Modern Day Rituals with Essential Oils for Stress Support
Stress is such an epidemic in our modern lives, and one of the key drivers behind many disease states.
When you are under stress, whether it be acute or chronic, the sympathetic or ‘fight or flight’ branch of your autonomic nervous system is activated, changing your biochemistry to equip your body to deal with the stressor at hand.
When this happens, bodily processes deemed unnecessary at that moment are dampened down – your digestion, production of hormones and libido.
Operating under this state has far-reaching health consequences, so we really want to be nurturing ourselves and promoting parasympathetic nervous system dominance – which is the counter-balancing ‘rest and digest’ branch of the nervous system.
If you were to see a Naturopath or Herbalist for support, you may be given key herbs or supplements to help modulate the stress response. Whilst these are wonderfully effective, without applying lifestyle strategies to further support yourself, our treatment suggestions are only going to get you so far.
This is where a self-care practice comes in (particularly if the stressor is something that can’t be removed – like a child waking in the night).
Reclaiming small moments in a busy day just for yourself.
Note how I said ‘small moments’. You don’t have to take extended holidays in order to do this – in fact, it is the small moments taken consistently throughout the week that are the ones that will help support you the most.
Thankfully, weaving essential oils into your day can do just this.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are aromatic compounds found in the flowers, leaves, bark, resin, gum and other parts of plants. These compounds are in fact chemicals produced by the plant to defend against insects and animals, protect against bacterial and fungal infections, communicate with other plants, and attract bees and pollinators.
Essential oils are incredibly potent, up to 70 times more powerful than the whole plant. For example, one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 25 cups of peppermint tea. A little truly goes a long way!
How to use them: everyday modern rituals
Diffuse calming or uplifting oils at home
Aromatic inhalation is the simplest and safest way to experience essential oils. A diffuser will disperse the aromatic compounds into the atmosphere, where you will breathe them in and experience positive effects on your moods and nervous system as they interact with the limbic system in the brain.
Depending on your mood, you may like to try:
- Frankincense: An ancient oil, extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree genus. Citrusy, warm and spicy. Renewing yet grounding. Induces feelings of peace and supports healthy nervous system function.
- Lavender: Calming, relaxing, and helps promote restful sleep.
- Roman Chamomile: Used by ancient Romans for courage during war. Soothing to the nervous system, with a sweet, floral, herbaceous scent.
- Wild Orange: Known as the oil of joy and abundance. In fact, any of the citrus family are uplifting and energising in nature – best used in the morning before work so you are not stimulated before bed.
Enjoy an oil-infused magnesium bath
Nothing is more relaxing than a hot bath filled with Epsom Salts – also known as magnesium sulfate. The more stress your body is under, the greater the output of cortisol, and the lower your magnesium status falls. Bathing with Epsom salts will go some way to top up your reserves. At the very least, it may help release muscular tension.
Try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil – dilute in a tablespoon of coconut oil first.
Supercharge your natural skin cream
Instead of mindlessly applying your face cream every morning, use essential oils to transform that mundane application into an exotic beauty ritual.
Add a single drop or two of Frankincense - King of oils, apply and avoid your eyes.
Frankincense helps reduce the appearance of skin imperfections when used topically.
Naturopath, Medical Herbalist.
Essential Oils 101: Join us for a Class
If you are curious about essential oils and would like to explore how they can support your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing, join us for an educational 2 hour workshop with Naturopath and Herbalist Lauren Glucina.
Try some oil-infused treats, discover more about these potent plant extracts, ask plenty of questions, take home a sample to play with, and enjoy a relaxing few hours to yourself to learn something new. Bring a friend, it’s always more fun!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when/where the next class is hosted.