Your office will become your own personal oasis after using tips from these experts.

By Nashia Baker
December 23, 2020
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This year, we spent more time in our homes than ever before, overhauling room after room to cater to our comfort. One such space we paid particular attention? The home office. Whether you already had a designated work area or created a makeshift one, you likely did all you could to ensure the space was inspiring, but calming, too. If you still feel like you haven't struck that balance, it might be time to consider an alternate route. "It's so easy to get distracted while working from home, and a lot of people are having trouble switching off after work because there's no physical separation between their work and home lives," Eva Eckerblad, the founder of Siblings, says. "This is where aromatherapy can help. We know that scent has a direct connection to our emotions, so during the workday, it can help to use refreshing scents, like citrus and eucalyptus, to create an energized and focused work environment." Ultimately, even the slightest scent-driven changes in your routine—like adding cinnamon to a morning coffee—can awaken your senses as you work, adds Lynette Lovelace, an aromachology expert and the CEO and creator of Lifetherapy.

Woman hands typing on laptop with candles on both sides of device
Credit: Getty / Pheelings Media

Not only can aromatherapy improve your focus on a day-to-day basis, says Amy Jane Stewart, LMT, a reiki level one master and clinical aromatherapist, herbal apprentice, and the owner of Organica Jane, it's also a great way to reduce stress, pain, and inflammation in your body. So, the next time you simply aren't feeling productive at home, consider the following advice from our experts, who shared several ways to use aromatherapy to boost your focus.

Light a soothing candle.

"Scented candles with high quality natural and essential oils are a great way to modulate productivity and your mood throughout the day," Eckerblad says. "Look for citrus-based scents for that boost of motivation and focus during the workday or a calming lavender for easing the mind during irritatingly long Zoom calls." There is a scent for any mood, she adds, so be sure to test out which iteration works best for you.

Try aromatherapy inhalers.

Eckerblad notes that aromatherapy inhalers, which are plastic tubes filled with cotton-like swabs coated in essential oils, are perfect for an early morning pick-me-up. "Couple these inhalers with different scents and mindful breathing exercises and you'll start your day with focus and end it ready for restful sleep," she says.

Display your favorite plants.

"Plants might be the original aromatherapy and keeping live plants around the home is a fantastic way of bringing natural scents indoors, cleaning the air, and brightening the mood," Eckerblad says. Some of her favorites? Orchids, roses, and olive trees—but she notes that you should choose the plant of your liking to bring color, a sense of joy, and character to your workplace. Lovelace adds that anything from flowers to freshly cut oranges or mint could be ideal additions to an office space.  

Apply natural lotions.

During the workday, mix lemongrass and lavender essential oils with natural lotion and apply the concoction on your neck, wrists, or other stiff spots, Stewart suggests; this will release tension and boost your productivity. Laura Coburn, a certified Ayurveda health counselor and the director of serenity at the Inns of Aurora, says you can also try wintergreen and eucalyptus, since they "are great muscle soothers and a nice treat for your low back."

Use scented paper fans or roller balls.

A roller ball vessel filled with your favorite scent is just as effective as other aromatherapy techniques, says Lovelace. "Keep it next to your screen," she suggests. "You'll find yourself reaching for it often, and it's even acceptable on a Zoom call." You can even make a scented paper fan—or add popsicle sticks to postcards as blank canvases for essential oils. "Take a break by fanning yourself or holding the card to your nose," Coburn advises. "The cards can be arranged in a cup or vase to make an added decoration for your desk. Using cards from loved ones gives you the double boost of the scent and the acknowledgment that you are loved."

Wrap yourself in perfume-laced fabrics.

Using any of your go-to accessories—like a scarf or shawl—simply dot drops of your favorite scent and wear the piece as you work. "If you don't want to put oil directly on a scarf, add an oil droplet to a cotton makeup applicator disk or cotton ball and tuck it into the scarf," adds Coburn.

Create a customized air freshener.

"Make a spray with distilled water, essential oils, and just a touch of witch hazel or fractionated coconut oil," Coburn says. "Spray the room, letting a little fall onto your hair, so it stays with you." She suggests putting more drops of oil in this solution if you have a bigger spray bottle.  

Test a diffuser in your space.

A diffuser in a workspace has plenty of health benefits. According to Stewart, adding citrus essential oils to a cold-air diffuser supports immune function, since they contain d-limonene, which boost white blood cell creation. Plus, inhaling other essential oils—like peppermint or rosemary—may help memory and focus (they improve blood flow to the brain). Coburn suggests adding four to eight drops of essential oils into your diffuser after adding water into the device.

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