I’ve said it before but can’t say it enough. The greatest gift to yourself is to be loving to YOU. Last month I had a gift list in my post, Giving Gifts that Nurture People & Our Planet. Today I’m recommending gifts that can enrich your life. They’re all products I’ve tried and books I’ve read that made me happier, all with a healthy, green slant. Since it’s a new year, you can find ways to make this the most self-loving year! Read on to learn about these treats!

The Virtual Massage: This amazing CD was created by Hali Chambers, a nationally certified graduate of the Baltimore School of Massage and certified in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy among other skills. It’s a guided relaxation that leads you through a full-body massage. Hali’s voice truly is hypnotic. And I was surprised to actually feel like I was getting a massage. Even more surprising, my back felt better after! Crazy? Maybe, but I’m hooked! It’s great to use to relax and unwind at the end of the day, when traveling, or when you can’t get to the spa. You can hear a sample at CDBaby.

Insight and Focus CDs: Immrama Institute makes some special CDs. My faves are their Insight and Focus ones, which can be bought separately or as a set (which saves money). Both have the soothing sound of rain falling, but underneath it are other sounds that help to program the brain for relaxation, focus and more. Whenever I listen to Insight I get transported to a special place. It needs to be listened to when you have time to lay back and do nothing else. I listen to Focus when I’m working. It truly does help me concentrate on my writing and blurs out everything else, so I can focus to the max.

The Scandle Body Candle is a gift that truly nurtures—a body lotion soy candle that provides relaxing aromatherapy! The candle burns at 2 degrees above body temperature and produces a soothing oil that can be used for massage, manicures/pedicures or just to luxuriate in it as a moisturizer. I light mine when I’m getting the Virtual Massage. The relaxing scent adds to feeling like I’m in a spa. Then I blow out the flame and use the melted oil on my body. It’s made from 100% natural and vegan ingredients. Something else I love about using a Scandle is that it’s also healthy for the environment. I’ve read that burning a regular candle can be unhealthy by giving off toxins as they burn. A Scandle emits much less! They come in many different scents. This is a great gift for YOU. Keep it in mind for Valentine’s Day too!

The Rotater: This therapeutic tool is a shoulder rehab and stretching device that also helps improve flexibility. I don’t have a major problem but it’s helped me with my sensitive spots that get sore when I work out with weights and for overall stretching to relieve the soreness I always get after. Often, my sore spots don’t go away easily. Using the Rotater has greatly improved it. It’s a MUCH better stretch than I get on my wall! ? I like that it’s a simple device. I can just pick it up, stretch, then put it away, without a lot of fuss. I’ve found a few ways to use it that reach the parts I need stretched, since I work out with weights regularly. It comes with a DVD with suggestions for using it. Using the Rotater can save time schlepping to a doctor and money that you might spend on physical therapy. It also helps breast cancer survivors after surgery. There’s a pink Rotater and 10% of its sales are donated for breast cancer research. This is highly recommended by many doctors, physical therapists, people involved in sports, and me!

Fibre: This fiber based product was created by cardiologist Elizabeth Klodas, M.D., F.A.C.C. I believe that eating healthy is a strong component of self-love. That’s why I was so delighted to learn about this organic, whole grain sprinkle that can be used on foods you love to make them better for you. Simply, it’s an unsweetened whole grain high fiber raw food with a low glycemic index containing high levels of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids and other antioxidants. Sprinkling this on food each day can contribute to better heart health and digestive health and lower the risk of developing diabetes. It can also help control your appetite. I like it because it tastes good to me. I love having the added nutty, chewy sprinkles in my cereal. Just 2 tablespoons a day of this dense product works wonders. f you’ve had trouble getting a good fix of fiber and other nutrients that will keep you healthy and happy, try some Fibre. Good health products = self-love.

Skoycloths have become one of my favorite products! I’ve talked about the importance of cleaning your space. Skoy cloths make it easier. Made from natural material and biodegradable, each one can be used over and over, saves on about 15 rolls of paper towels, and cleans easily, in the dishwasher, washing machine or disinfected in the microwave (wet first). They’re super absorbent. When I knocked over a container of milk on my floor, I braced for a long, tedious clean up. But, the Skoy cloth literally drank it all up quickly. I rinsed it out and then used it to wash the floor in a breeze. They were put to the test with Betty, a devout paper towel user who cleans my kitchen and bathroom each month. I hate her wasting almost a roll each time to wash everything, even floors. I asked her to try this cloth, promising she could use the paper towels after she tried it. She never used paper and raved about how as she scrubbed the floor with the Skoy cloth, it pulled the excess water up like a magnet, making her job easier. She’s hooked. And I save on buying paper towels. ? Try this!

Knowledge is always power. These books can teach you ways to progress into 2009 on a healthier, happier path.

Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too (McGraw-Hill, 2008) by Susan Callahan, Anne Nolen, and Katrin Schumann: This book is for stressed-out mothers who need help reconnecting with their needs and passions so they can find more joy in their lives. You know that I’m all about being happy and taking care of yourself. While Moms need to take care of their kids, taking care of yourself first makes you a better Mom in the long run. A happy woman is more likely to have a happy family. When you nurture self, you have more to give. This book is full of great ideas for making time for YOU. It includes input from 500+ Moms about how to fit ME time into your life. I highly recommend this book for Moms. Even women without kids can benefit from the tips very specific and helpful tips for creating a happy life, no matter what obligations you have.

Mama’s Home Remedies: Discover Time-Tested Secrets of Good Health and the Pleasures of Natural Living (Aurora Press), by Svetlana Konnikova: This book is a collection of natural, healing recipes for common ailments and illnesses, that Svetlana learned as a child in her Mama’s tea garden. This book isn’t just a guide to remedies. It’s a loving tribute to the women who taught her, including legends, her grandmother’s fairy tales, family vignettes, and herbal lore woven through the details of the remedies. There are hundreds of remedies covering almost every ailment. You may not know many of the herbs or may not want to spend too much time brewing some. But the variety of suggestions for the same problem allows you to pick the ones that best suit you. This is a lovely book to read for pleasure, and your health!

The 3 books below are all great guides for living a greener, healthier lifestyle. I’ve included them all as they have different takes. I enjoy reading all 3!

Harmonious Environment: Beautify: Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet (Lingham Press, 2008), by Norma Lehmeier Hartie: The subtitle really sums this book up well. The book goes into excellent details about how to create a personal environment that both nurtures and contributes to a healthier environment! I understand why this was the Grand Prize winner of Writer’s Digest Book Awards. It explains how to create a beautiful, non-toxic and natural home and workspace with tips that are eco-friendly by using feng shui, energy clearing techniques, spirituality, recipes for cooking in healthier ways, healthier alternatives for common products, and much more. In my writing, I emphasize the importance of creating a special sanctuary at home as an act of self-love. Harmonious Environment tells you how! It’s a comprehensive guide for creating a healthier lifestyle and enjoying your life more–a lovely gift for you or someone you love.

The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference (Alpha, 2008) by Jodi Helmer: This offers 365 ways, one for each day of the year, to be more eco-friendly. Each tip is specific with instructions. A green home is a healthier home. That’s a good reason right there to follow the suggestions for living a greener lifestyle. I admit I cheated and read through many of them. Some wouldn’t work for me living in an apartment but with 365, there are plenty of ways I can follow to green my place. Some tips may seem obvious, like turn off the lights. But we often still need a reminder! People assume going green means spending more green. Not so! Many of these simple and inexpensive eco-friendly ideas for each day of the year can actually help you save money! For example, I loved placing tennis balls in the dryer to speed up drying time and also fluff up comforters and other poofy items. There are green tips for all the seasons and all kinds of lifestyles. I believe we can’t get too many tips for making a difference in our environment.

Eco-Friendly Families
(Alpha, 2008) by Helen Coronato: This is a guide for families who want to live a greener lifestyle. It’s full of activities that get everyone in the family involved with creating a healthier environment. When kids learn young, they take the good habits into adulthood. Whether you already make an effort to live in a more environmentally friendly way, or you want to, you’ll find many valuable ways to do it. This book is laid out nicely, in an easy to follow format, with step-by-step, realistic guidance for each suggestion. If you want to raise your family with green values, or create better habits for yourself, read this!

Well, there are some recommendations for you. Go try at least something listed above as a gift to YOU! You’re worth it!

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