To many people this time of year brings an all-time low. It gets colder and darker and our energy plummets. This is believed to occur because the hormone serotonin decreases when there is less light.
There are plenty of ways how to bring energy and joy back into life as the nights get longer (and actually start creeping into daytime…).
- Enjoy the season; This is a time to go indoors; light candles, buy flowers, make your home cozy; this is your space of retreat. Experience the bliss of sitting in the warmth of your home with lit candles, watching the cold darkness outside.
- Pamper yourself: Take warm baths, create a home-spa; rub, buff, peel and moisturize! Go for a massage.
- Un-clutter: Go through ”all that stuff”; pictures, books, papers, clothes. Use this indoor-time to clear your living-space and allow yourself the joy of uncluttered living. Believe it or not, but this is a great boost for serotonine-levels in the brain. Clutter creates stress.
- Meditation: Take time out each day for yourself, 10 minutes is enough. Light some candles, put on relaxing music, lie or sit comfortably, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Really bring the breath all the way down into your belly. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about the timing. These minutes will feel longer than they are… Great energizer!
- Get outside EVERY day: Even for only a little while. Your system needs day-light and exercise in order to function. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Just get out there and walk or jump around for a while. It will boost your energy-levels and you will feel great! (then you can crawl onto your sofa with a steaming cup of tea and a good book, or movie…BLISS!)
- Herbal teas & natural remedies: St Johns wort, Lemonbalm, lavender… Stay clear of too much stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugars.
- Aromatherapy: Of course. Essential oils are a great help to help with emotions and stress. They also work directly with the hormonal system. Use uplifting oils in a burner or on a tissue to inhale. Great scents for winter are: Citrus-oils (orange, mandarin, lemon, grape…), Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Geranium and/or whatever you prefer. Remember; essential oils are strongly concentrated and only a few drops are needed to have an effect.
- Thought-patterns: When you feel yourself thinking negatively, change your thoughts, think of uplifting things.
Remember: This doesn’t just happen by itself. You are responsible for your well-being. No matter how difficult or un-attractive it might seem to exercise, for example. Just do it and you will notice what an incredible change it makes!
In the times when people still lived in harmony with nature and seasonal changes, this was a time for togetherness and preparation for the hectic spring/summer season. Bedtime came earlier because of the dark.When we remember the rhythm of the seasons and allow ourselves to fit into this rhythm, we handle seasonal changes better. Once spring comes again there will be an explosion of action and energy…then we need to be rested.
For ideas on how to use essential oils, see earlier posts under the “aromatherapy” category.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged bath, candles, citrus, clutter, cold, darkness, day-light, energy, exercise, geranium, herbal teas, lavender, lemonbalm, Massage, meditation, positive, seasons, serotonin, St Johns wort, thought-patterns, winter blues, ylang-ylang
Stress is around all the time in different disguises and usually we don’t even notice them until they grow into improportionate monsters that we are completely incapable of handling. At this point you need some serious help. But we can do a lot by ourselves…it doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time – actually, these measures might probably save you both time and money!
Here are the stress-symptoms and what you can do to change that specific symptom, which over time will help you to handle the stress.
- Head-aches: Drink more water – 1 glass/hour is easy to remember. Or keep a 1/2 l. bottle with you at all times and make sure you drink 2-3 of these. Get some fresh air. Reduce your intake of coffee, try drinking water or herbal tea in your breaks. Peppermint-tea is an excellent “pick-me-up” when energy is flagging, it can also help with head-aches and nausea. Essential oils: Either as inhalation from a tissue or by rubbing a drop mixed with some veg. oil or non-perfumed cream into your temples and the base of your skull. Keep with you essential oils of Peppermint (mentha piperita), Lemon (citrus limon), Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus). Citrus oils and eucalyptus or “minty” oils help to revive energy and sharpen the mind. Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) can be very helpful with head-aches but due to its calming properties can be difficult to use in the work-place since it might relax you too much.
- Stiffness/pain in neck, back & shoulders: Move! Pay attention to your posture, get a new chair at work which allows you to sit up straight, or get a big ball to sit on. Every hour, take 2-3 min. to exercise; shoulder-rolls, knee-bends, back-stretch, neck-stretch…Shake your body loose, go out and breath some fresh air, or open a window. Rub your neck and shoulders. Start paying attention to your body! Listen to what it tells you.
- Irritation & mood-swings: Breath. Use a short and simple breathing-exercise to get you grounded and relaxed: Sit on a chair without crossing arms or legs. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing; take deep breaths all the way down to your stomach. Try to make each breath as big and deep and slow as possible. Breath in on the count of 4, breath out on the count of 4 – like waves on a beach. Very quickly you will feel your breathing slowing down and your body relaxing. The tension in your head will disperse and you get more energy and balance. This will help your mood. Essential oils in the work-place: Any citrus-oil will help, Black-pepper (piper nigrum), Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) followed by a citrus or Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis). At home, where you do not need to stay mentally sharp you can use: Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Frankincense (boswellia carterii), Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica), Geranium (pelargonium graveolens), Rose (rosa centifolia).
- Indigestion: Check your eating-habits. If you spend a lot of time sitting still, you need less food. Eat smaller meals and avoid heavy foods such as; bread, pasta, deep-fried foods, heavy sauces, sweets and cakes. Stay clear of pre-processed foods. Fill up on salads, vegetables, lean meat, fish or chicken. Sauces based on yoghurt are fine. Drink water or green tea, nothing else. Snack throughout the day on fruit, vegetables and nuts. After a meal, take a walk. Even 5 minutes is enough. This way your energy-levels will stay consistent through the day, your blood-sugar won’t spike. You will not suffer from indigestion in any form (farting, burping, feeling swollen, cramps, pains…) and you won’t gain weight! Herbal teas for digestion are really useful; there are some already blended from different herbs, also good are: peppermint, fennel, cumin, rosemary. Nettel-tea and green tea is good to drink during the day .
- Sleeping problems: Usually the problem is overload in the head; constant chatter, thoughts churning, anxiety attacks – or a mix of all these. Sleep is a habitual thing, you need to get good sleeping-habits. First of all food: Make sure you have 3 hours to digest your last meal before bed-time. Don’t drink alcohol in the evening; it might help you fall asleep, but the moment it starts breaking down in your system your sleep will be destroyed. When your body needs to break down, or digest, it is working hard and this does not induce nor help sleep in any way. Make your evenings calm; relax, read a book, lower the lights, take a bath, drink a calming tea such as; chamomile, hops, lavender or a pre-blended herbal tea. Stay clear from bright lights, coffee, black tea, sugary snacks, television. Get to bed early; around 10.oo pm. Create a dead-line for your working day; every evening you stop all action at say, 8 o’clock. If you are worried about forgetting things; write it down. Keep a paper and pencil by your bed and write it down as it arises, then you will, mentally, be able to let it go . Use breathing-exercises or other relaxing techniques once you are in bed. Bring a hot bottle to bed. Keep your bedroom cool and dark – use your bedroom only for sleep and love. Essential oils: Lavender (lavandula augustifolia), Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Roman Chamomile (chamaemelum nobile), Marjoram (origanum majorana), Frankincense (boswellia carterii), Rose (rosa centifolia), Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora), Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides). Use on a tissue beside your bed, in a bath before bedtime, in a diffuser during the evening. If you keep to this habit, you will find that you start sleeping better.
That’s it for today: If you have any questions or problems, please tell me and I will answer you.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Stress
Tagged Aromatherapy, citrus, essential oils, foods, habits, head-aches, herbal teas, indigestion, Lifestyle, mood-swings, pain, rose, sleeping, stiffness, Stress, tips, vetiver, ylang-ylang
The whole point to scenting with essential oils is because they are mood-enhancers and they will make a difference in how we feel, or perceive, our environment. In the early 90’s a study was made where essential oil of petit-grain (Citrus aurantium) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisii) were used to scent the air in an underground pedestrian tunnel. Pedestrians were asked simple questions before entering the scented tunnel(1) and after(2).
- How do you perceive the underground tunnel? Everybody without exception said it made them anxious and ill at ease.
- Everybody without exception said they felt uplifted and calm.
Just a small example of what essential oils can do to your emotional world. Essential oils are basically balancing, meaning they will bring you to a good state of normality when you are upset in any way. Upset can also be over-the-top high and stressed out by something wonderful; essential oils will bring you back to a level where you will still feel wonderful, but in a balanced way. When you feel down or angry or scared, the oils will help you to balance that by their up-lifting properties.
For use of different oils, please see earlier posts where I present useful oils for different states of mind.
How to do it:
- Aroma candles;….sort of. Essential oils are volatile and burn easily. I have experimented much with this and all that happens is that the oils smell slightly burned and the candle burns too high and gives off a blackish smoke. Essential oils in aromacandles are usually blends of synthetic fragrances that do nothing but smell good. This in itself can be enough if you are happy with that.
- Aroma burners; Definitely. You fill the cup with water and 3-10 dr. of essential oils (depending on the size of the space you want to scent.) and light a tea-candle under. BUT; if there is not enough water so it burns away; the essential oils will get burned, leaving a not so nice smell and a almost impossible-to-remove-residue in the bowl. Aroma-burners can be a bit messy.
- Electrical burners & bulb-rings; Easy to use and the oil will not burn since the heat is controlled. Good to use in children’s room since it doesn’t really need any supervision. Don’t forget to unplug it!
- Aroma-fans; These are the best. The essential oil is dropped onto a filter that fits on top of a fan. Electrical current (or batteries) moves the fan so the essential oils are dispersed into the air. This way the oils are never heated or warmed, making them keep maximum therapeutic power. Used in this way the essential oils effectively kill a large percent of airborne bacteria and pathogens.
- Aroma stones; Good for personal use like in an office or your car. Scents a small area since there is no heat or motion to move the oils into the atmosphere.
- Hot water / radiator; functions for momentary uses; like in the bathroom. Just a drop or 2 of essential oil in the hand-basin, rinse with warm water and the bathroom is beautifully scented. Essential oils on cotton-balls behind the radiator works fine if you are sure they will not catch on fire!!! Better to float essential oils on hot water in a bowl.
The thing to know is that essential oils are volatile; they “fly” easily which is also why they burn easily. Heat or motion (such as a fan) is always needed to disperse them.
The Japanese are very forward with the whole scenting business; they were already using essential oils in the ventilation-systems of big offices back in the mid-90’s. They were/are also pioneering the use of scented billboards and scented video-publicity in public places. The idea is this: If you are constantly bombarded with an uplifting scent each time you see the publicity for, say a washing-powder, you will – almost automatically – buy that powder, since you are programmed by the scent to feel good whenever you see the packaging….brilliant! And it functions so well.
Essential oils will not cover up a smell or anesthetize your olfactory system. But they will make things smell nicer and they will definitely make you feel better, calmer and happier.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Scents
Tagged aroma, Aromatherapy, citrus, diffusers, emotion, environment, essential oil, perception, scent, Scents