You know that feeling of not being able to get enough breath, because your chest is just too tight? You can take a deep breath in and let it out cathartically, but a moment later you feel breathless again.
That’s a level of stress I wouldn’t have recognised until a period a few years back when I was trying to conceive baby number two, and had just had a miscarriage.
My employer was trying to force me to go from 2½ days/week to full time, with very little notice and no available childcare, and I was trying to figure out what to do. Every day I had to go to work, I would spend the day feeling like I couldn’t breath.
Since then that breathless feeling comes back from time to time, mostly when I have too much on, too much to do, and the endless pile of laundry suddenly pushes me over the edge.
I have to admit though, my most recent experience, this past Saturday morning, was probably brought on mostly by a too strong cup of coffee after too little sleep. My bad.
There are lots of things you can do to help manage the physical symptoms of stress, even if you can’t immediately change the situation causing it: go for a walk in the fresh air; get more exercise generally; have a massage; meditate; eat good nourishing food. Talk to someone who has good listening skills.
Different things work for different people and situations. You can also find essential oils that can be helpful.
How Shower Disks Can Help You Cope with All That Laundry
What I did on Saturday, when I realised what a bad idea the coffee had been, was to take a lovely hot shower with one of my shower vapour disks. I’d baked some without the oils added, so instead of the usual head clearing oils like peppermint, I added soothing lavender. It made for a delightful shower. I would have added some orange oil too, if I hadn’t run out. Sweet orange is an uplifting oil that blends divinely with lavender.
I used to be a massage therapist, and some basic aromatherapy training was included in my course, plus a did some extra training with an aromatherapist. Since then I’ve always had a selection of oils in cupboard, which I use for their cleaning, emotional balancing and healing properties.
What Else Can You Do with Your Disks?
Here are some great blends you can use on your shower disks for various benefits. (See Cautions before use, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding.) I use about 15-16 drops total per disk, and about half that if using an oil burner.
- For anxiety or stress: frankincense, lavender and sweet orange.
Calming and uplifting, this is probably my all time favourite blend – I have it going in the oil burner quite frequently. Frankincense is expensive so I only use a few of drops of it at a time on a shower disk, with a similar amount of orange and about 8-10 drops of lavender. However, Frankincense is one of the best oils for relieving anxiety, so use more if needed!
- For a cold or flu: eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon. These are all top notes which tend to evaporate fast, but they make a great mix for clearing the head and chest.
- For coughs and congestion: eucalyptus, peppermint and frankincense make a great blend.
- Other respiratory system essential oils include lime, rosemary, lavender, cypress, cedarwood and thyme.
- For insomnia, or just before bed: lavender, sweet marjoram and roman chamomile (sometimes just called chamomile).
- For headaches: roman chamomile and lavender
- For migraines (especially hormonal): clary sage, lavender and melissa. Only use about 2 drops of melissa, with about 7 drops each of lavender and clary sage.
Over to you
So tell me, what is your favourite essential oil blend? Have you ever tried it on a shower disk? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Just remember, essential oils are effective because they are potent. Don’t assume they are “safe” just because they are natural. If you have any health issues or are pregnant or breastfeeding, do your own research and make an informed decision. “Experts” are very divided about the risks of different oils, and what’s contraindicated for use on the skin may be fine for use in an oil diffuser. When in doubt, always consult a qualified aromatherapist.
All essential oils should be used with caution around babies and very young children, and of the oils mentioned Eucalyptus oil, thyme should be avoided. Peppermint and rosemary oils are also generally not recommended for use with very young children, especially when it comes to skin contact. Other oils should be used at ¼ dose for 0-2 year old children. After that you can gradually increase it.
Always keep essential oils out of reach of children.
Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
Some references will consider almost every oil to be contraindicated during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. It’s often recommended to halve the dose of all oils during pregnancy, particularly for use on the skin. Mandarin, Neroli (which is divine), orange and petitgrain and generally considered safe, while bergamot, lavender, geranium and spearmint can be added later in pregnancy.
Of the oils I have recommended in my blends above, peppermint, thyme, chamomile, marjoram, rosemary, melissa and cedarwood are all generally considered contraindicated during pregnancy. Clary sage should only be used during labour.
Once again though, I would stress that you should consult a qualified aromatherapist if in any doubt. She or he will also be able to match oils to your particular situation, and give more advice about how to use oils safely during different stages of pregnancy (for instance, you may be able to use an oil in a diffuser, or shower disk, when you couldn’t safely include it in a bath or massage blend).