The use of essential oils and aromatherapy can be a super way to add some “zippity doo dah” to your place of work. If there’s already a little too much “zip” in the form of stress, anxiety and rushing about, the oils can help bring the energy down to a calmer level.
Sometimes it’s not appropriate to use essential oils in a public office area as others will be affected so use common sense and courtesy if your colleagues are in close proximity to where you’re using the oils. Further, safety precautions are extra important when using essential oils in a public place. Here’s a story to illustrate what I mean:
When I lived in Rome, I worked in Human Resources for an agency of the United Nations. My boss frequently used homeopathic remedies to address his health issues. He was fine with my using a small diffuser at my desk. His only request was this: No Peppermint! No Eucalyptus! Why? Because he knew that both of those oils could make his remedies ineffective.
The nature of my job made my office a beehive of activity with human traffic. By diffusing essential oils, my office was pleasant and comforting and kept me protected from all the airborne germs I was potentially exposed to with the high flow of activity in my space.
I made sure to avoid using anything too sweetly floral or to diffuse essential oils that could pose a possible danger to pregnant women. My favorites were the citrus oils and the woody oils. When my boss was out of town, I would diffuse the mints, which were very popular with visitors. Never once, in twelve years, did anyone ever enter my office and say “pew…what stinks?”
Here are Five Workplace Scenarios and Suggested Ways to Use Essential Oils
1. Feeling Frazzled and Tense. It’s one of those days when everyone wants something from you RIGHT NOW. Then there’s that one particular colleague who’s in real danger of having their head pinched off. You know who they are.
Calming Oils: Lavender, Cedarwood, Geranium, Sandalwood, Melissa, Rosewood, Roman Chamomile are good oils to help you stay calm, centered and grounded without getting too spacey. (Note: the sedating oils like Lavender and Chamomile, while great for calming tense situations, may make you sleepy and lethargic.)
Applications: Try to slip away for just five minutes to the break room, bathroom, stairwell or, ideally, outside. Remember that it will get better. Sniff from your bottle, an inhaler or even a tissue soaked in oils. Repeat a calming affirmation. If you really can’t get away, keep a bottle in your desk drawer for a quick sniff. I used to keep affirmation cards and oils in my desk drawer for quick calm-me-downs.
2. You’re Getting Veeerrry Sleepy. Two hours before you can leave. It feels like an eternity. You wonder if anyone will notice if you disappear for a quick nap in the conference room. Instead of grabbing your 17th cup of coffee, use the uplifting power of essential oils instead!
Mentally Stimulating Oils: For mental clarity and stimulation the best oils are Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemon, Basil, Ginger, and Cypress. These oils can help with fatigue and lack of focus. I’ve read that placing a bright yellow paper at eye level helps stimulate the third chakra, aiding in memory and focus.
Applications: Diffuse essential oil at your desk if you’re able, or keep an inhaler handy and sniff frequently. Move around. Stand and do a quick stretch, drink cold water and sniff your oils again. Once when I was a new mother and never had enough sleep, I went to the ladies room, filled the sink with cold water and splashed my arms and face.
3. The Office Smells Funny. Sometimes the places we work just smell weird. It’s especially noticeable when you first arrive. It might be the commercial cleaning products used, an unclean air system or even a co-worker.
Air Purifying Oils: Any essential oil you enjoy will make the air smell better, though my personal favorites for deodorizing are Cypress and Lemongrass.
Applications: Keep the diffuser at your desk going, spray the air with a bottle of essential oils and water. I’ve even tucked cotton balls soaked with oil under the desk for a “where is that lovely smell coming from” effect.
4. Monday Blues/Lack of Inspiration. The weekend was awesome and the aroma of toasted marshmallows still lingers in your hair. Now you have to put on a suit and act like a grown up again. Blech.
Uplifting, cheering Oils: Any of the Citrus oil will cheer you up! Lemon, Orange, Mandarin, Lime, Grapefruit, Bergamot are all lovely. Personally, I love Grapefruit with a dash of Basil. To get your creative juices flowing, Neroli, Sweet Orange and Cardamom can assisting with creativity and inspiration.
Applications: Diffusion, inhaler, spray.
5. Airborne Bacteria. Let’s face it, when you work with other humans, someone, sometime is going to bring in germs. It could even be you. You could wear a mask like the woman in the photo, but then you’d have bigger problems than bacteria. Like always sitting alone in the cafeteria or not getting invited to the staff Christmas Party.
Antibacterial Oils: One thing all essential oils have in common is their antibacterial properties, so any oil you use will help. However, there are a few that have more germ-killing power like Tea Tree, Thyme ct linalol, Cajeput, Lemongrass, Juniper Berry.
Applications: Spray the air, diffusion, you can even spray and wipe down your desk, telephone and anything else that people touch.
As you can see, essential oils are an easy way to make a huge difference in the energy of a workplace environment. Tempers can be soothed, clarity can replace confusion, productivity increased, sick days lessened and your whole day can be brightened, just by using a few essential oils at your place of work.
How about you? Do you use essential oils at work? Please share in the comments section below!