The world-over right now is experiencing something like we have never seen before. Many of us are confined to our homes, worried about loved ones far away and no one knows what the future will now hold.
EMOTIONS AS WAVES
For many people, anxiety will come in waves and this is completely normal. Sometimes we will feel fine, or even happy and glad to be at home with our families and not have to be rushing around! It’s perfectly normal to have moments of happiness and calm and yet at other times feel sadness or anxiety.
For some people though, especially those with mental health concerns, the disruption of routines to daily life can be particularly harsh. Many people with these concerns rely on their daily routines and social contact as part of their self care in order to feel stable and secure. Being suddenly taken out of routine is challenging for most but can be especially difficult in these cases.
Extroverts for example may find the social isolation more difficult than those who are naturally more introverted. And if you have been using “business” as a way to avoid emotional truths about yourself or your relationships, it can be extremely confronting to now be thrown into a situation where there is no more “escape”. Just sitting quietly with ourselves, our thoughts and our emotions is a huge challenge for many!
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
I would like to share some evidence-based tips on how you can use aromatherapy, flower essences and breathing exercises should panic and anxiety be part of what you are struggling with at this time. This is not in any way intended to diagnose or treat but rather share information on what we know can be part of your support system as clinical therapists.
AROMATHERAPY TO SUPPORT ANXIETY
The list above are some of my top picks. Studies have shown that essential oils such as Lavender, Orange and Bergamot have helped to reduce the amount of anxiety in dental waiting rooms. One of the constituents in lavender that research has proven makes it effective as an anti-anxiety is linalool. Another oil containing higher amounts of linalool is Neroli which makes a lovely combination with Lavender and Petitgrain.
HOW TO USE
My advice is to smell which of these essential oils you may have access to and pick the three that you enjoy the most. Here are 3 ways to work with your chosen oils:
Flower essences are liquid tinctures that contain the vibrational essence of the plant or flower they were made from. I know that for a lot of people that can sound plain nuts, but as someone who has worked with them personally and in my practice for many years, I can’t speak of them highly enough. They seem to work especially well for Empaths and highly sensitive people and are completely safe. They work by helping to balance the emotional and energetic body.
Many people have heard of Bach Flower essences, which are great, but there are also many others around the world. I personally enjoy working with Bush Flower Essences and highly recommend their “Emergency” essence.
Here is a small list of essences that you may find interesting if you are struggling with anxiety at this time:
Bach Flower Rescue Remedy
Bach Flower Star of Bethlehem
Back Flower Rock Rose
Australian Bush Flower Emergency
Australian Bush Flower Calm and Clear
Australian Bush Flower Transition
HOW TO USE
You can book personalised consultations (I offer them virtually) or you can simply read through the descriptions and choose the one that seems most appropriate to you at this time. When in doubt, I suggest using the ABF Emergency essence. It is fast, effective and gentle. You can use these essences by choosing one at a time to work with and placing 7 drops under the tongue morning and evening.
It sounds simple but many of us forget to just breathe! Are you holding your breath in a little bit right now? Go ahead and check! If you need help calming down, don’t underestimate the power of simply sitting down and taking deep, full breaths.
One visual that really helps me is to imagine that I’m breathing into my belly, my heart and my head. If that is too abstract for you, simply lay flat on your back, place your hands on your belly and inhale until you feel your hands rise with the breath and then release. Do this at least three times and repeat as necessary.
If you are familiar with Yoga poses, a few rounds of “Cat/Cow” can also do a lot to release the diaphragm and open up your breathing capacity. Have a look online for video tutorials on this simple and very helpful pose.
I offer private, virtual meditation and breath coaching in case you would enjoy the personalised touch or someone to help you talk through your specific concerns.
If you are struggling with mental health concerns at this time, please be sure to reach out to your support network. Many services such as AA, prayer groups, psychological support and other therapies are quickly moving to provide online services and support at this time so do be sure to check and see what is available for you. There are many people ready and willing to help, now more than ever.
If you have a friend or loved one who you know or suspect might be struggling, send them a text, give them a call and just let them know you’re available to talk should the need arise. Organising watch parties online or “Skype dates” for coffee can also be a great way to connect and support each other at this time.
As always, wishing everyone health, calm and kindness!
Bowles, E. Joy. The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils. Allen & Unwin, 2004.
Cantele, Lora. Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness. Robert Rose Inc, 2014.
Holmes, Peter, et al. Aromatica: a Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Singing Dragon, 2016.
Lawless, Julia. Aromatherapy: Complete Illustrated Guide. Element, 2002.
Lehrner, J., et al. “Ambient Odors of Orange and Lavender Reduce Anxiety and Improve Mood in a Dental Office.” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 86, no. 1-2, 2005, pp. 92–95., doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.06.031.
Tisserand, Robert, et al. Essential Oil Safety: a Guide for Health Care Professionals. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2014.
Umezu, Toyoshi, et al. “Anticonflict Effects of Lavender Oil and Identification of Its Active Constituents.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 85, no. 4, 2006, pp. 713–721., doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2006.10.026.