Your self care routine should include things that enhance all aspects of your life. I wrote up a bunch of self care ideas here, if you wanna check it out. But one thing that I always find myself going back is something as simple as aromatherapy.
No- this isn’t an essential oil selling post. I promise.
I want to talk about how aromatherapy can be a super simple improvement to your self care routine. But first I want to talk about how scents affect our moods.
What are Odors?
An odor is the perception of an odorant (or chemical). This perceived odor is either pleasant or unpleasant.
Most of the time when you say you have an odor, it’s a bad thing. But an odor is just a smell and smells can have a powerful effect on our moods.
Think about the last time you smelled a sour trash can.. pretty gross, right? Now think about the last time you stopped and smelt some flowers. The memory brings a small smile to your face, doesn’t it?
Pleasant odors can:
- Boost your mood
- Make is easier to learn/work
- Make it easier to sleep
- Give you a higher pain resistance
- Decrease the occurrence of headaches and stomachaches
Unpleasant odors can cause:
- Increased anxiety
- Elevated blood pressure
- Decrease in physical energy
- Compromised immune system
- Asthma attacks in asthma sufferers
- Physical discomfort (aches & pains)
- Increase in anger and stress levels
- Muscular control problems, fatigue (tiredness), confusion
How Can You Use Aromatherapy in Your Self Care Routine?
- Open windows and let in fresh air ( if you’re not near a highway or other pollutant source)
- Air purifiers (ensure they are properly sized for the area you put them. One small purifier will not do much to improve the air in a decent sized room)
- Flowers and other scented plants
- Lightly scented candles and incense
- Change your A/C filter more frequently
- Use an oil diffuser (the reed type of the water type)
Why don’t I recommend Air fresheners and plug ins?
Air fresheners and plug ins are great when you want to cover something up. But that’s all your doing. Sweeping it under the rug and throwing a blanket over it. You’re not getting rid of the unpleasant odor, your only masking it.
Think about it this way. You’ve got a glass of water and you add food dye to it. Have you really changed the water, or just made it look different? It’s now just blue water.
Too much scent, whether perfume, air freshener, deodorant or flowers can have negative impacts on your respiratory health. It can affect allergies and trigger asthma attacks if you or someone you know is sensitive. It can also increase the frequency of headaches and make you feel quite crappy.
Finding the right amount of scent for YOU that you enjoy and is not detrimental to you is imperative.
“Health Effects of Odors.” Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health Chemical Hazards Program July, 2004.
“Odors and Your Health.” Ohio Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health and Radiation Division July 2015.