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5 Amazing Homemade Soap Recipes For Natural Living

5 Amazing Homemade Soap Recipes For Natural Living

The idea of making your own soap can seem bizarre at first. It is not like soap is expensive, and nor is store-bought soap that harmful. So why go through all that effort?

The thing is, is that soap-making is not actually all that difficult. Yes, there are safety issues when it comes to using lye (and if you’re making soap without lye, you’re not making soap). But if you take some basic safety precautions, you will be fine and discover that in addition to the ease of making soap, you can put your own natural, artistic touch into it.

Different soap recipes can have different effects, so don’t hesitate to try and try until you find your favorite soap. Here are five easy recipes which can get you started on the road to homemade soap:

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1. Olive Oil Soap

At a fundamental level, every soap recipe consists of mixing together three ingredients: oil, lye, and some other liquid. Olive oil is one of the easiest and most popular oils to use for soap cooking, though coconut oil is another popular, basic choice.

A general soap recipe will work like this: first, you take your oils and heat them until they reach around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably in a slow cooker. Then while wearing protective equipment, you mix together lye and water by pouring the lye into the water (and this cannot be stressed enough: DO NOT POUR THE WATER INTO THE LYE). After that, you mix everything together until they reach a firm, but not solid consistency. Then you pour the ingredients into a mold and let it wait. Some soap makers will wait as long as a year, but there is nothing wrong with using your homemade soap bar after a few days.

Soap made just with olive oil is known as “castile soap” and is named after the Castile region in Spain. It is known for being fairly soft, though there are ways to make it harder. If you’re interested in a more detailed recipe for how to make Castile soap, then check out this recipe and get to work.

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2. Peppermint Soap

If you think that making soap is going to be too difficult or dangerous, there are ways to simplify the process. One way is to use a soap base such as Goats Milk Soap Base, which you can order on Amazon. When you get the soap base, melt it inside a microwave. Then you can add peppermint oil or peppermint zest and mix it to ensure that the soap has a good consistency. You can also use other oils if you’re interested such as lemon.

A peppermint-laced soap smells fantastic, ensures that your body smells fantastic after you’re done showering, and is great for your skin because it contains so many nutrients and vitamins.

3. Oatmeal Soap

Soaps may largely consist of oils, liquids, and lye, but those do not have to be the only ingredients you use. Solid ingredients such as herbs and flowers can be added into any soap mixture to give the soap new fragrances and textures. Mint is a good choice, as are fruit rinds and berries.

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But my personal favorite solid ingredient is oatmeal. While we should know the health benefits of eating oatmeal, oatmeal can also be used in other ways to improve our skin. Using oatmeal in the soap adds chemicals called saponins, which can cleanse our face from germs and dirty which harm your skin.

4. Pumpkin Soap

One of the best parts of making soap is that you can customize it to what you need. This can take on a health perspective – for example, a soap made for people with sensitive skin should use more oil and less lye.

But customization can be done just for fine, such as a pumpkin soap which is just perfect for fall. If you want to make pumpkin soap, follow the standard soap making recipes discussed above, but mix pumpkin batter in with everything else. Vanilla blends extremely well with pumpkin, but don’t use more than a couple teaspoons. Otherwise, it will turn your soap brown.

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The result is a hearty, rich-smelling soap which works just great on your skin and leaves you smelling of fall.

5. Christmas Soap

In addition to all the wonderful benefits of homemade soap talked about above, soap can also serve as a great holiday gift. Once your friends and family realize the work you put in to make soap from scratch, and feel the benefits of the natural ingredients you used, they will appreciate you all the more.

This recipe offers a fantastic path to creating a red, white, and green soap perfect for the holiday season. And combining with it with peppermint just makes too much sense for a Christmas soap. Don’t worry about using oxide in your soup, too. Just remember that it’s a form of coloring, because soap is an art.

Featured photo credit: a- kang via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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