Blog - It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Christmas-tree-WorkSpace-IQ-blog-Dec-2015If you’re anything like me, you’ll automatically associate the lovely smell of pine with the smell of Christmas. And even though many of us don’t put up a real tree anymore (too many needles, no children at home, or simply no space) recreating this smell with pine scented candles is also becoming a popular thing to do in the Christmas season.

As I put up my own tree at home this year, I got to thinking about the smells we experience in our workplaces after recently visiting a friend who is a canine physiotherapist (a great person to know when your dog has had a leg fracture or other injury and is taking a while to get going again). She mentioned that she is using aromatherapy oils in her clinic as it relaxes not only the dogs, but also the owners, making it a much more pleasant place to work. Much nicer than the synthetic perfumes often used in cars and bathrooms, (which can smell extra sweet, and not always pleasant) aromatherapy oils offer a natural alternative to enhancing an environment at home or at work.

Real aromatherapy oils can be used for lots of different reasons:

  • to help calm if you’re feeling frazzled or just need to de stress at the end of the day (cedar wood, geranium, sandalwood, rosewood or lavender)
  • to mentally stimulate, which can be great after lunch (rosemary, peppermint, lemon, basil, ginger and cypress) and in  board room meetings!
  • to uplift the mood – great for a Monday morning (any of the citrus oils, such as lemon, mandarin, sweet orange, cardomom)
  • or to purify the air, getting rid of lunch smells and other less pleasant odours (cypress, lemongrass)
  • antibacterial reasons such as cleaning phone handsets  (tea tree, thyme, lemongrass)

Research by a Japanese fragrance company, Takesago, found that staff working in a lavender scented environment made 20% fewer errors than usual, rising to 33% less errors with jasmine oil and 54% less with lemon oil. Japan appears to be far ahead in using aromatherapy as an enhancement to their workplace and although I appreciate that they’re business is fragrance, so their research is bound to be favourable, I find those statistics quite remarkable.

If you’re new to aromatherapy and are interested in trying them yourself, there are a number of different ways to apply oils:

  • inhalation either using a ‘sniffer box’,hankie or cotton wool balls
  • using a pendant that has a carrier for oils
  • oil diffusers that can be bought in pharmacies, gift shops. This will spread further around your workspace, so it would pay to check that people around you are alright with any oils you may use (an electric one is safer in an office environment).

As you prepare for your new year of work, keep in mind how you are feeling and whether there is an aromatherapy oil which could help affect your mood, make you feel more focussed, energised and productive. If you’re unsure what to get, find a shop which specialises in aromatherapy products and get some advice on the right one for you. Getting a good quality oil always helps and many aromatherapists can make up blends that work for you.

The canine physiotherapist recommended a blend of cedarwood, bourbon geranium and lavender. So, if you feel you need to chill out over the Christmas break, maybe along with your pets, this could be the answer, but whatever you are doing, and however you do it, I wish you a merry, relaxing Christmas and a wonderfully productive 2016!