May Calendar

on May 1, May Day. Flowers come in many forms: fresh irises from your garden ... floral-based essential oils, scented candles, sachets or bath salts ... flower essences to keep your emotions on an even keel.

during May, Breathe Easy Month and Clean Air Month. Get an air filter for your home or office. If you live in a city, stay inside during high pollution days. Take long, deep breaths, and enjoy plenty of steam baths to clear your lungs.

during May, Better Sleep Month. Treat yourself to natural-fiber cotton sheets or pillows filled with sleep-inducing lavender and hops. If you still can't sleep, take extracts of chamomile, passionflower, scullcap or valerian one hour before bed — and don't forget your organic-cotton teddy bear.

The therapeutic use of books — called bibliotherapy — can help you heal and alleviate difficult situations in your life. Choose from self-help books, spiritual guides or even a book of quotations.

A recent study shows that eating oatmeal for breakfast can help with weight control by slowing down the rate of food emptying from the stomach, making you feel satiated longer. Regular consumption of oatmeal can also help reduce cholesterol levels, lower risk of some forms of cancer, and regulate moods. Plus, it's packed with iron.

during May, National Arthritis Month. If arthritis is getting you down, try adding glucosamine supplements, boswellia, fish oil or flax oil to your diet. For more information, visit www.arthritis.org or www.healthwell.com.

on May 14, Mother's Day. Give mom-ish gifts such as organic skin care products and aromatherapy diffusers. Be momlike by nurturing a child, volunteering at a day care center, helping a friend in need or adopting a stray dog or cat.

Illustrations by Mary Lynn Blasutta