Scents Make Sense

rosemary, daisy, aromatherapy

How many times have you found yourself sitting in front of the computer trying desperately to concentrate?

It’s happening to me right now – it’s pretty dark outside, the rain is bouncing off the skylight and the lights seem dimmer than usual.

You can lose your concentration for so many reasons:

  • lack of sleep the night before
  • the kids have been playing up
  • the adults have been playing up
  • the cats/dogs/sloths have been playing up
  • you just can’t get your head around the words in front of you
  • the view from your window is so much more interesting than the words in front of you
  • what the hell are those words in front of you?

There are as many reasons for lack of concentration as there are reasons why cat videos are addictive.

Sorry about that, couldn’t resist

It can be a problem when you are in a profession that requires long sessions of intense concentration.

Increasingly I’ve found that scents can help you get back your edge. We all know that coffee enlivens and can give you that kick … even just the smell can perk you up and bring you back to life, but there are other less caffeinated alternatives.

You can use your smellies as oils, candles, infusions or just in their natural state – we’ve all been squirted in the eye by the zesty oils as you try to peel an orange, that’s a bit drastic, but carefully opening a fresh citrus fruit will surround you with feel good scents.

orange splash

Below I’ve listed some lovely aromas that will help aid concentration and get your focus back, but remember I’m not an aromatherapist so be careful how you use essential oils, always read the label and use your commonsense.

Grapefruit is zingy and fresh. As an oil, in a candle or simply by eating one and breathing in the zesty fumes, grapefruit is great with a little bit of a punch.

Eucalyptus does far more than clear your head cold. Even a bit of eucalyptus chewing gum will get your concentration back.

Similarly, peppermint (or any other mint really) will pep you up. Try a lovely mint tea such as Pukka Three Mint (I don’t really like mint tea, but surprisingly I actually like this one).

My favourite scent for regaining brain-power is rosemary. I find the best thing is to take a sprig (even better if it is fresh from your garden) and keep it by your computer, then when you feel your concentration waning rub it between your fingers. The scent will bring you to life.

rosemary aromatherapy

If, like me, you get fidgety, things like Mohdoh  are brilliant. These are therapeutic doughs that you can fiddle with as you think; infused with essential oils they will enliven you as the fragrances are released.  My favourite is the doh called ‘Think’, which contains a blend of rosemary, basil, rosewood and palmarosa.

I tend to use a lot of candles, and those with essential oils that aid concentration are worth every penny. Don’t use synthetic oils as they won’t have the same effect. My favourite at the moment is the Liz Earle Eucalyptus and Rosemary candle. It’s pricey, but boy is it good!

Cinnamon, in candles, is also great, as is a citrus such as zingy lemon … but be careful with that one or you may end up being reminded of cleaning fluid. And no – a slice of lemon in your gin and tonic won’t really help. Well, not while you are supposed to be working anyway!

Lavender can also help productivity as it’s a calming essential oil, but personally I find it chills me out rather than gets my concentration back on track.

Don’t force yourself to use an aroma that you don’t really like, part of getting your concentration back is embracing the feel-good factor. Surround yourself with lovely smellies, the ones you like and things will be so much better.

So, these are my tips. If you are struggling or need a blast of concentration – scents make sense.

13 Comments on “Scents Make Sense

  1. Wrote a finding application last night to a nice glass of brandy! would that count?

  2. Thank you for these wonderful suggestions! I’m keen to try your “smelly” approach because my cat-video consumption is at record-high levels these days. 🙂

    • What ever you do don’t click on the cat video link then… it’s 14 minutes long 😉
      Rosemary and eucalyptus are a great combination!

      • Oh, make no mistake — I clicked. That’s why I’ve decided today that showers are overrated, and that cereal straight out of the box is a perfectly acceptable breakfast. 🙂 And thank you for the tip on rosemary and eucalyptus. It would never have occurred to me to combine those two, but it does sound refreshing. I will report back. But first … just one more cat video.

      • There is no blame among friends. (Quite the opposite, in fact — some of those “cat fails” were *hilarious*!)

  3. You are, indeed, evil and bad for productivity this week (re cat videos), but the smellies sound like good ideas. Indexing jobs are what I tend to glaze over with these days. Book design work keeps me occupied. So, there’s something to be said for having a variety of different tasks. 🙂

    • oh totally, I think you need a variety of tasks or you really can glaze over.
      About the cat vids… sorry, not sorry. Muahahahaha 😉

  4. What a great article, Sara. I’m going to try some of these. Incidentally, I thought Pukka Three Mint tea was the queen of peppermint tea until I found Aldi’s peppermint infusion! It takes peppermint tea to a higher, unprecedented level altogether! I urge you to try it (even though it looks like you’re not peppermint tea’s biggest fan).

  5. Pingback: Being physically active when your job isn’t | annajediting

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