Seasons Change-- Shouldn't Your Skincare?

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If you’re like me, you are sick and tired of all this RAIN!  Where is the sun? Surely the real spring season has to start sometime soon…. Right? Despite how it may seem, the weather is warming up, the days are getting longer and longer, and the cold winter season is behind us. You might even notice some differences in your skin. So, as the seasons change, why shouldn’t your skincare routine?

Over the winter months the dry and cold weather, coupled with heaters running indoors almost constantly, can leave your skin needing some extra TLC.  In winter, our aestheticians recommend using products that focus more on long-lasting moisture. We recommend using a milk cleanser like the Yon-Ka Lait Nettoyant, which doesn’t strip the oils from your skin, giving your skin more of a defense against the drying winter air.

But now that the sun has returned, and the heaters are mostly turned off, these products may not be the best for your skin’s current needs. There tends to be more atmospheric humidity, which your skin responds to. Have you noticed your skin feeling a little greasy? This can be greatly exacerbated by continuing to use those heavy winter moisturizers. Instead, switch to a lighter cleanser and moisturizer that protects against environmental damages, like the Yon-Ka Vital Defense Creme. This prevents the signs of aging caused by exposure to pollution, which increases as you spend more time outside.  

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How about the rest of your body? I find my legs get really dry and irritated during this time of the year.  It could be from shaving more often, but dry dead skin is definitely a struggle. Using a product like a sugar or salt scrub can help to loosen and get rid of dead skin. It also promotes blood circulation to the area, which kickstarts skin cell production. Follow up with a high quality lotion-- our Pearl brand lotions and scrubs are the perfect way to combat dry flaky skin. Or, for a truly luxurious experience, schedule a body treatment. With several options to choose from, you can choose exactly what your skin needs.

Finally, as the weather warms and we all head outside, remember to wear a good SPF sunscreen.  Have questions about your routine? Want an expert opinion? Schedule a Consultation or a Facial today!

Wishing you the happiest spring!

Posted on April 23, 2019 and filed under Skincare & Beauty.

Stressed About Your First Visit to the Spa? Don't Be!

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Starting your self-care regimen (or even just taking the opportunity to try something new) can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never been to a spa. At the Pearl, we welcome all, whether you come every week or have never had a massage. For those who are entirely new to the spa scene, or just have some weird questions you’ve always wondered about, we are here to shed some light on the spa experience.

You have scheduled an appointment, and the day approaches.  Leading up to your appointment, notice some of these questions:

  • Where in your body are you sore, stiff, or holding tension?

  • What issues would you like addressed (during your massage/facial/nails/etc. appointment)

  • What is your goal for your appointment?

  • What are your preferences for your service? Do you like to chat, or would you rather have complete silence?

Keep these in your mind or-- better yet-- write them down to discuss with your provider.  This will help you maximize what you get from your appointment.

People often ask, “Should I wear anything in particular to my appointment?” My recommendation is to wear something you are comfortable in to maximize your relaxing experience. Most of our appointments will have you dress down so it’s not necessary to wear anything specific, but it does help to undress and dress quickly before and after. Remember, the spa is a place of relaxation, so anything that might cause you distraction or stress should be left at home or tucked out of sight. We request that cell phones be placed on silent out of respect for other patrons.  Upon arrival, you’ll check in at the Front Desk to fill out any necessary information prior to your appointment.

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Finally, it’s time for your appointment!  Your therapist, aesthetician, or nail tech will ask you some questions. Now is the time to bring up those points from earlier. Holding tension in your neck?  Speak up and let them know! Communication during your entire appointment is paramount-- after all, we aren’t mind readers. If the pressure is too light, too firm, the bed is too hot, your therapist talks way too much, don’t be afraid to speak up and make requests. We won’t be offended. In fact, we enjoy hearing from our clients so we can make their experience truly exceptional.

After your appointment, be sure to drink plenty of water!  Massages can loosen up soft-tissue metabolites and other substances within the body, so drinking more water than normal will help to flush these out of the system. Remember to check in again at the front desk, re-book another appointment, and enjoy the effects of your service!



Posted on April 23, 2019 and filed under Self-care, Massage & Bodywork, Skincare & Beauty.

Stressed Out? Try "Forest Bathing"

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I have this habit of spending the vast majority of my time indoors. I even semi-jokingly refer to myself as “indoorsy,” preferring to spend my free time inside rather than out in nature. But often, I find myself feeling stressed, anxious, and tired. A high-stress life of modern society can leave one feeling frazzled and depleted. When we get caught up in our daily lives hustling from one task to the next, not only does our nervous system get tired, but we can experience a sort of “tunnel vision” that has us only half experiencing life.

Here in Eugene, I feel so fortunate to live somewhere with such abundant greenspace. Just being able to sit by the Willamette and soak in the sights and sounds of nature is a little magical.  And as the weather slowly warms up and the sun peeks through the clouds, spending time outside in Oregon becomes even more enjoyable. Even my “indoorsy” self has something to enjoy outside here: the Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku, or “forest bathing.”

“Forest Bathing” is the idea that spending time in the forest (or whatever natural setting you might find yourself near) can positively influence your health. Proponents of Shinrin-yoku claim that the connection with our natural surroundings promotes mental and physical well-being.  Through mindfulness, observation, and sensory exploration, forest bathing can help lower stress and bring mental clarity. In studies, test subjects who took a 40-minute slow walk in a forest showed lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) than those who did the same physical activity in a lab setting. Pretty neat, huh?

Shinrin-yoku, at its core, does not only provide benefit to the individual, but also to the forest. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) describes Forest Therapy as:

“...not an extractive process, where we treat forests as a "resource" from which we extract well being for humans. Instead, it is a deeply relational practice, characterized by a sense of loving and tender connection.”

“...not an extractive process, where we treat forests as a "resource" from which we extract well being for humans. Instead, it is a deeply relational practice, characterized by a sense of loving and tender connection.”

Now, I’m not usually one to feed into pseudoscience, but this makes some sense. It comes down to compassion for your surroundings-- when you benefit from your surroundings in a meaningful way, you tend to take care of it more. Regular Forest bathing walks provide you with a firsthand account of the health and welfare of your surroundings.  Is there trash everywhere? Can you hear birds and other wildlife? Having a mindful experience in nature opens you to small details you might otherwise miss, and gives you the opportunity to take action to take care of the environment which you find yourself in. You win, the forest wins, the birds win-- everyone wins!

The next time you find yourself depleted or stressed, take time to find nature and experience Shinrin-yoku for yourself.  Interested in learning more about Shinrin-yoku? Visit the link below for articles and lots more information from the ANFT.

https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/

Posted on March 4, 2019 and filed under Mental Wellness, Healthy Living.

The Power of Saying No (Thank You)

Picture this. It’s Wednesday evening. You’ve worked all day, gone to the grocery store, put food away, made dinner and lunch for tomorrow, done some laundry, and vacuumed…cause you’re a beast and you are awesome! It’s about that time when the phone chimes…then chimes again. You look at your phone and it’s your BFF. She wants you to babysit so she and her partner can have a date night this Saturday. Of course you instantly want to write back, “Why Yes! I’d be thrilled to!” But, are you? Really? Did you take a moment to remember that you haven’t had a quiet night in 3 weeks? Did you remember that you were just telling Karen at the bank that you’re feeling exhausted? Did you ask yourself what you actually wanted for our weekend? What might you be needing?

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Let me note something extremely important. I love helping. I love giving of my time. I frequently bake cookies for others, I make personal calls to check in on others going through difficult times, I offer to help with friends kids, I help with yard work and joyfully so. I deeply believe in the gift of time and energy.

AND, I have become a renegade self care woman! It occurred to me within the last two years that I was seriously over-committing myself…at home, work, and with friends. And pardon my language, but I found myself half-assing many things, instead of whole-assing them. One of my values it to do quality work, whatever it may be. Doing sub-par work was not feeling okay.

I began to investigate where this imbalance was coming from. Once I began to get curious and and ask myself honest questions, the answers were clear as a bell. I needed to be doing less. PERIOD! And, if I was to be doing a multitude of things, there needed to be more ME and my needs on that list…vs…the usual, “I can wait on my things” attitude.

Like any big changes in my life, i knew this wouldn’t happen overnight. Step one. Acknowledge that I wanted to make a change. And like another principle in my life, I had to start setting this intention. So, firstly I told my friends and family that I’m doing things differently. This kept me accountable.

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OK, Lily, where are you going with this? How am I supposed to implement this? Here goes! Once you have realized that the current mode of over-committing isn’t working, you do have to start staking claim to your time. Part of carving out this time means you have to say the dreaded word that we dislike as children and adults, NO.

Another important note about me, I believe in diplomacy and manners. Big Time! I’m not asking you to start telling ole Karen ,”NO, I won’t watch your snot nose kid?” or “Sorry finance department, I will NOT be getting you that project in on deadline.” We have to be civil. We ought to be kind. We should take the things we have committed to seriously. BUT, don’t take on more than have time for.

When we’re asked to help or commit to something new:

Step one: PAUSE. Don’t respond right away. If it’s a text, it can wait. If it’s in person, request getting back to the person in 24 hours. Even if people are caught of gaurd, they will usually offer you the space, if it’s asked for.

Step Two: Get Curious and Ask Questions, the delightful Brene Brown highlights the value of getting curious about yourself and your story. I suggest her book Rising Strong, in learning further about self love and self care. We often concern ourselves with others thoughts and feelings, and miss our own. Along with her inspiration and some deep mediation, I found the beauty and power of Asking myself, “How am I feeling? Do I actually have time to whole-ass this activity and feel good about it? What do I need right now to be more balanced and healthy?”

Step Three: Respond kindly and honestly. For me, after I examine how I feel and ask myself what I need, and the answer has to be “NO”. This is what I say or write.

So, for Karen and the babysitting request, I might say “At this time, I am not available to help. And I want to thank you for asking me. I appreciate your reaching out. Please feel free to ask again.” I may even offer to put something on the calendar to help babysit another time soon.

For the extra help or project at work: “I hear that you need help. And I need to be honest, I’m feeling like I have a lot going on currently. I’m concerned if I over-commit I may not do my best work.” Obviously work is trickier, and often we cannot turn down more responsibility. But, I encourage you to ask questions and negotiate if applicable. Good boundaries at home and work can prove very helpful in the end…and challenging to start.

Step Four: Block out YOU TIME on your calendar. I have been doing this for 10 years now, and it’s amazing. I look ahead two weeks, and find a day or part of a day with nothing scheduled. In your phone’s calendar or paper calendar (if you’re analog) write in BOLD letters, NO PLANS!!!! So, when you’re at the doctors, or talking to your PTA, or family, and they ask if you’re free next Saturday, and low and behold it saysn “NO PLANS!!!” you politely say, “ Oh, well, looks like I’m not available that day.” If they pry, say you have an appointment. If they push further, heck, white lie. That is your day, your time, and YOU DESERVE IT!

With this new found you time carved out, you may find you feel a bit more rested and refreshed. Thus, you can whole-ass what you love, and be able to carve out time to say YES to friends and family with a joyous and happy heart.


Posted on March 4, 2019 .

Vision and Positive Change

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I am a big proponent of challenge and growth. Like a video game, I sit down, focus, and make an attack plan to make it to the next level. Inevitably, I level up—which feels amazing, but once I feel comfortable on that level I can sometimes feel lost. How could I work so hard and so focused to only end up lost?

Well, It turns out I wasn't as focused as I thought. Ouch, ego blow! I guess I am just going to have to dust myself off,  and come up with a better action plan! So, what is this woman talking about? Valid question...

Have A Clear Vision: I think this is where a lot of us can begin to get lost. It's easy to say, "I want things to be better!" "I want to make more money." "I want to be a faster runner." But in what way specifically do you want things to improve? A dear friend of mine always asks, "What are the measurables?" You may be asking," What the heck does that mean?!" But it's quite obvious. What can be measured. What data/information is present? What do you want to see change?  For example; Say, "I want to increase my monthly income to $X dollars a month... or... I want to increase my client retention X% this quarter...or I want to decrease my mile time when running." The fun with visualization is you get to make the rules. It's your vision. Go nuts! Dream Big! Why not? And write it down...somewhere you can go back and find it. That's key. It feels really good to go back and see what you wrote down and see how far you have come.

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Support The Vision: Spend time daily. Even if it's 1 minute or 10 minutes. Call it meditation, or prayer, or write it down, or have mantra you say out loud. It sound weird, but it's important. Tell the  people in your circle; friends, family, coworkers.  This creates accountability, which may feel like pressure. But to make a diamond of coal we need pressure. Pressure can also be called motivation. This feeling of pressure is in your mind. Which can be challenging in it's own right. Then, like your Vision, you remember, "Hey, this is mine! I am manifesting change and it feels hard. And that's OK!  Much of what is worth doing is not easy. It takes determination. You will not regret working hard. You will not regret staying focused. You will not regret being loyal to your vision. Conversely, walking away from your vision (because it feels difficult) may create a path of regret or self defeat. Good news though, it is completely natural to loose focus, and the gift with energy and thought is it's never to late to star all over again!

Open your your heart and mind for the change:  Open yourself up to the notion that you could be experiencing greater success. Yes, this may be sounding a bit "self-helpy/cheesy",  but it's a necessary step. It's difficult because it's not an A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 situation. It's not cut and dry. I can admit this part was challenging for me since I'm a  Type A person who prefers consistency and clear cut path.  But once I decided I was all in with my vision I rolled up my sleeves and asked myself, "OK, what can I do differently today?" One of my recent vision goals was to increase my retention percentage in a recent quarter. I'm going to be real honest here; it was a bit of an ego blow to acknowledge that I needed to improve in this department. You see, I fancy myself quite talented in my trade and thought, "Hmpff! Me need to improve?! But I was killing it! Right?!?" Oops! Looks like I had allowed myself to get a little too comfortable. Ouch! Again, it is not easy to admit this to you. I have spiritual practice and part of it revolves around the letting go of the ego. Well, the joke was on me.  (Insert Laughing at self! Hahaha!) And in the spirit being really honest, I was not initially laughing. I was irritated!  But, I looked myself square in face (literally and metaphorically) and  asked myself why I had this resistance? Why was I limiting myself...Oh Boy! Eureka! That was it! I realized I was placing limitations on my potential. Upon seeing this I was then open to acknowledge that I was a little scared. That's all...just a bit of fear.

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Put The Vision To Work: Make that dream do some heavy lifting. Treat it like a science experiment. This is the fun part. What I loved about this process was I could just pick one thing at a time, and simply try it. Then sit back and see what happens. I looked at my daily work practice and tore it apart. I consulted with others in my field, asked questions and tried new things. For example, as a massage therapist we do a lot of listening. I made a specific goal to ask more open ended questions and listened better. I followed through with clear questions about the clients' expectation for the massage. And when the appointment was over I asked direct questions about  the issues originally brought into the room and if they felt like they were addressed. This helped! Of coarse I was already doing this with clients, but my process was not as distilled and focused as it could have been. Another thing I tried was writing directly to my clients, going the extra mile as they say. I wrote to them about difficult things they were facing in their lives, about progress we had been making together in their treatment, or simply to say 'Hello' and thank them for their loyalty. Every day I thought about my clear vision. I spent a small amount of time "manifesting it" through meditation (again, call it what you like to match you). Then I opened my mind to the idea that it would work. And at work, I took to making small and significant changes. All said it was simple, but not always easy! I also suggest giving yourself grace when taking on new challenges. Growth isn't always linear. There are ups and downs. There is quiet a bit of two steps forward and one step back...but you are moving forward. Be grateful to yourself for growing.

I'm Happy to report that my retention vision Goal was reached.  Yay! It feels amazing to see the hard numbers in front of me (though I still have room to improve and I plan on it) Honestly, it's a little spooky and wild and beautiful! Now I know this really works. One of the many gifts of self growth and challenge is that it never ends. One may feel annoyed by this, but choose to feel excited about it!  And now I'm armed with this wonderful 'How To' for visualizing and making positive growth and change in my life. Will it be hard work?  Yes. Am I stoked to see where this wacky adventure takes me, Absolutely!

I'm excited for you and for me! Cheers on the road to success!

May You Be Well,

Lily Lunnemann

Posted on March 4, 2019 and filed under Self-care, Mental Wellness.

Keeping up with New Year's Resolutions

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Chances are that, by now, you have fallen off the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon. Research shows that almost 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are ditched before the second week in February. Overly lofty goal and aspirations can quickly fall by the wayside once the holidays are in the rear-view mirror and we settle back into the routines of our normal lives. I always start the year with a list of goals, and usually by the end of the month I am back to my old ways. This year, I made a resolution to eat fresh veggies every day (we’ve got a long and complicated history). In order to maintain these goals long enough to develop into healthy habits, I have noticed that two things help me to rediscover my aspirations: mindfulness and acceptance.

Mindfulness is a critical tool to that helps us to stay aware of our actions and thoughts.  It can be invaluable when setting and maintaining New Year’s Resolutions. Being mindful to the reasons why you chose that goal can hone down what is really important to you in the coming year. Instead of deciding to exercise more, examine what it is that makes you want to exercise more.  Why has it not happened already, and what do you need to change in order to attain this goal? Mindful examination of behaviors may lead you to create different resolutions. Instead of telling myself I need to eat more healthy, which is vague, it really comes down to adding more vegetables to my diet. When you feel as though you are falling off the wagon, ask yourself, “What am I doing that is detrimental to my efforts?”  It is way easier to microwave some leftovers than make a fresh salad, but is that necessarily the best for me? Mindfulness brings you to an objective place to analyze your actions and habits in order to move forward again.

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“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” Creating new habits is really difficult and takes time. Acknowledging this is the first step to helping achieve those New Year’s Resolutions.  They don’t come overnight, and they will have obstacles. Accept slip-ups with grace, forgive yourself, and make the choice to get back in the game. By doing this, you not only show compassion for yourself, but allow the faults and failures that lead to true change over time. This helps gently reaffirm your original goal. It is fine to have a week or even longer where your goals fall by the wayside; that doesn’t mean that you have failed. Failure only happens when you stop picking up where you left off.

I hope you have success in your goals for 2019. If you slip up, remember to accept your obstacles with grace and keep on keepin’ on.

Posted on February 14, 2019 and filed under Mental Wellness, Self-care.