care for yourself by caring for others

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i have found that when life is busy, even with wonderful things and people i love, it can feel hectic and overwhelming. doing things that aren’t alllll about me ends up being a great way to slow my mind and relax. magically, i’ve found that helping others is an unexpected form of self-care!
for a couple of years i volunteered at project open hand (poh) once a week. poh is a non-profit that was founded in 1985 and delivers food to seniors and people battling critical illness. they also provide daily meals at their locations in san francisco and oakland. this is not your average food kitchen! poh collaborated with UC san francisco school of medicine in a study published in january of 2017. the study demonstrated how nutritious food has healing powers that are crucial for helping the critically ill.
volunteering at poh proved to be a wonderful break from my hectic schedule, where i could play just a teensy role in getting food prepped to be provided to people in need. while helping out in the kitchen, i primarily peeled and chopped vegetables. in the grocery center i sorted and packed food in the warehouse – both activities were super simple but extremely fulfilling!
in addition to the awesome kitchen, grocery center and meal deliveries, poh also has a radical indoor greenhouse at the polk street location. it’s unlike any greenhouse i’ve seen before – reminding me of a science fiction movie! it has veggies planted in these wheels, which rotate at a slow pace around the light in the center.
the greenhouse garden grows veggies like red sails leaf lettuce, freckles romaine lettuce, basil and micro greens. it can produce a lot of leafy greens at once! for example, if they dedicate all space on the wheel for basil and then use all the leaves produced for a sauce, it can be used in up to 1,400 meals! to see the awesome video that explains how it works, click here.
to help the cause, please click here to donate and here for more information on how to start volunteering! also, if you’re in the mood for a tear jerker, here’s a heartwarming video that gives a more complete idea of how project open hand changes lives – https://www.openhand.org/about-us
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empact northwest is a non-profit organization providing immediate disaster response, rescue training and medical education for underserved communities. one of skinSALVATION’s AMAZING clients volunteers with this organization and was in haiti last year helping rebuild the community!
founded in 2010 in response to the haiti earthquake, empact is dedicated to providing technical rescue service, direct medical care and education around the world to those who need it most, regardless of national or political affiliation.
they strive to complete their mission with minimum bureaucracy and a maximum involvement of volunteers. empact also offers training to fire department, law enforcement, search and rescue, and other emergency response personnel. they welcome input, so if you have suggestions please contact them by sending an email here.
 on sept 9th, empact posted this update on their facebook page regarding relief and aid provided during this brutal hurricane season: 

-hurricane harvey: all empact personnel have returned from the texas/louisiana border area.-hurricane

-hurricane irma: empact is actively monitoring the situation in partnership with the cajun navy and offering what assistance we can. It is our hope that residents of florida have heeded the warnings and evacuated.

-mexico earthquake: empact continues to monitor the situation in southern mexico in partnership with INSARAG and the UN OCHA. no request for international assistance has been made yet.

as you can see, empact is helping communities all over the place and needs support! to donate to their mission click here.

kayla’s morning rituals

rise and shine!

mornings can be rough and for some, nearly impossible! however, it is important to set good intentions each day for internal health as well as spiritual wellbeing. try to call a truce with the sunrise and learn to love it by treating yourself each morning!

to get things going, start with hydration. your body is dehydrated from sleeping, so i find that a glass of water with a squeeze of organic lemon provides optimal replenishment. try heating the water up on the stove for a few minutes, as cold water can be harsh on your system. warm lemon water jumpstarts your digestion, which affects and improves all other body functions.

jam out! put on your favorite playlist to set the good vibes, spark some inspiration, stimulate your brain and produce dopamine! maybe even do a little dance – why not?

or better yet, stretch! doing brief, easy stretches in the morning increases circulation and energy levels. concentrate on your breathing, making them deep and full. this promotes mental focus, self soothes and relieves stress.

finally, ground your thoughts and intentions by envisioning your day and the people with which you will spend it. focus on positive thoughts and intend to be your best self. skip the social media binge and instead write a note to someone you feel grateful for, give a compliment or send a friend the song you’re listening to! love resonates love.

and of course, last but not least, don’t forget to cleanse, ice, tone and apply that spf 😉 if you weren’t awake before, icing is guaranteed to do the trick!

what are some of your morning rituals? share with us in the comments below!