(No really…are you?)
At the risk of bandying about a much over-used term, the human race has undergone a collective “pivot”. The previously foreign concept of isolating at home, away from friends and extended family, has become a daily reality for many people around the world. And with so many businesses forced to operate remotely, the age-old rule of “leaving your stress at the office” no longer applies. Flick on the TV to relax and you’re faced with a constant barrage of scary stories. It’s no wonder we’re more frazzled than ever before.
While aromatherapy should not necessarily be your first port of call for a diagnosable anxiety disorder, it CAN help you cope with the daily stresses of modern life, in a safe and natural way. For example, we might not have a physical boundary between home and work, but you can create a sense of separation by introducing aromas into your day. We recommend diffusing a stimulating oil that promotes focus and clarity throughout the day (like our Brain Power blend) and switching to a blend that supports relaxation and harmony in the evening (our Tranquility blend is a great way to wind down).
If you’re struggling to switch off the racing thoughts that preoccupy so many of our minds at the moment, you might also be considering meditation. Did you know that there are even aromas that have been shown to help the brain focus during your practice? And a blend like Stress Less is the perfect oil to keep close-by to dab on your pulse points when your mind needs a reminder to calm down a little throughout the day. You could also try adding a few drops of your favourite calming oil to a bath, between work and relaxation time, to reset the tone for the rest of the day.
The science of smell
Clinical trials have shown aromas to be highly effective in reducing stress levels, as compared to a placebo. A study conducted in Taiwan in 2011 provided clear and powerful evidence in their study of aromas and stress levels.The authors selected elementary school teachers, who are known to work under significant stress, and introduced inhalation of Bergamot C. Aurantium var. Bergamia essential oil to their routine, then focused on the physiological stress signals that are easy to record and straightforward to interpret. Researchers found that even a 10-minute-long weekly inhalation of aromatherapy resulted in a significant reduction of blood pressure and heart rate, which drove autonomic nervous activity toward a more balanced breathing.
Ready to experiment?
Here are the three amazing stress-busting ingredients to consider building into your relaxation routine – either on their own or as part of a blend.
Citrus aurantium aur.
This oil is distilled from the leaves of the orange tree and though sometimes called the poor person's Neroli, but it has significant tonic qualities that are appreciated in their own right. The Petitgrain oil is lauded for its exotic, fresh scent that is both calming and restorative. It has relaxing, cleansing effects that are especially effective for times of emotional strain and to help restore mental quiet and clarity.
Blends well with: Bergamot, Rose, Geranium, Rosewood and Neroli.
Uses: Petitgrain Bigarade supports natural balance in the nervous system and can be used to help access calm and clarity. Add 5 drops in a diffuser. May also be useful in times of anxiety, anger or panic. Blend 5 drops with 3 drops of Sandalwood oil and add to the diffuser or bath.
This oil has been used for thousands of years in worship and rituals and as a meditation aid. It has relaxing, inspiring qualities that can be used to promote calm, lift the spirit and to encourage the release of unconscious stress. Frankincense oil also has significant nutritional and hydrating properties to support healthy skin tone and revitalisation.
Blends well with: All Citrus oils, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Geranium.
Uses: To create a calm atmosphere and support a relaxed quiet mind, add 3-5 drops to a diffuser or bath. To create a meditative and inspirational environment, diffuse 3-5 drops.
Used to encourage a positive outlook and support healthy emotional processing, Clary Sage oil is a general leveller and can be used to encourage relaxation in stressful times. It also assists mind and body balance during premenstrual and menstrual phases and is a great skin tonic.
Blends well with: Cypress, Lavender True and Sandalwood.
Uses: To support a positive outlook, add 5 drops of Clary Sage to a diffuser for a refreshing atmosphere. May be useful in supporting anxiety and depression. When combined with Neroli oil it can be used to support healthy energy following childbirth (although be mindful that this oil is not recommended during pregnancy itself).