COVID-19 - Essential oils for embracing our emotions

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen so frequently that this recent period of self-isolation during the pandemic has led to the full spectrum of emotions for everyone.  It’s not just feelings of isolation and loneliness that have bubbled up, but I’m sure there have been moments of anger, frustration, family arguments and despair at the uncertainty of the world in recent months.  Well, firstly, let me just hold out an extended hand to say I hear you – and secondly, let me also offer the beautiful reminder that on the opposite side of all of that, there have also been moments available to us where we have felt hope and positivity, despite the world looking very bleak.

I’m of the belief that we are here to embrace the full rainbow of emotions, as they often surface to show us something new – so this time in isolation has felt like a real opportunity for rediscovery at times! But I also know that we so often try and move quickly through the emotions we judge as ‘bad’ – and that there’s not been much opportunity for that among this chaos. So there have been times when we have all felt trapped, suffocated, and in desperate desire to feel differently.

The good news is that when we begin to slow down and take a little bit of space and time for some self-care, this often looks a little different to us, and we can begin to rediscover the truth that we are always okay, under the thinking that we aren’t.  "What is helpful, in times such as these, is to begin to recognise that whilst we might feel stuck in circumstances that we don't always like, if we can see the nature of the 'up and down,' moment-to-moment, human experience we have - remembering that at times we also bounce back to joy - life can become a little bit easier."

I find it helps to look to the wisdom evident in nature for the reminder that the same is within us – and so, for me, a little bit of Aromatherapy can always provide the reminder that we are OK! 

So, this month, we thought what better way to support us all through this uncertain time, but to rediscover how nature has our back – with some beautiful blends that can remind us how to embrace all of our emotions!

The power of aromatherapy

Nature is such a powerful teacher.  It offers us the continuous gift, all the time of knowing the wisdom behind life – with the trees showing us how to navigate the different seasons, and the clouds showing us how temporary it is for the beautiful blue sky to be obscured.  There are so many lessons in nature - and it also gifts us some of its natural chemicals to powerfully support us through our own seasons of life.

Each essential oil is a plant extract that has its own unique properties to support us through our different challenges, and this feels like the perfect time to share some beautiful recipes from nature to help us all navigate these turbulent times.  Whether we feel isolated, alone, lonely and low, pent up, angry and frustrated, or stressed and anxious about our health or what the future holds, there’s always an essential oil (or 10!) to bring us back to balance and give us just a glimpse of hope.  

How aromatherapy can help us navigate our feelings

With all of this, there’s also another reminder on offer, too.  In the space of self-care, using essential oils, we can reconnect to the idea that all of our feelings are perfectly human; simply part of life’s seasons.  And so, the full spectrum of emotions is always welcome.  We just simply need to tune in, listen to them, and remember that we are part of nature - and that we have the power to hold our emotion, allow it to be there, and let it flow. As Jeff Foster says: “Feelings arise to be held, not healed”.

So, the real question is - what can we learn about ourselves through this experience?  And, of course, most importantly, which essential oils will support us to hold these heavy feelings and feel a little bit more peaceful and hopeful about it?  Read on…

Wherever we feel something, there is always an extreme of that which can come along and support us, without us really doing anything.  So, we are exploring here the oils and blends that have properties which can remind us of our innate strength, connection, joy, upliftment, peace, calm, relaxation and flow.

Strength and connection: essential oils for isolation and loneliness

If you’re feeling the experience of ‘loneliness’ during isolation (regardless of whether you are with your family or on your own!), I think firstly it can help to see that you are part of a whole world that feels the same emotion – and in a way that’s a nice reminder that you are not alone.  

There are so many beautiful oils that can remind you of your true connection, and your resilience and that you’ve got this.  Here are my three favourite options for tapping you back into your strong, connected self:

  • Violet Leaf Absolute – a sweet, earthy, herby, floral oil. A wonderful comforter, which reminds us of our capacity to be independent, whilst also accepting of change.  It is perfect in a blend for remembering our deeper connection to life and ourselves! 

  • Patchouli – a musky-sweet, herby oil, this beautiful, hypnotic base note is soothing, grounding and meditative to help you reconnect to that space within you that knows connection.
  • Myrrh – with a  musky, woody, spicy aroma, this comforting oil is one commonly used to bring you back to a meditative space of deeper connection.

Blend ideas:

  • Strengthening connection – For the ultimate boost when you are feeling lonely diffuse a beautiful blend of 4 drops Patchouli, 2 drops Violet Leaf and 2 drops Myrrh in a diffuser or candle burner, and sit meditatively for 10 minutes to reflect on your deeper connection to nature and life.
  • Uplifting and comforting – If you’re in need of a little more upliftment, why not create a spritz with 100ml Orange Flower Hydrolat, 15 drops of Sweet Orange, 10 drops Patchouli and 5 drops Myrrh. Spritz over yourself when you need a reminder of strength. 
  • Bathing in connection – Treat yourself to a pampering bath and reconnect to yourself – add 2 drops Violet Leaf, 2 drops Clary Sage and 2 drops Lavender to 15ml Bath Oil or SLS Free Shower Gel and pour into your running bath water.  Close your eyes, lie back and enjoy the reminder!

Joy and upliftment: essential oils for feeling low 

If you’re feeling low during this time, why not treat yourself to some mood-boosting, joyful essential oils that can uplift you and remind you that all of this is temporary?  

My three favourite uplifting oils are:

  • Sweet Orange – with a beautifully fresh, sweet citrus scent, this oil is cheery and uplifting – perfect for boosting your mood during this time.

  • Lemon - with a sweet, lemony aroma, this is a perfect oil for lifting the spirits and reminding the mind of what’s possible.
  • Yuzu – this tangy, joyful citrus oil is one of my favourites as it is like a zingy hug in a bottle.

Blend ideas:

  • Joy boost –  for a beautifully joyful blend diffuse 4 drops Yuzu with 2 drops Sweet Orange and 1 drop Lemon.
  • Uplifting inhalatorYuzu is a powerful enough oil on its own, and the scent can often be diluted in combination, so you could just pop 3 drops of Yuzu into an Aromatherapy inhaler to sniff as and when you need uplifting.
  • Mood-diffuser – when you’re feeling overwhelmed with low mood, try diffusing 3 drops Yuzu, 2 drops Geranium and 2 drops Petitgrain to cultivate a calming but uplifting environment.

Peace and calm: essential oils for feeling pent up, angry and frustrated 

Of course, we also all experience moments of feeling pent-up, angry and frustrated with the social distancing and isolation.  We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t!  We might be resentful that we can’t see family and friends, or we may be feeling a bit tetchy with those closest to us, especially after being locked in together for so long. If so, try these calming, anger-busting blends around your home so that everyone can benefit from a sense of peace!

  • Ylang Ylang – a strong, but sweet, woody, floral oil that is perfect for busting anger - especially when caused by stress and fear – as it reconnects you to the essence of love.
  • Roman Chamomile – with a strong, herbaceous, fruity scent, this calming oil is balancing for the nervous system and emotions, especially anger and frustration.
  • Rose Geranium – a lemony-rosy floral, this oil is perfect for dealing with a full-spectrum of emotions, as it releases and balances anger - as well as stress, anxiety, grief and loss.

Blend ideas: 

  • Anger-buster – Diffuse 3 drops Rose Geranium with 2 drops Ylang Ylang and 2 drops Roman Chamomile to help everyone reconnect to peace and calm.

  • Peaceful restoration – carve out some time for yourself to enjoy a peaceful, calming bath – add 2 drops Rose Geranium, 2 drops Rosewood and 2 drops Mandarin to 15ml Bath Oil or Bath & Shower Gel and pour into your running bath water.  Lie back, and close your eyes, and allow yourself to be restored.
  • Calming spritz – create a spritz to calm yourself down when feeling frustrated. Mix 15 drops Bergamot, 10 drops Rose Geranium and 5 drops Ylang Ylang into 100ml Lavender Hydrolat and spritz as required.

Relaxation & flow: essential oils for stress, anxiety and uncertainty

If we have to introduce you to the concept of stress and anxiety during this time of uncertainty, I’m not sure where you’ve been!  Having said that, it is equally possible when living in the knowing of our true wisdom that we may have an entirely different experience of these emotions.  So, how do we use essential oils to remind us – and our families - of that?

Here are my favourite oils for restoring relaxation and flow during this time:

  • Bergamot – a fruity, sweet, spicy, citrus, strong oil that is perfect for anxiety-relief.

  • Frankincense – a woody, spicy, balsamic oil that is wonderfully calming for feelings of panic, and for cultivating a meditative feeling.

  • Amyris – a soft, woody, balsamic oil that is perfect for calming the mind and encouraging a meditative state of flow.

Blend ideas: 

  • Relaxing flow restoration – Diffuse 3 drops Bergamot with 2 drops Frankincense and 2 drops Amyris in a diffuser or candle burner to restore balance and relaxation for the whole household!
  • Peaceful pamper – if you’re really feeling worried, treat yourself to a pampering self-massage.  Mix 2 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Lavender and 2 drops Rose in 15ml Grapeseed oil and massage into your body in long, gentle strokes, in a direction towards the heart. 
  • Flow finder – this time can still be one of flow and creativity, if we follow the call into rediscovery of what we love – so why not pop your diffuser on and try a new activity?  Mix 3 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Lemon and 2 drops Grapefruit in a diffuser or candle burner and carve out some creative space!

Overall, no matter how bleak the world feels at the moment, what I want you to gain from this is a sense of hope and possibility.  These blends will certainly help you drop into a different space, so use them as a way of reconnecting to your natural wisdom – and embrace the joy that emerges as you do.

Nicole Barton
Consultant Aromatherapist

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