6 Simple Ways To Use Essential Oils To Help Reduce Fatigue
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 five minutes with your favorite essential oil. If you have time to diffuse, great, but even just placing a few drops on a scent strip or in 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 an essential oil that’s 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. During work, keep a personal inhaler by your side: Room diffusing isn’t always an option at work, so having a handy portable tool, a personal inhaler, at your disposal can be helpful. Create a favorite blend of essential oils that uplift and stimulate the mind, like rosemary, peppermint and sweet orange for your inhaler. Now when you need a little pick-me-up during the day, you can take a quick sniff to give you 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 support in helping to soothe muscles, including feet. Consider a blend of essential oils that provide movement for tense muscles such as black pepper, ginger and juniper berry. However, be sure 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. Here, again, 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 the myriad of thoughts and transferring 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 can be a great companion, the aroma helping to stimulate the brain and encouraging thoughts to flow more easily onto the page. Put a drop of essential oil on a scent strip or cotton ball and place it next to you as you write. I recommend more stimulating essential oils as they’re great in instigating movement - in this case movement of thought.
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 in. Just 15 minutes before you know you’ll be going to sleep, prepare the bedroom by diffusing your favorite calming essential oil blend such as orange, lavender and cedarwood. Leave the room and close the door behind you. Allow the scent fill the space.
Now when you’re ready to go to bed, turn off the diffuser and you’ll have a calming environment in which to fall asleep. There’s no point in running the diffuser all night long as your body is busy resting and regenerating itself for the next day.
Essential oils are a wonderful companion in helping you to nourish your vital energy by replenishing the mind, body and spirit. Just remember, as you apply some of the above measures, be sure to follow proper dosing guidelines for both inhalation and skin application.