A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed on a German podcast called Eigenstimmig. Here's how the podcast describes itself (translated from German): "...from now on, every week we'll be introducing amazing women that are in one way or the other living their calling and passion - sometimes in their job, but sometimes as a hobby or lifestyle.
We tell their authentic stories, with all of the obstacles and successes to show you why it's worth looking for your own path and living your passion. The goal is to show amazing women who are role models and who can give other women advice, and above all, inspiration and courage to make their own way."
We talked about how, as an expat, I feel "other" much of the time. Of course, I am different, not just because I am an expat, but because of the other aspects of my life that have changed in recent years. It took me 25 years to get to the place of living authentically. I know that many of my friends who are over 40 say the same. At some point, you stop worrying about what others think.
But it's not just that. It's so freeing to just BE. I can send out love and acceptance to others and see each person just as they are. I can empower others by building them up. I can help and support as much as I can (with my oils and emotionally). And maybe I can set an example by living my truth, even if other people don't like it. It may be that they wish they could do the same. I never know what drives other people or what goes on in their homes and relationships. But I am trying to focus on the important things in life. My family. My business. My passions. My community. As an expat, you sometimes have moments of loneliness and doubt you even have a community.
I learned a bit more about community this week. A friend of Emma's has been living with us for three months. She was having issues at home and couldn't go back. She had no money and did finally get an apprenticeship, which was supposed to also include housing. It didn't. She had a hard time finding somewhere to live with very little money and no parental "sign off" -- but she did. So now she has an apartment, but NOTHING else. No bed. No dishes. No table. No towels. Where do you begin? I begin where I always do. I posted on Facebook. And guess what? Within eight hours, her apartment is taken care of. A friend brought over dishes. An acquaintance offered shelves. Someone I hadn't seen in seven years has mattresses and bathroom cabinets and more. Some people say social media doesn't offer "real" community. I say it is. If people can come together when someone is in need that quickly, it's a true show of love. We are grateful every day for these kind of people.
You can hear the podcast here (if you speak German).
For years, we've been using and sharing oils in Europe without a whole lot of resources to support us. We live in Germany, and getting books from Life Science Publishing over here meant a lot of hassle. I bought an Essential Oils Desk Reference in London in 2015 during Go UK! I had flown to London on Ryanair, which meant I had one measly backpack with me that contained all of my clothes for the weekend. That 2.2 kg book got squashed into the bag and I managed to get it back to Germany by bus, tube, train and plane. Trying to order the pocket references for my new team members was also impossible, because shipping from LSP is $54 per order -- and that is without customs charges. Ummmm, that's 4x the price of the book itself!
So FINALLY, now in 2017, here is the big news: our sister website, Woof and Fancy's Oily Emporium, is carrying many of the LSP books here in Europe. We can offer bulk pricing, just ask. And we've even got the desk references in German (aka Ätherische Öle - Nachschlagewerk).
We've also got some pretty cool oily accessories, like hooter sticks (aka nasal inhalors), diffuser necklaces, car diffusers, and more. Stop in and say "hi"!
- Kim & Sarah (aka Woof & Fancy)
We have been spending quite a bit of time working on our sleep over the past month. This isn't to say that we've spent the last four weeks asleep, but we've been looking at how we are sleeping and what we can do to make sure that we are getting the highest quality rest possible.
This has mainly been prompted by listening to one of our friend Sam's podcasts from the Essential Oil Revolution. She interviewed a guy called Shawn Stevenson, a health and wellness coach who has his own podcast. Although the episode that got us hooked on Shawn's podcast was about breast health, he also talked about sleep and how vital it was for detox and healing and mentioned a book he had written called "Sleep Smarter." Long story short, I bought the book.
It's been huge for us. The book lists 21 easy and practical ways to get a good night's sleep.
The first area is to really recognise why sleep is so important to our wellness. If you 'get' that then you will read on. I remember the times my Mum has been in hospital and why she would be itching to get out. Apart from the crappy food and the constant flow (unfortunate pun there as they pretty much wiped out her gut biome), she was getting next to no sleep! The body simply can't heal without it.
Poor sleep is something most people have encountered in their lives at some point. We certainly have, and Sarah more than me. Four kids might have something to do with that. I hadn't quite realised how exhausting the constant cry of "Mom!" can be until it was followed by "Kim!" Certainly it's an issue which many people seek help (and find it) from our essential oils business.
I've known for a while about how EMFs (electro magnetic fields/frequencies) can have an impact on sleep. It's part of the reason I was drawn to start another business with EnergyDOTs to counter the effects. In the past I have spent far too much time on the phone, with it charging next to my bed. I have evicted it from the bedroom more than once only for it to sneak back again. It and Sarah's is now gone from our bedroom....for good! Shawn also talks about blue light, which can come from our phones, laptops and tablets as well as the good old TV... This effectively wakes us up in the evening at just the point we should be switching off. I have also tried to make a phone/tablet curfew about 60-90 mins before I want to sleep. In the main it's worked, although we aren't perfect and the lure of our nightly dose of "The Good Wife" on Netflix is just too tempting.
Other points that have helped us have been making the room as dark as possible. German shutters help with that. However when the kids are here, one of whom 'needs' a light on at night (there is a very interesting study about short sightedness and kids with light at night), we now use a Jack Russell draft excluder and a beanie to block out the light! Shawn talks about black out curtains but this (cheaper) option works well for us.
Let's face it, a lot of health issues come down to what we eat and drink. A bad night's sleep might be due to mineral deficiencies. Magnesium is the main issue for us. Remember all about the health virtues of Ovaltine? I never liked the stuff (probably because of my hatred of milk) but it is high in magnesium. We found a great powdered form in the UK last year, which the kids take but we have taken too. A bath with Epsom salts, together with our favourite essential oil, helps or the topical oils you can get these days. I also discovered why that craving for chocolate in the evening, which has always been the darker the better for me, is actually my body saying "yes, please" to magnesium.
We also rarely go to bed past 11pm these days and again the research shows that the body is getting the most important sleep between 10pm - 2am. We are really strict on bedtime for the kids (much to their dislike at times) but we know how their behaviour is affected when they stay up too late. They can turn into little monsters which are unpleasant to be around! With good sleep, they can focus and are simply much nicer kids.
Our recommendation? Get the book, listen to the podcast and get moving on getting a better night's sleep. You have nothing to lose.
Finally I have to say that the book affected me so much that I have been wanting to write this blog for ages. However, I told myself that I wouldn't put pen to paper until I had finished reading Sleep Smarter. I am admittedly the slowest reader in the world, but I've read it quickly for me. However the problem is that I can now not get through more than a few pages before my eyes start closing! I guess that says it all really.
Learn more about the topics we discussed here:
Essential oils: www.facebook.com/woofandfancy
Our shop for oily accessories!
Hey everyone, it's been awhile, but we have been working on a number of other projects of late! First of all, we were featured on our friend Samantha Lee Wright's podcast, Essential Oil Revolution. We had a great discussion about essential oils for focus and energy. Pop over and check out Sam's podcast. It's incredibly informative. Kim and I listened to it while we were driving to England and came home inspired and motivated and ready to roll! All in the same week, we started the Couch to 5k running program and gave up sugar. I can't credit all of that to Sam's podcast, but indirectly some of our motivation came from there. You can have a listen right here:
Sam also interviewed Shawn Stevenson from The Model Health Show, and since we had a long drive ahead of us, we went over to his page and added his shows to our Stitcher feed. He's amazing with explaining the science behind health in an understandable way, and after about five hours of podcasts, we decided to really try to get healthy after we got back. So far, so good! We've been without sugar for 12 days now and have successfully completed almost two weeks of the Couch to 5k programme.
In the podcast, we also talk about EnergyDOTS, which Kim discovered while doing an essential oil event last year in England. In our quest to get healthy, we've also been thinking about the amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the many devices in our house and our environment. Here is some information about them
In 2006 Swiss researchers from Bern University presented the findings of a systematic analysis of all research results concerning the assessment of health risks from mobile telephone frequencies. They found that 33% of studies funded by industrial concerns conclude that exposure to mobile telephone radio frequencies has an effect on our organism. That figure rises to over 80% in studies carried out with public funding.
The European Parliament has recommended the precautionary principle. "While electrical and electromagnetic fields in certain frequency bands have fully beneficial effects which are applied in medicine, other non-ionising frequencies, be they sourced from extremely low frequencies, power lines or certain high frequency waves used in the fields of radar, telecommunications and mobile telephony, appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals, as well as the human body when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.
"One must respect the precautionary principle and revise the current threshold values; waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case in the past with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco." Source: Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs. Rapporteur: Jean Huss, Luxembourg 6th May 2011.
In May 2015 Associate Professor Olle Johansson, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and an expert in this area of research was quoted in The Telegraph as saying “If this environment is safe we’re talking about in the order of 15,000 to 25,000 papers – in peer-reviewed scientific journals – all being wrong. That has never happened before.”
Kim is also making EnergyDOTS part of her business. We've got them on our phones, the dog, and even on the router. I've definitely noticed a change in the amount of heat coming off of my phone. If you'd like to get a few for yourself, hop on over to our shop.
Speaking of shops, you might have noticed that we've also been working hard to set up an online store for oily accessories. Over here in Europe, it can be really difficult to find things like rollers, glass spray bottles, nasal inhalers, etc without access to Abundant Health in the U.S. We've sourced many of those things and are slowly adding them to our online store. The first thing new customers tend to ask is "Where do I get xxx?" Pop on over there and do let us know what we can add for you! One of our favorite products is the Hooter Stick, aptly named by Kim after our travels to YL Convention last year. Don't know what it is? Watch the video below and you'll know why you can't live without it.
You can find our online store at www.woofandfancy.com!
You can also find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/woofandfancy
It's been a couple of months since we've blogged over here and almost a year since Kim and I got together. Kim's been working hard to learn German -- intensive classes take up 4 hours per day, 5 days a week -- and I've been trying to keep everything else moving forward. I'd forgotten how much of a struggle it can be to earn a living in a foreign country when you don't really speak the language. You really have to start over. Kim's been training dogs for years and years, but that's not going to be her focus over here. It's oils all the way (with a few other things thrown in). But in the meantime, she's doing whatever it takes, from holding conversation classes to walking dogs. Every little bit helps, as Tesco says.
The Meetup groups have offered a bit of help in getting to know other expats and opening up new areas to build business. There are entrepreneurial groups in English that have proven to be quite interesting for us both. Finding your feet in a new country is one thing, but starting a business and choosing to take that leap to live off of it is another. We both have great faith in essential oils as a way of life, and have seen the changes they can make in people's every day existences. Who knew...Just being able to improve your energy levels or mood can make all the difference.
One of the things we have been focusing on in our daily lives is getting rid of the harsh chemicals in our home. We attempted to make our own deodorant - with oils of course - and even made liquid laundry detergent. Kim's much more aware of the junk in these products than I am. After I was told that even the good German "Frosch" Bio detergent had crap in it I was willing to give it a go. I was quite skeptical about the homemade detergent, but it works really well! It smells great and really does seem to get things clean. Next up is another deodorant recipe (the first was a failure) and then hand soap.
It's sort of a new side of the whole natural living thing that we are looking at now. I've been focusing on oils to ease issues like allergies, pain, and eczema, but not so much on using them in everyday household products. Thieves cleaner is the bomb. It's all we use in our house. If you look around our house you'll see an oil bottle on every surface. I sometimes forget how life was before them. Livi asked me the other day for business cards because people at school had been asking about her concentration oils. How crazy is that? She knows that they help her, so she shares them with her school friends.
Do let us know if you want to learn more about the amazing-ness of YL essential oils. (And support a family business while you're at it!)