We all go through stressful periods: relationships, work, home, all come with their ups and downs – and part of the human experience is to learn how to navigate the rough with the smooth. Right now though, the coronavirus situation means we’re all collectively experiencing stress, admittedly with varying degrees. For some this, is living through one of the most challenging periods of their lives, but for many of us, it’s recognising that we’re living with continual underlying feelings of discomfort and uncertainty.
Stress manifests itself in physical ailments or mental symptoms, or both. Since the onset of the coronavirus situation, I’ve experienced tremors, headaches and brain fog. I’ve had to really think about my stress levels and put measures in place to help ease them.
So what can we do to alleviate stress?
One of the best things we can do (in my non-medical opinion) is recognise life is really tough now. We’re all grappling with a very different way of living and worries for our loved ones. We don’t know when or how this is going to end. This is bringing up lots of emotions and our stress levels are higher as a consequence. We all have various coping mechanisms and some people will be able to deal with this better than others. However, if you can, try to think about self-care and how best to look after yourself.
Above all though, be kind to yourself and those around you.
How essential oils help with stress
We’re all aware of the power of music and how listening to a song on the radio can transport you back to a different time in your life. Blondie will always remind me of long car journeys to the south of France listening to it over and over again because my parents only had one cassette tape and it was the 70s.
Our ability to smell is linked to our limbic system, which triggers emotions and evokes memories. The sweet sticky scent of suncream will always remind me of holidays. Dew of the first days of spring. And cinnamon of Christmas time. This is why certain smells trigger emotions in us, which is where essential oils come in.
Essential oils help with stress because they influence our emotions and our mood. They can lift us up, energise us and equally help us to relax, all through the power of smell.
Stress can make you very tired, and where possible then I would suggest leaning into your body and resting. However, that’s not possible for everyone. I’m still working full time, I have a child and I need something to help me focus during the day. Essential oils can revive us, as well as calm us down.
Best way to use essential oils
To build up a collection of essential oils is expensive and most people right now will be experiencing some sort of financial hit so I’d suggest buying just one or two. You don’t need several. Just look for pure grade essential oils. Tisserand, Absolute Aromas are brands that can either be bought directly, from a health food shop online or another big retailer.
Use one or two in a diffuser if you have one, add a few drops to a bath, mix with a carrier oil (you can use olive oil) and massaging into your skin or add a few drops with water into a spray bottle and spritzing yourself and the air around you. Remember with essential oils that a little goes a long way.
Best essential oils to help with stress
Below are some suggestions of essential oils that are known to alleviate stress – some will help revive you and bring around feelings of joy. Others will help you sleep better at night when you might be struggling to switch off. I’ve also included oils that are good for day and night. Most oils are fairly versatile.
Essential oils to help lower your stress levels during the day
Scent from citrus fruits
Any ‘zesty’ essential oils such as bergamot, lemon, mandarin, orange and grapefruit are all great at lifting your mood and making you feel more positive about life. Citrus fruits tend to be a little bit cheaper so are a good buy. I prefer to use these first thing in the morning to set me up for the day.
Rosemary has a reviving effect, which is useful for people feeling overwhelmed by tiredness or stress and great to use during the day.
Patchouli is a natural anti-depressant and is useful for treating exhaustion, stress and anxiety.
Basil is good for clearing the air and refreshes the mind. It helps to calm anxiety and revives the body combatting exhaustion, anxiety and depression.
Essential oils to help you switch off at night
Lavender is one of the most versatile of essential oils. It helps alleviate stress, reduce anxiety and help with sleep. Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on your pillow and bed sheets for a restful night’s sleep.
Ylang ylang helps ease feelings of anxiety and will help you feel calmer overall. It’s also the base for Chanel no 5.
Sandalwood has a restorative effect on our emotions helping to dispel anxiety and lift depression. It’s a good sleep aid and can help reignite a passion for life. Sandalwood is endangered so check that any essential oils you use are from a sustainable source.
Clary sage is great for moods. It lifts feelings of depression, calms nerves and creates a sense of peace.
Vertiver is from a grass native to India and works on an emotional level helping people feeling distressed or panicky. It’s a natural sedative so helps promote relaxation and restful sleep.
Marjoram is a gentle sedative that is good for dealing with anxiety, reducing insomnia and helping with a restful sleep.
Good for day and night
Frankincense is really good for lifting spirits, increasing energy and focus. It’s ideal when feeling stressed, overwhelmed and overtired, which is me about 90% of the time…
Rose is the scent of love and creates a sense of relaxed wellbeing, taking the edge of stress-related conditions.
Geranium is both calming and uplifting, making it a really good oil to help ease anxiety and is also said to reduce feelings of restlessness. It’s actually one of my favourite oils. I think it has a really gentle scent, which leaves you with a feeling of gentleness – much needed at the moment.