. Sure, we wouldn’t just throw them away, we’d donate them but that means someone would spend their money of Walter for nothing.

 

For those of you would still think we’re crazy, or we’re mean parents that understandable. Our view on gifts is out there. However, I would like to stress everyone giving it a shot just once. The outcome may surprise you. Our friends and family had a blast at Walter’s first birthday party. Most importantly Walter was surrounded by people who loved him. And let’s be honest guys, he’s one it’s not like he’ll remember it anyway 😊

 

I’d love to hear your opinion on gift giving at kid’s birthday parties. Leave me a comment letting me know what you think.

Don’t forget to head over to the facebook page and Instagram to show me some love.

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18 before 2018

 

blogger-photo-2249560_960_720Hi my sweet sweet friends! I’m so glad to be back. First and foremost I’d like to thank everyone who checked on me during my break. For those of you who don’t know I took a much need break in July to focus on my family and our big move. We’ve finally settled into our new place ( a home tour coming soon) and things are much less hectic than before. Also, I took this time to do a little site revamp. I hope you noticed 😉

This post is inspired by the lovely Lisa Jacobs You can find her blog post here.

Anyway, Today I’m listing 18 goals I want to accomplish before 2018. I created my list by writing down everything I wanted/needed to get done before the year ended. Then I organized that into eighteen major goals I’d like to accomplish.

A few things you should keep in mind while making your list

  • Do you have any unfinished business to attend to so you can end this year on a good note?
  • What needs to happen in order for you to accomplish your goals?
  • Don’t stretch yourself too thin. The objective here is to work on goals that are actually achievable RIGHT NOW.
  • Some projects just need to be let go of, so you can focus more on the things you want in your life.

Here’s My 18 before 2018

  1.  Be Present

I made this the first thing on my list because it’s so important to me. So many of us are focused on things that just don’t matter in the long run. I’m letting go of that and channeling all of my energy into being 100% focused on the things that are important to me. My family, my friends, my self-care and all the little things in between.

2.  Start a Youtube Channel

This is something I’ve wanted to do for so long. Now it’s no longer on the back burner.

3. Monthly Dates with my partner

These have been practically nonexistent since we’ve had our son. Now I’m making them a priority.

4. Decorate for the holidays

This may sound silly to some, this will be the first year we’re in our own home as a family. I love homes decked out for the holidays, so this year I’m making it happen

5. Create a budget…and stick to it

This seems pretty self-explanatory.

6. Take more walks

I never spend enough time outside. I work full time, and more often than not I’m dead tired when I come home. Usually, the last thing I want to do is go for a walk, but spending time outside is so grounding and always relaxes me. So I’m planning to walk at least 15 minutes a day.

7. Reduce my mindless screen time

Recently I’ve noticed I’m spending a lot more time mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, or Facebook. I open the app to look one thing, and then 30 minutes go by and I’m still scrolling. I don’t allow my son to have screen time for this very reason. I didn’t want him to become addicted to it. Now I’m limiting my screen time, and spending more time doing the things I love.

8. Read a least one book

Again this might sound silly to some of you, but those of you with kids will understand. It can be incredibly difficult to find time for yourself, especially if you have a toddler like I do.

9. Start a bullet journal

Okay, if you have no idea what a bullet journal is, go google it now! One of my goals for 2017 was to get more organized. Well, that never happened, until now! Currently, I’m setting up my first spreads in my bullet journal, and I can’t wait for it to change my life 😉

10. Increase my content output

Blogging is something I’ve always wanted to do. I fell off the wagon for a while, but I’m excited to get things going again and to see where things take me.

11. Buy a coffee table for my living room

I mentioned this before, but we recently moved into our first family home. A super tiny one bedroom apartment. Just about all of our things were gifted to us, so buying a coffee table will be our first “big” purchase together.

12. De-clutter my wardrobe

Over the past year, I’ve been learning more and more about minimalism, and I’ve discovered that I have so many things I just don’t need. So the first major area I’m de-cluttering is my closet. If it doesn’t fit, I haven’t worn it in years, or it just doesn’t bring me joy I’m getting rid of it.

13. Take better care of myself

Becoming a mother is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. However, I feel like I lost myself to motherhood. I worried so much about my son I forgot about myself. My goal now is to take better care of myself whether that means I’m getting my nails done once a week, or just drinking a cup of coffee by myself. I’m making myself a priority again.

14. Listen to more podcasts

I LOVE PODCASTS! If you’ve never listened to a podcast seriously you’re missing out. The amount of information I’ve learned from podcasts is astounding. I’m absolutely obsessed.

15. Connect more to my faith

This is something I’ve struggled with a lot recently. I often make excuses for myself and say I don’t have time for faith. This lack of faith has directly affected my emotional well being and I’m ready for a change.

16. Create a gratitude log

I’ll admit, I’m a complainer. I often become hyper focused on the things going wrong in my life and it makes it impossible to see all the things that are going right. To combat this issue every day, I’m going to write down one thing I’m grateful for. At the end of the year, I’ll have an amazing list of all the good things in my life.

17. Spend more time with friends

I can be a pretty antisocial person. I find it hard to connect with people face to face and if I’m being honest people give me a great deal of anxiety. Because of this, I have a hard time showing my friends I actually care about them.

18. Gain at least 5 lbs

If you know me, you know for the last few months I’ve been struggling a lot with weight loss. I’ve started to feel really uncomfortable in my own skin, and in order to remedy this, I’ll be making a  conscious effect to track what I’m eating and to packing on the pounds 💪.

If I’m being honest I’m a little stressed about the sheer size of some of these goals. Nonetheless, I’m excited and ready for the challenge! What are some of the goals you’d like to accomplish before the new year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or tag me on Instagram @theholisticbee

xoxo

Destiny

Plastic Free July

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A low waste/ zero waste lifestyle is something I discovered last year, and since then I’ve been working towards minimizing my waste in order to create a better future for my little one.

I’ve always been passionate about protecting the environment and spreading a message about sustainability and conscious living. I know I’ve talked about ways you can minimizing your waste in the past, but I figured there was no better time to revisit the topic.

Plastic free July is a challenge that “aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it.” For the rest of the month, I’ll be doing everything I can to lower the amount of single use plastic, and I encourage you to do the same!

Here are a few tips to help.

  • Say NO to water bottles

Instead of buying a bottle of water while you’re out, bring a reusable bottle with you. Americans use about 50 billion single use plastic bottles a year. Protect our planet by using a reusable water bottle.

  • Ditch the straws

Whenever you go out ask for your drink without a straw, or bring a stainless steel or glass one with you. Around 175 billion straws are used every year!  Those tiny plastic straws eventually end up polluting our waterways and oceans.

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  • Bring a reusable bag

Reusable bags can be a lifesaver! You never know when you’ll be out and need to buy something. Having a bag with you means you can refuse a store’s plastic bags.

  • Bring a reusable coffee cup

In their last annual reporting period, Starbucks likely used somewhere between  2.916 and 2.946 billion cups. Using a reusable coffee cup cuts down on waste, and also gets you a discount on your drink.

If you’re looking for other ways to challenge yourself this month, try focusing on all your waste, instead of just plastic. Below are a few more ways you can reducing your impact on the environment.

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BUY IN BULK

Purchase unpackaged products whenever possible. Try switching to bar soap instead of a plastic bottle of body wash, make your own toothpaste, and stop using plastic produce bags at the grocery store. This will save you a ton of money as well as dramatically reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill.

COMPOST 

If you’re like most people, the majority of your waste probably comes from food waste. In order to reduce the amount of food wastage in your home, try composting your food scraps instead of throwing them in the trash.

NO FAST FASHION 

Cheap, disposable clothes are becoming more of a problem each year. We’ve become accustomed to buying things as cheap as possible so when they are worn out or just no longer useful to us we don’t feel bad throwing them away. The problem with this is we don’t put much thought into where the clothes are actually going. We toss them out and think they’re no longer our problem. However, our old clothes are quickly filling up landfills. Today the majority of our clothing is made from man made materials, meaning they don’t biodegrade. Instead of buying brand new clothes, shop second hand. If you want to take it a step further, only buy clothes made from natural materials.

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EAT PLANT BASED

It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, while producing 1 pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water. By going plant based, one person can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year. According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

Reducing your waste can seem overwhelming at first. Try not to change too much all at once. Taking small steps towards your goal is better than taking none at all. I’d love to hear about your plans for plastic free July. Make sure you leave a comment or shoot me an email.

If You’d like to see what I’m up to during Plastic Free July make sure you follow me on Instagram. I’ll be making posts daily.  Make sure you check in at the end of this month to see how things went. I’ll be making a follow up blog post recapping my entire experience!

xoxo

Destiny

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Non-Toxic Cleaning Guide

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I don’t know about you but conventional cleaning products really freak me out. They come with those really nasty warning labels, horrible fumes that make it hard to breathe, the also contain a list of questionable ingredients that are not only toxic to us but also the environment. I just find it counter-intuitive to try to make your space as clean and healthy as possible when your spraying toxins and chemicals all over the place.

I’m very passionate about safe, natural cleaning products and I say if you can ingest it or put it on your skin don’t use it. So today I’m going over my favorite natural cleaning products. Everything I’m going to share with you is free of nasty chemicals and safe for you and your family.

VINEGAR

This is the KING of non-toxic cleaning. There are hundreds of ways to use vinegar to clean and disinfect your home, just fill up a spray bottle and get cleaning! Here are just a few of the many ways you can use it.

  • Spray on your counter tops to disinfect them ( Just be sure not to use vinegar on granite or marble counter tops)
  • Clean your windows and mirrors with it for a streak-free shine
  • Add a small amount of vinegar to your rinse cycle to help soften clothes and keep colors vibrant
  • Leave a small bowl of vinegar out overnight to help deodorize a room

If you find you can stand the smell of vinegar try adding citrus peels to it. Just place any citrus peels you have in a mason jar, fill with vinegar and let it sit for at least three days. Fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar, and you’ll have a lovely citrus scented all purpose cleaner!

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LEMON

Lemon is very similar to vinegar in its cleaning abilities. It’s fantastic at disinfecting, deodorizing, and makes a great alternative to bleach. Here are some of the best ways to use lemon in your home. While we’re talking about lemons I’m going to add that lemon essential oil is also a great option for cleaning.

  • Slice a lemon in half and use it to wipe down your cutting boards. It will kill bacteria, and remove stains
  • Use a few drops of lemon essential oil to remove sticky label residue from jars
  • Drop a few slices of lemon down your garbage disposal to freshen up for sink

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE 

Hydrogen peroxide does so many amazing things for the body, but it’s also an incredible cleaner. It’s great for disinfecting surfaces, it’s a wonderful bleach alternative, you can also use it to clean cuts and scrapes, as well as to remove blood from clothing. Here are some more great tips for using hydrogen peroxide.

  • Spray down your counter tops to disinfect them
  • Take a toothbrush dipped in hydrogen peroxide and scrub your grout to help whiten it
  • Swish a small amount around your mouth to brighten and whiten your teeth.
  • Soak your cleaning sponges in a 3% solution of water and hydrogen peroxide to sanitize them

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CASTILE SOAP

This is a staple in our house. It’s made from a blend of amazing plant oils and can be used for just about anything. Personally, I use Dr.Bronners castile soap because it’s organic and fair trade. Here’s a just a small list of the things you can do with castile soap.

  • Mix castile soap and water in a soap dispenser to make your own foaming and soap
  • Fill your sink with water and add a few drops of castile soap to wash your fruits and veggies
  • Mixed 1 cup castile soap, 2 cups water, 1 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup salt, and 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice to make a great, natural laundry soap.

BAKING SODA

I’m sure this goes without saying, but baking soda is a must when it comes to all natural cleaning. It’s so cheap, it’s versatile, and just like vinegar, it has hundreds of uses. Here are just some of the great things you can do with baking soda.

  • You can avoid harsh drain cleaner by pouring baking soda and vinegar down your drain, followed by boiling water
  • Mix baking soda and a little bit of castile soap to make a scouring paste
  • Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let it stand for an hour then vacuum it up to deodorize your carpets

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I really hope you enjoyed my natural cleaning guide, and I’d love to know if any of you have a favorite natural cleaning product. Make sure you tell me all about them in the comments below.

xoxo

Destiny

A Guide to Self-Compassion

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Hi, my sweet, sweet friends! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I really needed some time to myself, to do some self-reflection and healing. If you’ve been following my blog at all you know I’m on a journey of self-discovery. You’d also know how strongly I feel about self-care. Because of that, I decided to take some time off to work on myself and to really focus on my family. Now that I’m feeling re-energized, I’m ready to get back to my regular posting schedule.

In this blog post, I wanted to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained throughout these few weeks of reflection. So, before I ramble on too much, here’s a guide to becoming the best “you” you can be.

LET GO OF NEGATIVITY 

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times! You must let go of your negative energy to grow as a person. Negativity can hold us back from a lot in life, especially happiness. Your mind creates your reality. If you’re always walking around with an attitude of ” nothing goes right in my life” than that’s what you’ll get in return. So, you’re probably wondering how you can stop being so negative. Don’t worry I have a few tips for you 🙂

  • Be grateful-  Take five minutes a day to write down everything you’re grateful for. When you start focusing on the positive things in your life, your whole mindset changes.
  • Stop complaining-  I know, this one is tough. I’ll be the first to admit that I complain A LOT. What I’ve been trying to remember lately is that complain doesn’t fix anything. Now I try to limit complaining to no more than five minutes. This helps me to mentally notice when I’m getting annoyed, so I’m able to take the right steps to calm myself down, rather than sweating the small stuff.
  • Focus on yourself- Usually negativity comes from a place of unhappiness. Start asking yourself what would you like to change? How can you make your life better? Do some self- reflection, and be open to making some changes.

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LIVE AUTHENTICALLY

It takes so long to be comfortable in your own skin. Once you’ve reached that place in your life, never apologize, or hide who you really are. Never strive to be like someone else. Be unique, be weird, be authentic, be YOU!

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LET GO OF SELF DOUBT 

I can’t stress this enough! How can you become your best self if you’re always doubting your abilities? Letting go of self-doubt is difficult, but it’s possible. Let go of the fear of failure, let go of other people’s opinions of you, let go of pre-conceived opinions about yourself. Know your self-worth, and never doubt it again. Like I said before this may not come easy, and it may take time. A great way to start is using positive affirmations. Every morning while you’re getting ready, look at yourself in the mirror and say something positive about yourself three times. Here are a few examples.

  • I am a beautiful and strong person. I can tackle anything that comes my way today.
  • I am a confident person.
  • I am going to be my best self today. I will stay positive and kind.
  • I am going to have an amazing day. Nothing will crush my positive mood.
  • My outfit is on point today. I feel confident and beautiful.

Trust me I know how cheesy this sounds, but trust me it works!

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INVEST IN YOURSELF

Investing in yourself is always a positive thing. It’s a way to learn about yourself regardless of the outcome. The more you discover about yourself, the easier it is to become the person you want to be. Self-investment can be as simple has taking a class, reading a good book, or even starting up that business you’ve always dreamed of.

Well guys, there you have it, a few tips to help you along your journey of self-compassion, and self-love. Even if you incorporate just one of these into your life, you will see a change in yourself and your life. I’d love to hear the ways you’re working on becoming a better you. Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding has always been important to me. I knew I was going to breastfeed the second I found out I was pregnant. I watched tons of videos on how to get a great latch, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I felt comfortable with my decision to nurse my baby.

When Walter was born he latched within seconds and nursed for around thirty minutes. Natural I thought we were off to a good start. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We struggled A LOT in the beginning. In fact, we still struggle every day. However, I am pleased to say we’ve made it to nine months, and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon.

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, and you’re struggling, I hope this post helps you in some way.  Remember to take one day at a time, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

STRUGGLING IN THE BEGINNING

In the beginning, I dealt with a lot of nipple pain. For the first two weeks or so I would cry every single time he latched. Literally every single time. The pain was so bad I honestly considered giving up and formula feeding. I’m very thankful that I have a loving, supportive partner who wouldn’t let me give up. Without his support and kind words, I wouldn’t have made it.

I want to take the time to say pain is not normal. It’s a sign that your baby isn’t latched correctly. This could be due to a lot of things, but the most common are a lip or tongue tie. My son has a lip tie, and unfortunately, we didn’t discover it until a few weeks ago. If you suspect your little one might have a lip or tongue tie make sure you bring it up with you pediatrician.

DEALING WITH NEGATIVITY  

I struggled with this a lot in the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. For some reason, a lot of people feel the need to comment of things that either has nothing to do with them or things they know nothing about. It can be hard to tune these things out, especially if you’re a new mom. I know I always hated hearing people say I should have formula at home “just in case”, or having people tell me to cover up while nursing in public. Unfortunately, it seems like people always have something negative to say to breastfeeding moms. My advice is to let it go in one ear and out the other, and if that doesn’t work don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!

LOW MILK SUPPLY 

This is something that most new moms are concerned with. Honestly, it’s incredibly rare for a woman to not produce enough milk for her baby. Most of the time low milk supply is caused by a lack of knowledge and support. However, in some cases, low milk supply can happen with ample knowledge and support.

If you work outside of the home like me, you might experience a dip in supply when you return to work. If this happens to you, make sure you do everything you can to increase your supply before it’s too late.

Low supply is something I’ve faced since returning to work. I’m very lucky, and with the help of some amazing women, I’ve been able to supplement my son with donated breast milk. I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am to the ladies that have helped me feed my son. I will be forever grateful, I can only hope someday I’ll be able to return the kindness.

FEELING OVERWHELMED 

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is something I still struggle with every day. Being the only person who can feed a tiny human being can feel like a lot of weight on your shoulders. I’m very lucky that my son was willing to take a bottle of expressed breast milk every now and then. If I wasn’t able to get these tiny little breaks, especially in the beginning, I might have pulled all of my hair out!

 

Nursing my son has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the most rewarding. The bond we have is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Every mom deserves to feel the amazing bond and love that comes with nursing a child, and every baby deserves the food nature intended for them.

xoxo

Destiny

My Holistic Medicine Cabinet

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Holistic health has always been a passion of mine. I trust in our ability to heal our bodies with things the earth provides for us. So today, I want to take you through my “must have” herbs and essential oils that I keep on hand.

Like always I’d like to add a little disclaimer here. Herbs and essential oils should always be used with caution. I’m not a doctor so please consult your family physician before using any of these remedies on your children or yourself. If you need more information on how to use essential oils safely please read my blog post all about it here.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to prevent a disease rather than just treat your symptoms. Eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty or water ad getting enough sleep should be your first line of defense against disease. I want to make it clear that I’m not saying there isn’t a place for modern medicine. I know plenty of people who wouldn’t be alive if not for modern medicine. However, I am saying is for my family, most (if not all) ailments and medical needs can be met at home- either through natural remedies of essential oils.

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WHAT’S IN MY HOLISTIC MEDICINE CABINET

…..and how I use it.

ESSENTIAL OILS

Melaleuca (tea tree)– This oil is a powerful purifying oil. We keep it on hand mainly for treating skin issues, I like to keep a diluted roller-ball of melaleuca in my son’s diaper bag as well as on the changing table. Whenever it looks like he’s getting a diaper rash we apply the oil with every diaper change.

OnGuard– This is a specific blend from Doterra. The main oils in this blend are wild orange, clove, cinnamon bark/leaf, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This blend of oils is great for boosting the immune systems and keeping the yuckies away. The oils in the blend are very strong and should never be applied to small children or undiluted.

Lemon- I use this oil all the time! It has antimicrobial properties making it fantastic for cleaning. I like to diffuse lemon whenever I want a room to smell fresh and clean. You can also use lemon to remove sticker residue from glass jars. Apply a few drops undiluted and gently rub the sticky goo away! Lemon oil can be strong so just make sure you’re wearing gloves when you do this.

Lavender- I’m sure this comes as no surprises but I love to use lavender for it’s calming properties. I apply a little just behind my ears whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. I also like to apply lavender to bug bites. It instantly relieves the itch! Just a word to the wise, Lavender can affect people differently, for me, it’s very calming, my son, on the other hand bounces off the walls whenever he’s around it.

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HERBAL REMEDIES

Elderberry Syrup- This is like a miracle “drug”. It’s an incredible immune booster and can help prevent the flu when taken daily. Most elderberry syrups on the market contain honey so they’re not recommended for children under the age of one. I’ve heard it’s incredibly easy to make so I’m excited to experiment with my own recipe when my son is a little older.

Garlic- This is one of natures antibiotics. Garlic does amazing things for the cardiovascular system, as well as treat infections. It’s a natural blood thinner and can help lower cholesterol. Another great reason to consume garlic daily is because it helps detoxify the body and pull heavy metals from the blood.

Colloidal Silver- To put it simply colloidal silver attaches itself to sick cells and bacteria and blocks their ability to harm your body. It’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral. It can prevent things like colds and flu, treat pink eye and ear infections, and can even treat pneumonia. It’s a miracle worker, in my opinion, so make sure you’re stocked up.

Black seed oil- If nothing else, you need this in your life! This is something I take daily to help treat my eczema. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and is used to treat anything from allergies to cancer.

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HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES

BOIRON Camilia- These teething drops are absolutely amazing! I don’t think we could live without them. They seem to be the only thing that helps my son with his teething pain, plus it puts me at ease knowing I won’t have to give him pharmaceuticals like Tylenol.

BOIRON Sinusalia- Honestly I don’t find myself sick very often, but recently I developed a sinus infection due to my seasonal allergies. My head was killing me and I was searching for anything that would help with my congestion. I discovered this product and will never go back to conventional sinus pressure relief medications. I felt relief from my symptoms within a few hours and my sinus infection cleared up in a matter of days versus the two weeks it used to take.

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As You grow in holistic living you’ll find that different herbs and essential oils work better for you than others. Take things slow, and see what herbs and essential oils you need to keep on hand based on what ails your family the most.

xoxo

Destiny

** DISCLAIMER: Please know that there are risks with herbal remedies just as there are risks with modern medicine. PLEASE do your own research before using a herb or essential oil. 
 
I am not a doctor, Please take these suggested uses at your own risk.
 
These claims have not been approved by the FDA.