Hello sanctuary – how to reinvent your bathroom

In many cultures around the world, there’s a lot more to bathing than just scrubbing the body clean. In Japan, for example, bathing in an Onsen (a Japanese hot spring) is all about taking a moment to slow down, getting into a meditative state of mind and seeking respite from the stresses of daily life (even the monkeys do it!). And while few of us have a hot spring in our neighbourhood (we wish!), you’ve probably noticed how much better and clearer-headed you feel after showering and how answers you’ve been searching for and your best ideas often seem to miraculously pop into mind. Not to mention how a long soak in a hot bath literally melts your worries away…

So why not cherish this place, emphasise its transformative and soothing qualities and intentionally turn it into a sacred space dedicated to self-care where you can let go of your worries and restore your soul and body alike?

  1. Clear some space

Clutter definitely takes away from the serenity of any space and the same is true for your bathroom. To clear out the clutter, take a look at all the products you have. Check all the dates and get rid of anything that’s expired. Then take a look at the rest – if you haven’t used in six months, pop it in a storage box and see if you really need it over the next six months, and if you haven’t used it in a year, bin it! Now, you’re probably left with only those products you love (bliss!), and with the clutter eliminated, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for easily whenever you open your bathroom cabinet or reach for the shelves.

What else do you keep in your bathroom? Give all that other stuff the same ruthless treatment. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Then act accordingly!

  1. Keep it organised

It’s easier to keep a space well-organised and inviting when everything has its proper place. Even when multiple people use the same bathroom, we can keep the chaos at bay by having a designated storage area (e.g. a drawer or a shelf) for each person. Very small bathrooms can present more of a challenge, so if space is at premium, explore more effective storage solutions, such as magnetic hooks for hand-held mirrors and nails scissors, and boxes and trays for keeping drawers tidy. And if you’re craving more inspiration, check out the countless bathroom make-over ideas on Pinterest.

  1. The green clean

Think of ‘sanctuary’ and the idea of harsh chemicals is unlikely to be the first thing to spring to mind. Avoid exposure to chemical residues and keep your bathroom sparkling clean in a way that aligns with your aim of creating a soulful, restorative space by using gentler cleaning solutions. From simple liquid detergent and a cloth for wiping surfaces to scrubbing the bath with baking soda and white vinegar, there are many green and safe methods fit for a sanctuary.

  1. Sacred space

What does a sanctuary look like to you? Is it minimalist, natural, feminine? Give your imagination free rein and jot down any qualities, ideas, symbols and objects that you associate with healing, inspiration and rejuvenation – then think of ways to bring these elements into your bathroom. You could create more warmth and cheer by adding colourful towels to your collection or you could introduce an element of nature by placing a potted plant by the window or by using a large shell as a soap holder. Think also of crystals, candles, art… Even small adjustments are likely to reward you with a tangible shift in your energy whenever you step into your newly transformed – and transformative – bathroom.

Add a little transformative magic to your bathing routine with the AEOS bath salts, the perfect body-mind pick-me-up whenever you need some extra nurturing or simply want to take time for yourself.

Power up your productivity

Time’s a funny thing – the more we have on our plates, the fewer hours there seem to be in a day. But whether in the office or at home, we can increase our productivity by learning new ways to approach our tasks and doing away with those habits that aren’t helping (you might be surprised just how much of our time they eat up)… After all, it’s not about cramming even more into our already packed days, but rather making what time we do have count more.

So let us ease the pressure a little and give you a helping hand with your to-do list with our top five productivity-boosting tips.

  1. Eliminate the distractions

So that shocker of a project just hit your desk? Make space for it. Multitasking is a productivity-killer so cut the distractions – and yes, we do mean your smart phone too! Turn it off, hide it under your sofa or tackle the urge to constantly check what’s new by downloading an app that trains you to leave your phone alone – we know… the irony! From pointing out exactly what activities are sucking up all your time to rewarding you for not touching your phone for 30 minutes with a beautiful growing tree, using a phone app to keep us away from all those other apps can be a surprisingly effective way to help us put our focus back to the task at hand.

The same goes for browsing the internet and going back again and again to check for new emails. One study concluded that a whopping 47% of online time is spent procrastinating! Unless you have to, limit checking your emails to a specific time of the day and use a browser add-on to block any distracting sites during your work hours.

  1. Take a ‘productive break’

Some types of tasks, especially creative work, can sometimes grind to a standstill when we’re under pressure. So if the inspiration has dried up, don’t stare at a blank screen until you despair or give into procrastination – instead, take a moment to consciously engage in a reinvigorating activity. If you can get out, go for a run, take a walk or spend your lunch hour in an art gallery or some other place you wouldn’t normally go. If you’re stuck inside, take ten minutes to meditate or stretch out in a yoga pose. Finally, sometimes all our mind requires to get the creative juices flowing again is a little break from the internal ‘editor’ that’s constantly demanding perfection – try filling a few pages of a notebook with a stream-of-consciousness style writing (forget about spelling and grammar!) or take a sheet of blank paper and doodle whatever comes to mind before you get back to your task.

  1. Fuel productivity with the right foods

It’s hard to get anything done when our focus falters and we’re having trouble concentrating. What you had for lunch may have a lot to do with it! Making healthy food choices is not only good for our bodies but affects our productivity, too. Eating a healthy diet, getting our five helpings of fruit and veg at least four times a week and regular exercising are all linked to higher productivity. So how do you put this into practise? Start by stocking up with healthy snacks – fruit, nuts, carrot sticks with hummus, wholegrain sandwiches with avocado, etc. – and reach for them instead of sugary treats throughout the day to keep your energy up. A quick sugar hit is just that – after the initial energy boost you’ll soon end up feeling even more tired and unfocused. Go easy on empty lunchtime carbs too and opt for generous helpings of veggies with whole grains that will provide you with a more sustained energy to see you through the rest of the day. And keep a glass or a bottle of water handy! Hydration is not only important for clear skin but clear thinking too.

  1. Bring mindfulness to your desk

At first glance, setting aside some of our work time to sit quietly with our eyes closed might seem like the antithesis of productivity. But how often do we waste time by being unable to concentrate and having our minds constantly wander to things that are irrelevant to the present moment? Having a calm mind increases our productivity by boosting our ability to focus on the task at hand.

Before starting work, try to find 10 minutes at home to relax and focus on your breath with your eyes closed – you may find counting each inhalation and exhalation helpful. By taking the time to calm your mind, you’ll soothe any stress you may be experiencing about the workload that’s waiting for you and will be better equipped to ignore distractions and to prioritise your time effectively. While at work, go for another mindfulness boost (or two) by briefly bringing your awareness back to your breath and the present moment before beginning each new task – even focusing fully on the experience of enjoying a cuppa during a break can transform stress levels.

  1. Embrace structure

With oodles to do, from mini tasks to long-term projects and everything in between – both at work and at home – it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. However, just a smidge of structure can go a long way in eliminating stress and powering up productivity.

Try this: print out a weekly planner, write a list of things that you have to do during the week (such as work projects, appointments and so on) and fill those in. Then make a list of things that you want to do, like working towards long-term goals, socialising, self-care and leisure activities, and slot those in too. If you haven’t got enough space, go back to your list and pick out the things that are most important.

Instead of being restrictive, knowing exactly what we’re doing and when during the week helps us avoid being distracted by all the other things that need doing – it’s a lot easier to stay motivated when we’re looking at a to-do list of one item instead of 50! Scheduling pleasurable activities is also important as it can help tame our urges for instant gratification. Knowing that we’ve made the space for fun in our week, we’ll be less likely to resent all the mundane tasks that we need to get done in the meanwhile.

Channel your inner spiritual girl in a material world

Ever feel like your spiritual quest and your material surroundings are at odds? The path to inner peace can be a little tricky to navigate with our spiritual compass via all the limitations, demands and conflicts of daily life. But fret not! Even when we have money to earn, bills to pay, groceries to buy, meals to cook, a house to clean and so on… it is possible to  find calm and purpose and reconnect with our spiritual selves on a daily basis, while making the most of what the material world has to offer..

Find below our five must-do’s to keep your spiritual practise alive in the midst of modern living.

  1. Find your tribe

Even when we’re surrounded by some pretty awesome people in our lives, if none of them shares our interests in spiritual growth and personal development, it can feel like something is missing. It’s not only refreshing to have someone in your life who ‘speaks your language’, but exchanging ideas and information is a great way to deepen our understanding of the concepts we’re exploring.

From sharing wisdom gained through life experiences to recommending books and techniques, connecting with like-minded people can really help steer us in an enlightening direction. You may already have people in your life who share your spiritual interests – if so, nurture those relationships! – but if you don’t, it’s well worth seeking them out. Find your new pals by joining classes and attending events or reach out to online communities that centre on the spiritual ideas you’re drawn to. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Oh so many choices? Use your inner guidance

From choosing which brand of loo roll to buy (how long can it actually take?!) to deciding where we live, our lives are a never-ending stream of small and big choices. And while on the surface having more options seems wonderful, the truth is that decision making in the face of endless choices can be a one way track to stress and extinguished zen.

In the book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz takes a look at how the more choices we have the more time-consuming investigating each option becomes and how more often than not we end up second-guessing ourselves. But is anything out there actually perfect and could we instead be satisfied with ‘good enough’ and let go of the need to make ‘the best’ choice every time?

Zap the stress out of decision making and find your calm core again by following these two steps:

Make snap decisions

Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. The way around the agony of choosing can be as simple as to stop deliberating and make decisions quickly. Do you ever think to yourself “I knew the right decision all along, why didn’t I just make it at the time?” Then you’re aware of your inner guidance and can start tapping into it to make easier – and probably better -– decisions. The more we practise surrendering the decision making process to our innate wisdom, the freer and more in tune with what really matters to us we feel.

Take it from Malcolm Gladwell (author of Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking):

“decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”

And if you’re thinking: that’s all very well when I’m choosing a tube of toothpaste or a new shade of lippy, but what about the really important decisions in life? Shouldn’t I spend a lot time making sure I’m making the right choice? Glad you asked.

Make peace with your choices

Making a big decision is scary. However, choosing between two different options is seldom the life-and-death dilemma our brains often make it out to be. If the fear of making a decision is paralysing you, take solace from this advice from Susan Jeffries (the author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway): at any point you’re faced with a decision, realise that either option is most likely going to turn out ok in the end. When we accept that nothing is perfect anyway and that every choice is going to have some benefits (we learn from mistakes after all), we can find greater peace and start enjoying life more.

  1. Make your material world a mindful world

When life gets hectic, attending to our spiritual lives can easily take a back seat, however important it is to us. But thankfully we don’t need to attend a week-long meditation retreat to quieten the thoughts racing through our minds or take a day off work to chant mantras to feel more spiritually focused. In fact, reconnecting with our inner selves can take as little as 10 minutes a day as Andy Puddicombe explains in this Ted Talk.

Mindfulness – bringing our awareness to what is happening now and observing it without judgement – is your go-to daily tool to help you slow down, relax and be more present in your life.

Try Andy’s tip: pop post-it notes on your front door, the fridge, by the kettle, on the bathroom mirror and anywhere else you frequently visit, and use them as reminders to focus fully on the present moment for a minute or two. Check in with your senses – what are you hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing, feeling in your body? – and if you’re experiencing an emotion, name it and let it be without resistance. The more we practise mindfulness, the more naturally it comes to us – and the easier life will begin to flow.

  1. Spend time connecting with nature

Rekindling our relationship with the natural world is a one-way path to a greater sense of meaning in our lives, so even if you’re a city girl to your core, make space for nature in your life. Taking the time to commune with nature reminds us of our connection to the rest of the world and observing the earth’s cycles is a healthy reminder to accept change and to let go of what’s no longer needed. And you can build up your connection with nature wherever you are – everyone has access to at least a window sill! Go on, grow flowers or herbs in your home, create a seasonal nature altar with the kids, make art with natural objects, walk barefoot in your garden, meditate in your local park, learn to forage for edible plants or pack your bags and leave the city for a weekend of hiking.

Natural surroundings also make for a perfect setting to practise mindfulness. Next time you’re out and about, follow the advice of Eckhart Tolle, author of Stillness Speaks:

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.

  1. Be the change you want to see

What values do you hold dear? Are you passionate about helping others or looking after the environment? Checking in from time to time with what’s most important to us and making small changes accordingly can give us a real spiritual lift. And the great thing about a material world is that it gives us ample opportunities to express our values through the choices we make as consumers. From Fairtrade, locally grown and organic produce to greener energy and responsible fashion, every time we choose to support the businesses and individuals who offer products and services that are in-line with what we care about, the more actively we’re shaping a world we’d like to see. Or perhaps being in-tune with your values could mean consuming less and stepping away from the ‘disposable’ culture through ‘making and mending’ and reducing waste through re-using and recycling. However it looks to you, ‘being the change that you wish to see in the world’ is a spiritually empowering practice!

Old patterns are hard to break

Today is a day to view things from a different angle; to deal with things with a new perspective. Perhaps a day to be reminded to “go with the flow” instead of trying to make things happen faster than they are naturally supposed to.

Product Profile:  AEOS Dew Facial WashAEOS Dew-Facial-Wash

A fresh, radiantly clean complexion is yours when you wash away makeup, impurities and excess oil with our award-winning gentle cleansing wash – rich in honey and neroli, spelt & lemon oils. Mild enough for every skin type, this conditioning and hydrating blend of organic and biodynamic essential oils, plus energies of gems and crystals, helps relax skin for easy absorption of skin-loving plant extracts.

Use and application:

Add a few drops of the Dew Facial Wash to a bowl of warm water. Soak the Dew Facial Cloth in this, then squeeze out excess water and place over the face and leave for a few moments. Repeat this up to 3 times, allowing the pores to open and gently prepare the skin for the maximum benefit of the products to follow.

To ensure all the potent elements are energetically brought together before application, we recommend shaking each AEOS product before use.

All AEOS products are highly concentrated. A little goes a long way, so please use sparingly. [Read more…]

Nature inspires so go walking

When you feel a sense of resistance then breathe a little to your star. It may even be that the “no” becomes a yes. Whenever we meet resistance we meet an opportunity, that there is some energy for a little more awakening.

Testimonial: AEOS Biodynamic Nail and Cuticle Oil

This makes a New Year’s Resolution to be kinder to your nails really easy to stick to. There are several nailcare pens out there, but we love the all-natural blend in this: unstopper the cap of this smart silver version and brush on a nail-nourishing mix of certified biodynamic oils – including sweet almond, poppy seed, sunflower seed and spelt – which are ‘boosted’ by gem essences from rose quartz and [Read more…]

Expand your horizons

If we could worry less about the how, where, when and why things come about, perhaps letting go of “how and when” our skin condition might improve; or taking our skin care less seriously; then this might encourage a greater sense of peacefulness within us.

Be happy

Testimonial: AEOS Cleansing Oil de-Maq

“I prefer oils these days for makeup removals. Sadly though some oils aren’t packaged correctly which means they are hard to travel with and some do get quite messy. As a Makeup Artist I hunt for fab products that work and also look for packaging that can withhold the bump and travel and AEOS Cleansing Oil De-Maq is not only a fantastic product, it is made [Read more…]

Forgive yourself for your mistakes

Today is a day to practice detachment, not holding on to things and having the freedom to discern when to let things go. Sometimes we get in to a skin care “routine”, doing the same ritual over and over again each day. Is it time to let this go? Is it time to step in to a more perceptive and intuitive state so that we can [Read more…]

Angels make a difference in your life

Today is a day to find the love, care and attention necessary to stay focused with trusting our inner wisdom and guide. When we truly have love in our conscious mind, we can allow our self to let go of our fears and trust our self, which has a flow on effect to more easily trust others.

Go forward knowing all is well

When the energy of love, caring and warmth makes a connection with the communication of our heart there is a possibility of the birth of something very beautiful and new. Today is a day to get in touch with the beauty that lies in the acceptance of self. Perhaps an acceptance of how we perceive our complexion? Perhaps a day  to see the [Read more…]