24 June 2011

Essential Oils | A Guide to Relaxation

I have always been very interested in essential oils and natural ways of looking after myself, and now that I am approaching my wedding - with the sheer amount of things to organise and the fact that I want to actually enjoy myself in the process - more than ever I am delving into information to find help and supplies.

So, whether you are a bride to be in need of some help with relaxation, or are over working yourself in your job (or your own business!), I aim to share my knowledge with you here.

Survival Kit
Basil Oil
Rosemary Oil
Lavender Oil
Clary Sage Oil
Jasmine Oil
Rose Oil
Carrier Oil
Dead Sea Salts

You can buy these oils from a number of online shops, but be careful as some are less pure than others. A good, respected place to try is Neal's Yard.

If you are feeling mentally overwhelmed and anxious, then basil and rosemary oil could be just the thing for you. With that stack of wedding planning or work to sort through, you need to be clear headed and able to concentrate. By popping about three drops each of basil and rosemary oil into a burner, this mixture can help you to combat mental fatigue, by stimulating and uplifting the mind.

Lavender, as many of you will already know, is the queen of calm. It is known for soothing emotional distress, instilling peacefulness and bringing feelings of nervous panic under control. It ensures a good night's sleep, being excellent for insomnia, caused by stress. Add a few drops into a burner and relax as the stress ebbs away.

So this is extreme, but I could have done with this a few times, so for those really stressful days, where you just cannot shut down, then this is where you can turn to. Clary sage oil is such a powerful sedative that it is recommended not to operate machinery or drive after use. It is an outstanding 'knock out' bath oil. For a deeply sedative bath, to encourage deep sleep, mix 4 drops of clary sage and 3 drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil, and add to a filled bath. Agitate well, and soak for at least 10 minutes immediately before bed.

This is certainly one for the morning of your wedding, or ahead of any event where you might be feeling unsettled, nervous and emotional. Rose oil is a luxurious and sensual oil, that stills mental fears, providing emotional comfort. It enlivens the heart and calms unsettled feelings, inducing peace and happiness. Jasmine oil strengthens the mind, and has a sedative affect on nerves. It is a confidence booster that liberates imagination and inspires strength. For a soothing bath, blend 2 cups of dead sea salts with 3 drops of jasmine oil, 3 drops of rose oil, and a carrier oil, and add the mixture to the bath.

Essential oils can be quite expensive, but they do last a long time, and the affects are fantastic. Neal's Yard also does blended oils, to achieve various states, like 'Focus' and 'De-Stress', so if you are short on cash, you could always opt for these more cost effective alternatives. Combined with a healthy, balanced diet, and plenty of exercise, you will be on the path to a calmer you in no time. Here is a little extra info on the diet and exercise front, that I find works well...

Extra Info
Drinking water is a particularly great aid to concentration, I find, and bananas and milk are great at sleep inducing, so give them a go too. I tend to find that reading or listening to relaxing music before bed is far more helpful than watching TV, which is too stimulating that close to sleep.

If you are stressed, your immunity will be lowered, so fruit and veg are very important to keep your vitamin and mineral intake at a decent level, to avoid picking up colds and bugs. Check out this book by Innocent, which is like a bible in our kitchen: 'Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book: 57 and a Half Recipes From Our Kitchen to Yours'. The recipes are so delicious and we never have any left overs at the end of the week - it makes eating a good amount of fruit and veg so easy!

Lastly, I must remind you that I am not an expert on essential oils, but this information is just what I have gleaned from professionals over the years, and that I find useful, personally. If you have any recommendations of mixtures or products that have worked well for you, please share in comments to this post so that we can all benefit together.

With thanks to Neal's Yard and Innocent for bringing such great products to the world!

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