Before we get into our aromatic links discussion… How are your days going? We’ve been in quarantine for more than 9 weeks at the time of this post, and what we knew as “normal” has definitely shifted for most of us.

Regardless of your work status, chances are pretty good that your home routine has shifted. Maybe you’re in need of some help with resuming a semblance of schedule as things start shifting again. You may have other people in your house who need this. Or perhaps you need some help in the motivation department to get things done.

This post offers some suggestions on how to use the oils you already have in your home to help support structure in your day by creating aromatic links.

If you’d rather skip the reading and watch a video instead, here you go:

1. Getting up in the morning: use aromatic links to make it happen

I am not a morning person by nature. It’s the hours after most people shut down for the night when I really light up. Left to my own devices I would happily stay up into the wee hours of the morning, and shift my wake up time into the middle of the morning.

With everyone home right now and hardly anything scheduled to get me up and presentable, it is really easy to shift into this pattern. But the work still needs to get done.

Diffuser for - Aromatic Links

Strategic oil placement

One thing you can do to help get you up and moving in the morning is to have an oil at the ready that you can associate with the start of your morning routine to create an aromatic link. Maybe you have your favourite morning oil on the bedside table for a quick sniff to help you open your eyes.

What’s working for me is my routine of loading the three daytime diffusers as I brew the coffee. I look forward to the “whoosh” of Peppermint as I open the bottle, combined with the enchanting scent of morning java.

Key point: leave the diffusers and oils out the night before so you can do the loading with your eyes half shut. Maybe you’re really organized and get it done the night before.

The daytime diffusers in our house are: one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in my home office. There is always something with a mint involved. I load all three at the same time.

Energizing oils: mint family

Mint oils (Peppermint, Spearmint) are great for giving you energy. They help you take a deep breath and open your eyes. They’re perfect for morning. Usually I mix my morning mint medley with a citrus. With their mood-lifting properties, citrus oils pair perfectly with mints and the combo smells delicious too.

Peppermint - Aromatic Links

Mood lifters: citrus family

It’s also useful to be aware of how the oils affect the emotions of the people who come in contact with them.

Citrus blends to create aromatic links

Citrus oils, as mentioned, are great for lifting the mood. We have found a very clear correlation between diffusing citrus in the morning and the mood of one of our children. Citrus = not so grumpy. Sometimes we even diffuse a citrus overnight in the kitchen when we suspect he’ll be up before we will the next morning.

In addition to leveraging the emotional effects of the oils, having this as a routine helps to anchor the start of the work-from-home workday. It has come to signal for me that it’s time to go to the home office and get to work.

Current favourite morning diffuser blends:

Leaning heavily on the Lime lately. It always changes. If Lime isn’t your jam go with what draws you. There is no right or wrong!

2. Work from home: use aromatic links to focus like a boss

Work from Home - Aromatic Links

I’m lucky enough to have a space in my home that is just for me. It houses my practice piano, a desk for my laptop, a spare bed for the dogs to lie on, and it has a door that closes. My diffuser is always close by, and my diffuser always, always contains Rosemary essential oil.

Get stuff done: Rosemary

Rosemary is an oil I discovered when I was looking into oils that support memory retention and recall. Totally by accident I realized it’s also absolutely stellar for getting things done. One of my first posts goes into this a little more deeply. https://theessentialmusician.ca/essential-oils-for-practicing-music/

Occasionally I’ll find my attention wandering, and usually, it’s because I’ve forgotten to turn on the diffuser.

Rosemary - Aromatic Links

Favourite get-stuff-done diffuser blends:

(Again, Lime is my thing right now but maybe you like something else. Do what works for you!)

Prioritize and get it done: Adaptiv

Adaptiv - Aromatic Links

There’s another oil I really lean on in my home office, and it’s the new blend Adaptiv. The diluted Touch roller is one of the two topical-use bottles that lives in my office (along with Past Tense for head and shoulder tension).

Adaptiv is stellar for those times when you have so much to do and you don’t know where to start and you’re freaking out because the to-do list is so long and holy moly how will I get everything done… Apply the Adaptiv to temples, back of neck, wrists, and take a big inhale. Voilà, all better, get back to work.

3. Afternoon slump: use aromatic links to change it up

In the afternoon in our house things tend to get a little less structured. We hang out more as a family, we take the dogs for walks, whatever. The diffuser blends get a little more free-form, and sometimes I’ll consult the inter-web to see what comes up. This is a great time to stare at your oil stash and see what jumps out at you.

Try something new: don’t overthink it

Maybe you’re going to try Spikenard in the diffuser today (wouldn’t recommend). Maybe there’s a blend you’ve neglected that suddenly you’re interested in. Don’t overthink it, just give it a shot. It’s possible that particular bottle caught your eye because there’s something in that oil’s properties that your body is subconsciously craving. Or not. Whatever, don’t overthink it.

Fun afternoon diffuser blends:

4. Practice/Workout time: use aromatic links for motivation

This is actually one of the things I first started experimenting with when I became an oiler. I wanted to find out what would happen if I created a scent link between practicing and performing. This experiment resulted in my Rosemary-for-productivity discovery.

Motivate using essential oils to create aromatic links

What also works really well is associating a particular aroma with an action (aromatic links), as we’ve been talking about in this post. You can fine-tune this link by leveraging a specific oil or blend with a specific action. For me and practicing it’s the magic combo of Rosemary, Peppermint, Wild Orange and Frankincense. When I smell that specific combo I know it’s time to get the fingers on the keys.

Energizing: mint blends

This association can be any oil or blend and any behavior. Peppermint works really well for this because it’s a strong aroma and is easy to associate. One of dōTERRA’s amazing blends is exactly for this.

Motivate blend is a perfect one to lean on when you’re working through your 30 days of home workouts and you really want to skip day 17. If you’ve been using Motivate before each workout, when motivation wanes just grab the oil and the behavior expectation will help you get off your butt to do the thing.

Great motivation blends:

Centering: Yoga blends

Yoga Blends - Aromatic Links

If yoga is more your thing, dōTERRA has a line of three gorgeous blends for exactly this. It’s really easy to associate an aroma with an action, and if you look forward to that aroma as a special event in your day, the habit that goes with it will become more and more automatic.

Yoga blends:

  • Arise
  • Anchor
  • Affirm

5. Bedtime wind down: use aromatic links to evoke relaxation

I’m not naturally a good sleeper. I love staying up late and have always fought with nodding off, so I’ve become a master at the bedtime routine. Everyone’s routine if different and you have to do what works for you. I would like to suggest that you add strategic use of diffusing into the routine to help anchor the habit and trigger the body into a relaxation response.

Here’s a little article by dōTERRA on sleep:  Essential Oils for Sleep

Easy bedtime hack: diffuse early

This super easy hack is something I’ve been doing for a long time. When starting my bedtime routine I bring the bedroom diffuser into the bathroom, including the cable. I load the diffuser in the bathroom where all the oils are, and I run it during my evening ablutions. Then I bring the diffuser back into the bedroom and run it for the night.

Since starting this my nod-off time has decreased dramatically, and if I do wake up in the night it’s almost always only after the diffuser has stopped running.

For those of us with kids this is a great thing to add to the routine for them too.

Sleep blends: to each their own

The great thing about each person having their own diffuser is each person can choose what oils they are most drawn to for relaxation.

My son is a creature of habit and almost always has Balance and Lavender in his diffuser, which he does because he knows our elderly dog likes it. We often find her lying with her nose right up against the table where the diffuser runs in his room.

Lavender Sleep Aromatic Links

Our daughter likes the combo of a wood and a citrus. I love love love Bergamot, Cedarwood, and a drop of Marjoram. Weird, but it’s my favourite. Sometimes it’s something else.

(Yes, each of our bedrooms has its own diffuser. If you’re doing the math, yes we have six diffusers. Yes we run them all, every day. It’s funny, when I first started with oils I thought I would never diffuse. Haha, that was cute.)

Best sleep oils: well, that depends

The point is, there is no one perfect sleep oil. There are single oils and blends that are known to be supportive for sleep. We all know about Lavender, and most people find it very calming (I do), but some people don’t. There is also the magical dōTERRA sleep blend Serenity that is like “Lavender Plus”. There are others too.

For a while my son really liked Peppermint in his sleep diffuser. Weird, right? We rely on that one heavily in the daytime, but for him he really liked it with Balance because it smells like candy canes and it made him feel happy. Maybe it made him breathe more deeply. Who knows. But he slept well with that combo and that’s all I care about.

Generally:

  • Lavender and blends with Lavender (like Serenity): most people find these calming, but some don’t. Serenity is great for calming the mind.
  • Wood oils and blends (like Balance): help to calm the hamster wheel
  • Vetiver: calms the overactive mind, but some people find their dreams to be very vivid
  • Juniper Berry: people claim this can counteract vivid dreams
  • Mint oils and blends like Easy Air (Breathe): opens the airways for better breathing (snoring problems?)
  • Citrus oils: mood lifting and centering

The point is, don’t over think it. If it feels right for you, go for it. If you don’t like it, toss the water and start again. Yes, there are mint and citrus oils on this sleep list and the energizing list. My kids like these in their sleep blends and they sleep well. Everyone is different.

Favourite sleep blends:

Summary

It is so easy to dive deeply into developing the link between aroma triggers and desired behaviour. Start with one behaviour you would like to automate and associate the same aroma with it every time. Be consistent, start with inhaling the aroma, and commit to doing it every day for two weeks and see what happens.

I would love to know what you do for aroma/behaviour links. What’s working for you? Let’s learn from each other!