Dry brushing: the quick and easy way to better skin and more

Since you’re reading this blog, you probably have an interest in a glowing complexion. But how often do you spare a thought for the rest of your skin? Dry brushing is a holistic wellness practice that’s ever gaining popularity and involves – you guessed it – brushing your body with dry, firm bristles*.
if you’re new to dry brushing, you may wonder why anyone would willingly put cactus bristles of all things anywhere near their skin. However, growing numbers of people swear by this health and beauty practice and its rejuvenating effects. Even if you’re mornings are already packed, you can easily fit dry brushing into your wellness routine. It only takes a couple of minutes – and after the initial investment of buying a good quality brush (look for them in health food stores and online), it costs you nothing, is super simple to do and has benefits that go beyond a brighter and smoother skin.
Give it a go and you might find yourself in the ranks of dry brushing addicts…

* Though synthetic brushes are available, natural ones with bristles made of cactus and other natural fibres are recommended.
1. Benefits of dry brushing
Happier skin
The desire for smooth, glowing skin is probably what draws most people into trying dry brushing. Much like exfoliating scrubs, the firm bristles of the brush are very effective in sweeping away dead cells from the surface of the skin and will stimulate cell renewal too. Skin pores are cleared by the brush as well, allowing your skin to absorb nutrients from your chosen moisturiser more effectively.
And while research on this front is lacking, that doesn’t stop dry brush converts to hail in their droves about the cellulite-diminishing effects – said to soften and even break down fat deposits where toxins have accumulated beneath the skin. Not only that, dry brushing can help prevent ingrown hairs as well as smoothing rough bumps caused by the common skin condition keratosis pilaris.
An all-natural detox boost
It’s no wonder dry brushing is a popular spa technique – it can be a powerful detoxification aid, supporting the body in its natural waste elimination processes.
The skin is one of our most hard-working elimination organs – we can thank it for removing approximately a third of all metabolic waste products. By clearing the pores of the accumulated toxins, oils and dead cells, dry brushing helps skin get on with its job more efficiently.
Thanks to the stimulating effects on blood circulation and lymph flow, dry brushing can speed up the toxin removal process internally too. And since the lymphatic system is responsible for the filtering and removal of pathogens as well as cellular waste products from our tissues, regular dry brushing may have the added benefit of helping us fight infections.
Energising
Need a little extra help waking up in the morning? Next time you’re about to reach for your morning espresso, grab a dry brush instead. A lot of people who’re hooked on dry brushing, swear by its invigorating effects on both body and mind. The increased flow of oxygenated blood to the skin and organs will certainly not put you back to sleep! Follow your dry skin brushing session with a cold shower to really supercharge your day. May sound positively spartan, but if it gets us going on a dreary morning…
2. How to dry brush
Dry brushing is probably the simplest spa treatment you can perform at home. The key thing to remember is to always brush towards the heart, which is the direction the lymph flows. Start gently, and as your skin gets used to the brushing, you can start using firmer strokes until you find your own personal sweet spot. Many people dry brush daily, but experiment to find the right frequency for you, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side. Your skin will look slightly pink afterwards but should not go red or feel sore. Never brush over irritated, sunburnt or inflamed skin.
Follow these steps:
1. Using firm, sweeping strokes, brush the soles of your feet, then work up the legs, going over the ankles, calves and thighs.
2. Brush your hands, and then the arms up to the armpits.
3. Brush the rest of the body: abdomen, chest and back (a long-handled brush might be helpful here). Use less pressure when brushing over the softer skin of the chest area.
4. Once you’ve finished brushing, wash off the dead skin cells and impurities in the shower.
5. To finish up, apply a moisturiser like our Beauty Body Lotion. Your skin will be perfectly prepped to absorb and benefit from the nourishing biodynamic oils!

Invite Mother Earth into your home

Mother Earth does a lot for us, and a lot of us try to do bits and pieces to look after our planet in return. Yet with all our to-do’s, reducing our carbon footprint is often the last thing on the list… Furthermore, the words ‘green’ and ‘living’ might inspire images of self-sacrifice and inconvenience rather than fill us with enthusiasm. But don’t fret… there’s no need to turn into a passionate eco-warrior overnight or move into a yurt in the countryside to make a difference. (Though spending a weekend ‘glamping’ in an eco-yurt with a special someone would certainly make for a memorable holiday!)
Making earth-friendly choices can be surprisingly simple and, with a little repetition, new habits can quickly become (excuse the pun) second nature. Taking positive actions can also help us feel more optimistic and resilient in the face of a constant stream of gloomy news about the threats our planet is facing.
Read on for a round-up of five ways to honour Mother Earth in your own home. You could save money, get healthier, make new friends and even embark on a culinary adventure in the process… And… just maybe… you’ll find there’s an eco-warrior in you after all?

1. Jump on the green cleaning bandwagon
Here’s a way to give Mama Nature a helping hand and improve your own health at same time: head over to your cleaning cupboard and take a look at those labels. Many modern detergents contain harsh chemicals that are not only toxic to aquatic wildlife when washed down the drain but can leave long-lasting residues on surfaces with the potential to irritate skin and lungs – the less-than-friendly line-up includes asthma, eczema, allergies and other disorders. Plenty of efficient earth-friendly products are available these days – even on the supermarket shelves – which makes switching to eco-friendly cleaning super-convenient. Many independent health food stores offer cheap refills that further cut down waste and costs.
If you have the time (a few minutes that is!), consider taking the DIY approach. Simple soap, baking soda, vinegar and a few key essential oils like lemon, lavender and tea tree will take care of most of the cleaning needs around your house and using them works out very economical. And while you’re at it, cut up some old t-shirts and you shall not want for reusable cleaning rags!
2. The green heart of your home
Kitchen is the true heart of many a home – and it’s also where a lot of the eco-friendly magic can happen. Making sustainable choices about the food we buy and prepare often goes hand in hand with eating better and saving money, too.
Supermarkets don’t make it easy for us to avoid unnecessary packaging, but we can do our bit to reduce the amount of plastic we bring home. Make a habit of taking a reusable carrier bag with you every time you go shopping and choose loose fruit and vegetables over plastic-wrapped ones when possible. If available, signing up to a veggie box scheme or buying produce at your local farmers’ market is even better! For dry goods like rice, lentils and muesli, many health food stores have their own bulk bins that allow you to refill your own containers at a bargain price.
Avoiding ready-made meals and cooking from scratch provides another opportunity to zap waste and save money. When planning your meals, take advantage of the boom in vegetarian and vegan food blogs – finding exciting veggie recipes to try has never been easier and incorporating a few plant-based meals into your week will help shrink the carbon footprint of your kitchen.
Check out The Veg Space
3. Discover your green fingers
No farmers’ market nearby? Go one step further and slash down the food miles by growing your own veg! There’s no better way to connect with nature at home and you don’t need a large garden to get started as many crops are more than happy in containers. Cherry tomatoes will merrily grow in a hanging basket, roots like carrots and potatoes can be grown in pots on the patio, beans and peas will climb up a wall with a bit of support, and herbs and salad greens don’t ask for much more than a sunny spot by the window. To add a splash of colour and provide food for you and pollinators alike, sow a few edible flowers like nasturtiums too.
Fresh food lovingly grown and picked when perfectly ripe could be the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted. As a bonus, you’ll be eating food guaranteed to be free of pesticide residues. Get the kids involved as well and they’ll learn a lot about nature – and perhaps even start eating their vegetables… Give them their own seeds to sow or a strawberry plant to look after, then sit down together to count the bumblebees and butterflies that visit your crops. You can even record your findings in a survey (such as this one by the Polli:Nation) and contribute to scientific research.
3. Become mindful about energy
Reducing energy use in our home is one of the best ways to do our bit for the environment and it’s great for our wallets too. Some of the simplest ways achieve this include unplugging our appliances when not in use and washing laundry at lower temperatures. Other methods may require some funds initially – think of insulating the loft, buying energy-efficient appliances, even installing solar panels – but if we’re able to fork out the cash, we’ll be rewarded with significant savings in the long run.
You could help our planet even more by powering your home with wind and solar energy – now’s a great time to think about switching if you haven’t already. Green energy has become more accessible as well as affordable in recent years with many new energy companies offering renewable energy at competitive prices. Switching is easy too – your new supplier will handle the entire process once you’ve signed up – making it an eco-deed you can accomplish within minutes.
5. Get into the spirit of sharing
With online stores at our fingertips 24/7, it’s easy to buy anything under the sun, whenever we want it. But what if we pooled resources instead, donated, shared and borrowed items more? We’d all likely save money, reduce the amount of clutter in our homes, help each other out and possibly even make new friends – all this while saving raw materials and keeping usable stuff from ending up in landfills.
Got a bread maker gathering dust on a shelf? A bike your child’s outgrown? There’s someone in your local community who’ll gladly take your unwanted stuff off your hands. Freecycle and its many incarnations exist for the sole purpose of moving goods locally to where they’re most appreciated. Charity shops will love your used books and bric-a-brac, and if you have a stash of clothes you don’t get around to wearing anymore, a clothes swap is the perfect eco-friendly excuse to get your friends together.
When buying things, consider if you can borrow or share first. Sharing with neighbours is a great strategy when it comes to power tools and other items that are needed only occasionally. It can also be a great way to get to know them better! Refurbished technology can be every bit as good as brand new while buying designer clothes has become a lot more affordable with online boutiques selling pre-loved items for a fraction of the original price. It’s a world of possibilities and once you get into the swing of reducing, reusing and recycling, you might even find it gets a bit addictive…

Make your mornings magical: five tips to reinvent your routine

Having a difficult and taxing day? Chances are it started that way. When we drag ourselves out of bed feeling stressed and tired, then skip breakfast and rush about in order to get out the door and to work on time, it’s more than a little likely to have repercussions on how we handle the rest of the day. Creating a health- and happiness-boosting morning routine can go a long way towards smoothing the path ahead and helping us feel our best. And while our tips may not instantly transform you into a morning person, we’d bet that making the first moments of your day a time to nourish your body and mind will help you feel more grounded, calm and productive – and you never know, you might just look forward to it again the next day.

  1. Make time for self-care

 

Habitual snooze-button presser? Barely manage to get dressed before running out of the house? We know dedicating some time for building healthy habits and getting into a positive headspace first thing in the morning can seem like an insurmountable task. Yet creating a morning routine just for you could be your ticket to a more relaxing start to the day. Begin by setting your alarm for just 10 minutes earlier and increase the time gradually. Sounds unlikely? If you’re getting enough sleep but still struggling to get out of bed, try waking up to a dawn-simulating alarm clock. Research shows that by balancing the hormones that control our circadian rhythm, wake-up lights can help us emerge from our slumber feeling more refreshed and alert.

You can also create more space for a nurturing self-care practice by prepping for a more efficient morning the night before: pick your outfit, pack your lunch if you’re going to be eating on the go and put anything you need to take with you somewhere visible by the door.

  1. Set the tone for a brighter day

Now that you’ve made that extra time for yourself, ease yourself gently into the morning by taking a few moments to start your day mindfully. Focus on your breath for 5-10 minutes, follow a guided meditation or tune into your body by noticing any physical sensations, such as the way the texture of the bed sheets feels against your skin. If time is of the essence then the shower can be the most magical mindful wake-up, just focus on how the water sounds and feels on your skin.

Then, before the habitual thought patterns get a chance to carry you away (we recommend ignoring the notifications on your smart phone too – Facebook, emails and depressing news can wait), outsmart any anxious and worrisome thoughts by putting your focus firmly on something positive. Try reading your favourite motivational quote (you could put up a post-it note beside your bed), make a mental list of things you’re grateful for or look forward to, listen to an episode of an inspirational podcast, put on some uplifting tunes or give your loved ones or pet a cuddle. It’s your routine, so do the thing you enjoy the most and know will help you get into a happier state of mind!

  1. Get energised

Feeling more calm and optimistic? Brilliant. It’s time to give your body a morning lift too. A brief burst of exercise early in the day is one of the best ways to help you feel more invigorated and motivated to tackle the tasks ahead. Just 10 minutes engaged in a physical activity you love, from bouncing on a rebounder to hitting the yoga mat to ‘salute the sun’ (find a beginners’ guide here), will get your blood flowing, energising your brain as well as your body.

And if you can bear it, end your morning shower by turning the temperature of the water to its coldest setting for 30 seconds or so. Cold water not only refreshes like nothing else, but studies indicate that it can also banish stress, support the immune system, provide pain relief pain and help us shed extra weight.

  1. Pamper your skin

Having a beautiful glow can do wonders for our confidence and mood as we get ready to step out into the world. So while you’re in the bathroom (no doubt raring to go after your cold shower!), show your skin some love and take a moment to cleanse, tone and moisturise for a fresh and nourished complexion. Our Morning Beauty skincare routine is ritual designed to renew, rebalance and replenish your skin with our award-winning formulations. All you need to do is follow the steps in order for the best results!

  1. Hydrate and nourish your body

It’s no secret that giving our bodies proper fuel helps us get the most out of our day. If you’re already clued up on healthy morning eats – bravo! However, if the sum total of your morning sustenance is reaching for a shot of espresso or a mug of tea, it may be time to make some changes. Try switching your caffeinated beverage of choice with hot lemon water, or at least down a glass of it before you have your caffeine fix. Why lemon water? We’ve all heard of the importance of hydration – getting enough water keeps our digestive system operating smoothly to name just one benefit – but chucking plain old water can feel like a chore sometimes. A refreshing lemony flavour can make downing a glass a lot more enticing. Lemon also provides an added dose of vitamin C which can help us dodge infections as well as stimulating our collagen production for a more youthful complexion. Making lemon water couldn’t be easier: squeeze half an organic lemon into a mug of hot water and sip away. (If you’re worried about the acid damaging the enamel of your teeth, use a straw.)

In the spirit of switching things up, try a green smoothie instead of or in addition to your usual brekkie and you’ll be well on your way to getting your five-a-day in one delicious serving. By blending mineral-packed leafy greens like kale and spinach with fruit and berries for sweetness and added vitamins, you’ll also be upping your intake of antioxidants and fibre. For an extra nutritional boost, try adding a pinch of powdered superfood like maca, acai berry or hemp protein into your smoothie. (You can find more detailed advice on how to make a perfect green smoothie on this blog post.)

Bite-size wellness booster: the health podcasts you’ll want in your life

We all want to live as healthy and happy a life as possible, but there are times when we’d benefit from some expert advice and a motivation boost to get us there. And while health and wellness info is easier to find than ever, we can feel bombarded by the amount that’s out there, struggle to find the time to watch the latest documentaries or get around to reading those online articles we bookmarked ages ago.

Enter podcasts: no matter how busy your life is, you can get your daily dose of wellness inspiration anytime, anywhere. Think of them as a free online audio library accessible from your laptop or mobile device, covering pretty much any topic you can think of. Use any podcast manager to find the channels that pique your curiosity and you’re set to enjoy stimulating and informative content on your morning commute, in the gym or while taking care of the daily chores at home.

From speedy expert views on latest food trends, to guided meditations and discussions on the hottest wellness topics of the day, we’ve rounded up some of the best body and mind podcasts you’ll be glad to have added to your daily wellbeing regime. Start here and see where the journey takes you!

  1. TED Talks Health

Who doesn’t love TED? The global community is known for their viral content in the form of groundbreaking expert talks that aim to spark conversation and change lives. Faithful to the short and sweet TED format, the TED Talks Health podcast comes as powerful presentations in 18 minutes or less. The episodes feature doctors, researchers and other thought leaders who present their insights and discoveries in thought-provoking and entertaining videos. From breakthroughs in medicine to emotional first aid, the reasons we laugh to living passionately at any age, TED Talks Health will keep you inspired and up-to-date on the latest from the world of health. We recommend you start by checking out Sandra Aamodt’s talk on ‘Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work’ (because life’s too short to quit biscuits for good)!

And if you can’t get enough of TED, there’s also TED Talks Education and TED Talks Art

  1. Breaking Down Nutrition

While we’re bombarded with nutritional info on a daily basis, making sense of it all is perhaps harder than ever. What on earth is FODMAP? Is chocolate good for us or not? Hail or not hail the latest celebrity endorsed food trend? If the jargon and all the contradicting blurb makes you want to give up and reach for the doughnuts, take a moment to listen to Dr. Susan Mitchell’s podcast on what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to food and diet. Susan is a registered nutritionist and her podcast gets to the point quickly in mini episodes in which she dispels myths, examines the latest food trends and shines the spotlight on healthy eating heroes from turmeric to avocados.

Want more nutrition tips from mindful eating to optimising your breakfast? Look up The Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous.

  1. Beauty Inside Out

If a podcast could give you a ‘glow’ it would surely be this one. Beauty Inside Out is the podcast adventure of Kimberly Snyder, a celebrated nutritionist, beauty expert and author of the New York Times best-sellers The Beauty Detox Power, The Beauty Detox Foods and the Beauty Detox Solution. Her podcast is designed to empower us to make better choices and boost wellness in all areas of our lives, helping us feel healthier, happier and more gorgeous. Packed with nutritional advice, beauty tips and spiritual inspiration, Kimberly’s advice on healthy living is delivered in a joyful and down-to-earth style. Expect lively conversation on a wide range of wellness topics such as Ayurvedic practices, seasonal eating, gratitude and aromatherapy, FAQ sessions as well as exciting interviews with today’s top healthy living luminaries from Deliciously Ella to Deepak Chopra.

Love Beauty Inside Out? Check out The Ultimate Health Podcast for more ways to take your wellness to a new level.

  1. The Daily Meditation Podcast

The idea of meditation seems simple enough: close your eyes and focus on something that helps quieten your mind. But if you’re someone who struggles to fit meditation into your life, would like a bit more guidance to get the most out of your practise or are interested in trying out new techniques, Mary Meckley’s The Daily Meditation Podcast is for you. As a certified meditation teacher, Mary is passionate about helping more people manage the stressful aspects of modern life by making meditation a natural part of the day. Drawing from multiple traditions, Mary guides us through a diverse range of approaches to meditation from various breathing techniques to mantras and walking meditations. Each week is focused on a specific topic, so whether you want to manage stress, boost your confidence or foster self-love, there’s a 7-day series of meditations to help you. With hundreds of episodes delivered in Mary’s soothing voice, incorporating meditation into your life has never been easier.

Want even more ‘Om’ in your life? Try 10% happier with Dan Harris, the meditation podcast by an ABC newsman and a former meditation sceptic.

  1. Katy Says with Katy Bowman

Moving better makes you feel better, and according to Katy Bowman, biomechanist and bestselling author of ‘Move Your DNA’, healthy movement isn’t about making sure we get enough exercise to compensate for all those sedentary hours spent at our desks. Rather, it’s about tweaking how we move (or not) on every day to make sure we get the full spectrum of ‘movement nutrition’ our bodies are craving. How our ancestors lived (and moved their bodies) is a far cry from how most of us live today, yet it’s something we can begin to change, and Katy’s holistic approach to movement not only keeps our bodies fitter but can also help us prevent and recover from many modern ailments. Old or young, movement matters to everyone, so join Katy and movement geek Dani Hemmat as they talk minimal footwear, swinging on monkey bars and setting up a dynamic workstation to get our desk-based work done in a more body-friendly way.

Enjoying Katy Says? For more content on natural movement and beyond, listen to the Liberated Body Podcast.

  1. The Rich Roll Podcast

With over 21 million downloads, The Rich Roll Podcast is one of the most popular wellness podcasts out there. And while you might expect Rich – a passionate vegan endurance athlete and author of ‘Finding Ultra’ and ‘Plantpower Way’ – to focus on fitness and nutrition, he doesn’t stop there in his quest to help people become their personal best. In each episode, Rich has a stimulating (and sometimes provoking) conversation with one of today’s brightest entrepreneurs, athletes, artists and spiritual leaders, with an intention to help us move over the mental and physical hurdles on our path to living our most authentic lives. And it doesn’t matter where you are on your wellness journey – Rich was unhealthy and unfit until he turned his life around in his 40s – you can begin to shift things around right now, and this podcast will give you a motivational boost once a week.

Inspired? Head over to the Bulletproof Radio podcast by Dave Asprey for similar content.

5 ways to boost your intuition

Think of the word ‘intuition’ and you’re likely picturing a sudden stroke of inspiration, a ‘sixth sense’ guiding you toward the right choice, an ‘aha’ moment that seems to come from nowhere or that gut feeling that turns out to be right… But where does intuition come from, do we all have access to it and should we trust it? Intuition is a well-researched psychological phenomenon: our intuitive ability to pick up patterns and make accurate judgements in a flash hails from prehistoric times, when our brain’s primary task was to keep us alive and out of danger. And although nowadays we’re unlikely to be fending off saber tooth tigers, those ancient areas of our brain continue to operate alongside the newer, conscious parts. And this channel to our subconscious knowledge keeps supplying us with valuable insights – whether we pay attention to it or not.

So how can it help us today? Many well-known entrepreneurs credit following their inner guidance as a source of their success. Steve Jobs urged us all to trust intuition over intellect:

            “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

And he‘s onto something. Besides upping our business world brownie points, intuition can help us make better decisions in all areas of life – from choosing a spouse to buying a home. Sounds good, right? But what if you wouldn’t describe yourself as a very intuitive person? The great news is, we all have the potential to tune into our inner knowing and there’s a lot we can do to strengthen that connection. Consistent practice pays dividends, so tune in and start applying our five intuition boosters today.

  1. Quiet your mind to notice the signals

Tune out… tune in… Intuition often comes to us as subtle signals – be it physical sensations, emotions, mental images or words – and it may take a bit of practice to be able to recognise them. More often than not, we’re so distracted by our internal chatter that the intuitive messages have trouble getting through. Overthinking – that blight of modern life – lures us into obsessively analysing our options instead of pausing and listening to what our inner voice is trying to tell us. The solution? Any practice that helps us slow down and tune out distractions opens a space for our intuitive thoughts and feelings to bubble to the surface where they can get our attention. Give your mind a breather from the chaos of day-to-day life by meditating or practicing mindfulness – even just for a few moments each day. Physical activities and creative pursuits that put us into a relaxed state of focus are also brilliant at strengthening our receptivity to spontaneous bursts of inspiration – yoga, running, climbing, painting and knitting are all great options. Or turn to our favourite way of creating space for inner guidance: a long soothing soak in the bathtub…

 

  1. Access your intuition through a journal

Are you after a more direct way to access your inner wisdom? Try some ‘stream of consciousness’ writing. Grab a pen and a notebook and begin by writing down a question – it could be something specific like ‘Should I accept this job offer?’ or something generic like ‘What do I need to be aware of?’ – and then start writing whatever pops into your head. (You can set yourself a timer or decide on a number of pages you will fill before you stop.) You may find that something that has seemed irrelevant up until now suddenly surfaces in your writing in a way that shines new light on your situation.

Your journal is also a brilliant place to record and reflect on moments of intuitive insights. Write down any you can remember from the past. How did intuition speak to you? Did you follow the guidance at the time? How accurate was your ‘hunch’ in hindsight? Write down any new ‘aha’ moments you experience as well – you’ll be more likely to remember and make the most of them.

  1. Use sleep time to boost intuition

When we sleep, we’re fully immersed in the realm of the subconscious, the source of our intuitive insights. Experiment with setting intentions at bedtime: ask to be shown answers to your questions while you sleep, or simply request to see something that will be of benefit to you. As soon as you wake up, jot down any thoughts that come up or doodle pictures in a Dream Diary. Remain open to receiving insights throughout the day even when nothing relevant immediately jumps at you.

Exploring our dream worlds can also give us powerful intuitive glimpses into our circumstances. Rather than consulting a dream dictionary, you may get better results by trying a more personal approach. The Jungian analyst Clarissa Pinkola Estés (author of The Women Who Run With The Wolves) recommends the following simple method of dream analysis:

  1. Write down your dream as a story
  2. Pick out all the nouns (the places, the people and the things) in your story
  3. List any personal associations you have with each of these dream symbols
  4. Choose what feels like the strongest association for each symbol and rewrite your dream story

For example, a dream about following a dog into your childhood home could, for you, mean being led by your desire to feel safe and protected back to the comfort of old and familiar habits.

  1. Feed your intuition with new experiences

Older may not just mean wiser. Elderly individuals seem to have the edge over youth when it comes to following gut instincts as well – and it may have a lot to do with the wider range of experiences that come with having lived longer. All new experiences give our subconscious mind something novel to chew on, boosting our potential for intuitive breakthroughs at the same time. Therefore, while we’re learning to listen to our intuition better, we’d do well to feed it a varied ‘diet’ of experiences too. Have fun exploring new places in your city and further afield, try out a new hobby and read books you normally wouldn’t. Even shaking up your daily routine by taking a different route to work or eating your lunch in a new café could spark a new insight or two.

  1. Practice acting on your hunches

Finally, becoming an expert at noticing our intuitive guidance doesn’t do much good unless we’re also prepared to act on our hunches. Admittedly, that can be scary. Many of us have learned to do the opposite of trusting our intuition by actively ignoring the signals or dismissing them as irrelevant. When faced with decisions, we may have trouble believing that intuition can truly lead us in the right direction and instead write lengthy lists of pros and cons or turn to friends, books or Google for answers. But if we want to partner up with our intuition to make better decisions and solve problems more effectively, we need to begin to trust our gut feelings – and ourselves – more.

Begin to break through the discomfort by acting on your hunches when the stakes are small. If you suddenly think of a friend, give them a call or send them a message. Or maybe you find yourself inexplicably drawn to certain places, activities or ideas? Take time to explore them and see where it leads you. As you try out these new habits, keep track of any positive outcomes that following your hunches leads you to. Then, as your confidence in your intuitive abilities grows, allow your inner wisdom to guide you through bigger decisions too. By trusting our gut feelings we’re not abandoning all logical thinking – we’re simply adding another powerful tool to the mix. And the more airtime we give to intuition, the more likely we are to see great results in all areas of our lives.

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…]