Sunday, July 3, 2011

Can’t manage “essential” stress relief?

Knowing something is good for you simply doesn’t help. Harsh fact, but true.  Without the “doing”, the implementation, it all goes belly up and we simply continue on in our less-than-healthy-sub-optimal state.

Take stress relief and essential oils, for example.  Most of us know that essential oils are a pleasant, simple way to help manage daily stress, increase concentration and improve sleep quality.  Herbs and oils have been used for thousands of years to enhance natural health and manage stress.  So what stops most of us actually making it part of our daily lives?  Are we too busy, tired and stressed to even remember to use essential oils for daily stress management?  Or is there more to it? 

If we consider the first mental associations we get for the phrase “essential oil” we are on our way to an answer.  Close your eyes and repeat the phrase to yourself:  essential oils.  You might see a massage therapist applying gorgeously fragrant oils from a pretty bottle to your stressed body.  You probably instantly see a little blue, brown or green bottle (much like in the image above) of concentrated oil.  The next part is tricky but pivotal – try to catch the silent “self-talk” that you engage in next, but which is often not accessed in our busy brains.
  • “My budget just isn’t gonna stretch to an expensive massage this week – maybe next month”.
  • “Hmm.  Essential oils are expensive – I only need a few drops but they want me to pay $25 for just 15ml?”
  • “Essential oils burn the skin.  That means I also gotta buy a carrier oil AND a ceramic dispensing bottle.  Starting to look too hard… maybe I’ll just have a glass of wine instead.” 
  • “I’d really like to book a massage but I have to take the kids to basketball and then I’d have to skip either my workout or the grocery shopping.”
  • “Not sure exactly which oil to buy.  I’ll try to remember to research that next week.”

You get the gist of it.  The self-talk identifies the core reasons most of us don’t make essential oils for stress relief part of our daily routine.

Consider this: once you are aware of  what drives your “why I don’t do it”, there are simple ways you can find practical answers and start to over-ride that limiting self talk.  How might you do this?  Think outside the box – here are a few starter ideas related to essential oils for stress management:

  • If you are a clothes-dryer user, put 5-10 drops of your chosen oil on a piece of cloth, pop that cloth in one of those washbags for delicates, and toss it in the dryer with your clothes for the last 5 minutes of the drying cycle.  The wash bag will prevent oil spots directly on your clean clothes.  The uplifting lemongrass (or whatever) infused through your laundry will make dressing for work a more uplifting experience, improve your mood and change your stress levels for the day.
  • Not a clothes dryer user?  Put a few drops of oil onto a piece of cardboard, pop that in an envelope, and place it in the drawer or cupboard where you store your clothes. Don’t forget to do the same with bed linens – easing into clean sheets that waft out healthful aromas leads to better sleep as well as a delightful sensual experience.
  • Use a daily all-over body oil instead of a moisturizer – aromatherapy on the run.  Pre-mixed, plant based and be sure it contains only essential oils and no extra nasty fragrance or chemical compounds.  (See Essential Oil + Fragrance = Something Stinks )
  • Add the essential oils (few drops are enough) to a bath and soak in it – that way you get to enjoy your wine as well.
  • Look for an essential oil spray, spritzer or body mist at the heath-store – make sure it contains nothing more than the essential oils, alcohol and water.  Pop one in the glove compartment of your car and spritz at traffic lights, before meetings, before getting out of the car and facing your kids and the evening chores.  Put an essential oil spray in your handbag for a quick stress-relief hit in emergency situations like an irritatingly long queue at the bank or dealing with a lost credit card. 

The solutions are out there and don’t take any extra real time – they also don’t have to cost nearly as much as investing in 3 different essential oils, one carrier oil and a dispensing bottle (thnk anywhere from $38 to $200+).  They require us to simply identify the real mental blocks that stand between the “I know it’s good for me” and the “so why am I not doing it?”  Tune into your self-talk, identify the blocks and get creative!

One of the biggest stress-relievers is good self-care; it’s a silent, unspoken daily affirmation to yourself that you are worth it, that you matter and that you are powerful enough to care for yourself.  That feeling of being empowered helps us to change our mindset and leads us to solutions instead of excuses.

Think smart about the gap between knowing and doing.  Use herbs and oils for natural stress management and body care.  Change that limiting self-talk about stress relief.  Once you get the hang of this technique for stress relief and you feel a little less stressed, apply the same technique to your diet and exercise regimes.

Awareness enables us to live simply, naturally and healthfully.  Enjoy, smile and remember to breathe.

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