As we begin our second week of lockdown across the UK, with everyone trying to manage this new way of living (work, home-schooling kids, keeping connected with loved ones etc), how are you managing your stress levels?
I’ve been working my way through a whole mix of feelings: anxiety, worry, stress, unexplainable fatigue etc. Whilst most of these emotions are a result of what’s going on in the world currently, things we cannot control, what we can do is change how our brains manage these emotions - through the use of essential oils.
Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any other sense. It’s also the sense most closely linked to memory and is therefore highly emotive. Whenever I catch the scent of rose it immediately takes my back to my childhood when my nan would make us rose milkshake which she would try to convince us was strawberry flavoured - it was pink, sweet and smelt amazing so we didn’t argue. It’s a smell that makes me happy and a little nostalgic. So smell is linked to memory and our emotional response to certain smells is likely governed by association, something which is borne out by the fact that different people can have completely different reactions to the same smell.
Here are are my 8 favourite essential oils to lift your mood and change how you feel:
Bergamot - possibly one my favourite essential oils. It’s a citrusy, floral burst of scent and although its most commonly known associated with earl grey tea, the oil itself is a powerhouse for emotional wellbeing. It’s uplifting and promotes feelings of positivity as it has natural antidepressant properties and helps us to relax and regain self-confidence.
Lemon - forget adding it to your pancakes, this super essential oil is anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidising making it great to use around your home for cleaning and purifying the air but it has even better emotional benefits. It’s energising and uplifting, helps restore mental clarity and can help with focus and memory. In fact a Japanese study found that those who work with computers made 54% less errors when the workplace was scented with lemon!
Rosemary - it’s not just great with roast lamb it’s an absolutely amazing essential oil. It’s stimulating and is known for helping with memory retention, staying focused and alert aka ‘the one for the student’! Rosemary has also been found to reduce cortisol (your bodies natural stress hormone that when produced in excess can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, weight gain etc.) If you want to manage those stress levels, this should be your oil of choice!
Peppermint - refreshing and fragrant and is generally used to aid digestion (peppermint tea) and freshen breath (think toothpaste) but inhalation of the essential oil has been found to help with concentration and memory, keeping you alert and focussed.
Patchouli - if a decade had a smell then this would definitely be for the 1960’s. With its earthy, musky, slightly-sweet scent this is a marmite oil for people - you either love or hate it - but it’s grounding and stabilising effect on emotions makes it a perfect oil to relax with.
Lavender - possibly the most well known essential oil out there with it’s sedative properties and for it’s ability to help calm stress and anxiety and to help promote sleep. Lavender essential oil is a great all rounder for improving the overall feeling of wellbeing. Definitely one to keep with you at all times.
Geranium - comes up smelling like roses. I love this oil, it’s another one of my favourites as it has so many emotional benefits and just smells amazing! Geranium essential oil can help with feelings of nervous anxiety, fear and depression as it has a regulating effect on the nervous system. The scent itself is uplifting and instantly calms the mind, restoring emotional balance.
Eucalyptus - the food of the koala. Most of us will consider eucalyptus as a remedy for stuffy noses and to relieve congestion when we have a cold. The essential oil of eucalyptus has a refreshing, cooling scent that boosts circulation to the brain and can therefore help relieve mental exhaustion and fatigue. It also purifies the air thereby lifting your spirits.
How to use:
It’s important to note that essential oils are potent, powerful substances and should not be applied directly to the skin without first diluting them. Here are some suggestions on how you can safely use essential oils to aid your emotional wellbeing:
Diffuse into the air - using a traditional oil burner (the type where you add a couple of drop of your chosen oil to some water in the top of the burner and light a tea light underneath) or in an electric diffuser (using only a couple of drops of oil added to water).
Cotton ball / pad - apply a couple of drops of your chosen oil to a cotton ball or pad and leave this beside you. If you are using lavender oil to help with sleep you can apply a couple of drops to your pillow.
Unscented lotions - adding a few drops to your unscented body lotion is a good way of using the oils and applying this to your arms and chest area for you to breath in through the day.
Aromatherapy candles - these are usually blends of oils that have been combined for a specific purpose (to help with sleep, focus, stress etc) and provide a quick and easy way to get your fill. Just be sure that the candles are made with plant wax (not paraffin) and are made using only pure essential oils (no fragrance oils).
When to use:
If you’re feeling stressed and need to rid yourself of negative feelings head for the rosemary, lavender or geranium - try blending them too.
Trying to home school your kids and get them to sit down and focus? Get the rosemary, peppermint or lemon diffusing into the air.
Need to unwind and switch off at the end of the day? Reach for geranium, bergamot, patchouli or eucalyptus to relieve tension and calm the mind.
Try The Romantic aromatherapy candle - a blend to make you feel renewed. Including lime, geranium and vetiver essential oils.
Having trouble sleeping? Sptiz some lavender or patchouli on your bedding, focus on your breathing (long deep breaths) to calm a racing mind and to relax.
Essential oils are pretty amazing! They can help transform your mood and aid your emotional wellbeing and the bonus is that they smell incredible! Have a go and let me know what you think - email me here - I’d love to hear what you think.