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  1. Self-Care Must-Haves for the Sickle Cell Warrior

    March 19, 2018 by Andrea

    self-care

    As a sickle cell warrior (or the friend, family, or caretaker of one), sometimes it can feel like you're always in fight mode -- fighting a crisis, fighting stress so it doesn't become a crisis, fighting for your life. Battling it out all the time is exhausting, and that's why self-care is so important. Recharge your self-care practice with these must-haves: 

    1) TheraBox
    Founded by an actual therapist, this subscription box delivers "fresh, new ingredients of happiness straight to your door every month." Examples of goodies in past boxes include journals, stress-relieving facial masks, tea, bath salts, mugs, and more! 

    2) Noise-Cancelling Headphones
    Whether you need to unwind with a proper Netflix binge-watching session, embrace complete focus during meditation with your favorite app, or simply take a nap in true silence, try a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, so all those background noises can fade into the, well, background. 

    3) Coloring Books
    Adult coloring books exploded on the scene as a way to cope with stress and anxiety a few years ago. Of course, children's coloring books are always available for them, as well. "Coloring is a highly creative and meditative activity that can have powerful therapeutic anti-stress and relaxation benefits. It activates the brain's right hemisphere, reducing stress, and promoting a relaxed, meditative state," the book's creator Kathy Weller writes in the overview of this particular one. 

    4) The Little Book of Mindfulness
    Boasting that it only takes 10 minutes a day to live with "less stress" and "more peace", this (non coloring) book, written by Dr. Patrizia Collard, is packed with quick exercises to help you manage anxiety and live well. 

    5) Body Lotion Candle
    For a double dose of self-care, burn this French Fig and Amber candle for its aromatherapy property, and then, use the melting candle itself as a moisturizer. Yep, as the candle burns, it liquefies into a lotion. 

    6) Self-Care Index: A Pocket Guide for Remembering the Things You Like to Do
    With pages that read, "Unplug for 1 hour. Right now.", "Build a blanket fort", "Put on a record", and even "Google 'Corgi butt'", this book is sure to take your mind off any pain or stress you may be feeling for awhile.


  2. How to Keep Your Sickle Cell Awareness Team Motivated with a Retreat

    March 23, 2017 by Andrea
    retreat

    Photo: Stocksnap.io



    From fundraising to marketing to speaking engagements, and more, you and your team do a lot to raise awareness for sickle cell disease. And while you encourage other warriors and their friends and family to manage stress effectively, you don't always take that same advice. It's imperative, though, that you and your team rest up, too, so you can successfully maintain the momentum of spreading the word about SCD. A team retreat is one of the best ways to do this. Here's how:

    1) Ask your team for input.
    Where would they like to go? What kinds of activities are they interested in? How long should the retreat last? Are there any areas that should be avoided due to medical reasons? (For example, it would be a good idea to avoid places with extreme temperatures for any warriors on staff.) Giving your crew a chance to offer feedback on retreat plans will ensure that they feel a part of the preparation, giving them the sense that this is their event, too. When people feel included, they are more likely to attend and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    2) Choose a theme.
    Remember, a retreat should be a relaxing respite from the typical daily grind. Think about a theme that embodies this idea, and create an agenda packed with activities that support this, as well. For inspiration on things to do, check out this post from JustWorks.

    3) Stick to a budget.
    Team getaways can be expensive, but they don't necessarily have to be -- and all of the expense doesn't have to fall on your company, either. Start by selecting venues that you can financially afford, such as those you find on Airbnb, rather than traditional hotel spaces. To help offset other costs for things such as travel, food, guest speakers, and spa services, find sponsors to provide funds.

    Have you ever hosted a team retreat? How did it go? Tell us in the comments below!


  3. Essential Oils: 5 Picks Every Sickle Cell Warrior Should Add to Their Self-Care Routine

    March 13, 2017 by Andrea
    Photo: Honou via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Photo: Honou via Flickr/CC BY 2.0



    Self-care is important for everyone and especially important for sickle cell warriors, as stress can lead to painful episodes. For millenia, essential oils have been used to combat stress and infuse surroundings with peace and calm. Here are a few to include in your self-care routine:

    1) Mimosa
    This essential oil is known to improve overall well-being, as it has a relaxing effect on both the mind and the body. Place a few drops in your bath water, and indulge in the calming aroma of its sweet, floral scent.

    2) Lemon Verbena
    Not only can this essential oil calm stress and anxiety, it can also help ease pain in the muscles and joints. Add a bit to your favorite massage oil and benefit from less muscle tension and less stress in general.

    3) Rosewood
    Described as having a spicy and sweet floral aroma, this essential oil is known for its ability to help you center yourself, which can, in turn, help calm your overall emotions and stress.

    4) Cypress
    The perfect post-workday remedy, this essential oil helps lift moods and create feelings of positivity. Add a few drops to a warm or cold compress, and place it on your head or anywhere else you're feeling tension.

    5) Vanilla
    Vanilla doesn't have to be relegated to baking only. Its essential oil can also fight off negative feelings and ease stress and anxiety. Place a few drops into a decorative diffuser or oil burner, and enjoy the sweet aroma of relaxation.

    When choosing your essential oils, be sure to select ones that are pure, rather than synthetic -- synthetic oils smell just as good, but do not have any therapeutic benefits. Neal's Yard Remedies, the publishers of Essential Oils, recommends the following methods for choosing quality ones: Check the company's credentials and ensure the botanical name also appears on the label.

    Enjoy this new addition to your self-care regimen and let us know how it works for you in the comments below!

    *Source: Essential Oils: All-natural remedies and recipes for your mind, body, and home


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