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New Year New Focus

Essential Oils for Clarity


image: George Hiles


It's January and the return to ordinary working life, facing the long cold dark winter days ahead can be painful and prove difficult to engage with after what is for many, an extremely busy month in the build up to Christmas. All the organising for the celebrations with family, friends and loved ones can mean choosing presents to buy, arranging travel and getting ready to host guests. Not to mention food shopping, food preparation, food cooking and food consumption - especially rich, indulgent, fatty and sweet foods, (that we traditionally would have eaten at this time of year during the midwinter feast to fatten us up for the lean months ahead) have been our focal point.


image: freestocks


During all of the brouhaha preparation for Christmas and New Year celebrations we began to withdraw our attention from the ordinary everyday patterns of life and anticipate with great relish the welcome time off from the everyday 9 to 5. We look forward to long overdue respite, sleep-ins, lazy mornings and pyjama days over the seasonal holiday. Our thoughts point towards gifts and giving, socialising and connecting, choosing our Christmas movies, special cheese or tipple and the special outfits that we may wear to Christmas events like parties, pantomimes, nativity plays and New Year’s Eve celebrations. And while all of this is energy consuming and quite overwhelming at times, the fact that it all leads to enjoyment, pleasure, indulgence, rest and socialising.


image: Annie Spratt


Before we know it, it’s over and done and we’re rudely jettisoned back to our everyday lives and this sudden gear shift from ‘cosy downtime’ requires some adjustment. Some leap forward into the New Year ensconced in lycra, pounding treadmills or furiously cycling, others begin new projects with gusto and steely commitment while many just can’t seem to quite tune in properly to Radio January – instead experiencing what can only be described as ‘mind mush’.  It’s a common experience, partially because we feel we ought to be hibernating on an ancestral cellular level, alongside physiologically processing the metabolic ‘fall-out’ from consuming all the rich foods, which leaves us feeling ‘out of focus’, literally.


image: Osman Rana


Here's where using essential oils to enhance and restore clarity can really make a difference. The whole olfactory process of inhaling and absorbing odorous molecules from essential oils has a profound effect on the brain. There are specific cranial areas such as the limbic system where mood, memory and hormone secretion take place and it is through neuronal receptors binding to the chemical compounds in the essential oils that trigger what are referred to as neuronal ‘cascades’.  These create responses such as hormonal or enzymatic releases which affect mood, cognitive function and other physiological responses in the central nervous system, organs and other body systems.


image: Lewis Derby


And you'll be pleased to know that there are a whole spectrum of aromatic delights generously provided by the wonderful plant kingdom to ensure that you can recalibrate both mood and focus, simply by smelling something delicious. No matter what your favourites are, there will be something for everyone. Instinctively, most people know about peppermint oil as a go-to mental stimulant but its menthol-fresh powerhouse effects isn’t to everybody's olfactory taste. Peppermint is irreplaceable in some respects and an invaluable note in the in the chorus of aromatic possibilities but it can be actually quite tiring to be exposed to for a period of time, making longer term use problematic.


image: Nikita Turkovitch


Take a small sidestep away from peppermint and maybe take one towards spearmint - which is markedly sweeter in its mesmerising menthol aroma. And then there is Bergamot mint which is not a member of the mint family at all yet provides an uplifting ‘whoosh’ to fire the rocket of your mind. Moving nicely into a citrus situation, lime and grapefruit oils as well as the ubiquitous lemon also offer sparkling aromatic effervescence. Whereas a return to a more herbaceous path may mean spending time with one of the two rosemarys, (officinalis or verbenone), in order to hone the blade of your mind. Remaining with the herbs, sweet basil is another great focus finder to help you clean the cerebral windows and stay on point. And the list goes on - if you prefer the edge of herbaceous woody strength and grounding while simultaneously being cleared and refreshed, you may explore the woody heights of myrtle or lemon myrtle and that's before even considering juniper or cypress, two oils known for their clearing and uplifting properties. Or maybe some fresh fir, pine or spruce notes may bring you the mental precision you seek. The essential oil sweet shop never closes and providing the oil is from a reliable source, therefore unadulterated and of good quality, the guarantee it will deliver is assured.


image: Tina Xinia


The wonderful thing is that combining these oils often creates an even greater effect and like experimenting with painting colours, blending aromatic notes can be a delightful pastime as well as making your home, workspace or car smell great while providing you with a gentle but effective refocusing of the senses. It’s reassuring to know we can always turn to nature to find the solution to our everyday needs. Simply using a few drops of essential oil on a tissue held nearby can change everything instantly, or a diffuser gently puffing away in the room can quietly dissolve any sludge to reveal a fresh new vision. Providing the focal support you need as well as giving a sense of great pleasure exploring the aromatic nuance of each unique plant, a few drops of an uplifting essential oil or essential oil blend will help you to connect, to clearly think and process effectively. Happy new year and happy new focus!


image: Victor Freitas




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Swiss stone pine - Pinus cembra           Corsican pine - Pinus nigra ssp.lasricio        Aleppo pine - Pinus halpensis Miller

            White pine - Pinus strobus                        Norway pine - Pinus resinosa                          Jack pine - Pinus banksiana

     Patagonian pine - Pinus ponderosa                   Scots pine - Pinus sylvestris                   Umbrella pine - Sciadopitys vericillata

  Maritime pine - Pinus pinaster                           Black pine - Pinus nigra                                 Mugo pine - Pinus mugo

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