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10 benefits of Eucalyptus (and why you need this herb in your life)

February 21, 2019
benefits of eucalyptus

What is eucalyptus?

Eucalyptus is an evergreen plant native to Australia. It’s fast-growing and can be planted in the UK in a spot that gets full sunshine. There are a number of benefits of eucalyptus for your health and around the home. 

It’s a medicinal plant meaning that it can be used to help treat a number of symptoms including coughs and colds. You’ve probably tasted eucalyptus in cough sweets or in vapour rubs such as Vicks. 

In my opinion, it’s one of the most ‘essential’ of the essential oils because it can be used in so many different ways. 

How to use eucalyptus

One of the benefits of eucalyptus is its so multi-purpose.

It can be used in two forms: as an essential oil (the leaves are steam distilled) or you can use the actual plant itself. 

Here are some ideas for you to try

A eucalyptus shower

eucalyptus shower
A eucalyptus shower

I buy bunches from my local florist (they usually sell me some clippings for about a fiver), tie into a knot and hang above the shower head. It smells absolutely divine anyway, however, the steam helps release the eucalyptus scent and is like being in a spa. I also like seeing greenery in my bathroom.

Steaming to help ease coughs and colds

Suffering with a cough or a bunged up nose? Try adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a sink of hot water, putting a towel over your head and breathing in the steam to help clear your airwaves. 

I also add eucalyptus to my essential oil diffuser to help soothe any cold symptoms. 

A natural insect repellent

I’m one of those people who mosquitoes tend to love and I don’t know why. I’ve tried so many ideas over the years including eating my body weight in Marmite after reading it would help (please note, it doesn’t but it will make you very popular amongst backpackers). 

Eucalyptus plants are supposed to be a natural insect repellent, which is why I’m spending this weekend down my local garden centre. According to the RHS website, they should be planted in Spring / Summer and like a nice sunny spot

Also try diluting eucalyptus essential oil with witch hazel (you can buy witch hazel in health food shops, larger chemists, or online) into a spray bottle for a natural insect repellent. 

Where to buy eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is often used for greenery in flower arrangements so you should be able to buy clippings from your local flower shop. I’ve found it costs anything from £5-15 depending on the size of the bunch – but a fiver’s worth is enough for a eucalyptus shower.

I also think they look great in a vase on their own. 

I buy eucalyptus essential oil from Baldwin’s, an apocatherapist based in South-East London or from Tisserand (available online). 

As always with essential oils buy from a reputable supplier to make sure you’re buying a proper product (and not one mixed with cheaper ingredients). 

10 benefits of eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus has antiviral, anticatarrhal and antibacterial properties. It helps you breathe easier and clears any mucus from your chest. It can be used to treat symptoms of sinusitis, colds, and cough.

Use by putting a few drops on your pillow or pyjamas if you’re feeling bunged up and struggling to sleep at night to help ease congestion. 

It can be made into a salve for achy muscles. Eucalyptus also acts as pain relief and reduces inflammation. It can also be used for headaches by rubbing the temples. Tiger Balm is made from Eucalyptus. 

Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oils to coconut oil to create a quick and easy muscle rub. 

Eucalyptus has natural disinfecting properties. It can be used for cleaning wounds (always dilute first) as well as around the home.

Mix eucalyptus essential oils with water into a spray bottle and use as a natural disinfectant cleaning spray. 

Recreate a home spa and create a luxury bathing experience.

Put 1-2 cups of epsom salts (helps ease achy muscles), a tablespoon of carrier oil (such as sweet almond, coconut or jojoba oil) and a few drops of eucalyptus oils into a hot bath. Mix before getting in, then relax and enjoy. 

Research has found eucalyptus may help reduce anxiety and stress. A 2014 study found one of the properties of eucalyptus was effective in decreasing anxiety

Add a few drops of eucalyptus to an essential oil diffuser. 

There are a number of benefits of eucalyptus for our emotional health as well. It’s said to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing. 

Eucalyptus can help open up a room that feels a bit closed or needs brightening.  

Light a eucalyptus candle such as these ones from Etsy, or make your own with eucalyptus essential oils and soy wax. 

Eucalyptus helps us think clearer and brings about feelings of positivity and optimism.

Try adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oils to distilled water into a spray bottle and create your own uplifting spray. 

It also rids us of trapped emotions and long term beliefs that no longer serve us.

Try adding a few drops to a carrier oil (sweet almond, jojoba or coconut oil) and massage your temples to release negative emotions. 

It’s also known as the ‘herb of protection’ helping to guard us from situations and people who may be harmful.

Mix with a carrier oil and rub on your pulse points for an extra confidence boost. 

The herb can be used as a tool for expanding your boundaries and moving forward confidently and without fear.

Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a carrier oil and rub into your body’s 6 pressure points: right behind your ears; place onto each side of your nostril; massage onto your shoulders; temples; hairline; and between your eyebrows and crown of your head for your 3rd eye.

Things to note

Essential oils should be diluted to stop them causing irritation to the skin. Also be mindful if using when pregnant or on a child.

I’ve also included some affiliate links to products I have bought in the past and can verify for. I’m not suggesting Amazon is the only place to buy from – this is just to help give you some ideas.

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Tidying up with Marie Kondo: 5 lessons learnt

January 3, 2019
Tidying up with Marie Kondo

A few years ago, it felt like Marie Kondo was everywhere talking about her KonMari method of tidying. I read a couple of articles and watched some YouTube videos showing how to fold clothes and left it at that.

By nature, I’m reasonably tidy and like everything to have a home. However, my life has changed from being a single person to having a husband and child. My living space has grown with it but I feel every surface is covered in piles of clutter. Our house has become so much of a dumping ground, it’s actually hard to open the front door because of the assortment of coats and shoes blocking the way (sadly not a joke).

I saw Tidying up with Marie Kondo whilst scrolling through Netflix. As I love to watch people go on a ‘personal journey’, I thought this would be a programme for me. I was right.

The first episode focuses on the Friend family. The Friends are a married couple with two young kids, busy lives and cupboards bursting at the seams. The parents are frazzled, snappy and life feels a bit disorganised – pretty much the universal experience of anyone with a young family.

Keep only those things that speak to your heart.

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo comes to their home and gently teaches them how to organise their lives better. It’s less about tidying and decluttering but more about learning how to go through your possessions and storing the things you love in a systematic way.

The five lessons I learnt from Tidying up with Marie Kondo are:

  1. Pay gratitude to your home. It’s so easy to just view your house as a mess but it’s something to feel truly grateful for. It’s where you are raising a family, it’s giving you warmth and shelter, and is helping you build a life.
  2. Organise by category. Marie Kondo suggests you organise by category and not by room. I tend to tackle decluttering room by room but this doesn’t give you the full overview of what you really have.
  3. Declutter in order of clothes, books, paperwork, kitchen/bathroom/garage/shed and sentimental. I think she suggests sentimental last so that you are more invested in the process and less emotional about belongings. This makes complete sense.
  4. Hold each item to see if it brings you joy and thank it for its use. I have a tendency to hold on to clothes in the hope that I shrink back into them. Marie Kondo taught me to thank them for their use and let them go. Let’s be honest, keeping items of clothing to body shame myself with is not sparking joy.
  5. Use drawers and boxes to store items. Anyone else have a cupboard of doom? Marie Kondo advises storing miscellaneous items in storage boxes. It makes much more sense to organise things into smaller boxes so you can see what’s in drawers and cupboards instead of shoving it all in and closing the door.

Marie Kondo has definitely given me a bit of a kick to start sorting out our home. There is a box of old Christmas decorations sitting in our spare room since we got them down from the loft with a lot of old rubbish in there. Before watching Tidying up with Marie Kondo, I would have left all the old Christmas decorations in there and piled the new ones on top – after all, they will be up in the loft where I can’t see them. However, I feel inspired to go through everything thoughtfully: all the old unwanted Christmas decorations can go with thanks and we will hold on to the ones that spark joy.

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Why I declutter regularly (and it’s nothing to do with a tidy house)

September 8, 2018

Every month or so, I will look around and see drawers overflowing with old bits of paper, shelves with various piles of stuff on top of the books, a kitchen table we can’t eat at because things have accumulated on there and realise, I need to declutter. I’m not a neat freak or a minimalist; I like my home to feel homely and I want people to relax in it. I also live with a hoarder and the word ‘declutter’ sends him into a tailspin.  However, I know that an accumulation of clutter has a negative impact on my state of mind. It affects my self-esteem lowering my opinion of myself, as well as making me feel like I can’t fully relax. The benefits of decluttering for me are all about improving my mental health and nothing to do with having a perfect house.

Benefits of decluttering

We all have different mess thresholds and it’s all relative. For me though, there are a number of benefits to decluttering.

Decluttering puts me back in control of my life. I really believe how you live in your space has a lot to do with how you feel internally. A messy cluttered home is often an indication that I’ve not been prioritising myself or is symptomatic of a deeper issue.

Space to think. Too much clutter makes me feel claustrophobic and it affects my ability to think clearly. Space around me frees up space in my brain and gives me clarity.

It lifts my energy levels. I feel much more energised after I’ve decluttered. In part, it gives me a sense of achievement but it also frees up time to focus on other things. It often puts a spring in my step and I feel inspired to get more done.

It boosts my confidence. Feeling much more on top of things has a massive impact on my self-esteem. In days of juggling work around my child and often feeling like I’m doing both badly, decluttering makes me feel like I’ve got at least one thing right.

Trying to buy less

We all know that possessions don’t make us happy.  However, it is hard to buy less. I often buy a storage solution as a way to declutter, instead of examining why I have so much around me. I have a tendency to keep on to things in case it becomes useful again. It very rarely does.

My recent blast of decluttering made me realise I have multiples of things from jars of Marmite to similar pairs of shoes. I’m buying mindlessly without thinking about what I have already.

I’m trying to put checks in place before I buy. I want to question what purpose it will serve and how long it will be useful for.

It’s time to be comfortable with less.

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