Spring semester is in full swing here at Washington State University. With midterms, papers, and projects piling up it is practically impossible to avoid elevated levels of stress. Stress can work as a motivator, but if it’s not dealt with chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, a weakened immune system, headaches, and a loss of overall energy. As schedules pick up in our continuously busy lives it is important to remember the value of our self-health. Whether you are a busy student, full time parent, or focusing on your career, stress is a part of your life. Keep reading for simple environmentally conscious ways to manage stress and improve your overall self-health!
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts and can be powerful natural remedies for a number of health conditions.
Sleep: With a million things running through our heads some may find it hard to fall asleep at night or sleep through the night. Lavender, sandalwood, chamomile, cedar, bergamot, rose, and frankincense have all been shown to help induce sleep. Before bed, rub one or a mix, of these oils into your temples for 30 seconds. Another method is using an oil diffuser, turn on your diffuser 30 minutes before bed with about six drops of one of the above oils. The diffuser will also help with dry eyes and skin in the cold winter months.
Stress: Rose, frankincense, lavender, lemon, orange, chamomile, and sandalwood can all help reduce stress. Use the same method as above when you are feeling an overwhelming amount of stress or anxiety. Oils may also be rubbed behind your ears or on the inside of your wrists for 30 seconds.
Energy: Caffeine isn't the only way, if you’re feeling tired throughout the day you can try one of the following oils for a midday pick me up. Lemon, orange, cinnamon, peppermint, and lavender can be smelled or diluted with water and spritzed on your face with a misting bottle.
Concentration: With so much going on it can be hard to focus on one thing and a lack of focus can lead to even more stress. Rosemary, basil, peppermint, grapefruit, pine, and juniper have all been shown to increase concentration. Take a sniff or rub an oil on your inner wrist, temples, or behind the ears for a natural way to stay focused.
Essential oils can also be incorporated into several beauty products to promote relaxation and healthy skin.
Make sure the oils you purchase were harvested and packaged in an environmentally sustainable way (Rocky Mountain Oils is one environmentally proud company).
Take a Bath with Soothing Sounds
Show yourself some self-love by taking 30 minutes to yourself. Research shows that nature music reduces your flight or flight instinct and can greatly reduce stress and promote relaxation, improving overall wellbeing. Run yourself a hot bath with your favorite sustainably manufactured bath bomb (LUSH is a good option for sustainable bath bombs), and mellow nature sounds. Focus on being in the moment and try avoiding letting your mind wander. Close your eyes and feel the weight roll off your shoulders as you soak.
Beauty & Personal Care
Having an active personal care routine can greatly benefit mental health. When we allow ourselves personal time, we can give ourselves a break from stressful thoughts and develop better time management. Life is busy but balancing school and work obligations with your personal wellbeing is crucial to living a happy healthy life.
Facial Oil Massage: In the dry winter months you may be experiencing dry and flaky skin. Castor oil and Vitamin E oil can be used for deep moisturization. Add two drops of either oil to your facial moisturizer for extra soft skin. Castor and Vitamin E oil can also be applied before bed, massaging in with warm clean hands for five minutes when your skin is especially dry.
Face Masks: Clear glowing skin can give you that boost of confidence you need when everything else in your life becomes overwhelming. Try a DIY face mask with simple ingredients we all have in our kitchen. For dry skin try a coconut oil, honey, coffee grind face mask; equal parts face mask. For acne and blemishes try egg white, avocado or banana, with a dash of apple cider vinegar. Leave either mask for 10 minutes, wash off with warm soapy water, and pat dry with a towel.
Hair Masks: Make a hair mask with Castor and coconut oil. Apply the equal part mixture to your hair from roots to tip and leave as long as you want! Treat your hair with this deep conditioning mask once a week for shiny silky hair and for increased growth.
Exercise releases endorphins which makes us happier, increases overall confidence, and promotes focus. Exercise of any type allows us to focus on one thing and gives us a break from the dozens of worries and stresses running through our mind. For mental clarity and a break from overwhelming stress get your heart rate up with your favorite physical activity!
Stress will be an ever-present aspect of our lives, but how we choose to deal with it will determine our emotional and physical state. Stress may not be avoidable, but it is manageable. Above are several tactics for managing and reducing stress, try each out and determine what works best for you. Remember to make time for yourself and your personal health in this chaotic world we live in.
You are worth it and so is our planet!
Any and all brands and specific products named in the above article are discussed purely for environmentally friendly product ideas. They do not reflect opinions, preferences, or endorsements of WSU’s Environmental Science Club and do not have any affiliation with WSU’s Environmental Science Club, or any entity related to Washington State University.
~Written by Lindsey Schnelle~