Anxiety sucks! Pure and simple! Prolonged anxiety wreaks havoc on the body, and the central nervous system, rolling over to the mind and gut being out of balance. This week we’re going crazy hippy style by creating essential oil rollers to help ease the mind, and creating a release from anxiety. The idea is to get moms back into the stress-free zone! If you are not familiar with the terms or tools being introduced, don’t worry, everything is explained and/or linked below. This week we’re stocking your mom pockets with natural and best of all portable support! (Make sure to check those links for additional info!!)
What Does Anxiety do to the Body?
Two different systems make up the entire central nervous system. The Parasympathetic Nervous System regulates rest and digestion (the mind & gut), and the Sympathetic Nervous System creates the “fight or flight” sensation. When the body is in a constant state of stress, hormones created by the Sympathetic System start flowing. Similar characteristics are found when the mind is being used to critically think for long periods of time. (ex., overworked) The Sympathetic system is now in full swing and cortisol starts flowing, pupils become dilated, heartbeat increases, and tightness of the muscles occur at one time.
Hormones being out of balance, high blood pressure, and even drug/alcohol abuse are associated with side effects from stressors. Depression is also a common symptom associated with long term and resurfacing anxiety. Harvard.edu describes anxiety as a reaction affecting the body in both psychological and physical mannerisms (mind/body). “Nearly 2/3 of the estimated 40 million people with anxiety are women” (Harvard, 2018). This makes sense, especially with mothers and women being the glue binding family life on a daily basis. Women constantly carry a “silent load” essentially meaning, those moms working full/part time jobs are still the domestic regulator. The job doesn’t end when the door at home opens, and the responsibility of cleaning, laundry, bills, and dinner keep us in nonstop mom-mode!
Calming Down the Overactive Mind
No, mothers aren’t crazy, well, maybe some of us are (I’ll raise my hand here!). What creates anxiety is that fluid list of “to-do’s” constantly filling up. Then the inner dialogue starts. The voice of nagging, a constant reminder, and all-to-often negative opinionated bully. She’s in there reminding you of that one thing you said, 800 years ago. She’s festering up mom-guilt, and bringing back feelings of insecurity at the most inconvenient of times. She runs that “to-do” list through your mind on repeat, all day, every day. So, what can be done to reduce the impact of anxiety, and shutting down that super irritating (and often hurtful) voice inside your mind? The body needs an outlet to heal naturally.
Heal Your Body & Mind Naturally
Below are ways to reduce anxiety naturally. Research was conducted by pulling numerous studies from the early 2000’s and comparing with current holistic practices. Facts determined to help patients the most come from Medicinal Advisor textbooks, Holistic practices (yoga/breathing) self-practice, and LOTS of reading:
- Meditation: (Deep breathing exercises for 2-3 minutes instantly calms the mind, relaxes the body, and lowers blood pressure) Try reading “One Minute to Zen” by Ali Katz, super relatable and quick read.
- Aromatherapy: Did you know that aroma effects the hypothalamus (regulates hormones, mood, metabolism, stress levels & libido). A scent alone can help regulate, heal, and calm the mind & body.
- Stretching: Get up and move! Desk yoga is amazing and can instantly help kick anxiety to the curb.
- Tell Yourself “NO!”: That voice isn’t speaking the truth, just remember that! When the soul sucker of negativity tries to seep in, just tell her “NO! We’re not going there today Felicia…BYE…” Then give yourself an air-hug because you don’t need that kind of negativity.
- 4-7-8 Breathing: Breath in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and release (mouth open) to a count of eight. Pause, and repeat until the unpleasant emotion leaves.
Combinations of essential oils to relieve stress are bountiful! Finding the right recipe for your body is going to take a bit of testing (every person’s chemical make-up is different). Pinterest is an amazing resource to start and test out your favorite scents. Another great place to start is with lavender. Lavender is often referred to as the “Swiss army knife” of oils, as its properties range from alleviating burns, bug bites, stress, anxiety, it’s an antibacterial, a deodorant, anti-inflammatory…you get the idea. It’s the mother of all oils. If you are not a big lavender fan, try Clary Sage instead (musky/earthy tones) and just as calming. Patchouli is also very relaxing with super earthy tones and a warm scent.
Aromatherapy dates back to 4500 B.C.E., and works by stimulating the hypothalamus in the Limbic system. This system is essential in regulating hormones and emotions. Scents released into the air stimulate receptors in the nose bringing messages to the nervous system. We want those scent messages to talk to our nervous system. We want it to tell the sympathetic nervous system to calm our heart beat, regulate our metabolism, lower stress levels, and boost our libido. Aromatherapy does all of these things, by using just a scent. Creating an atmosphere by using essential oils, and enabling the body to fully relax is one of the best ways we can naturally heal within.
How to use Aromatherapy
In the essential oil world, you can use oils a multitude of ways. You can use them neat (directly on the skin) diluted (applied with a carrier oil) or by diffusing. Here at Motherhood Narratives, we always suggest diluting essential oils with a carrier oils when starting out. Fractionated coconut oil or a Jojoba oil are great for everyday use. These carrier oil will ease the intensity of the oil on your skin. Additionally, if applying an oil which is considered “hot,” DO NOT WASH OFF WITH WATER! Apply a carrier oil to alleviate the burning sensation, water will only intensify the burn.
Keep anxiety tools in your purse and easily accessible to grab when the stress starts to bubble up.
All of these recipes are created for using 10 ml roller balls, and then filling with fractionated coconut oil. First, the essential oils are dropped into the roller-bottle, sit for 24-hours, and are then filled with fractionated oil. These are great to toss in a purse, diaper bag, or office desk, and can be applied any time for a sense of release! Try applying to hands, inhaling and practicing that 4-7-8 breathing technique! Below are excellent recipes designed to knock anxiety off and out of the mind:
- Overthinking Mama: (16) drops Bergamot, (16) drops Clary Sage, (10) drops Frankincense
- Exhausted Woman: (8) drops Peppermint, (8 ) drops Rosemary, (15) drops Orange
- Stress Be Gone: (20) drops Lavender, (16 drops) Clary Sage, (10) drops Ylang Ylang, (4) drops Marjoram.
- Liquid Xanax: (this roller is potent!) (50) drops Lavender, (35) drops Valor (Young Living ™essential blend), (30) drops Stress Away (Young Living ™ blend), (15) drops Patchouli, (15 ) drops Vetiver
Finding What Works for YOU!
Essentially, a combination of mediation, essential oils, and even a warm bath will help alleviate tension and anxiety on a daily basis. Another great idea for a relaxing and healing bath is the “gong” method (search YouTube for healing gong videos to use while in the tub). Add a big handful of Epson Salts to the bath with 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil and put on some spa tunes. Test out a couple of different ideas and resonate on what is working with your body. The idea is to keep the practice going. Once a great practice is put into place, keep doing it! Try placing these helpful tools in places easily accessible to grab when the stress starts to fester!
Let us know what you do to calm down the funk! While essential oils and meditation may be great for some mamma’s, others may enjoy a nice run to get all the anxiety out. The more we work on healing the body through healthy practices, the more we get to actually enjoy life without addictive crutches.