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  • Here’s How to Create a Calming and Relaxing Home Office, According to the Pros

    By: Redfin.com

    The new year has arrived, and as remote work becomes a new norm, making sure your home office space supports rather than hinders your productivity is essential. Whether you’re new to remote work or are a seasoned pro, there’s no better time than now to set up a workspace that promotes a stress-free atmosphere.

    If you’re looking for ideas to optimize your home office set up in your quaint Seattle, WA home or your chic Toronto, ON apartment, we’ve got you covered. We reached out to experts for their best tips to make your home office space more peaceful and productive. Check out these clever tips to transform your home office and make 2022 the best year yet. 

    Reduce stress in your workspace by reclaiming your space

    1) Foster an atmosphere of productivity in the new year

    For your best year in 2022, follow three principles.

    1. Act from what brings you joy.
    2. Stay true to your body, heart, and soul.
    3. Bring forth your light wherever you are. –Dr. Sharon Martin

    2) Have a safe space to unwind at the end of the day

    Creating a safe space to relax at the end of the day is crucial to our well-being, and we can all agree that keeping our home peaceful and cozy consists of one major factor: love. That said, these are five must-have vibe boosting goods for a serene home and hearth:

    1. Energy balancing crystals such as amethyst, clear crystal quartz, and citrine.
    2. Hand-made herbal teas to maintain a calm mind and body. Blend your own to ensure you know what is in your teas.
    3. Candles. Nothing says “it’s time to relax” like your favorite scented candle. 
    4. Oils, fizzers, and salts (especially during the winter months) to honor your body.
    5. Books. Put the phone down, turn off social media and enjoy your favorite book before bed. A calm mind creates a happy home. –Feathered Outlaw

    3) Create a space that encourages a serene mindset

    Reducing home office stress can come down to keeping things on task lists to get stressors out of your mind; placing furniture where you feel most comfortable intuitively/energetically (even if it seems weird, go with your personal vibe), and setting up the space, so you have everything you need at the moment. –Jessica Caracciolo

    4) Keep your home and office separate 

    Even if you don’t have separate rooms, use rituals that encourage you to start and stop working. First, allow 1-2 minutes of work time at the beginning of each work session to define the top thing you plan to accomplish. Then, allow 10 minutes at the end of each work session to tidy up your space and list things you want to do at the next work session, setting you up for success next time. These two rituals allow you to switch into and out of your work-brain and make sure you are focusing on what matters most. –Brenda Winkle

    Curb the clutter

    5) Declutter and organize all paperwork

    First, declutter and organize all paperwork so your home office doesn’t give off the feeling of being buried with too much work and everything becomes a priority. Secondly, decorate your space with warm colors such as shades of yellows or oranges and use contrasting colors like shades of greens or blues to balance its energy. Thirdly, frame up a clock that has somewhat of a zen feel to it, and add a lighted candle by it so that every time you look at the clock you’re reminded to breathe. This way you can be present in your space and productivity can thrive. -Falithi Healing

    6) Clear your desk at the end of each day

    As you wind down for the day, clean up your desk to avoid clutter the next day. Doing so will reduce distractions and improve your productivity. A cluttered desk creates a cluttered mind. Bring nature inside and add green plants. Plants are healing and beautiful. –Barbara E. Savin

    Bring nature into your workspace

    7)  Place indoor plants in your home office

    Having indoor plants allows for better air circulation. Multiple studies have shown that indoor plants improve your mood, office performance, and focus. Our team makes sure we have at least one in our own home offices for a better team environment. – Institute of Holistic Integrative Studies

    8) Bring in positive energy by incorporating live flowers and plants

    Green is a great way to reduce stress and boost your mood in your home office. Studies have shown that plants in the workplace can stimulate the mind and improve mental cognition and performance. Live flowers and ornamental plants can increase positive energy, helping you feel secure, relaxed, and more productive. –New Milford Counseling Center

    Optimize your workstation for a calming and relaxing home office

    9) Engage all five of your senses in your home office

    This might include crystals, candles, flowers, succulents, incense, an essential oil diffuser, meditation music, nature sounds, embracing silence, chocolates, tea, or coffee. Be creative in your pursuit of balance in your working environment. –Jonquil Reiki

    10) Create a peaceful and productive office with light

    Light heals. Open the blinds, take down the dark curtains, and allow the light to shine in and on you while you work. Choose light colors and calming patterns and don’t overdo the space with furnishings and accessories. Allow the light to recharge, clear, and energize you and raise your office vibe (Can’t access the natural sun, then receive the same healing benefits from a Light Box).  -Gabrielsen Healing Center

    Add crystals to your work desk to create a healing space

    11) Incorporate black tourmaline to decrease energy-depleting positive ions

    Whenever anyone asks which crystal to use for their office, my first choice is always Black Tourmaline. The mineral content of this iron-based grounding crystal helps diffuse harmful positive ions that are emitted from your electronics and Wi-Fi signal. To improve your energy while working, place one between you and your computer, as well as one next to your Wi-Fi device. –Jess Kay Crystals

    12) Put several crystals in your home office. 

    Crystals are not only a beautiful addition to your home office decor, but they also serve an important function in keeping the energy of your home office peaceful, grounded, and inviting. My favorite crystals to use are Tourmaline and Selenite. Tourmaline works like a sponge, absorbing and releasing unwanted energies such as stress, worry, negativity, and anger. Selenite infuses your space with beautiful, angelic energies, replacing stress with focus, worry with trust, negativity with optimism, and anger with inner peace. Be sure to cleanse the energy of your crystals monthly by setting them outside during the full moon. –Dina Kleiman

    Regularly cleanse your space 

    13) Smudge with Sage or a stick of Palo Santo at the beginning or end of each day

    Daily cleansing and purification ritual removes stale/negative energy and increases vibrant feelings (good vibes) in your home office. Connect with your breath, then affirm in your mind that all negative energy is removed. Ask for the nurturing energy of your favorite place in nature to infuse the space. –Gabriel of the Light

    Originally published by Redfin

  • May the quiet nature of this season nourish your body, mind and soul.

    Oftentimes we think because the days are shorter and darkness is more dominant that things aren’t as good. But now is a huge time to nourish yourself – body, mind and soul.

    Winter affords us a season of more rest, quiet, tranquility, and a time to nourish ourselves and go within.

    It’s times like these that we can take a breath from everyday life and enjoy the simple things. The hustle and bustle of life, especially with high energy summer can be exhausting energetically – but when winter comes around, we get a chance to balance that all out.

    We need to take this time to be quiet within our self and eat those nourishing foods – the soups, stews, hot cereals, warm beverages, and other deeply nourishing things. And then pair them with quiet times indoors, cozying up with a nice blanket, warm beverage, and a good book. Maybe even adding in some journaling, meditation or quiet contemplation.

    This rest period is setting us up for the spring/summer which will be more awake and alive with energy. It’s now that we take time to rebuild from what we’ve been through the past several months – while also building up an internal battery that will help us going forward into the warmer, more energetically heavy seasons.

    The energy of winter is a quiet vibration. It might not be crazy hectic like summer when everything is full of aliveness – but like anything else in life and like yin and yang – we need to create balance. Winter does this for us.

    May this quiet nature of this season nourish your body, mind and soul. xx

  • What Does Turning 35 Mean to Me?

    What does turning 35 mean to me?

    When I think about turning 35, it feels like a milestone. When I reflect on turning 35 to those close to me or even through thought – sometimes I think “wow, I never thought I would make it this far.”

    When you have been through hell and back from a young age and have an ever-growing list of health issues – the thought of aging can be a celebration. “I have made it this far!” is a great thought and feeling to hold within.

    A lot of people, or maybe even most people, fear aging. For me it is quite the opposite.

    Every wrinkle and every year I complete around the sun is just a blessing and something I am grateful for.

    One of the health issues I have is endometriosis. Endo thrives on estrogen and as I have said since my teen years – “I can’t wait for menopause!” In this light, turning 35 is another year closer to menopause.

    Just yesterday I was getting a Pulmonary Function Test for asthma (a new health issue) and the Respiratory Technician thought I was in my early 20’s. Then she looked at my chart and saw I am 34. It was nice to hear she thought I looked quite younger than I am; but at the same time, it wouldn’t bother me if she hadn’t commented on my age at all.

    As much as I do not mind earning my wrinkles and aging; I am happy I do not look older than I am. From my honest perspective, if I looked older than I am, I would perceive that as my not having taken care of my body as well as I could have.

    Regarding aging in the sense of “You don’t look 34” (which I get a LOT) I have always been quite the strict person and hold very high standards for myself. Even in my early teens the thought of smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or doing drugs was never something I would consider trying.

    At most, I have cooked with liquor a handful of times. White wine sauces for a chicken broccoli dish or a lemon chicken pasta type dish but even using it for cooking has happened less than 10 times in my life.

    Smoke cigarettes never appealed to me because it smells awful and feels like I would be polluting my body. Vaping feels similar but in a “damp” sense. Where cigarettes feel intuitively dry to me; vaping feels damp. Either way it is pollution to the body.

    Then, drugs. Nope. Never wanted them.

    An interesting thing to me is how I was never drawn to any of it and stayed away from them because I know my family has a history of addiction and I did not need any more health issues. I knew if I started them, I would have trouble stopping. I did not need that.

    Years ago, I learned the kids these days have a label for such a person – “straight edge”.

    A couple years ago I decided to try CBD. I was paranoid about trying it and it honestly felt “wrong”. I was worried I would be getting myself into something bad or that I would be perceived as such. After talking to some coworkers, it was normalized.

    I tried and still occasionally use CBD (without THC) for anxiety, inflammation, and pain. The best brand I have found is Martha Stewart CBD gummies. Some other companies add herbs so make sure you know what’s in it before taking it. Some others taste bad. I tried one of the oils from a different company and hated it. I attributed it to what I imagine licking the lawn would taste like.

    I don’t use CBD often primarily because they are wicked expensive. But, if you get a good brand, it helps.

    Back to aging. I attribute my “looking early 20’s” when I am mid-30’s to staying away from these things. I also don’t drink coffee (too bitter and not allowed to have caffeine due to anxiety issues.) I stopped eating most fast food in high school. I got takeout off and on but tried to aim for high fiber stuff, lower in fat too. These days the only take out I get would be Chipotle, or steamed rice and veg or vegetarian sushi from a Chinese food restaurant.

    With all the health issues I have, I have been offered pain medication throughout the decades. I tried pain medication one time in college for endometriosis but after one dose I hated it. I felt like my head was in a cloud but I was still in pain. I dubbed it useless. From then on, I use Advil or Tylenol but only when necessary. I was offered gabapentin back in 2006 for pain but it wasn’t until 2018/2019 I started taking it.

    I have been experimenting with my diet since 2004 after seeing a nutritionist. She recommended high fiber, low fat. When I eat in the opposite way, it doesn’t help me. Fat “sits” really heavy in my body and I find it hard to digest. Anyway, a naturopathic physician suggested gluten free dairy free eating back in 2006; which was hard and didn’t last. But in 2009 it became my norm. I am happy it became a fad – now there is more available to choose from. I have experimented with gluten and dairy off and on and find I feel best without them.

    In 2006 I also started getting into holistic health, alternative medicine, integrative health, mind/body medicine, healing, yoga, meditation and more.

    You would think being what most doctor’s label me as “in a state of chronic high stress” would make me look really old but I think that has been off set by all the things I chose to stay away from and the like.

    I am 34 for another 10 days and I think it is a blessing to be turning 35

    I think every birthday we have needs and deserves to be celebrated. I even get my fiancé hyped up about his birthdays. We go through a lot in this life and we deserve to celebrate the completion of each year.

    I am excited! 35 is coming!!

  • Where I Have Been and Where I am Going

    I decided to create a passion project out of turning 35. I will be turning 35 in about 3 weeks.

    In some ways I feel like turning 35 is a bigger milestone than 40 will be.

    I have been shifting and creating a lot of changes for myself in recent history and to be honest – I am enjoying it.

    Did you know we have the ability to transform ourselves, our lives, our thoughts, our mind, our energy and more?

    Turning 35 for me feels huge – like a momentous occasion. In a lot of ways I never thought I would get this far. Living with a ton of health issues which seem never ending and having experienced what I did the past all make 35 feel and seem like the milestone it really is.

    35 years is a LONG time. Some people reading this might be older than that – my fiance included. And maybe to you 35 seems young, but what were you doing, how were you living at 35? What did the first 35 years look like for you?

    Tell me in the comments below and let’s start a conversation about our past, how we have all let go of it and how we are thriving because of it (or in spite of it.)

    When you share please try to keep in mind a few things:

    1. Keep it positive, neutral but no negativity.
    2. We all have learned a lot from life and the past has been what helped form who we are now. How has the past shaped your current/present self?
    3. If you are over 35; what words of wisdom would you tell your 35 year old self? If you are under 35; what do you hope for when you do turn 35?
  • I got my first dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine and believe it’s helping my chronic EBV

    I got my first dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine and believe it’s helping my chronic Epstein-Barr Virus & CFS/ME.

    Mono – most people have had it in their lifetime. And, usually they get it once. I have had full blown mononucleosis a minimum of three times. The first time was in second grade. The second time was the summer around 8th grade, with the third instance sometime around 2010.

    The most common symptom of Mono is severely heavy fatigue. While it does present other symptoms, this is one that alerts you to get tested.

    After decades of being tested for mono and the Epstein Barr Virus (the virus that causes mono) and having reactivations and new active forms of the virus presenting themselves, with symptoms, I inquired about going to Infectious Disease.
    My doctor told me ID would not be able to help me and told me what I had was actually Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

    The researcher and medical intuitive within me knew they were connected. I have an IgG immunodeficiency that runs in my family, I have had mono a few times and have constant EBV reactivations. Through a quick search I was able to find the symptoms of CFS/ME and that I had all of them.

    I knew intuitively CFS/ME and chronic EBV were one in the same medical condition. After years of this and feeling what I know intuitively, I knew there was something that could help but it would need to be something antiviral. However, doctors told me they did not want to try it and they didn’t know if it was going to work. I was told I just had to live with it.

    Living with it means I am exhausted and heavily fatigued throughout the better part of the day. Additional sleep does not help and actually can make the heaviness worse. Movement, like walking, feels like I am walking through molasses or like I am walking in the sand, along the beach with heavy winds blowing towards me, against the direction I am headed. I also experience low-grade fevers and more but I was living with them.

    It is important to note I also live with endometriosis, fibromyalgia, IBS, migraines, allergies, asthma, severe anxiety, mild depression, OCD, agoraphobia and more … yes, more. On the morning of April 2nd 2021 I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Being immune deficient, having asthma and being overweight according to the BMI meant I was eligible. I got the vaccine, waited 20 minutes and then left the vaccination site.

    I experienced a sore arm and mild nausea. Later that evening I was able to do cleaning around the house in an abnormal way. I had more energy that evening than I had had in months, if not years. The following days I was able to do more around the house, get groceries and the like and not have as severe repercussions of said activity. Usually by 4:00pm I have trouble staying awake and by 6:00pm even worse. Trying to get things done during the day is a big challenge – but following the vaccine, none of this was happening. I had some mild fatigue from other health issues but nothing severe like before.

    After a couple days passed, I had a suspicion the vaccine was helping my body fight the EBV (or CFS/ME). There was no other variable to explain this. I researched the vaccine, how it works and what it does. Then I wondered how the Epstein Barr Virus looks and it too had similar outer features to the COVID virus. (i.e. the spikey edges.) Then I created my theory. I called Moderna to let them know my suspicion and what I thought was happening. They documented it along with the nausea.

    I also found out through online research, Moderna is using a similar DNA based method and creating an EBV vaccine. This is something I would sign up for in a heartbeat. However, I don’t think it is currently in clinical trials.

    It has been over one week since I got the vaccine and I am still able to do more than I have in a long time. My second dose is in a few weeks and I am truly looking forward to it.

  • Common Wisdom Series – You Can Benefit From Journaling

    Journaling is something that comes up for many clients during readings. It helps us when we are lost, it helps us when we are grieving and it can help us with everything else from gratitude journaling to processing our emotions, processing our day, letting go of trauma and so much more.

    Journaling is incredibly therapeutic because it affords us the opportunity to let stuff out of our brain. It is this “letting stuff out” that helps us the most. When we journal we are thinking about what we are writing, and we are also releasing these thoughts through the handwriting process. In essence, this is a wonderful way to let stuff go.

    I was told once, if I had a ton of thoughts before bed and an endless to-do list (also in my head) to write it all down on paper. Then tell the brain that it is all written out and won’t be forgotten about. This will quiet the mind some, so we aren’t swirling with the same hundreds of thoughts. And the reason it works is because we wrote it down.

    Does it work if you type? It does but it isn’t as strongly therapeutic in my opinion. The act of physically handwriting every word is what I think helps “get it out” in the most beneficial way. More often than not, it takes more time for you to handwrite something than to type it. This means you are thinking and processing each word slower than you would if you typed it. And, instead of you typing and thinking each word with great speed, you are slowly watching, listening and writing out each word slowly. Savor the process instead of letting it pass you by.

    Another way to think about the therapeutic differences is – if you are in a car going 70mph and pass a farm on the way – you might say “hey! I think that might have been a cow!” But if you are in the same car, driving by the farm, at 10mph, you can say “hey! that’s a cow! It is so cute!” and you can savor that moment, take it in and just relish in it and purely enjoy it. When journaling, I think it is best to handwrite the words and thoughts because it is savoring, it is processing and it is highly a mindful act you are doing.

    Give it a try.

  • Learning Metta (The Basics)

    I start my Metta journey by listening to the LovingKindness meditation by UNH here. Then I found Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and Tara Brach.

    Metta is a beautiful way to set intentions and spread love, kindness and compassion. It is also a wonderful form of meditation.

    For those who find it hard to send themselves love, pro’s recommend sending love to others first and then yourself.

    The below Metta can be altered in many ways. You can recite anything positive, loving, and the like but make sure to start it with May (I, you, all beings) be… well, happy, full of love, safe, safe and protected from harm, loved, free from suffering, and more.

    You would recite –

    May you be well

    May you be happy

    May you be safe and protected from harm

    May you be free from suffering

    From here you can change “you” to “all beings”…

    May all beings be well

    May all beings be happy

    May all beings be safe and protected from harm

    May all beings be free from suffering

    Then you can go one step further and replace “all beings” with “I”…

    May I be well

    May I be happy

    May I be safe and protected from harm

    May I be free from suffering

    And from here you can choose which to start with – the I, the You or All Beings. It is up to you.

    This is a great way to send yourself and others lovingkindness. You can also get started by practicing the UNH Metta with the link in the first line above.

  • Love Is Already Within You – Finding It, Using It & Learning Metta

    Finding love isn’t as hard as you think it is. – It is already within you.

    After reading people for over 13 years and observing people for longer, I noticed people are in a deep search for love.

    This is totally understandable. Who doesn’t want to find love?

    The biggest thing I have noticed though is that the love we seek has been inside us all along. In essence, we are searching for something that is right here, right in our heart center.

    It is by sending ourselves love, that we receive and experience love.

    And when we learn to love ourselves, we end up being more open to love from someone else.

    I have noticed many people seeking for love and a partner, but they need to see the love within themselves first. Once they are open to loving themselves, then love from another source is possible and more likely to last long-term.

    The type of love I recommend you send yourself is different from the love you receive or feel from others. This isn’t the love of a parent, a child, sibling or partner; it is the love of the soul within you, sending love from the heart center (heart chakra) and feeling its compassion, warmth, love and spirit in your own energy and being willing to accept this love from yourself to yourself. And then once you become comfortable sending it to yourself, try sending it to others through thoughts, intentions, prayers and visualizations. (Whichever works for you.) For those who find it hard to send themselves love, pro’s recommend sending love to others first and then yourself – usually through Metta (a form of LovingKindness Buddhist meditation.)

    You would recite –

    May you be well

    May you be happy

    May you be safe and protected from harm

    May you be free from suffering

    From here you can change “you” to “all beings”…

    May all beings be well

    May all beings be happy

    May all beings be safe and protected from harm

    May all beings be free from suffering

    Then you can go one step further and replace “all beings” with “I”…

    May I be well

    May I be happy

    May I be safe and protected from harm

    May I be free from suffering

    And from here you can choose which to start with – the I, the You or All Beings. It is up to you.

    This is a great way to send yourself and others lovingkindness.

    I start my Metta journey by listening to the LovingKindness meditation by UNH here. Then I found Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg.

  • Common Wisdom – Pay Attention to the Signs and Symbols Around You

    Have you noticed, on more than a couple occasions, one animal, number, insect, etc.? Recently I had a dream of a gorilla. I thought it was odd but then throughout the week I saw Gorilla’s. This is odd because I don’t typically see gorilla’s anywhere. So I looked up the shamanic meaning of gorilla and I feel strongly they are now a spirit animal for me, helping guide me on my journey.

    If you asked spirit, guides, God or the universe for a sign and then you see that sign one time, that is your sign! It is awesome and something to really take in.

    If you did not ask for a sign and you keep seeing something – an animal, an insect (dragonfly, butterfly, etc.), a number (1111, 111, 222, 2121, etc.) then that is a sign too. Not if you only see it one time, but if you see it more than once. And the more times you see it, the stronger the message is.

    This can also be the case with something like a movie, a documentary, a class, a career, hobby, etc. If you see something about it and then you hear something about it and then someone else mentions it to you out of no where, then you might want to check it out, whatever it is.

    Try to pay attention to these signs. Ignoring them will likely make them only come on stronger.

  • Common Wisdom: Don’t Give up 5 Minutes Before the Miracle

    It is fairly common for my guides and yours to be like “WAIT! Don’t give up yet!” Almost like they are shouting it from the rooftops.

    There is a great reason for why they do this and for why the title is “Don’t give up 5 min before the miracle.

    While sometimes it appears nothing is moving or happening in our lives sometimes – the reality is – things are actually moving and aligning behind the scenes from an energetic place.

    If the cogs and wheels are moving and energy coming into alignment and the progress bar is at 85% – you would let it keep going ’til it reaches 100%.

    The problem is, you may not see it because it isn’t right in front of you; it is energy and something happening behind the scenes.

    How do we remedy this? How do you find out where you/your situation are on the progress bar?

    Ask your guides for a sign.

    The sign is yours to choose – some people choose an animal, some an insect, some a number, some a flower, etc. everyone is different. Choose which is right for you and then wait. The sign might take time to appear. Be patient.

    How to ask for a sign:

    Asking for a sign would sound/look something like this:

    Through thought, prayer or journaling: “Dear guides, please give me a sign so I know things are aligning for _____fill in the blank – situation_____. I want to make sure I am on track and on the right path regarding this. I would like the sign to be ____fill in blank with sign/symbol___. Thank you for all the help; it is truly appreciated. With love and gratitude ____your name____.

    If something doesn’t feel right about the situation you are waiting on – consider journaling about it. You might find the situation doesn’t match your true feelings, situation or goals. In that light, you can tell your guides you are shifting your plans to being ______fill in the blank____ and then ask them to help you with the new idea, situation, plan, etc.

    Always finish your thoughts, prayers and communications with gratitude and love.