Essential oils for different types and shadowy causes of fatigue

Fatigue is always an interesting topic; I’ve suffered chronic fatigue several times in my life, and I’ve come to discover quite a lot of patterns that can increase the likelihood – as well as some different ways we can experience exhaustion.  There’s been some research done into how personality traits can be more susceptible to fatigue, and there are clearly some unconscious ways of being that may have us unwittingly increase the likelihood of fatigue that would be really useful to shine a light on.  As we shine this light, you can begin to identify whether you are particularly sensitive to exhaustion, as well as make your habits more conscious and create a life without so much fatigue.  

Alex Howard, author of Decode Your Fatigue, identified some key personality traits that lead to different types of fatigue – including Achiever, Perfectionist, Anxiety and Controller.  An article he wrote suggested that these patterns of personality significantly increase the likelihood of fatigue – so, I’m going to explore four ways I see that fatigue shows up – and then we can explore, below, which oils will be particularly helpful for the different types of fatigue and the different ways we can feel compelled into the behaviours that Alex proposes.

I’d like to just highlight that I’m a believer that we are not limited to our pre-existing habits, and that we can choose into new ways of being, as long as they are in alignment for us.  So, even if you are an Achiever, Perfectionist, Anxiety or Controller personality, there are shadowy ways of being that are creating exhaustion within you are – which, once illuminated, are the key to unlocking a new, empowered you.

I’m a huge fan of shadow work, which was birthed by the psychologist Carl Jung and offers us insight into the ways our minds unconsciously create life, and then push our habits into the shadows so we can’t see them.  If we are feeling compelled into the traits of Achiever, Perfectionist, Anxiety or Controller, it is likely to be because of an unconscious (and unseeable) need for Love, Approval or Security, and/or a tendency to inhabiting either Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer modes.  And so, rather than go deeper into specific personality traits, I want to explore how your sneaky desire for Love, Approval and Security can be keeping you in each different type of fatigue.

Of course, the more we can illuminate our deeper patterns and personality traits, the more we can then begin to support with specific essential oils for the root cause of our unique tiredness.  The more we know; the more we can see, the more tailored your essential oil prescription can be as to how to combat your exhaustion with the particular properties that will really help.

Below we explore the four types of fatigue and their personalities and shadow traits

Mental Fatigue – when the mind is overtired

One of the most obvious ways we can become exhausted is via mental overload, causing symptoms of a mind in over-drive, brain fog, inability to settle and confusion.  Alex links this to Anxious personality patterns, and I can see that the Perfectionist personality – and perhaps our inner helpless victim mode who feels “not enough” (which is completely understandable in this society) - could create this fatigue too.  The way I see this showing up is often when we spend too much time in our heads, too much time working out how to be perfect, and not enough time in our bodies.  

Often, an anxious or perfectionist personality trait will show up because of the hidden, unconscious desire to secure love, approval or security, so if this is you, and you are stuck in the mind - trying to figure out how you can stay safe or lovable enough - this could be what is keeping you in fatigue.

Essential oils that might help with this particular type of mental fatigue include:

  • Basil – a cephalic (mind-clearing) oil which spring cleans the mind, Basil is a great tonic for combating nervous and intellectual fatigue.
  • Rosemary – another beautifully cephalic and stimulating oil, Rosemary is a wonderful oil for fatigue caused by a tired mind.
  • Bergamot – one of the favourite anti-anxiety oils, Bergamot is a wonderful oil for anxiety-induced mental fatigue.

Mental calming practice and blend:

If you’re suffering from mental fatigue, then I’d recommend the following:

Blend 4 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Rosemary and 1 drop Basil in water in an electrical aromatherapy diffuser or candle burner and diffuse for 10 minutes in the morning on waking as you sit quietly and do some deep breathing.  Making your inhale to a count of 4 and your exhale to a count of 8 can be really helpful.  If you can identify any unconscious shadowy perfectionist tendencies keeping you stuck in mental chatter (e.g. “I need to make sure I’ve cleaned the house, done x, y, z”) then repeat the mantra “I am enough just as I am”.

Emotional Fatigue – when you feel emotionally drained 

Another of the ways we suffer deep tiredness is emotional fatigue.  Alex links this to being emotionally sensitive and not having the emotional capacity to take on more emotions.  This is likely to be to do with a shadowy, unconscious pattern of rescuing others and not liking to be out of control – likely due to a desire to secure love, approval or security.

This is most definitely one of my own tendencies, and I’ve seen that this can be because of the compelled inbuilt pattern to want to rescue others from their emotions and deny my own emotions in order to stay in the known.  And this pattern left me burning out several times in my life, so the deep invitation here is to begin to recognise any unconscious patterns playing out which are keeping you taking care of everyone else’s emotions and denying your own, keeping them suppressed within you.  This is also so common in today’s environment for those who are deeply sensitive, because we are not taught to create the time to process our emotions – but this is important and, if you aren’t allowing yourself that space, then you are likely to be suffering emotional fatigue.  And the way to shift that is to offer yourself the love, approval and security you long for to begin to tend your own emotions.

Essential oils that might help with this particular type of emotional fatigue include:

  • Rose – a really powerful oil for suppressed emotion, Rose is perfect to help you release anything that is pent up and holding you deeply as you release.
  • Geranium – a beautiful, Feminine healer, Geranium is a balancing oil for emotions.
  • Patchouli – a soothing and hypnotic oil, Patchouli is an emotionally balancing oil for fatigue.

Emotional releasing practice and blend:

If you’re suffering from emotional fatigue, then I’d recommend the following:

Find a time when you can create complete space and peace and run a warm bath.  Mix 3 drops Geranium, 2 drops Rose and 1 drop Patchouli into 15ml Bath Oil or Shower Gel and pour into the warm running water.  Lie back and breathe deeply to inhale the aromas as you allow yourself to fully feel all that wants to be felt.  If there is a lot of emotion, allow yourself to create this process as a daily practice - it’s likely if you’ve been suppressing your emotion, this will be required; allow yourself to go into it as it will be very healing.  And notice where you are taking on others’ emotions from a compelled response.

Physical Fatigue– when your body is overtired 

This is perhaps the fatigue that we most recognise in our culture; it’s the exhaustion that we become most aware of, and yet it can also be a result of some of the other fatigue types at work too.  

You’ll likely recognise it as aching muscles and physical weakness, and a desire for rest.  This is likely the result of an “Achiever” personality – or an in-built persecutor who is pushing you too hard.  It’s likely again, that you’ll have been pushing yourself due to an unconscious desire to be lovable, approved of or secure.  The deeper invitation is to slow down and submit to your body’s requests – you’ve likely not been listening to your body and have been pushing it to “achieve” more.

Essential oils that might help with this particular type of physical fatigue include:

  • Lavender – one of the favourite essential oils for physical fatigue, Lavender is a deeply restorative oil.
  • Sweet Marjoram – a sedative oil, Marjoram is perfect for deeply relaxing the body – and all your aches and pains.
  • Black Pepper – analgesic and anti-inflammatory, Black Pepper is perfect for physical fatigue and pains that arise from this state.

Physical fatigue releasing practice and blend:

If you’re suffering from physical fatigue, then I’d recommend the following:

Find some time to relax, and blend together 3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Sweet Marjoram and 1 drop Black Pepper into 15ml Grapeseed oil.  Use this oil blend to gently and slowly nourish your body by lovingly stroking it into your skin in a direction towards the heart.  Cover your whole body and allow yourself to lie there for 30 minutes, doing some deep breathing, or sleeping – whatever is desired deeply by your body.  Repeat daily.

Soul Fatigue – when your Soul is tired 

Perhaps the most common type of fatigue - and yet the least talked about because it is the one with least “evidential” support because it is so intangible; Soul fatigue is the most unconscious cause of exhaustion that I know of.  I suspect Alex was referring to Soul fatigue when he described “Environmental” tiredness, but for me this one runs so much more deeply than this.  Soul fatigue, particularly, is experienced as a sense of apathy, despondency, and hopelessness – it is akin to a depression. It is, in my opinion, what occurs when we move through all of the other types of fatigue, ignoring the calls of our over-active mind, our suppressed emotions, and the dull ache of our bodies, which are all trying to tell us that we are living out of alignment with our Soul.  It is when we are living out of alignment with our truth; with who we are meant to be.  We all came here with unique Soul gifts – with unique Soul plans – and we each have unique gifts.  When we ignore those gifts -which is usually because society deems the path of Soul unacceptable because it is the antithesis of modern-day society which has us living lives run by time constraints, perfection, pressure, control and achievement (which lead us into the traits that cause fatigue) – we get exhausted because we aren’t living in alignment with our Soul.  And this, too, is usually due to an unconscious, hidden desire for love, approval and security that keeps us selling our Soul to stay safe.

The deep invitation here is to allow yourself to follow the call of your heart and your body.  

Essential oils that might help with this particular type of Soul fatigue include:

  • Myrrh – the perfect oil for re-aligning you with your Soul path, Myrrh is a spiritual oil which will help you reconnect with your essence.
  • Frankincense – a strongly meditative oil, Frankincense is an oil to lift the spirits and is perfect for exhaustion and fatigue.
  • Sandalwood – an oil to aid focus towards your truth, Sandalwood is known to create deep alignment and awaken you to your highest potential.  

Soul fatigue releasing practice and blend:

If you’re suffering from a Soul-level fatigue, then I’d recommend the following:

Create a Soul Spritz – mix 10 drops Myrrh, 10 drops Frankincense and 10 drops Sandalwood in 100ml of water or Orange Flower (Neroli) hydrolat and place it in a spray bottle.  As you are creating it, allow yourself to reflect on or journal about what it is that lights up your Soul; feeling deeply into your heart to know what is in alignment for you.  Is it walking in the wild?  It is playing with essential oils?  Is it deep connection with other humans?  Is it creativity?  Whatever it is, as you are filling it with drops of oil, infuse your spray bottle with the intention to “discover what lights up your Soul”.  You may not even know what that is yet but setting the intention will allow you to choose it anyway.  Then, use this spray throughout the day to spray yourself with a little reminder of your Soul-discovery intention.  This is a powerful first step into reclaiming your Soul from fatigue.

Ultimately, this article offers you the chance to begin to witness the hidden, underlying causes of your tiredness, so the invitation is to begin to notice the patterns in life that are creating your own exhaustion and fatigue.  Just noticing them is powerful, so when you add in the intentional rituals with the healing properties of essential oils, you will be supercharging your energy.  Remember, you can mix and match the blends and oil choices – and you might desire to create your own; either way, follow your Soul and enjoy.

Nicole Barton
Consultant Aromatherapist

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