By Frauke Galia, 'The Smell Lady,' FALK Aromatherapy
You know the feeling, you get up in the morning and it seems like you never slept. You then proceed to move through the day on a half-empty supply of energy, finding it difficult to concentrate and keep yourself “energized” through the support of a regular supply of coffee.
When you get home in the evening you’re too tired to cook and proceed to order some takeout or rummage through the leftovers in the fridge. You go to bed exhausted, but you’re overtired and find it difficult to fall asleep.
Eventually, you do manage to get a few hours of sleep and when you wake up the next morning you start all over again. It’s the hamster wheel of tiredness. What I’m describing here is called chronic fatigue, that endless feeling of not having enough energy to get you through the day.
You’re not alone.
According to the CDC, it’s estimated that more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. are affected by chronic fatigue syndrome and that women are up to 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with it than men.
So, how can we help address the issue of chronic fatigue using essential oils?
It starts with something called “vital energy”.
Here in Western culture, we define vital energy as vigor, life, spirit, passion, power, and electromagnetism. The Hindus call vital energy prana. The Hebrew name for "vital energy" is ruah. The Chinese define energy as life force, or chi.
In aromatherapy, we want to nourish this vital energy.
Here are 6 simple ways essential oils can help reduce chronic fatigue and nourish your vital energy throughout the day:
1. When you get up in the morning, take 5: Break from the daily routine of getting up and immediately thinking about your to-do list, or checking your phone, by doing the following: find a quiet corner of the house and sit for 3-5 minutes with your favorite essential oil. If you have time to diffuse, do so, but even just placing a few drops on a cotton ball and putting it next to you will allow you to smell it.
Close your eyes and focus in on the scent. Ideally choose essential oils that are energizing such as lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint or rosemary. This mini-mindfulness exercise is a way for you to open yourself up and to clear your mind of the “mental noise” we have in our heads in the morning which can already act as a burden to start the day.
2. At work, home or away, diffuse your favorite blend: Room diffusing isn’t really an option at work, so having a handy portable tool, such as a personal inhaler, at your disposal can be helpful. However, if you work from home, a diffuser can be a wonderful aid.
Create a favorite blend of essential oils that uplift and stimulate the mind, like rosemary, peppermint and sweet orange for your inhaler, or try Aera’s Revive Morning blend, which was developed specifically to provide some of these beneficial oils like Juniper Berry, Rosemary, and Grapefruit, along with a number of other uplifting ingredients.
Now when you need a little pick-me-up during the day, you can simply inhale and give yourself a mental lift.
3. Take a 10-minute foot bath: Chronic fatigue can often be physical. If you’re standing a lot in your job, you feel the burden of aches and pains in your feet. Essential oils can be a great aid in helping to soothe muscles, including feet. Consider a blend of essential oils that provide relief for sore muscles such as Lavender, German Chamomile and Frankincense. However, remember to add a dispersant to the essential oil blend, as oil and water don’t mix and the oils can cause skin irritation.
4. Give sore muscles a 5-minute massage: Use a carrier oil such as jojoba wax (my favorite and used by massage therapists), vegetable oil or olive oil and mix in a blend of warming essential oils such as Ginger, Black Pepper, and Juniper Berry. The oils provide movement and help release tension in fatigued muscles.
5. In the evening, journal for 5 minutes before watching your favorite show: Often chronic fatigue is mental fatigue. One way to help release the tension in the mind is to “download” the information that’s clogging our brain. Journaling can be a great way to release a myriad of thoughts and help transfer them to paper. I recommend “free-thinking” journaling, meaning write in free form, just letting the thoughts flow onto the page.
Here an essential oil blend can be a great companion, with the aroma helping to focus the mind and encouraging thoughts to flow more easily onto the page.
Put a drop of essential oil on a cotton ball, or diffuse Aera’s De-Stress Mind blend, made with calming oils Frankincense, Petitgrain and Wild Chamomile, and place it next to you as you write. I recommend focusing and calming essential oils at the end of the day to help you relax and open the mind.
6. Before going to sleep, diffuse in the bedroom for 15 minutes: Winding down after a long day is vital to helping you fall asleep. Essential oils can play a supportive role in creating a calming environment for you to fall asleep.
Create a sleep sanctuary: just 15 minutes before going to sleep, prepare the bedroom by diffusing your favorite calming essential oil blend such as Aera’s Deep Relax blend made with Chamomile, Vetiver, and Sandalwood, among other calming ingredients. Leave the room and close the door behind you. Simply allow the scent to fill the space.
Now when you’re ready to go to bed, turn off the diffuser and you’ll have a relaxing environment in which to fall asleep. Please remember that there’s no point in running the diffuser all night long as your body is busy resting and regenerating itself for the next day. 15 minutes is all you need.
Frauke Galia is a Certified Professional Aromatherapist, member of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and founder of F.A.L.K Aromatherapy. Frauke is passionate about educating and empowering people to engage with their sense of smell and harnessing this under-appreciated sense for our wellbeing.