The best essential oils for emotional support
So, as another lockdown week draws to a close, we should be feeling calmer. We aren’t having to juggle the daily commute, the school run, rushing from meeting to meeting, rushing home to do the pickup, bath and bedtime, the food, the washing, logging back on to catch up on work, collapsing into bed before doing it all over again.
In a time where we are being forced into a simpler life, no place to be, no rushing around, I have realised that I am a serial multi-tasker. I always seem to be spinning at least 10 plates, albeit by the edge of my fingertips. But now, more than ever as we reflect and stop, we can see how fast this world we live in today moves, and how successful and fulfilled lives seem to partner with busy and fast-paced lifestyles. Although many of us are accustomed, this way of living does put pressure on both our bodies and minds and very easily and frequently, takes our life out of balance.
I often think taking on too much is part of my personality, historically when one of those spinning plates came crashing down, to which they would all tumble down, I would see myself fall into a cycle of crash and burn, need a good rest and break, before starting the whole process again. At least this is the effect leading such a busy life used to have on me, until I got into, and discovered, in my opinion one of the best self-care tools around, pure essential oils. A huge part of my life now, I use essential oils in most aspects, to support me through everyday struggles.
ESSENTIAL OILS REALLY ARE ESSENTIAL
My love for essential oils began at a time where I was most vulnerable, post-partum, stuck at home with a new baby, totally overwhelmed with having a little person to keep alive. I found the sleep deprivation and motherhood all such a struggle, contributing to a real drop in my mood, mentally fatigued, and finding it hard to stay positive. Feeling both anxious and totally overwhelmed most of the time, full of new mum stress and neurosis.
It was then, I went to visit an energy therapist, we did some work with both Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and essential oils. She gave me little samples of oils to take home to help with my racing anxious mind, samples to help me sleep (read get back to sleep after the baby had me up almost hourly). She also recommended diffusing some oils whilst I was at home during the day, specifically Frankincense, known for its healing properties to aid anxiety, depression and to help with relaxation. I was so mentally fatigued I was willing to try anything, this was the start of my essential oil journey, I found them to have a real positive effect on me, they really seemed to calm my nerves. I started to research more about essential oils and started to use them to treat all sorts of physical and emotional ailments as they came up for both me and my family.
Within that maternity leave period I learnt so much, these oils, all just tiny molecules, taken from nature, plants, flowers, seeds, tree resin, bark, leaves and citrus fruit rinds. In the same way as they were there to protect the plant, they were also able to provide therapeutic benefits to protect us, not only supporting our physical health but able to work as a powerful tool to support our emotional and mental health, relieving imbalance in our bodies and mind. I found them so effective, plus easy to incorporate into my busy life.
HOW THEY WORK
Essential oils primarily impact us via the Limbic system, which is the busy part of your brain responsible for regulating both your emotional and higher mental functions. Including learning, motivation, forming and storing memories, controlling adrenaline and autonomic response, regulating hormones, sexual response, sensory perception and motor function.
When we inhale essential oils, via the olfactory bulb (that sits behind your nose), it makes direct links with the limbic system in the brain. Smells can trigger memories and feelings and these natural chemicals from essential oils can then enter brain cells and can help to shift our moods. Scientists are now discovering that trapped emotions can be stored in every cell in our body, therefore overtime they can have a physical effect on our health where we store negative emotions or traumatic experiences not processed completely.
We are holistic beings, and I have always looked at health holistically. If we are out of balance physically or emotionally, we are susceptible to illness and disease as our immune system doesn’t operate as efficiently as it could, people often forget this. However healthy we believe our lifestyle to be, based on exercise and what we eat, if we subject ourselves to mental stress for prolonged periods, we will see an impact to our overall health.
That’s why I love the oils, a secret weapon in the pursuit of life, living in this world can be challenging, demanding, relentless and just a bit hard sometimes. As a busy Mum of two young children, I have come to learn the important lesson of not being able to pour from an empty cup and remember the need to constantly replenish ourselves in order to be able to give to our loved ones.
Despite being quite self-aware, life has a way of throwing off our equilibrium in all manner of situations all the time. Last year, essential oils were the tool I turned to when my daughter started school and when my son started childcare. They were feeling anxious and apprehensive about their new experience, being separated from mum and dad, so Wild Orange essential oil diluted and rubbed on their pulse points and chest made a noticeable difference in their resistance to these life changes. Or take our current situation, my husband and I are busy planning quite an extensive house renovation project that is not only more expensive than we can afford, but is also a complex web of coordinating many moving parts. This often feeds my love of an overactive mind and making switching off from all the decision making that needs to be done so hard at the end of the day. So, Vetiver is my oil of choice at the moment and the oil I am turning to daily to keep me calm.
If I am not feeling grounded and centred I don’t feel I can be a good mum. In my pursuit of more balance, I start my day generally with Frankincense or Sandalwood, inhaling or applying to the soles of my feet to ground me and set my day off on the right tone. Then throughout the day if I feel unfocused at work, if my concentration dips, I go to Rosemary. If I’m feeling unmotivated Clementine, is there or when I’m lacking in energy, Peppermint will give me a boost. I will add these essential oils to my diffuser or take a minute to take some deep breaths and inhale one of these oils.
After particularly stressful days I will try to take a bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oils, or sometimes take 10 minutes out for some meditation, which I find is greatly enhanced by inhaling a relaxing oil beforehand. I also diffuse oils in all the bedrooms in our house for 15 mins before bedtime and whilst we are sleeping, which helps create the right atmosphere conducive to quality sleep, imperative for mental health. My children have, at times suffered from night terrors and restless sleep. Their little minds working overdrive with the learning and development they are undergoing, that is when essential oils such as Lavender, Juniper Berry and Roman Chamomile have been greatly effective.
These are just a few of the many ways that essential oils can help us overcome the challenges we face in everyday life. Living in this fast-paced hectic world can be draining, I find being a mum, a wife, a friend and juggling all those things a lot to balance sometimes. Using essential oils uplifts me, helps me process feelings of anger or resentment when life does get a bit overwhelming, helps me let go and to clear emotional blockages by intentionally connecting with my mind, my thoughts and my feelings.
Living a more balanced life is something I’m sure we all try to strive for in some way or another. It’s on everyone’s to-do list, but it takes many small steps to not only achieve it, but to maintain it.
We live in a reactive society, but maybe we can use this lockdown period as an opportunity to identify ways to make more time for ourselves, our thoughts, our dreams and our needs. Re-establish peace in our lives as we remember to continually reconnect with ourselves and take care of our mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Essential oils could be the tool you’ve been looking for, beautiful, powerful and healing gifts of nature that may have the potential to help you restore and replenish both your body and mind.
My recommendation of 7 essential oils to bring more balance to your life:
Frankincense: Can aid your body’s ability to protect and heal, can relieve feelings of emotional trauma, anxiety and depression.
Bergamot: Known for its healing effects on physiological distress, can be used when feeling sad or overwhelmed or when there is a need to find more balance or joy
Lavender: It is one of the most versatile essential oils with numerous therapeutic benefits. It helps in enhancing mood and aids in relieving stress, anxiety and frustrations
Roman Chamomile: Can assist in a variety of emotional imbalances including anger, recklessness, impulsiveness, nervousness, frustration and fear.
Ylang Ylang: Is an excellent natural remedy for anxiety, stress and can often aid feelings of resentment or low self-esteem.
Vetiver: Can help reduce feelings of frustration, relieve anxiety, insomnia, and assist to gain mental stability.
Patchouli: Great for letting go, to relieve feelings of emptiness or emotional disconnection
*High-quality pure essential oils are important, don’t just go for the cheapest. Check the ingredients as many of the cheaper oils may have been watered down, had toxic fillers or chemicals added, which means the benefits will be heavily diluted and you may not receive the desired outcome. Speak to a specialist for advice, give them a try, your soul will thank you for the high vibration and balance they bring to your life.
Nicola Burnett is a Natural Living and Essential Oil Guru, and working Mum, inspiring and empowering people to try a more natural way of living, through the use of pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Holistic health solutions for physical, mental and emotional support. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.