Winter First-Aid Essential Oils

This time of year, the festive season is in full swing but with the cooler weather and darker days comes a whole host of issues threatening to spoil the fun. From the common cold, SAD, skin flare ups, to sleepless nights waiting for Santa. But don’t worry, as a clinical aromatherapist I have a few simple tips to keep you happy and healthy this winter.

The common cold: It’s that time of year again when everyone’s nose seems to be running, and tissues seem to be in short supply. Before reaching for your hot toddy, try this simple technique. Fill a bowl with boiling water and add 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to it. Drape a towel or blanket over your head and bowl, breathing in the cleansing steam for 5-10 minutes. Take regular breaks above the towel for fresh air and don’t have your face too close to the bowl or you might get burnt with the steam. Do daily for a week and

it should send that pesky cold packing.

SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter blues is a condition that affects up to 15% of the adult population. Symptoms include persistent low energy, no motivation, feeling sad & irritable, difficult concentrating, and being less active than normal to name a few. This is something I have suffered from for years since I moved to Scotland in 2007, and every year I know unless I take preventative steps, I will feel extreme lethargy and lack of motivation. My best tip is to add 1 or 2 drops of orange or mandarin oil to your face or body moisturiser or even shower gel in the morning. The fresh fruity smell lifts the spirits, boosts energy, and helps improve concentration through the day.

(Please see GP if symptoms persist for advice on a vitamin D supplement).

Skin Flare ups: From icy winds, over heated buildings and wearing face masks can add a lot of stress to our skin. The cold air tends to dry the skin out and the face masks tend to spread oils leading to unwanted little spots. Simple solution is to get some tea tree oil. Add a drop to a cotton bud and apply directly to the spots. Allow to soak in for 5 minutes and then continue with your normal moisturiser. The tea tree oil will gently dry the spot out and reduce inflammation, without adding dryness to the rest of your face. Do this for a few days to see a big difference.

(Never apply essential oils directly to mask as they will disintegrate the product)

Sleepless nights: Lack of sleep can be caused by a variety of factors this time of year from worries, SAD,

urge to pee or waiting for Santa. Sadly, lack of sleep affects 1 in every 3 adults in the UK and lowers our immunity, ability to focus and can lead to long-term health problems. Instead of counting sheep, try adding some oils to your nightly routine.

Racing mind and worries: We all have nights where we lie awake staring at the ceiling, turning over everything in our head, and counting the minutes until we have to get up. Your two saviours will be lavender and frankincense. If you have a preference of smell, you can use one over the other, but I like to use both for a more potent effect. Add 2 drops of Frankincense to your body moisturiser and rub onto the soles of your feet for an instant grounding effect. Then add 3 drops of lavender to a tissue, slide it under the pillowcase for a calmer mind and much higher chance of a good night’s sleep.

Urge to pee: This time of year, our diet tends to include richer foods and most of us tend to indulge in alcohol. This all leads to more frequent urination which can easily ruin a good night’s sleep. A simple solution is to add a few drops of ylang ylang oil to a tissue, pop it under your pillowcase and breathe in the exotic floral scent for a good night’s sleep. If you find the smell too intense that close. Add 2 drops to a cup of boiling water, to make a homemade diffuser, to enjoy a lighter aroma while you sleep.

I have been lucky enough to work with essential oils for over 12 years and have tried and tested all the above remedies, so you don’t have to.

None of the above essential oils will interfere with prescribed medication or exacerbate pre-existing conditions but please be aware that some essential oils can. Especially grapefruit, rosemary, and clary sage, so always seek professional medical advice before adding them into your routine.

If you have any concerns about an oil, then add it to a diffuser or cup of boiling water (natural diffuser), to enjoy the beautiful aroma without topical application.

Enjoy a healthy festive season with beautiful essential oils.

Sometimes simple is truly best.