It’s that time of year again. Back to school season is upon us - a time welcomed by parents and frowned upon by the kids. The school year can bring unfamiliar stresses to children and the family dynamic. They go from weeks of fun to hard work and learning. One of the things that can cause back to school anxiety is not knowing what to expect… Who is my teacher? What classroom am I in? And of course, peer pressure. There are ways to make the transition easier and introduce a calm that lasts the school year. Besides a daily routine including plenty of sleep, diet and exercise, using essential oils can add the extra support they need.
Essential Oils are made from flowers, herbs, and tree parts like bark, roots, and petals. The cells that give a plant its fragrant smell is its essence. When an essence is extracted, it becomes an essential oil. These can be used for reducing anxiety, improving sleep, supporting digestive health, and promoting a sense of balance. Our brain understands smell and smell creates comfort. Think of the smell after a rain, fresh baked cookies or the distinct smell of your home.
There are several ways to introduce children to Essential Oils. One is by adding to the bath or massage. Dilution of the oils with a carrier oil such as honey, coconut oil or almond oil is a safe way to judge if the child will react negatively. Mix 10 -15 drops of the oil with 1 Tbsp. of the carrier oil. The oil will not dissolve but float on the top of the bath water. A good long soak will reduce stress and increase circulation. But, be careful, things can get slippery! Also, use the same dilution to massage the bottom of the child’s feet. This can induce a peaceful night’s sleep so they wake up in a good mood and are ready to start their day.
Diffusion and sprays create a calming environment for children and family. Because diffusion distributes the oils into the air, it is an excellent way to maximize the benefits. Diffusion can be by either direct inhalation or ultrasonic diffusers. For direct inhalation simply open the bottle and wave your hand over the top and inhale from the air you are wafting. Ultrasonic diffusers act as a humidifier, atomizer, and air purifier breaking the mixture of water and oil into the air. Diffuse for 20 -40 minutes as a lengthier diffusion can be overstimulating.
Here is a list of Essential Oils to help get you started:
Lavender: This plant is derived from the mint family. Aside from its beautiful scent it is proven to lower stress levels. It also improves sleep, lowers heart rate, and has a calming effect. The oil can be added to the bath, used in a diffuser or drops added to pillows and bedding. (shown in banner image above)
Eucalyptus: This oil is distilled from the leaf of the eucalyptus plant. Its herbaceous scent restores the emotional state. When used in the bath or diffuser, the oil will restore power after emotional stress or physical exhaustion. The pleasant smell has a relaxing effect on the human nervous system. (picture below)
Cedarwood: This oil is extracted from the cedar tree. Cedarwood is known to increase focus, mental alertness, calmness and mood elevation. It’s also great for sleep quality. Diffuse in the bedroom to keep the kiddos in a deep restful sleep all night.
Vetiver: Vetiver is from a grass and has a very pleasant earthy and musky smell which has a cooling effect on the mind and soul. This oil has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy. It is used in helping with self-awareness, calmness and stabilization. It takes care of the nerves and maintains their good health. (picture below)
Jasmine: This oil is derived from the jasmine flower which is part of the olive family. It is a popular natural remedy for improving and overcoming stress. The effect of jasmine oil stimulates the release of serotonin in the body. This results in a boost of energy and uplifted mood.
Peppermint: This oil has a fresh, nostalgic scent that invigorates the mind and senses. It inspires peace of mind. The refreshing aroma of peppermint will give a boost of positivity. Peppermint is a good alternative to energy drinks to boost energy and improve mental focus. Spritz the oil around the child’s study area before they sit down if they have trouble focusing on schoolwork.
When used appropriately in the right situations and with proper dilution, essential oils can add the extra support kids need to start off the school year in peace. Remember, back to school can be stressful but with a little help, we got this!!
Extremes in summer weather have taken a toll on gardens… and planters, too. I dare anyone to say their formerly beautiful containers look exactly the way they’d like as fall becomes fact. Since we still have lots of time before winter, why not enjoy that time with feast-for-the-eyes gorgeous pots? I asked Earl Lieske, III, Chalet’s Wilmette planter guru, what trends he’s creating for fresh fall container gardening fashions.