Beat The Lockdown Blues With Aromatherapy
On Monday 23 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all non-essential travel and public gatherings had to stop, and we should all self-isolate to protect the NHS due to the growing threat of coronavirus.
Just about everybody can cope with a few days or so of isolation, but we’ve already had 3 weeks so far in the UK, and a further extension of another 3 weeks has just been announced.
An estimated 3 billion people around the world have been quarantined in their homes for over three weeks now, so it’s inevitable that many people will begin to feel its effects because isolation is an unnatural state for most people.
Life under lockdown
To fight off boredom and keep spirits up people around the world have been finding ways to amuse and entertain themselves during the pandemic. In Italy they have been singing and sharing recipes while in Spain communal staircases have been converted into running tracks!
Staff at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals maternity ward kept their spirits up dancing to the iconic Sister Sledge tune, ‘We are family’, and people around the world have been sharing videos and stories online to keep us all entertained.
But despite all this creative fun, the coronavirus lockdown has led to many people experiencing difficulty sleeping, eating and drinking more than usual, a heightened state of anxiety, plus an increase in family arguments. Well that figures, since in ordinary times a typical couple spends only about 3 hours a day together on average, but now under lockdown they are together in isolation for 24 hours, every single day. And that’s not even taking the children into consideration. What could possibly go wrong!
Break the cycle of fear
Arguing over who drives the TV remote or who gets to choose the evenings takeaway meal is one thing, but being confined with partners and children all day, every day, for the foreseeable future is another thing entirely. The usual avenues of ‘escape’ (by going out) are blocked during lockdown and close confinement acts as an emotional amplifier when there is no physical space between ourselves and those in the family we’re having conflict with.
It’s at times like this when aromatherapy is an absolutely invaluable de-stressing and calming remedy. A global pandemic is scary and it’s only natural to be stressed and scared about it, which in turn causes even more tension, and so the cycle continues. Thankfully, using soothing and calming essential oils around the house can help break this cycle of fear and uncertainty while creating a more positive, supportive atmosphere for everyone. Including the kids!
The science bit
Some essential oils have the ability to block the neural connections that trigger the increase in adrenalin and cortisol when we’re worried and stressed. Other essential oils can actually stimulate the release of neurochemicals and hormones such as serotonin that help to slow the heart rate, regulate blood pressure, and stimulate the immune system. This action help us to return to a more normal, relaxed state.
These particular essential oils can be either inhaled, added to a bath, or applied to the skin in a massage. When essential oils are diffused in a room, the molecules of the oil are absorbed in to the bloodstream via the lungs and affect the limbic system of the brain, helping to regulate over-excited emotions.
Essential oils to beat the lockdown blues
There are a wide range of essentials oils that can be used to ease the lockdown blues and also help to maintain a positive outlook. A few of these essential oils includes;-
Bergamot essential oil
In 2011, a study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that bergamot essential oil worked to reduce hormone responses to stress. Bergamot is known as an uplifting oil that is believed to have a balancing effect on the nervous system. Add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser or burner or add eight drops to a warm bath and agitate the water well.
Frankincense essential oil
Frankincense is a powerfully relaxing essential oil that helps promote deep breathing and can reduce blood pressure, thereby restoring calm and quietness to mind and body. After any conflict around the house or when feelings of anxiety start to kick in, use frankincense essential oil in a burner or vaporiser. Breathe deeply and relax.
Lavender essential oil
A study at United Hospital in St Paul, Minnesota USA, found that systematically using lavender essential oil reduced preoperative anxiety in surgical patients. It also has benefits among other anxiety sufferers and research has shown applications of the oils – whether through a diffuser or burner, massage or warm bath – can reduce symptoms.
Patchouli essential oil
Like frankincense, patchouli essential oil is a sedative that can help to ease worry and anxiety. This essential oil has a balancing effect and is often used by aromatherapists to combat lethargy and tiredness. This oil should come in handy over the continuing lockdown!
Essential oils for better sleep
Since the lockdown began, many people have reported having trouble sleeping because the change in daily routine is proving to be so disruptive and worrying. Social media stories everywhere are echoing this phenomenon, with the hashtag #cantsleep trending on Twitter for weeks now.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, take a warm bath to which you have added 2 drops of geranium, 2 drops of sandalwood and 1 drop of bergamot before going to bed. The divine fragrance is soothing and relaxing and will really help calm down your thoughts, preparing you for a good night’s sleep. Use frankincense oil if you don’t have any sandalwood since it delivers its own, but similar therapeutic qualities.
Before retiring to bed after a challenging day of lockdown living, add a blend of clary sage, bergamot and frankincense oils to a vaporiser of diffuser in your bedroom, and it will fill the air with a delightful, relaxing aroma to help you get a good night’s sleep. These essential oils all help to relax states of stress, worry and agitation.
You may have feelings of insecurity due to the unwelcome changes in your life at the moment. If so, use jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver oils since they help instil confidence. As soon as you begin to feel stronger within yourself you will be able to take control of things and feel a sense of normality again.
It’s only natural to be anxious and fearful about what the future might bring during times of uncertainty when you feel you have no control over the events in your life during the coronavirus pandemic. There’s nothing more we can do other than staying at home and socially isolating etc, so don’t make yourself sick with worry over things you can not change. You’re already doing all that you can.
Use your essential oils in as many ways as you can to remain positive during this extremely difficult time. Using the correct essential oils will help calm your worries and instil the strength and courage you need to get through the coronavirus pandemic.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2020. Written by Geoff Lyth