Are you in a panic and suffering stress on the lead up to your Summer holiday? Whilst it can be a very exciting time of year, all the last minute rushing around (whether that be shopping for the holiday essentials, packing, cleaning the house, doing a hand-over at work, getting the kids ready, or just tying up any loose ends) can make it hard to finally unwind.
In fact, it is often so challenging the Telegraph recently reported that an Institute of Leadership and Management’s study found it takes people TWO DAYS, on average, to unwind once actually on holiday! Not only this, but 90% of people worry about going back to work to a deluge of emails, and 80% actually still respond to emails whilst away, finding it so hard to relax that they inevitably don’t. There is no wonder really as to why it is so hard to wind down, with the constant pressures of a fast-paced modern society and such easily accessible technology. However, with this in mind, why not swap your fast-pace and technology for something a bit more calming and natural, and make sure you really unwind on your break, starting just before you go?
Top tips to kick-start your relaxation
No matter where you are going (even if you are just having time off at home), there are a few crucial tips to help kick-start your relaxation:
- Be prepared – try and make time to organise everything in advance rather than leaving it to the last minute, so that you have time to unwind before you go and whilst on holiday.
- Switch your phone off straight after finishing work – don’t give in to temptation to read all your work-related emails.
- Book a relaxing treatment – whether that is an aromatherapy massage or something else like reflexology, hot stones or Swedish massage, this will help calm your nervous system in advance of your holiday and really get you in that ‘holiday mindset’. Why not try a treatment you don’t usually have to help you get into the mode of experiencing something ‘different‘ – for example Thai Yoga massage? Better still, book a treatment whilst you are on holiday too, at the start of your break!
- Utilise some lovely essential oils with relaxing, sedating properties that can help you unwind and promote calmer feelings.
Tried and tested stress-busting essential oils:
Supportively calming emotional stress: Cypress
A few months ago I received a Base Formula order I had been expecting and, so excited was I that I rushed about hurriedly to open the box. In doing so, I managed to drop one of my brand new bottles of essential oil and it smashed all over my floor. Because I was so stressed and in such a rush, I immediately wanted to burst into tears because my brand new bottle of essential oil had now gone; clearly my nervous system had gone into overdrive and had had enough! However, despite wanting to, all of a sudden I found that I couldn’t cry. Not knowing which essential oil had smashed, I scooped up the remains and found it to be Cypress oil. The moral of this story is that I was actually quite fortunate to smash this particular essential oil; as the aroma that suddenly wafted throughout my room was effective enough to calm my stress. So, my top ‘unwinding’ essential oil for immense pre-holiday stress is, of course, Cypress – offering great support in times of upheaval to restore calm and stop those tears! Use it in a diffuser before you go, whilst finishing off at work, packing or sorting things ready for your holiday, as it is also an oil that can encourage focus!
Balancing the body and soothing stress: Rose
Rose essential oil is very nurturing, offering mental, emotional and physical support during times of stress. Uplifting and soothing, as well as hormonally balancing (making it a great oil for women), it helps alleviate anxiety and nervous tension! Perfect for easing that holiday stress, why not mix a few drops with a cup of full-fat milk and add it to your night-time bath for a de-stressing soak on the run up to your holiday. Lie and relax whilst doing some deep, abdominal breathing to fully-maximise the inhalation of the oil.
Relaxing, unwinding and aiding sleep: Lavender
Lavender essential oil is perhaps one of the most ‘universal’ oils. This is a great one to take on holiday with you as not only is it extremely relaxing, but it is also great in the Summer holiday first-aid kit for things like minor burns, insect bites, aches and pains, and also as an anti-viral and insect repellent. Unlike other essential oils, you can apply this neat to the pulse points on your wrist to help you unwind and get into holiday mode. It will also bust any holiday insomnia you might get from being in strange surroundings! Pop 3-4 drops in a rollette bottle with 10ml Sweet Almond carrier oil and apply to your pulse points as and when needed – both before and during your holiday. If you like Rose essential oil, you could add a drop or two of that as well.
Calming the holiday excitement: Mandarin
A cheery, comforting oil that is generally safe for use with children, Mandarin essential oil is very calming for the nerves, soothing restlessness (great for the combatting the over-excitement of going away), and also helping aid sleep. Pop some in a diffuser a night or two before you go away to help keep the kids calm! Take it away with you to have the same effect when they are there. If you can’t take or access your diffuser, try popping three drops of Mandarin essential oil on a cotton pad and place it by the bed, close enough to be inhaled, but at a safe distance from touching the skin.
Fear of flying stresses: Neroli, Lemon and Geranium
Neroli and Lemon are lovely essential oils to help with any worries about flying. Neroli is very relaxing and soothing for fear, whilst Lemon is more uplifting, which can help with jet lag. Make sure you adapt to the time-zone by sleeping at the right time – maintain a sensible bedtime schedule as far as possible, and use appropriate essential oils to help with either sleeping or keeping awake where needed. Neroli and Lavender will help aid sleep, whereas Lemon will help you wake up as it helps bust stress-related fatigue and enhances mental performance, so use accordingly to how you feel. Geranium essential oil will aid rebalancing of hormones which are involved in regulating your sleep regime, so try and utilise this oil whilst you are away, especially if you are going on a long-haul flight. Put a few drops on a hanky and sniff regularly during the flight!
Mini essential oil travel kit
As you can see, there are many aromatherapy oils that can help you unwind on your holiday, but it can be hard to take them all with you. So why not make up a mini travel kit so you can take the ‘essentials’? A full bottle of Lavender essential oil is always useful, and you could always decant some other essential oils into smaller bottles. Alternatively, if you are trying the oils before you go away, why not make up a really calming, de-stressing blend with your favourites and store in a rollette bottle to save space in your luggage? See which ones work best for you (as aromatherapy is very individual) on the run-up to your break, and blend two or three essential oils together – 1-2 drops of each (up to a maximum of 4 drops) in 10ml Sweet Almond carrier oil.
So, don’t take two days before you can relax into your break. Unwinding on holiday is easier than you think – pop the oils on your pulse points, shut the technological world away, and off you go to enjoy your time: stress-free!
Guest Blogger & Consultant Aromatherapist