• SUMMER IS COMING

     

    Okay, I know everyone loves summer. The longer days, the sunshine, the heat. But I’m not convinced… For starters, I’m Irish. Do you see how pale I am? I was not made for the hot weather. I can only last about 10 minutes in the sun before it really starts to affect me. I actually don’t burn burn as quickly as you would think, unless I’m around water, but I get headaches and sunstroke symptoms pretty quickly. My eyes are also super light sensitive which doesn’t help anything. And my hands swell up pretty bad in the heat and that can get painful. I told ya, clearly not made for the hot weather.

    All of this gives me a lot of anxiety around summer. I want to love the nice weather, experience it the way other people do, but my body just doesn’t process the heat well so it’s harder for me to enjoy it. I get nervous about doing things outdoors because I know I’m going to over-heat and feel sick. But there’s another reason that summer gives me anxiety. I’m just not happy with my body. I want to be. I’m working on it. But I struggle with how to dress for the heat and feel comfortable. I spent all of last summer trying to figure it out but honestly I just feel so gross all the time. I get sweaty so easily and my thighs rub together which is one of the most painful things to experience.  There’s so many cute summer clothes our there but I know I would just feel horrible in them.

    But I’m trying to be optimistic about it, focus on what I know I like. For example, I love wearing my Birkenstocks. I like wearing flowy dresses with compression shorts underneath to prevent “chub rub”, so that’s what I’m going to look for. Hopefully by focusing on the positives, I can find ways to make myself more comfortable and relieve  some of my anxiety, while also working on how I feel about my body. Sounds easy, right? Urrrggghhhh…. Wish me luck!

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    Jane x

  • ALL ABOUT BED OF NAILS ACUPRESSURE MATS

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    I know the spikes look scary. They look like they hurt. And they do, a little bit. But you do get used to it very quickly, I promise. You can always put a layer of fabric between you and the spikes to ease yourself into it if you want. But honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary. I wouldn’t say I have the biggest pain threshold and I can handle it. Now that that’s out of the way….

    What are acupressure mats and how do they work?

    The mat is based on the theory that the body is lined with pressure points which, when stimulated, release the body’s natural pain-relieving hormones, similar to acupuncture but this doesn’t involve breaking the skin. The idea for the mat comes from the bed of nails concept which originated in Asia over 1,000 years ago and was used by gurus in the practice of meditation and healing. These gurus would lie on sharp metal nails with heavy blocks stacked on top of them and while this idea can be a bit shocking, it’s not as painful as it may seem as the weight of the body and the blocks is distributed evenly across the nails. The same is true of this modern day equivalent, which is made up of a thin foam mattress with more than 8,000 non-toxic plastic spikes, harmless to the skin, but boosts the same numerous healing benefits, inducing deep relaxation.

    In fact, the Bed of Nails website states that if used regularly for a long enough period of time their products can:

    • Improve circulation
    • Increase energy level
    • Reduce blood pressure
    • Reduce stress and anxiety
    • Alleviate headache
    • Relieve tension and muscle aches
    • Improve sleep and relieve insomnia
    • Relieve chronic neck and back pain
    • Activate the parasympathetic nervous system
    • Benefit weight loss by reducing cortisol levels
    • Improve heart rate variability
    • Revitalize and rejuvenate
    • Improve skin complexion
    • Relieve constipation
    • Alleviate malaise

    That’s a hell of a lot of benefits. I haven’t used my consistently enough to see all of them, but I’ve found even occasional use can help. I got my mat over a year ago because I was having trouble sleeping. I’ve had sleeping problems on and off for years, so I’m always looking for things that can help. And this definitely helped. It’s a weird sensation at first, not quite painful but you can feel the spikes. After a few minutes though, I always start to relax. I would love to be someone who meditated but I struggle with being able to shut off, however this mat helps me feel more at peace and allows me to just lie still for a while.

    After about 10 minutes, I can feel my circulation start to increase as my back starts to heat up. Honestly, the experience is hard to describe but I really enjoy it. Although the sensation when you sit up after lying on it for a while is so bizarre. I’m still not sure if I love it or hate it; it’s pain and pleasure all in one! Speaking of pain, I’ve also found the mat really helps when I have a sore back. My boyfriend’s job involves manual labor and he’s also used it to help reduce tension and pain in his muscles.

    I only recently purchased the neck pillow because I’ve been experiencing pain and stiffness in my neck but I hate massages (weird, I know…). After using it 3 tries, I’ve already noticed a difference. I really do want to start using both the pillow and the mat as frequently as possible because I don’t doubt that their products can produce all of those benefits they state on their website.

    Note: Both my pillow and mat are from the company Bed of Nails. I haven’t done a ton of research but I think you can find cheaper options out there, I just like the quality of their products.

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    Jane x

  • PRE-TRAVEL TIPS

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    Heading aboard sometime soon? Traveling can be thrilling and exciting and educational and inspiring, and all these wonderful things. But it can also be stressful. Very stressful. There’s a lot to think about and a lot of pressure to make the most of things.  Here’s a few very important things to think about in the weeks leading up to your holiday/vacation to make things run smoother on your trip!

    Visa/documents

    Do you need a visa to get into the country you’re going to? Do you have layover? Will you need a visa there? I’m going to Canada in a couple of weeks and I found out that, as an Irish citizen, if I’m travelling into the country by land or sea, I don’t need a visa, but if I’m travelling by air, I do need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). This was easy enough to get, I just had to fill out a form online and pay $7 CAD, but it’s important to have these types of things done in advance. A quick google search will tell you what you need for entering whatever country you’re heading to, normally it will also depend on what the country of which you are a citizen!

    Currency/cards

    How are you going to pay for things while you’re there? Will your cards work? What are the fees for using them? You may want to just bring cash as it’s easier to keep yourself on a budget but it’s good to know what your emergency back-up options are. It’s also a good idea to have your cash in advance so you don’t have to stress about it at the airport or when you get where you’re going. Again Google is your best friend, search around and see what you’re options are. Also, talk to your bank about whether your ATM and/or credit cards will work where you’re going and what the conversion and/or transaction fees will be. While I don’t normally think having a credit card is important, when travelling they can be handy. I’ve been in situations where I needed to have a credit card, not a debit card, in my name to hire a car. I didn’t have to pay with it, but they needed it on file just in case. So it’s a good thing to think about getting.

    Adapters

    Do you need an adapter for your plugs? If so, you can save yourself a bit of money buying them in advance as they can be pricey in the airport and hard to find in the country you’re visiting.

    Minitures

    Look at the products you want to bring and figure out if there are mini versions available or if you can decant them into smaller travel bottles. This saves space and weight, especially if you’re only bringing hand-luggage. Remember, in your hand luggage, all your liquids must fit in ONE quart-sized clear plastic bag and all bottles must be 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less! There are no liquid restriction for your checked-luggage but there are weight restrictions (this varies by airline, check their website for more information). I would also recommend buying a travel weighing scales so you know how much your bag weighs before you get to the airport.

    Clean Yo Clothes

    This is fairly obviously, but it’s worth thinking about what clothes you may want to bring a week or so prior to the trip. You don’t have to have everything packed and organised, but make sure anything you might possibly want to bring is clean to avoid any last minutes hassles.

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    I will be doing more travel posts as my trip to Canada approaches so stay tuned. And safe travels!

    Jane x