There’s no denying the toll that the pandemic uncertainty we’re faced with takes on our mental health. Attempts to self-soothe with a bag of chips or maybe even a warm cup of tea are temporary and unsustainable at best, so what can be done? Studies show that essential oils such as lavender, peppermint and neroli can have positive effects on our mood and mindset. Because this so-called aromatherapy is on the rise, here’s a breakdown of the most common essential oils and their benefits.
In addition to the more physical benefits of using a lavender essential oil (soothing irritated skin, eczema or dry cuticles), the mental upsides include an improved mood and a decreased sense of anxiety. Its anti-depression and sleep-promoting properties prove ideal for these stay-at-home days. Apply and massage onto the skin, or diffuse onto your pillow at night for maximum effect.
To put it frankly, stress can contribute to an upset stomach and digestive issues. Peppermint oil works great to relieve abdominal pain and symptoms of IBS that only cause more distress in our day. Similarly, eye strain and tension headaches due to increased screen time or overwhelm can also be soothed by massaging peppermint oil onto the temples.
Sourced from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, neroli oil is a staple in any aromatherapist’s arsenal to relax the mind and body. Studies suggest that by inhaling neroli oil or applying it onto the skin, messages get sent to the brain’s limbic system – which controls the body’s nervous system – and can influence heart rate, blood pressure, and also calm breathing.
For those of us who tend to feel sluggish or lethargic after a gruesome Zoom meeting, rosemary oil works wonders to increase brain activity and clear the mind. Apply to the wrist and inhale when in need of a brain boost.