Working at home – make it work for you


With what I do for a living, working from home is not something new for me. And in recent times we have seen the beginnings of the shift toward remote working in some industries.

The COVID-19 outbreak is making this shift a necessity rather than an option, highlighting the need for businesses and their employees to embrace the changing shape of the ‘workplace’. We are possibly at the start of a workplace revolution. For many, this is their first time working from home and it will probably feel very strange being away from colleagues and office norms.

As is my way for many things, including significant changes, I reach for my essential oils for some support. These wonderful, potent essences with their fabulous aromas can be a real help; physically by helping to boost our immune systems, and on the mental and emotional levels, by helping to calm and clarify our thought processes, restoring a sense of calm and lifting our mood. They are great to use in these times of challenges and changes.

I have been using my diffuser daily in my home ‘office’, sometimes with an immune boosting blend and other times with blends that help me stay calm, centred and cheerful.

Some ideas for your diffuser

Good morning!
2 drops Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
2 drops Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
4 drops Bergamot (Citrus aurantium, ssp bergamia)
1 drop of Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Tea tree is a good immune tonic and it’s invigorating camphoraceous scent instils positivity and boosts morale. As well as stimulating your immune system, Ravensara with its sweet, green and slightly pungent scent strengthens us emotionally and relaxes the mind. Bergamot brings mental and emotional stability and balance as well as helping to halt those repeating cycles of negative thoughts. Peppermint’s fresh aroma energises us and allows clarity and insight to come to the fore.

Clarify and calm
2 drops of Clary Sage (Salvia sclaria)
2 drops of Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
4 drops of Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)

Clary Sage brings clarity to your mind when you feel overwhelmed with a maelstrom of thoughts and those to-do lists. Roman chamomile, with it’s sweet, appley scent, is wonderfully calming and soothing. Grapefruit, with its delightful citrusy aroma, brings lightness to your mood and a smile to your face.

A boost of energy
4 drops of Bergamot (Citrus aurantium, ssp bergamia)
3 drops of May Chang (Litsea cubeba)
2 drops of Myrtle (Myrtus communis cineoliferum)

Bergamot’s delightfully fresh and fruity citrus aroma will help you feel refreshed and cheery. May Chang’s zesty and floral notes will help you feel positive and ready for action! Myrtle is great as an immune booster and it’s bright, fresh scent brings an energetic boost – perfect for that after-lunch slump.

Sweet balance
4 drops of Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
3 drops of Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
1 drop of Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis)

Sweet Orange will bring sunshine and smiles. Jasmine’s sweetly floral and somewhat heady aroma will make you feel like summer is already here. Frankincense will restore balance and focus.

Safety notes

Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is contraindicated for pregnant or breast feeding mothers, and for children under 5 years of age. Avoid its use if you have epilepsy, a fever or heart disease.

Do not use Peppermint oil if you are taking homeopathic medicines as it could interfere with the remedies. Do not use immediately before going to sleep as it might keep you awake.

Other things you can do to make working at home really work for you

Devise a daily routine
You’ll genuinely feel a whole lot better and be so much more productive if you start your working day as you normally would. That means ditching your PJs, showering, shaving, putting on make up and dressing (including your shoes) as you usually would if you were going to the office. Have your breakfast before you ‘go to the office’ too. Plan a timed lunch break away from your laptop and the time you want to finish work for the day. Add these to your calendars and team communications channels and stick to them.

A workspace just for you
It’s best if you can create your own work area or spot within your home that’s free from home life interruptions during your working hours. This will help you to stay focused and productive. Ensure that the table or desk and chair that you choose are comfortable and that they allow you to maintain good posture.

At the end of the day you can leave your work at ‘the office’ and enjoy your evenings and family time. At the end of my working day I like to take five minutes to do a mental run-through of the day and list the things that I need to prioritise for the next working day. This helps me to clear my head and gives me that time to detach from work and ‘the office’ and ‘go home’, ready and present for the evening ahead.

Plan, plan, plan
At the start of your working week, take 15 minutes or so to write up and prioritise your to-do list. Reflect on the times of day where you are most productive and plan your work accordingly. I’m a great proponent of ‘eating that frog’ – getting the tasks that I’m least fond or are the most challenging completed and off my list.

Get some air
Fresh air is essential for us, for both our physical and our mental health. But when you’re working from home it’s so easy to forget to actually go outdoors. Try starting your day with a brisk walk. Think of it as your new commute. It’s a great way to get your energy moving and those creative juices flowing, ready for the day ahead.

Keep in touch
Even for introverted folk like me, or those habituated to doing so, working from home can be a very lonely experience at times. Today’s technology really helps us to keep in touch. Make the most of tools such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or Whats App to check in and chat with your coworkers.

Take good care of your mental and emotional wellbeing
Meditation, mindfulness and yoga are wonderful and valuable tools to help restore calm and and positivity when feeling stressed or overwhelmed. A daily practice of any or all of these will help reduce stress levels, ease feelings of anxiety and depression and improve your sleep patterns. Build in some short breaks during the day to practice.

There are some great resources online. Check out The Soul Spa’s website for their online meditation sessions. Also Becky at Becky’s Health and Fitness has short yoga sessions on her website for people to try.

Clearly there are challenges and, for some, an intense learning curve in working from home, especially if you’ve never had to do this before. It might take a while to figure out what works for you in terms of set up and strategy for a productive working day. Take your time. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Remember too that you’re not alone in this. Chat to your coworkers and compare or combine ideas. They’ll really appreciate it.

On another note

I know that I have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster as I hear news updates and see all the posts on the various social media channels. Watching people that I care about losing income streams and seeing beloved businesses having to close has been hard. At the same time I’ve been so inspired by the bravery, kindness, ingenuity and creativity that is emerging as we navigate our way through this pandemic.

NHS staff take a bow.

Supermarket staff also take a bow.

All of you behind the scenes that are keeping essential services going take a bow.

And you, dear Reader also take a bow.

We’re all going through this together. For some it’s a time of incredible loss and deep emotional pain. My heart goes out to you all. Your are braver than words can ever describe.

I do hope that you find some of the above ideas useful. I’d love to hear how you’re getting on. Tweet me at @SubtleAromatics.

💛 Be protected. Be safe. Be well. 💛


Battaglia S.The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Vol 1 Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd, Australia 2018

Mojay G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit Gaia Books Limited, London 1996

Tisserand R. & Young R. Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition Elsevier Ltd, 2014some

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