Want to know a surprising way to get more focused during your day? How do you stimulate the brain naturally, without having the stress of remembering to do one. more. thing?
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from my community asking for ways to stay focused now that their lives have changed and they’re spending more time at home. For a few of you, working from home is something you’ve already been doing for years.
But for most people, the shift into remote work during 2020 was shocking and brought significant challenges.
Some of you now work and homeschool simultaneously. Then there’s the task of managing your home while also trying to submit your work projects by the deadline. Laundry, meals, and tidying are constantly in the back of your mind, offering a subtle distraction no matter how much you try to prioritize your day.
Let’s just face it: you’re tired! Your kids are tired too. You’ve seen them doze off or zone out during their online learning and zoom classes. It’s the same for you.
You love the feeling of being productive, so sometimes you turn to coffee to stay energized and get that burst of motivation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing every now and then! In fact, a warm cup of coffee, along with taking breaks, and having a short exercise routine can really help you get through your busy and filled day.
But I know plenty of people who don’t like to drink caffeine, and it’s certainly not a healthy solution for children either!
I’ve found that essential oils can be really effective in helping with focus and concentration. I’ve been using essential oils for decades, and these are some of my absolute favorites that help me on busy days, or when I just need to stay calm and focused.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Productivity and Focus at Work and School?
There’s a strong connection between the nose and the brain, thanks to the limbic system.
The limbic system of your brain detects scents and sensory stimulation from the olfactory bulb, which is connected to your nose and the olfactory nerves. The brain is activated and connects that particular scent to the present moment, creating a memory. This is why the limbic system is involved in emotions, memory, and behavior. This is also why the association between scent and memory is vitally important when it comes to working, concentration, or studying.
When you repeatedly use scent to help you stay focused, your brain kicks in even stronger because it remembers that scent being connected to a similar task from your past. To put it simply, when you use essential oils to activate the limbic system of your brain, you’re creating new neural pathways that can connect relaxation and focus at the same time.
Rituals are a grounding experience. Do you have one already you can recall right now? Maybe it’s preparing a cup of tea in the morning, or drinking a glass of water with fresh lemon juice as you read the paper.
When it comes to essential oils, the ritual of preparing for your day only adds to the positive experience. Before getting to work, move intentionally as you set up your diffuser at your desk, or set up a pretty display near your child’s computer station. Moving through the ritual in a calm, thoughtful, methodical way can really help you feel more peaceful and ready to get to work!
Connecting to Nature
When we use essential oils, it’s easy to just think of them as we see them: liquids in glass bottles. But there’s something special about how aromatherapy brings us back to nature. Many of us live in busy cities or towns, connected to devices and moving from one task to the next, all day long. But in a small way, essential oils bring the natural world back into our homes.
Sure, it’s not the same as being outside, among the woods and flowers. But welcoming these scents into our living spaces is a way to cut through the tension that comes from living in such a busy, modern world. It can help make work and school more pleasant, and much more effective.
Top 10 Essential Oils for Focus and Energy When You Need to Get Things Done
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is indicated for a wide range of brain issues. Known as “the oil of remembrance” because it can improve mental clarity.
A 2016 study from Northumbria University found that students who worked in a room with rosemary essential oil in the air achieved 5-7% better results in memory tests.
Rosemary works wonders on its own, as well as within an essential oil blend, such as the following from my Healing Oils collection:
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of the most common essential oils we use when wanting to promote relaxation. But a Japanese study from 2005 showed that when people inhale it during a school or work break, this essential oil can actually improve your concentration when you return to the task.
This essential oil helps give your brain a “refresh” since it has relaxed during the break. When you step away from stimulation and decrease the stress in your body, it’s much easier to come back to your project with a clear head, ready to focus!
Use lavender on its own or within an essential oil blend, such as the following from my Healing Oils collection:
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is excellent for relieving headaches and stress. A mental and physical stimulant, it can help you stay alert during long working hours or while driving. It also helps to clear the mind and bring focus.
According to a study conducted in 2018, taking peppermint capsules was associated with improved performance of demanding cognitive tasks.
Peppermint works effectively when used alone, and also within an essential oil blend, such as the following from my Healing Oils collection:
Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress is a wonderful essential oil if you want a milder scent.
It’s herbaceous oil that’s great for grounding and calming. It’s perfect for when you’re feeling overwhelmed about a project or deadline. Pair it with a citrus oil like bergamot or lemon in the diffuser.
Use cypress alone, or find it within the following from my Healing Oils collection:
Lemon Essential Oil
The fresh lemon scent just feels automatically revitalizing! It’s zesty, peppy, and refreshing. Breathing in this citrus scent is an instant stress reliever.
Imagine inhaling this essential oil and making 54% fewer errors when you’re working. That’s what this study showed when its employees used lemon essential oil while completing their typing duties. Just amazing!
One touching study also has shown that using lemon essential oil in aromatherapy helped to improve cognitive function in a group of Alzheimer’s patients. These patients inhaled lemon and rosemary oils in the morning and lavender and orange oils at night. What a simple, gentle way to help the elderly.
Lemon essential oil is fantastic on its own, but is also effective when used within a blend, like the following from my Healing Oils collection:
Basil Essential Oil
This essential oil emits a woody, licorice-like fragrance.
Those in search of a concentration aid will likely be more interested in the fact that basil essential oil contains linalool, an organic compound that has shown to reduce memory loss and stress in scientific studies.
You can find basil essential oil in the following Healing Oil from my collection:
Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang-ylang essential oil is commonly associated with luxury bath and beauty products, and for its use as an aphrodisiac. But this sweet and floral smelling essential oil should also get credit for its effectiveness as a concentration aid, as there’s a scientific link between topical use of ylang-ylang essential oil and the relaxed state conducive to optimal focus.
You can find ylang-ylang essential oil in the following Healing Oils from my collection:
Frankincense Essential Oil
If you’re looking to up your mental stamina, keep a bottle of frankincense essential oil handy because it is esteemed for its memory-boosting abilities.
Frankincense is highly desired. This oil has the unique ability to pass the blood-brain barrier, aiding both physically and emotionally. It is hugely beneficial for strengthening the immune system. Aids in balancing emotions in times of depression, anxiety, grief, stress, and trauma.
You can find frankincense in the following essential oil blends in my Healing Oils collection:
Sandalwood Essential Oil
This woody essential oil has earned a spot on countless ingredient lists, from candles and incense to perfume and lotions, but it’s also associated with an ability to promote mental clarity, and it’s an effective oil for short-term mental stress.
Find sandalwood in the following essential oil blends in my Healing Oils collection:
Sage Essential Oil
In two scientific studies involving patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the use of sage essential oil (Sage officinalis and Sage lavandulaefolia) was linked to improved cognitive function and an improvement in attention.
Sage has a long-standing reputation as a catalyst for mental clarity, and it’s known for improving alertness, calmness, and contentedness.
How to Use Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration
First, you can use them aromatically, such as in a diffuser – which looks similar to a humidifier. Put about 10-12 drops of essential oils in the diffuser and the oils get dispersed into the air.
On-the-go Diffuser (Spray Bottle)
You can create your own “on the go diffuser” so easily!
In a 4 oz spray bottle, add:
-10-15 drops of essential oil
-1 tbsp witch hazel (which helps to keep the water sanitized)
-Fill with water.
Simply spritz the air when it’s time to get focused on a project or homework!
You can put essential oils directly on your skin—but make sure you do it safely! Dilute with carrier oils like coconut oil, almond oil, or even avocado oil.
Then mix a 1:5 ratio of essential oil to carrier oil and apply on the skin. Dilute more for kids between 5-10. Essential oils can enter the bloodstream within 30 seconds, so this is an effective way to get a quick benefit from them!
See for yourself how essential oils can help you stay focused
Try boosting your energy with an essential oil the next time you find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee or energy drink during your afternoon slump.
Be sure to talk with your doctor if your fatigue continues and doesn’t get better. Essential oils are an incredible tool, but should not be used in place of professional help when needed. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle choices, such as more sleep, exercise, or dietary changes, to help keep your energy levels up.
Ready to try essential oils for yourself?