Struggling to keep your eyes open? Aromatherapy just might be your solution!
Exhaustion: Our modern arch-nemesis. Echoing through the hallways and courtyards of American workplaces is the battle cry of our busy society, “I’m exhausted!”
Never fear; help is a sniff away!
We feel it from the balls of our achy feet to the roots of our hair, a fatigue so pervasive and profound that it’s hard to recall how we felt before it became an accepted part of our lifestyle.
Anxiety, rage, and a sense of helplessness can all be symptoms of exhaustion. When our body’s energy stores are constantly being depleted without rejuvenation, everyday tasks become a source of strain and frustration. A constant state of fatigue can also take its toll on your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to every little bug that crosses your path.
Exacerbated by irregular and insufficient sleeping patterns, a lifestyle low in essential vitamins and minerals, plus a lack of exercise, may make recovering from real exhaustion a challenge. In fact, you may require some fundamental lifestyle changes. By eating a regular and healthy diet, and by adding a regular exercise routine to your daily regimen, you may begin to overcome your exhaustion, but sometimes making even these drastic changes is an exhausting endeavor.
Essential oils can make a dynamic difference in your fight against fatigue, particularly when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and moderate exercise. Stress is usually a major hidden culprit in exhaustion, as it is in so many other ailments. This is actually good news, because stress relief is one of the areas in which aromatherapy is most useful. Effectively addressing exhaustion with aromatherapy requires two-steps daily, one in the evening and one in the morning. This therapy is so pleasant, however, that you will welcome it as a decadent addition to your routine.
Evening Exhaustion Eliminators
Evening: Rest & Relaxation
You desperately need a good night’s sleep, but desperate people don’t tend to slumber soundly. The key is to unwind and relax your mind before climbing into bed. Essential oils can assist even the busiest brain in letting go for a few precious hours. Create a blend of Roman chamomile, rose geranium, palmarosa, and French lavender in a carrier (or base) oil. (Almond oil is excellent for dry skin and hazelnut is great if you tend to be oily.) If the sandman seems to have lost your address altogether, substitute marjoram for the geranium.
Palmarosa is a little known close cousin to lemongrass and citronella. It is wonderfully subtle, reminiscent of rose geranium but softer, rounder and more relaxing at a deeper subconscious level.
Rub your evening R&R; blend over your body, especially your chest, neck and lower back, before climbing into a warm bath or shower. Soak for at least 10 minutes, but don’t use soap to take the oil off your body. When you climb out of the tub (or shower), towel off, and you’ll be ready for your pajamas and pillow.
This same essential oil blend can also be added to a water-soluble, unscented bath oil and poured directly into the tub. Avoid bath oils made with mineral oil as they can be drying and irritating. Always add essential oils after the water has finished running, and just before you climb in.
Diffusing a relaxing essential oil or oil blend in your room before bedtime is another way to chase anxiety and court sweet dreams. Add just a few drops to a diffuser about twenty minutes before you plan to climb under your covers. Turn it off, or blow out the candle, five minutes prior to bedtime. Citrus scents or French lavender are especially nice, but there are also many fine sleep-promoting blends available. Maharishi Ayurved, widely available at health food and grocery stores, has a blend that many former insomniacs swear by, and Sabia offers core umber, a unique, balsamic, mossy mix that is my personal favorite.
Motivational Morning Scents
Morning: Vital Energy
Several years ago, I went through a period in my life when I was so chronically exhausted that I thought I had the Epstein Barr virus. Of course, I had two kids, a full-time job that required frequent travel, and an active social life. I never considered that fatigue and stress could be the culprits, I assumed they were simply the symptoms. Then one day, shortly after I began to study aromatherapy, I opened a tiny bottle titled “Vital Energy” by Aroma Vera. Every molecule in my body jumped to attention. I took the blend home and used it twice a day. Amazingly, by only the second morning, a brisk walk sounded like a great idea. Within a week, I had started running again and I was winning the afternoon struggle to keep my eyes open at my desk.
The core of this electrifying aromatherapy effect are rosemary and ginger, two oils renowned for their energizing and strengthening properties. Ginger is naturally warming, encouraging circulation and combating sluggishness. Rosemary is mentally and physically stimulating, green and minty. A great blend to start your morning would include rosemary, ginger, lemon, and just a drop of true rose otto. If you feel you need extra mental stimulation, substitute exotic basil for rose.
If you like to use a body moisturizer after your shower, add this blend to an unscented lotion or carrier oil (hazelnut and apricot kernel are both light, naturally astringent emollients that won’t leave your skin oily). You can also diffuse your morning tonic in the bedroom or kitchen. You can purchase an inexpensive timer and set your electric diffuser to go off ten minutes before your alarm to bring your consciousness gently into the morning.
Approach your new aromatherapy routine with the same commitment and open mind you’d give to a new workout regimen. You’ll notice a positive difference in your mental outlook and physical energy almost immediately.
Essential Oil Shopping List
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)
French Lavender (Lavandula vera)
True marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Lemon (Citrus limon)
Rose otto (Rosa x damascena)
Exotic basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Evening Exhaustion Blend:
40 percent French lavender
30 percent palmarosa
20 percent Roman chamomile
10 percent rose geranium
(or substitute 10 percent true marjoram for the geranium to combat insomnia)
Use in a five percent dilution in a body oil or unscented bath oil base. Can also be used undiluted in a diffuser (four to six drops for twenty minutes prior to bedtime).
Morning Revival Blend:
60 percent rosemary
20 percent lemon
15 percent ginger
5 percent rose otto
(or substitute five percent exotic basil for the rose otto for an extra mental boost)
Use in a five percent dilution in a body oil or unscented lotion. Can also be used undiluted in a diffuser.