Back to school season is not just a mammoth shift for kids and their families; the traffic, germs and schedule changes affect everyone. Just try breezing past a K-8 at pick up time. Even more notorious are back-to-school illnesses, and just like traffic jams, they spread far beyond the classroom.
If you aren’t already using essential oils to ease stress, clean and disinfect, try incorporating some or all of these easy applications, even before the first day. Oils can help naturally keep everyone well through the transition into a new school year.
Uses for Essential Oils
For Reducing or Handling Stress
Smell has the power to completely transform a person’s mental state. With the right oils, this powerful
scents an calm nervousness and
help a person—whether parent, teacher or child—to relax.
- Add a few drops of a calming oil like lavender or rose to your shower to create an especially therapeutic experience.
- Put a few drops of a grounding oil like cedarwood or sandalwood on a handkerchief to carry with you. When things feel hectic, these earth scents can ground you.
- Rub a few drops of a stress-reducing oil like ylang ylang or lavender oil on your temples or at the base of your skull for a calming affect.
- Inhale clary sage oil, which is traditionally known as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant oil.
For more on de-stressing with oils, see our blog about essential oils that help cope with stress.
For Disinfecting and Santitizing
Oils aren’t just to cover odors or make the air smell pleasant—the majority of essential oils are also effective disinfectants. Most oils are antimicrobial and antifungal because of a naturally-present weak acid called phenol, and the alcohol they contain also makes them antiseptic.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil, a natural antibacterial derived from
the Melaleuca tree, to your laundry detergent or to a spray bottle of water for cleaning surfaces.
- Add up to a teaspoon of peppermint
oil to your surface cleaners to add a fresh scent and extra disinfecting power.
- Make this lemon disinfectant spray: 1 cup rubbing alcohol + 15 drops lemon oil. Combine in a glass spray bottle (oils can react inside metal containers) and use on hard surfaces. After spraying, wipe the area with a rag to dry.
For a Good Night's Sleep
We are all a little more focused and in a better mood with the right amount of sleep, but getting enough is a common struggle. Especially when the carefree schedule of summertime transitions into school year bedtimes, falling asleep can be challenging. Using essential oils for sleep on a regular basis can calm the brain and cue the body that it’s time for rest.
- Apply an earthy oil like cedarwood or frankincense to the bottoms of your feet before bed.
- Use lavender, chamomile or ylang ylang in a diffuser near the bed.
- Place a few drops of lavender or bergamot in your palms, rub them together and cup your palms a few inches away from your face while inhaling deeply.
To Comfort Head Colds and Illness
There is nothing like inhaling peppermint to clear a head cold or headache in my opinion. Cough drops and compresses capitalize on the scent with menthol, but they can be more chemical than natural or overly expensive.
Using nature's oils, you can ease symptoms from any back-to-school bugs in a healthy way.
- Mix a few drops of chamomile into a body oil and rub on the neck and feet to ease body aches, or drop some on a warm compress for your neck or chest.
- Take a peppermint beadlet (a small, ingestible form sold by oil companies like DoTerra), or apply a small amount of peppermint oil to the temples
to reduce stuffiness and headache. With peppermint, always be careful
to keep the oil away from the eyes because it can burn and sting if it gets too close.
- Place a few drops of a gentle oil like chamomile or lavender into a pot of boiling water, hold your head above the water about a foot or more and breathe deeply. You can also drape a towel over your head to hold the steam in. Of course, be incredibly careful of the hot water and steam. Even though oils are nature's remedies, don't underestimate the strength and overdo their use.
- Use a soothing oil like eucalyptus or thieves in a diffuser to fill the air with the calming, clarifying scent.
Try whatever oils feel right to you and test their effects yourself. If you'd like to learn more about aromatherapy or to purchase DoTerra essential oils, visit Habits for Health. For more on holistic health and healthy habits, visit Habits for Wholeness.
Enid Spitz is a writer and yoga instructor based in Charleston, SC. She previously lived in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, where she was a newspaper editor and researched yoga for traumatic brain Injury. Heartmanity combines Enid's passions for social well-being, neuroscience and yoga. When not writing or on the yoga mat, she is an avid traveller, enjoys a good whiskey, and loves being outdoors. Twitter: @enidrosalyn, Instagram: @littleyogibird.