Last weekend, after losing hours of my life to the riddle of Yanny and Laurel (hours I will never get back), I decided it was time to switch my phone onto airplane mode and bury it at the bottom of the laundry basket. Perhaps you have a different, more reasonable, way of coping with the constant content onslaught of a life lived online. By all means, enlighten me.
In dire times like these, I’ve found myself returning to my little shelf of essential oils. With them, I can shift my moods from one gear to the next, like playing with the gear stick on a Tesla. It’s not magic. It’s not going to bring you back from the verge of an anxiety attack, but in this case, after going in for an hour of vigorous cleaning topped off with a few drops of Cedarwood in a diffuser, suddenly, Yanny and Laurel were but a distant drone, which I would continue to stamp out with an afternoon of Peppermint and Clary Sage.
This brings me to my next point: self-care rituals are good. Bougie candles are good. Journaling is good and so is reading. The beauty of essential oils, though, is that you can collect them as one collects shoes or shells, and then have a field day at home blending your favourite scents to create the perfect ~atmos~.
So fire up the record player, pour a cup of tea, and forget about Yanny and Laurel. Seriously, just forget about it.
It’s time to log off and make some moods.
Mood: Sexual healing
Oil: bulgarian rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, neroli, sandalwood, geranium
Who has a cute date coming over for dinner this weekend? Yeah you do! If you want him or her to walk in all like “wow, did Sally Albright just have a fake orgasm in here?” burn these floral, deep, woody oils traditionally used to balance hormones and increase libido. While the science here is questionable, in the very least you’ll give off the impression of a together person with a nice smelling home.
Mood Music: I Want You by Marvin Gaye
Mood: Getting through a deadline
Oil: peppermint, lemongrass, cypress, palo santo, frankincense, vetiver
If you work from home, or, are coming home from a 9-5 job to do more work from home as I am right now, you need to create an environment that will prevent you from staring vacantly at the floor. My trick as of late has been to make a caffeine-free drink, to put on an ambient album for deepening focus, and to burn copious amounts of these uplifting oils for mental clarity. Trust me, it’s a hell of a lot better than going in cold.
Mood Music: Watermusic II by William Basinski
Mood: Spring cleaning like Martha Stewart on Adderall
Oil: tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon, lavender, cinnamon bark
Did you know that the air inside our homes can contain more pollutants than the air outside? Did you also know that diffusing oils could kill bad germs floating in said air?? Well now you do, you domestic goddess. With antimicrobial, antifungal and disinfectant properties, these oils work wonders for purifying your pad – especially useful if you live in a small apartment in the city. Here’s another hot tip: add a couple of drops into a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel and inhale to treat a stuffy nose and chest, as well as skin on the verge of a breakout.
Mood Music: Touch Me (All Night Long) by Wish ft Fonda Rae
Mood: Sweet, deep dreams
Oil: lavender, chamomile, neroli, sandalwood
This study right here found that lavender improved both the light and deep sleep stages of its 31 subjects, and found this natural sedative to work particularly well for women. Oh, and all subjects “experienced higher vigour the morning after”. So sign me up. Sprinkle some on my pillow. Slather me in it if you have to. I will do anything for “higher vigour”.
Suggested track: Etude No. 2 by Philip Glass
Image, Caroline Venture. Photography, India Hartford-Davis.