Aromatherapy for stress relief at workplace
Dr Blossom Kochhar
Most people work a minimum 40 hour week, or 2,000 hours at work each year. Our jobs are often very stressful, and work stress can trigger many common ailments and diseases. It is a well-known fact that stress and burnout in the workplace is a serious and continuing problem. Job pressure demands, lack of sunshine, constant exposure to computers, chemicals and harsh lighting are just some of the factors that can contribute to increased stress at the workplace.
Stress can have a detrimental impact on an employee’s productivity. By taking a natural approach to reducing stress, employees can improve the comfort level of their workplace and thereby improve their effectiveness and productivity.
Symptoms of stress in the workplace include excessive sick days, headaches, lethargy, mood and sleep disturbances, upset stomach, loss of sense of humour, irritability, depression and disturbed relationships with family and friends. Other symptoms include making errors, having difficulty concentrating, and feeling defensive or angry inside. Aromatherapy and essential oils can help you cope and calm you down, and can enhance productivity.
Aromatherapy, as the name suggests, is healing the mind, body and soul using beautiful fragrances and scented essential oils. This is a pure and unadulterated natural remedy for many aches, stress and dull moods etc. The essential oils used in aromatherapy are concentrated extracts which are derived from the roots, leaves and blossoms of herbs. Essential oils are very powerful in their concentrated form, and hence are not directly applied onto the skin. They are first diluted with carrier oils like apricot kernel oil or sweet almond oil. Essential Oils are mixed with carrier oil before using as it ensures better absorption.
Benefits of aromatherapy:
· Healing properties
· Stimulates immune system
· Relieves cramps and headaches
· Energises and rejuvenates
· Aids in blood circulation
· Drives away cold
How to use aromatherapy at work:
There are many ways to bring aromatherapy into the workplace. Diffusers heat essential oils and allow their molecules to be released into the atmosphere. Inhaling different essential oils can alter your mood, stimulate creativity, help concentration and rid the area of airborne viruses and bacteria. For example, using lavender essential oil in your office is said to reduce computer errors by at least 25%.
Neroli oil: It is a stress buster that not just wards off tension but also relieves you of mental exhaustion and agitation arising out of office nuances. It also improves concentration.
How to use: It can be used in a diffuser, which heats the oil and allow its molecules to harmonize with the atmosphere to keep you relieved. If a diffuser is not available, then put just a drop or two of neroli oil on a cotton bud or tissue paper and place it near your work station. Soon you will find the fragrance working for you. For diffusers, use four to six drops. This will help in concentration and remove mental block.
Basil oil: This oil is ideal to fight the effects of negativity, burn-out and intellectual fatigue. A regular use ensures better concentration, clarity of thoughts and a bounce of enthusiasm to keep you going at work.
How to use: Take a bowl of water and put less than a drop of Basil oil in it. Now, soak a towel in it and then use it to wipe off your body, specially the exposed parts of your body before going to sleep.
Alternatively, you can also put one tenth of a drop of this oil behind your ear and feel the fragrance giving you a relaxing effect.
Rosemary oil: Loss of memory, lethargy and strain can be treated with rosemary oil. It gives you energy, and gives a boost to the immune system.
How to use: It can be used in a bath or in a diffuser.
Apart from these, if you have any other favorite essential oil, you can use it in the following ways in your office:
1. A few drops of oil on the cardboard tube inside a roll of toilet paper works well to ensure a nice smelling bathroom.
2. Want to spread the scent around? Simply keep cotton ball dipped in essential oil between your business card box and there – you have scented cards!
Lemon oil: When seasonal colds and flus make their rounds in the office, be sure to diffuse an anti-viral oil such as lemon essential oil around the entire office.
How to use: It can be used in a diffuser.
Tea tree oil: For added protection, use some tea tree oil to wipe down work surfaces, keyboards, lunch tables, telephones and anything else that is shared in the office.
The writer is the founder and chairperson of the Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies institutionalised