Feeling a little worn out from the ‘new normal’? You’re not alone!
Since Covid-19 reached our shores, we’ve had to make peace with lifestyle changes like working from home and little to no social activity.
And for those of us with families, having a full house all day, every day hasn’t been as smooth sailing as it might’ve first seemed.
Aromatherapy offers a safe and effective way of supporting our wellbeing during difficult times like these.
There are many ways to use essential oils in daily life to promote a healthy, balanced body and mind. If we feel good, we can better deal with challenges and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.
Whether it’s diffusing or taking an aroma bath, you can use aromatherapy for relieving stress and anxiety, improving concentration and sleep, and boosting the body’s natural defence systems for fighting bacteria and viruses.
Here are 7 tips to stay healthy and happy during the pandemic with aromatherapy:
1. Purify the air at home
Since we’re spending more time at home, why not make being inside as refreshing as being outside?
Regularly diffusing essential oils improves indoor air quality. Their scents cleanse our spaces, help us breathe better and lift our mood which all contribute to improving immunity.
Inhaling their aroma helps clear the airways and support a healthy respiratory system during times like these.
A simple, safe way to detoxify the air in your home is to use an aromatherapy diffuser. Release the wonderful scent of your favourite essential oils into your surroundings and let them do their magic while you breathe in the benefits they have to offer.
Diffuse overnight or during the day, whenever you prefer!
Essential oils we like:
Tea tree is a household staple for cleansing with its strong, medicinal aroma.
If you’re not fond of the smell of tea tree, then the aromatic, fresh scent of eucalyptus and lemon are great air purifiers.
Use 3 - 5 drops of essential oil per 100mL of water in a diffuser.
In a big room or office, you can use more essential oil but just make sure to balance the oil / water ratio listed above.
Don’t have a diffuser?
For a quick fix, get a piece of tissue and fold it in half to make it a bit thicker. Place a few drops of pure essential oil onto it and hang it anywhere in your home using a peg or a piece of tape to let the aroma circulate.
If it’s difficult to diffuse where you are, apply diluted essential oils around the wrists, chest and back area for respiratory and immune support.
Cleanse blends (Your choice of drops)
- Tea Tree/Lemon
Endless summer blend
2. Infuse your workspace with productivity
Most of us have had to work from home (WFH) during the pandemic and procrastination has never been easier.
With the fridge close by and other distractions like laundry, cleaning and/or your kids calling your name, it can be hard to stay focused.
A touch of rosemary essential oil does wonders for mental clarity. We all know rosemary from our roast lambs but the sharp, herby scent of its essential oil stimulates blood circulation to the brain, boosting concentration and focus.
Like rosemary, the fresh and cooling smell of peppermint raises blood to the head to aid mental functioning and helps you absorb all that information the workday brings.
Have a quick tidy up to set the scene before using essential oils in your WFH space. Place a diffuser close to where you work and get your essential oils going first thing in the morning while you prepare for your day.
By the time you’re ready to get stuck in, your space will not only smell amazing but shift your brain into work-mode.
Essential oils we like:
Herb, citrus and mint essential oils are great for improving focus.
Rosemary and peppermint activate your central nervous system for better concentration and clarity.
The earthy scent of clary sage helps clear the mind, bring a sense of well-being, and positively stimulate memory.
Diffuse: For the perfect workday, add 10 drops of essential oil per 200mL of water to your diffuser and switch it on before having your shower and getting ready.
Apply: Grab a small bowl and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of carrier oil (we recommend coconut for a non-greasy application).
Then add 5 drops of the essential oil of your choice to the carrier oil, and massage onto the wrists, neck and shoulders to breathe in the scent so you can approach your work with ease.
Blends for focus & concentration (Your choice of drops)
- Clary sage/Sweet Orange (or Lemon)
Our focus blend is ready-to-go and combines grapefruit, peppermint, rosemary and lavender to kickstart your work routine.
3. Unwind with an aroma bath
Staying centred during a pandemic can feel like an uphill battle especially when the flow of daily life is a little restricted.
Let go of tension after a busy day by treating yourself to an aroma bath.
Water is a natural cleansing element and essential oils enhance it. This powerful combination relieves tension and stress while creating a relaxing, calming atmosphere when things are a little too much.
All it takes is a few drops of your favourite diluted essential oils into your evening bath to let your worries melt away.
So dim the lights, light a candle and immerse your body in the aroma of your favourite oils. Add to the mood with a playlist or bask in the silence. Spend at least 20 minutes soaking and have a cup of herbal tea (or glass of wine!) for the ultimate self-care retreat.
*Always do a patch test of the diluted essential oil on your skin before using it in a bath. Certain essential oils can be irritating on the skin, even when diluted thoroughly.
Bath recipe basics:
- 3 - 6 drops of essential oil
- 1 - 2 tablespoons of carrier oil
If you don’t have a bathtub, don't worry! You can do a foot soak instead by filling a small container or bucket with water and adding 2 - 4 drops of essential oils mixed with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.
Your whole body may not be immersed but your feet carry a lot of stress and will immediately begin to absorb the essential oils. Let everything that’s bothering you leave your body through your feet.
Blends for aroma bath (Your choice of drops):
Relax & unwind blend
- Lavender/Ylang ylang/Bergamot
Peace out blend
- Lavender/Sweet orange
I don’t like ‘lavender’ blend
- Ylang ylang/Mandarin
4. Create a sanctuary for sleep
Sleep troubles have been on the rise since the pandemic and using aromatherapy is one way of investing in getting a good night's sleep.
A survey released to Reuters early last year showed that 46% of New Zealanders reported that they or a household member had trouble sleeping due to COVID-19.
Kids having trouble with sleep? Sweet orange essential oil, a lesser-known oil for sleep support, has earned itself the reputation as ‘the oil of sweet dreams’ for how effective it is for putting children to sleep.
You can use a diffuser a few hours before bed to fill the room with sleep-inducing scents. Another super easy method is to make an aroma spray for your pillow and linens to infuse your bedding for a good night's rest.
A diffuser or a DIY aroma spray lets you take advantage of the soothing smell of essential oils for sleep.
- 10 - 20 drops of essential oil
- Distilled or filtered water
- Glass spray bottle
- Witch hazel (available at pharmacies)
First drop your essential oils into the spray bottle. Use 10 drops of essential oil per 100mL of water so adjust the ratio for your bottle size.
After the oils are in, fill your glass spray bottle halfway with witch hazel. It helps to mix the oils into the water as essential oils don’t fully dilute in water (they dilute in oil).
Fill the remainder of the bottle with water and give it a good shake. Voila!
DIY Sleep support blends (Your choice of drops):
- Ylang ylang/Bergamot/Sweet orange
- Lavender/Sweet orange
Don’t let the bed bugs bite
- Clary sage/Lavender/Ylang ylang
5. Stress & anxiety relief with aromatherapy and massage
Finding ways to remain cool, calm and collected isn't easy when faced with the long-term effects of isolation like stress, anxiety and depression.
This can then lead to many of us feeling under the weather when we really shouldn’t be sick.
The relaxing effect of essential oils can ease symptoms of stress and anxiety, putting us in a better place physically, mentally and emotionally. This then helps to boost our immunity so we are less likely to fall unwell.
Diffusing, aroma baths and aroma massages are some of the best ways to lift your mood, let go of tension and relieve stress from the body.
The soft, fresh, floral smell of lavender is abundant in summer and incredibly calming and soothing. Sometimes called the aromatic rescue remedy and crisis mover, it helps with overwhelming strong feelings and has antibacterial properties as well.
Sweet orange is a warm and citrusy summer essential oil that feeds joy and positivity for those down days. It’s also a great digestive stimulant, both physically and mentally.
Diffusing or taking an aroma bath are great ways to lift your mood and relieve stress and anxiety. (*Oregano and cinnamon are not suitable for an aroma bath. They can cause skin irritation.)
If you don’t have a bathtub or a diffuser, you can do a steam bath by getting a bowl of hot water, a few drops of essential oils and placing a towel over your head.
Close your eyes and breathe in for 5 - 10 minutes. This is a great way to get the oils into the respiratory system which is essential for anxiety relief.
To dilute the oil, take a small bowl and get yourself a carrier oil - it could be almond, coconut or jojoba. Up to 10 drops of essential oil in every 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (30mL) is a safe dilution.
If you’re an adult without skin sensitivity, you can add a few more drops - but always do a patch test first.
On the go:
Keep anxiety in check while on the go by making an aromatherapy mask using our safe and easy guide.
Blend and massage:
Live alone? A short self-massage around your shoulder and neck area can soothe in an instant. Use a carrier oil like coconut oil (fractionated is best, because it always stays liquid and is odourless) before applying.
For adults, 5 - 10 drops of essential oil per 30mL of carrier oil is a safe dilution. For children, use 2 -5 drops of essential oil instead.
Safety tip: Diffusers are child-safe. They’re also a nice way for those of us with skin concerns to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy without worrying about skin irritation.
6. Stretch your body with an essential oil rub
If you’re sitting down for long periods, exercising regularly, or just need to give your body a bit of TLC, you can combine essential oils with a carrier oil to rub over your muscles and joints before physical activity.
Working out from home? Use diluted essential oils pre and post-workout and massage them into problem areas to help relieve muscle tension and maintain supple joints.
If you’re not big on exercise, a morning stretch before taking on the day or an evening stretch before bed can be enhanced by massaging a mixture of a few drops of frankincense in a tablespoon of coconut oil.
If you live alone or spend a lot of time at the computer, take a breather by giving yourself an upper-body rub focusing on the neck, upper back and shoulders before doing some light stretching.
And if someone’s home, ask them if they can apply an essential oil to rub down your spine. The spine is connected to everything, so it’s a great area of the body to focus on.
Add a few drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil into a small bowl and mix well.
Start with the upper body - apply and massage the mix into the neck, arms, wrists and then focus on your knees, ankles and feet. Our feet carry us everywhere, so make sure to massage thoroughly into the heels, soles, arches and toes for full coverage.
Melt away blend (Your choice of drops):
7. Infuse your DIY cleaning products
Did you know that you can make aromatherapy a part of your cleaning routine?
If you’re already a fan of the natural lifestyle, you probably shy away from harsh, chemical cleaning products like bleach in favour of more gentle, eco-friendly options.
Essential oils are a versatile, non-toxic (and did we mention wonderful smelling) way of spicing up your DIY cleaning products with natural ingredients.
And with the pandemic still going strong, you get the added health benefits of aromatherapy because the scent of the oils lingers on.
Or if you need a sharp, foresty scent to really feel like you’ve cleaned something, essential oils like tea tree and eucalyptus will love your wood or ceramic surfaces.
If you’ve got some baking soda and white vinegar in the pantry, why not give a DIY essential oil cleaner a try?
- 3 - 6 drops of essential oil per 30mL of distilled water
- Cleaning agents for blending such as baking soda, white vinegar and grain alcohol (plain vodka is ok too)
- Glass spray bottle (dark bottles are best)
DIY Cleaner blends:
For information on water and vinegar base ratios, check out our post on DIY cleaning recipes!
- 1/2 cup of White vinegar
- 1 cup of Water
- 15 drops of Lemon essential oil
- 15 drops of Tea tree essential oil
No streak glass & mirror spray
- 1 Cup of White vinegar
- 1 Cup of Distilled water
- 10 drops of Lemon essential oil
As you can see, aromatherapy is a natural and enjoyable way to guard our health and happiness during the pandemic. You don’t need tons of materials to start - even just one essential oil and a bit of coconut oil is enough for an aroma massage or bath.
When it’s so easy to be overwhelmed with negativity, these tips make it easier to infuse some plant-based positivity into your daily routine. And we all need a bit more of that, don’t you think?
Which tip did you like best? Sharing is caring! Surely you’ve got a friend who needs this info too.