Scents for Stress Relief
Being on lockdown or housebound means, it is more important than ever to make our living spaces a sanctuary. You can only clean so often, so when your home has already been cleaned and tidied to the point you’re about to mop the pattern off your floor tiles, it’s time to focus on aromatherapy.
Scents are powerful triggers. A fragrance can soothe you and in other cases have the effect of making you anxious and upset, while a different scent will energise you like you wouldn’t believe! There is a reason the smell of fresh bread makes you feel good or the crisp scent of the morning dew is so energising and the smell of rain in a dry garden actually smells sweet (it’s called petrichor), your brain associates them with positive feelings. You can use the power of aromatherapy to manage stress and feel better during this unsettling time.
Having trouble sleeping? Try Eucalyptus, Chamomile, Lavender or Lemongrass essential oils.
Feeling sluggish and want a pick me up? Citrus or Ginger essential oils are recommended. When I say citrus, I mean bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, petit grain and my favourite, neroli. Additionally fruity scents like pineapple and berries work a treat!
Feeling a little depressed? Try floral scents. Rose, Rose Geranium, Ylang-ylang etc. Try mixing in some bracing lemon to make the overall effect more sophisticated and pleasant.
A bit run down? Try spicy or herb scents. Think cloves, nutmeg, star anise, black pepper, rosemary, sandalwood essential oils (n.b. avoid rosewood, it’s amazing but is not sustainably sourced)
Need serenity now? Neroli, Lemongrass, bamboo, vetiver and lemon
Aromatherapy is something that is usually administered by a trained professional since many essential oils, if used in the wrong concentration, can have negative side effects. I do have to warn; please do not apply these oils directly to your skin! Essential oils are really strong, they need to be diluted by a carrier oil before application and even then not all are safe. I recommend if you choose to use essential oils, dilute in a neutral oil like safflower or canola or dilute with alcohol and apply with a spray bottle. Be careful but don’t be intimidated, aromatherapy still accessible to you.
Potpourri is one of my favourite methods of using aromatherapy, it is not just for deodorising musty rooms around the home and it adds a little pop to your decor. Oil diffusers are another method, you can get a reed diffuser that uses reeds to absorb fragrance oil and it is evaporated into the atmosphere. There is also an oil diffuser, you can get ones that use a tea light to warm the oil or there is the plug-in type, just be sure to get the one with a vessel on top that allows you to use your own oils. If you opt for an oil diffuser, you have complete control over the aroma and it can also make an attractive decorative accent. Another popular aromatherapy option is scented candles, if you are well-connected, you can have it customised to the aroma you desire.
Aromatherapy grade essential oils can get really pricey, really fast but don’t let that be a hindrance. Want to use aromatherapy on a tight budget? No problem! You have options too. Spritz your lightbulbs with your favourite fragrance. The heat from the bulbs when you turn them on will diffuse the scent into the room. You can also spray your sheets with a soothing or crisp fragrance when your bed is freshly made, I am not kidding this makes you feel like you’re sleeping in a luxury hotel suite ( a good night’s sleep in a freshly-made bed can cure a world of ills!). A luxurious bath with a scented body wash or soap and a self-massage with a similarly scented lotion can also work wonders! No matter the method you choose, use this time to harness the power of aromatherapy for well-being.