Using Time Management to Reduce Stress

Using Time Management to Reduce Stress

stress reduction through time managementThis post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Reducing stress is so critical in the world in which we live these days. Generally speaking, life is stressful. And, from experience, I have found that time management goes a very long way in reducing my everyday stress.

In fact, “Reduce your stress,” is one of the key mantras my chiropractor expresses every time I go see her. For those who have read other posts, you know that I have problems with neck pain. So, I am work to ensure that I have an ergonomic office. I also ensure I do my exercises, sit correctly, get up and walk around. All the right things to avoid back and neck pain.

But, still some days, I hurt. And I find those days are mostly the ones that I have let stress get out of control. Yes – just stressing out causes neck pain. If you feel stress, your body tenses, your neck muscles get tight and you start to feel pain – in your back, your arms and sometimes in your head. Yup, stress is bad.

In earlier posts, I discussed the use of essential oils for reducing stress. I highly recommend that you use a diffuser in your office (and your home) with essential oils that have properties that combat stress. However, I also highly recommend that you look at changes you can make to reduce as much stress as you can before it even starts. Time management is one of the changes you can make.

Stress can be overwhelming

Those of us who work from home often find that without some type of time management, the stress can overwhelm us. When you put too much pressure on yourself or you become overwhelmed by duties, demands, and responsibilities, it can lead to snowball effect. Simply put, very unscientifically, the more stress you feel, the more stressed you become.

Stress comes in many forms. And, it is caused by many things. But, when your stress is just from having too little time for all your responsibilities, it might be a great opportunity to work on your time management skills. Time management helps to reduce stress while working to eliminate that horrible feeling of being overwhelmed.

Getting your thoughts under control before managing time

Before we take a look at some time management strategies, it would be helpful to “get your mind straight.” One of the best ways that I have found to do this, is first take a deep breath. Okay. Good. Now take another. That’s right – keep taking deep breaths until you feel a sense of relaxation. Seems too simple, but it does work to get more oxygen to your brain.

With a sense of calm, you can now work on some time management activities.

Begin with the beginning in mind

What does that even mean? If you want to better manage your time, you need to start at the beginning by choosing your priorities. Let’s face it. You can’t get everything done at once. So, what needs to happen first? What can you relegate to later? Setting your priorities will help to relieve some of your stress. The good thing about reducing stress is that it allows your brain to function better overall. Because of this, you are able to get more accomplished.

Then, how do you figure out what the priorities are? Here are some things to consider when setting task priorities.

Is there a deadline?

Think about tasks that have a strict deadline. Assign those tasks to the top priority and get those tasks done first. These should be a priority, since they MUST be done by a certain date and time.

I highly recommend visuals when managing your time. A good way to keep track of these priority items is to put the tasks with deadlines down on a calendar planner. If you are a list person, then you can use a list to prioritize your tasks. Once you have the tasks with a deadline on your calendar or list, then begin assigning a priority to the rest of the tasks you have to complete. Tasks without a deadline are more open-ended, so they can be added to a later date on your planner or list.

Just prioritizing your tasks should help reduce your stress. Making a visual of all the things that need to be done can bring a sense of relief. You will now have all the tasks ordered and assigned priority for completion. With this prioritizing, you can see the things you have to do and when they will need to be completed. But you are able to look at them as individual units rather than a crazy, overwhelming mess in your head. If you have the plan to accomplish each task rather than worrying about doing everything at once, you will eliminate some stress.

Look at the big picture and decide if the task is really critical

When you are building a business, you may find that you simply have too much to do. Instead of insisting that you have to get everything done, consider whether each task is NECESSARY. Think about each task and what the end result is going to be. Especially think about what would happen if the task was NOT done. Is it more like busy work that you think you should
be doing, or is it actually critical that it get done?

Especially in the building phase of your business, you will need to let go of some tasks. Think this, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I don’t complete this task?” The honest answer to that question should help you to decide whether the task really needs to be done or not.

How do you feel when working on the task?

If there is something you start working on that immediately causes more stress and frustration, re-think whether this is a priority or not. Now, some things that HAVE to be done cause stress. If this is the case, then perhaps chunking the task into smaller blocks of time will help.

My recommendation for these tasks, however, is to get them done as quickly as possible. If a task causes stress when you are doing it, then it causes a constant and nagging stress in the background when you avoid completing it. This can override any joy you might feel putting the task off. Bite the bullet and get the task done if it is a priority.

Does the task affect people in your life?

You might also want to think about certain tasks that could affect your family and friends positively or negatively. Tasks related to taking your kids to doctor’s appointments or helping your friend with moving might be a priority. But make sure you have them on your calendar or list to complete when scheduled.

In time management, schedule your work first to reduce stress

Brain clutter. That is what I call a huge mess of tasks that you know have to be done but have no idea how you will complete them. Brain clutter leads to brain fog. Which leads to feeling stress. Which leads to being overwhelmed. OK – you get the idea.

Take a deep breath now and first schedule as many of your work tasks as you can. Listing the tasks with a due date for the tasks prevents the added stress caused by missing deadlines, not going to appointments, or letting all of this clutter muddle your brain.

Time management is difficult, if not impossible to do effectively without having a schedule. It is okay to make changes as life happens, but at least start with tasks that will be worked on and when. Then you will have a better idea of how to spend the rest of your time.

Include your personal life in your calendar to reduce stress

When you have your own business, scheduling personal time can be the hardest thing to do. Especially at first. But, make sure as you schedule your time, you remember to schedule your personal life! That’s correct. I said to schedule your personal time.

No matter what you do or how busy you are, you need to have time for yourself, family, and friends. If you don’t schedule “you” time, you will hit burnout very quickly. This is why time management is so helpful in reducing stress. You not only schedule all your work tasks, but you also see where you have time for your personal life and leisure time.

Try logging your activities when you begin time management

Especially when you begin working on time management skills, consider keeping a detailed log of everything you do and when. You can easily do this by keeping a daily time log at your desk, and jot down what you are doing each hour. Of course, the more detailed you keep the log, the more it will help. But, don’t stress yourself out by spending a huge amount of time logging your time.

The log will help you to look back and see how you have been spending your time. It may alert you to what are time wasters for you. It will also help you to see where you go right, and where you might be going wrong in managing your time.

Perhaps at the end of the month, you feel like you should have accomplished more and don’t understand where your time went. If you keep a log of everything you did, you could see problems that occurred. Maybe you worked late for too many days so your personal life suffered. Perhaps you took an extended vacation that dipped into your work responsibilities.

Maybe your breaks were too long, or you simply didn’t manage your time correctly. All the documentation is going to help you understand where all your time went. Time management can be different for everyone. Sometimes it just takes a little trial and error to figure out what works best for you to give you the most balanced life.

Effective time management reduces stress

Let’s face it. We all have the same 24 hours every day. But some people seem to get more done with less stress. Others run around stressed and overwhelmed trying to get everything done and seeming to get nowhere. As a business owner, you want to be in the first category. You want to manage your time so that each day is productive and as stress free as possible. The sooner you get a handle on managing your time, the more successful you will feel. And, the more successful you will be.

Using time management to reduce stress allows you to spend your “brain time” accomplishing tasks rather than wasting it wondering how you will get everything done. It will also ensure that you enjoy your personal time, rather than spending it worrying about what you still have to do. If you feel stress about all the things you have to do, I recommend that you get a handle on managing your time today. Set aside some time to list and prioritize all that you have to do. Once this is done, you will notice that you feel less stressed. And that sure does feel good!

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Essential Oil Diffuser Review – 11 Awesome Options

Essential Oil Diffuser Review – 11 Awesome Options

This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

This essential oil diffuser review will provide you with some awesome options that are available to you. Essential oil diffusers are an excellent way to begin (or continue) using essential oils. In prior posts, I discussed the use of essential oils to reduce stress.  I believe that using natural methods for reducing stress in the home office is critical to our ongoing  health.  And, if we work at home – we DO want to stay healthy.

Plus, essential oils just smell soooooo good. Without any fake chemical additives that pollute your air.  I have been using them for years, and from my experience they make a difference in my mood. Nothing like walking into a room with the rich aroma of Lavender and Ylang Ylang wafting through the air to uplift me!!!! And bring a smile to my face.

Many different tools for dispersing essential oils into the air are available today. Earlier, I shared information about the different types of diffusers available on the market.  That article included pros and cons of each type of diffuser. So, today, I want to review a few specific diffusers that are available right now.

Candle Diffusers

More than anything, I want to encourage you to select one of the models and get started in the wonderful world of essential oils!  So, take a look at what is out there to see which diffuser will best meet your needs.

First, let’s look at some candle diffusers. These are probably the simplest form of essential oil diffusers. They provide a very low cost entry point if  you want to begin experimenting with esssential oils.  As discussed in this post, they must be used cautiously around children (or a curious cat) since you have an open flame. Also, the heat can change the composition of the essential oil molecules. That said, this was my first foray into essential oils and I have many fond memories of my candle diffusers. So, if  you are hesitant to begin, I recommend starting with one of these diffusers.

Singeek 100ML Ceramic Tea Light Holder

This diffuser usually burns 2.5 hours; however you may need to add some water when using. Is it easy to use because you can take off the bowl to light the candle. Add water to the bowl with 5-8 drops of essential oils. Handcrafted design fits well into any decor. 

NJCharms Ceramic Tealight Holder Essential Oil Burner

This ceramic burneris also hand-carved and provides a beautiful pattern on the wall or table. Hollowed-out holes spreading soft light through your room as essential oils are dispersed through your room. Simply add a votive candle below. Then add water and 2-5 drops of oil in the top blow, light the candle and enjoy!

ETROVES Tealight Holder Essential Oil Burner

Isn’t this a pretty little essential oil burner? The owl design evokes a sense of peace – in addition to the scent of the essential oils when you use this diffuser. The burner has two components – a pot and a bowl. Made of stone, all the carving and sculpting is done by hand. So each piece will be unique. 

Ultrasonic Diffusers

Ultrasonic diffusers come in a wide range of styles with many features. Many different looks and price points are available to match your home or home office. Most have lights that cycle to provide a comforting ambiance in your room. Essential oils are added to water. Then, using ultrasonic technology, essential oils are misted into the air. Much safer than candle diffusers, they come with many features. Let’s look at some of the choices below.

VicTsing 150ml Essential Oil Diffuser

This is an economic entry into ultrasonic diffusers that has some nice features. It has a noise reducing cover, if the motor running bothers you. With a 150 ml water capacity works longer – for 5-10 hours. It contains 8-mood color lights, a programmable nightlight and a no light mode. The plastic in this diffuser is BPA-free.  In addition, the diffuser turns off when the water runs out to protect the life of the device.

This is a vey simple looking but highly effective ultrasonic diffuser with large water capacity. The many features make it a good first (or supplemental) choice for diffusers. 

BAIESHIJI Essential Oil Diffuser

This more decorative essential oil diffuser provides a nice atmosphere for a room. S superfine mist disperses the essential oils throughout the room. It is very quiet and does shut off when it runs out of water.  Seven colors of light can be locked to one color or cycled for multiple colors. With this diffuser, you can customize the mist to run different times from half an hour to 3+ hours.

Still a relatively low-cost option for beginning your exploration for the benefits of using essential oils.

Pure Enrichment PureGlow Crystal 2-in-1 Himalayan Salt Lamp and Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser 

I really like the idea of this 2-in-1 solution. The original salt lamp and aroma diffuser is the first of its kind that combines an ultrasonic oil diffuser with a Himalayan salt lamp. The diffuser and salt lamp can be used simultaneously or separately. With a large 160 ml tank, this diffuser will last for quite a while. While the essential oils are diffused, the Himalayan salt crystals emit negative ions that neutralize potentially harmful ions emitted by electronic devices. Comes with a 5-year warranty.

Rose Gold Essential Oil Diffuser 3D Glass Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Humidifier

This diffuser is really quite lovely.  And, if you have read many of my posts – one of my measures of good things is whether they make me smile. This beautiful diffuser, indeed, makes me smile. Like most diffusers, it rotates to seven gradient colors for lovely night time ambience. It has a 100 ml tank with a timer that controls from 30 minutes to three hours. The plastic base under the glass cover is BPA free and it has a shut off safety device when it runs out of water. 

500ml Diffusers for Essential Oil, Bligli Premium Metal Aromatherapy Diffuser

This large tanked diffuser can run up to 12 hours and has many features to make it an attractive option. It has 4 time setting modes: auto/1, 3, and 5 hours. Waterless shut off function provides a longer life. This model includes an easy to use 6-button remote with instructions. Again, 7 color changing lights create a mood in your office or at night.  The light reflects through a woodland forest motif to add beauty and calm to any room.  An excellent choice for the home office. 

Anjou 500ml BPA Free Cool Mist Humidifier Wood Grain Aromatherapy Diffuser

Another large aromatherapy diffuser with a 500 ml water tank. Add about 30-40 drops of oil with a single fill. With the patented oil flow system, you add the oils once instead of having to refill throughout the cycle. Timer can be set for 1, 4 and 8 hours with automatic shut off after the water runs out. The stylish wood grain finish works well in any room.  The quiet running of this diffuser allows you to focus on work while immersed in wonderful and relaxing scents.

Waterless Nebulizing Diffusers

Waterless, nebulizing diffusers are considered by many to provide the best therapeutic benefits when using esential oils. This is primarily because the essential oils are not diluted by adding them to water. Thus, the molecules are dispersed into the air without being dimished. Also, these waterless diffusers do not use heat to release the molecules, thus they do not change the structure of the scent molecules at all.

However, these types of diffusers have some negative factors involved with their use. First, the nebulizer itself is quite a bit more expensive than ultrasonic diffusers – sometimes 3-4 times more expensive.  Second, because they disperse the pure oils without using water, they use the essential oils faster. Thus, you spend more on essential oils.  I have seen some recommend using less expensive essential oils in these diffusers. But, I can’t help but wonder at that advice.

Many, including me, consider better quality oils to provide more therapeutic benefits. So, if you are using the oils just for scent and not other therapeutic reasons, then perhaps using less expensive oils might be OK. If cost is a factor for you, then perhaps using better quality oils in a less expensive ultrasonic diffuser would be a better way to go. I don’t think the complete science is out on that yet, although Aroma-Ace provides some interesting information on costs of using waterless nebulizers. That is something you have to decide for yourself. However, I would definitely recommend avoiding using any type of synthetic essential oils or oils diluted by carrier oils.

Let’s take a look at two of these waterless nebulizing essential oil diffusers.

Aroma-Ace Essential Oil Atomizing Diffuser

This baby comes with a full five-year warranty and is manufactured in the USA. But, make sure you return the registration card within the first 30 days to be covered. Cold-diffusion maintains the complete therapeutic benefits of essential oils. They are transformed into a micro fine vapor without the use of heat or water that permeates the air. Further, the micro particles remain suspended in the air for hours, fully intact. Thus the molecules maintain the NATURAL defenses against airborne viruses, bacteria, mold, pests, and odors.

The Aroma-Ace Diffuser has a quick-change system that allow you to change oils fast. All you have to do is twist a new bottle of essential oil into the atomizer at any time without mixing or spilling and “plug” it into the diffuser. This diffuser includes an advanced, built-in, easy-to-use timer. This provides control and convenience in dispersing your oils. This model diffuses from 1.3 to 1.5 ml of oil per hour. So, yes, it uses a lot of essential oils if you have it running all day. Aroma-Ace does recommend diluting your essential oil with carrier oils if cost is a concern.  I still have mixed feelings about this because you will be diluting the therapeutic benefits by cutting the oils.

 Many people express concern about the noise this model emits. There is an option to purchase a sound reducer which pretty well takes care of the excess noise.

 Overall, this is a powerful diffuser that covers from 1,000-1,500 square feet and provides strong therapeutic benefits when using essential oils. There are pros and cons for using this type of diffuser so you will have to carefully consider whether it will meet your needs. You might want to consider the Aroma-Ace Diffuser for when you have a strong need for the therapeutic benefits. For example, it is supposed to be very good for controlling mold.  If your purpose is to cleanse the air of viruses, this would be a good option.  So, you perhaps will want to have this model as a backup for your therapeutic use and use an ultrasonic diffuser for daily usage.

Organic Aromas Nebulizing Aromatherapy Diffuser With Touch Sensor Light Switch

This is a beautiful diffuser that provides a number of benefits, but is also one of the more expensive essential oil diffusers available. The good thing is that this model offers a one-year parts and service warranty.

So, let’s look at the benefits. First, the diffuser is 100% plastic-free. The base is made of wood and the bulb that holds oil is made of glass. If, like me, you are concerned about the effect of plastics on health, then this is a great choice. Because it uses no water, then only the purest and most concentrated molecules are dispersed into the environment. In addition, no heat is used in this model – so molecules are not harmed. So how does it work?

A strong pump atomizes pure essential oil into millions of micro-particles that are wafted into the air for the purest molecules that can be absorbed into the body quickly. The Organic Aromas diffuser has LED lights that can create a nice ambience in the room.  It works on an ultra-quiet cycle: 2 minutes on, 1 minute off, then shuts off after running for two hours.

One negative aspect of this diffuser is that it takes more care than a typical ultrasonic diffuser.  To ensure that the Organic Aromas diffuser continues to run effectively, you will need to clean it daily with a recommended deep cleaning weekly.  This is done simply by adding some alcohol to the glass bulb and letting it run for five to ten minutes to clean out the microtubes. Then, pour out the alcohol and let it dry. The diffuser comes with Because it disperses pure oils, without routine cleaning it can become clogged and stop working.  Detailed directions are provided on how to clean the diffuser.

Although this diffuser requires a bit more care, it is a beautiful diffuser that is highly therapeutic.  The beauty of the device and the fact that it is plastic-free are strong benefits of this product. Thus, I would definitely consider this as one of my important therapeutic diffusers.

Awesome Options for Diffusing

As you can see, there are an abundance of options available to you as you begin your journey into the healthy world of essential oils. The good news is that the options contain many price points to get you started. Whether you are looking for the therapeutic benefits of essential oils or you just want your workplace to smell great, this is a natural option to chemical laden sprays that generally  just mask odors.  In addition, the lights in most of the models provide a color-enhanced environment that can be relaxing in and of themselves.

If you have never considered essential oils, I highly encourage you to give them a try. Believe me, your lungs will thank you!

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Essential Oil Diffusers – A Stress-Busting Tool

Essential Oil Diffusers – A Stress-Busting Tool

candle essential oil diffuserEssential oils provide a natural and healthy way to improve your mood in the office. In an earlier post, I shared how they work and what essential oils are beneficial to reduce stress. There is no doubt that I support the use of essential oils. I have actually been using them for years and in a later post will share a special blend that I have used over and over to increase focus. But, today, I want to share a bit about essential oil diffusers.

Diffusers, as discussed in an earlier post, are a simple way to start using essential oils. There are many options available for diffusing essential oils, so let’s take a look at the different types of diffusers.

Types of Essential Oil Diffusers

Diffusers have been around for many years. Recent improvements provide stronger (and safer) diffusing of oils. The newer types of diffusers are cool air nebulizer diffusers but these are definitely not the only ones available. Take a look at the most common types of essential oil diffusers:

Candle Diffuser.

This is the first ever type of diffuser that I used. Typically inexpensive, they are a good way to start experimenting with essential oils if you have a tight budget. They look similar to a tart warmer. A glass or ceramic container holds a small votive candle on the bottom. You will place oils in the top either on the surface itself or in a bit of water. Light the votive on the bottom to heat the oil and release the scent (molecules).

There are two main drawbacks to the candle diffuser. One is that the heat from the candle causes changes in the oil at a molecular level. If you remember in the prior post, I discussed the molecular make up of essential oils. Because it is the molecules themselves that are beneficial, you want to avoid damaging those.

Another drawback – working with an open flame. You definitely can’t set up your diffuser and walk away, particularly if you have children or a curious cat. So, this would not be your best option if you were using the diffuser throughout the day going in and out of the area you were working.

Oil Lamps

Oil lamps are another option. However, like candle diffusers, they are messy and can be dangerous, since they work much like a kerosene heater. The burn the essential oils to disperse them throughout the air. Again, burning the oil smells nice, but changes the molecular makeup. Again, this is not a safe option around children or curious cats.

Electric Heat Diffuser. Electric diffusers provide another option. This system is slightly simpler than the nebulizer diffuser. An electric heat diffuser contains a chamber with absorbent pads on the inside. Oils are placed on the pads and heat after plugging it in. The warmth will disperse the scent into the air. Heat diffusers are definitely safer than the previous options.

They do work fairly well on the stronger oils, like Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood oils. However, the aroma lasts a much shorter time and, in my opinion, create a much weaker scent. If you are unsure about how essential oils will affect you, this may be a good first option since it disperses a much milder scent than other diffusers.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

Ultrasonic diffusers use water to carry the essential oils into the air. This type of diffuser was the second type that I experimented with. I still use some of the original ultrasonic diffusers that I bought. These diffusers provide some cool air and the scent of the oils into the air. However, the scent emitted is weaker because it is diluted by water. While cool air nebulizers are quality diffusers that work well for a wide range of benefits, they generally can’t handle the stronger essential oils like sandalwood.

These diffusers are generally inexpensive and come in a variety of designs – including plastic, galvanized metal and wood. They are a safe design to use when you have children. Or curious cats. Most last for several hours, do a good job of dispersing the aroma in a smallish area and turn off when they run dry. Many have colorful lights to create a mood and are generally quiet.

Glass Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffuser

A newer type of nebulizing diffuser uses no heat and no water to disperse the essential oils. Thus, they are safer to use. In addition, they do not change the molecular structure of the essential oils or dilute the scent. This type of diffuser is extremely quiet so it is not disruptive in your environment. Some newer models of glass diffusers contain NO PLASTICS – and that is something that I really like.

Recently, I was tested for environmental allergies and one of the things I was most allergic to was – believe it or not – plastics. Now, if you have ever tried to avoid contact with plastic, you will find that it is extremely difficult (impossible) to avoid. That they are making glass and ceramic diffusers is very exciting to me.

These new diffusers are definitely more therapeutic – because they are dispersing pure essential oils into the air. In addition, they do not add humidity to the air as the ultrasonic misters do. Overall, while these diffusers are more expensive, when you can afford one, I definitely recommend this type of diffuser.

Tips For Using the Diffuser

When you make your purchase of a diffuser, make sure you read the instructions manual carefully. These instructions will generally be more extensive for the ultrasonic or nebulizer diffuser. Generally, for this type of diffuser, you will first need to assemble it, then plug it in. You will need to put about 15-20 total drops into the chamber, but this is total for all oils. If you are using more than one type of oil, only put about 5 drops of each one.

The directions will help you in determining the length of time you want the diffuser to run and how to care for the diffuser to ensure that it has a long life. Once you begin using an essential oil diffuser in your home office, I think you will be very pleased. When using good quality essential oils, you will no doubt find that you feel better and experience much less stress. Please let me know what you think after you experience this healthy tool in your office.

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20 Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief

20 Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief

essential oil diffuserLet’s face it. Work can be stressful. When working at home, stress might diminish. You don’t have to worry about traffic driving to work or squabbles with other workers. Nevertheless, stress happens!!! In order to decrease work at home stress, I recommend using something natural. Essential oils definitely do the trick, being very beneficial for stress relief. So let’s look at how/why they work and review 20 best essential oils I have used for stress relief.

Perhaps you have heard about essential oils previously. You may have run across articles about essential oils, especially if looking for natural remedies for stress or even pain relief. But you might not be exactly sure what they are. You might even wonder how they could possibly help you to decrease stress. To be sure, I am a firm believer in the use of essential oils for a variety of purposes. Without going into a long explanation, I have to avoid contact with as many chemicals as possible. Hard to do in this chemical-laden world, but that is another topic altogether. The point is, I use essential oils for many reasons around the house. For example, for dusting and cleaning counter tops, I use a filtered water and essential oil mix. Same for cleaning the bathroom.

OK, OK, what does this have to do with stress? Well, a number of essential oils have been found to reduce stress. How could that even be? Well, let’s take a look at what all this essential oil stuff is all about. First, let’s look at a brief summary of essential oils and how they are made. Finally, we will look at what they can do for YOU to reduce stress in your work at home job.

What is an essential oil?

Learning some basics of essential oils help you understand more about how they benefit you. Hopefully, this encourages you to use them more often as a natural remedy. Essential oils consist of oils extracted from parts of flowers, plants, and trees. Oils can come from many parts of the plant. The flower petals, bark, leaves, seeds, roots, and fruits all contain essential oils that can be extracted and used. Hard to believe, but even a tiny drop of oil from these parts of a plant or tree might have drastic positive impacts on mental and physical ailments.

Usually, essential oils are extracted by steaming the plant. This separates the oil from water, which is a type of distillation process. This distillation process results in highly concentrated oils. Indeed, almost all essential oils are too strong to be applied directly on your skin without diluting them with other oils.

Some essential oil benefits

Most people know that essential oils smell very good. Yummy, as a matter of fact. But, aside from making a room smell really good, essential oils are used as a natural or holistic remedy for a variety of ailments. While not meant to replace medical treatment, they can help complement and help with everything from migraines to skin conditions. Below is a short list of ailments that some studies have shown to benefit from the use of essential oils:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Chronic pain
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Cups, scrapes and burns
  • Signs of aging and wrinkles
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression

So, how can essential oils be used to help with anxiety or stress?

How aromatherapy/essential oils work

Aromatherapy is really all about olfaction – the scientific term for “smelling.” Our sense of smell is one of our primary senses and is a really powerful one at that. Back when I was a high school English teacher, I used to tell my students that time travel was possible and one of the most powerful time machines was our sense of smell.

Almost everyone can travel back in time when they smell something that reminds them powerfully of the past. For some of us, we travel back to childhood when we smell coffee. It reminds us of our kitchen every morning. As the coffee percolated, the rich aroma woke us up. Other smells might remind us of an event and take us back – cotton candy at the carnival, popcorn at the movie on our first date, a certain perfume.

The magic of the olfactory membrane

A powerful smell can be a reminder of something good and can provide a sense of calm and security. That is, simplistically how essential oils work. Let’s look at a little more scienc-y explanation. Odors wafting around a room are made of molecules – of all shapes and sizes. Molecules are chemical structures that are invisible to the eye, but very obvious to the nose. Once those chemicals go up the nose, they attach to receptors on the olfactory membrane. The olfactory membrane is tiny. Only about .8 inches square, but it contains 10-20 million olfactory receptors.

The receptors are shaped to “fit” a specific molecule. When that molecule finds the correct molecule, it zaps a signal directly to the brain. Almost instantaneously. The two parts of the brain receiving these signals are the limbic system and the cerebral cortex. The limbic system holds our instinctive behaviors – our automatic emotional responses. It is not under our conscious control but will cause an automatic reaction to stimuli. That is why smells often evoke a strong “yum” or “yuk” response.

On the other hand, the cerebral cortex is very complex.  Indeed, it is still partially a mystery to scientists. But, we do know that this part of our brain enables us to learn higher functions like language. It is our thinking, processing, remembering, creating brain. Olfactory stimulation is the ONLY type of sensory information that goes directly to the cerebral cortex without passing through thalamus.

What does all of that mean? Simply that smell is a powerful sense and has a rather direct connection to our emotional and our thinking brain. Essential oils with their powerful scents, then, go quickly to the brain to create a response. Certain smells have been found to affect the various parts of the brain.

Which essential oils to use

If you have looked at essential oils in the stores or online, you will find a wide variance and price. While you may be tempted to purchase less expensive oils, this is not necessarily a good idea. But what makes the difference? There are really four things you need to consider before purchasing essential oils.The first factor is whether the essential oil is synthetic or natural.  Without too much thought, you can probably figure out that you need to look for natural essential oils. These are derived from plants, as opposed to synthetic oils which are chemicals that mimic the characteristics of natural essential oils. Once you have worked with essential oils for a while, a sniff test will probably inform you when the oils are synthetic.

The next consideration is natural vs. 100% pure essential oils. While an essential oil may be labeled as natural, look carefully at the label to determine whether it contains diluting oils, alcohols or fillers. Additives can reduce the benefits of essential oils and some fillers can be detrimental to your body. So, even though 100% pure essential oils may be more expensive, they are much more beneficial to you than diluted oils. Again, after some experience with essential oils, a sniff test can identify the diluted oils. Nevertheless, always check to label to ensure you are getting 100% pure essential oils.

Therapeutic grade essential oils

Next, you want to see if the essential oils are therapeutic grade essential oils. Lower grade natural oils may be derived from plants grown commercially rather than plants grown in their natural habitat.   These oils may be distilled from plants that were exposed to pesticides or other chemicals. They may cost less, but probably won’t give you the full therapeutic benefit you expect. On the other hand, therapeutic grade essential oils have an entirely different standard for purity and potency.  The therapeutic standard requires precise care and effort to protect nature’s creation.

Thus, the therapeutic oil correlates directly with the health-enhancing benefits you seek.  Sourced from their own natural habitat, they are not contaminated from polluted soil or pesticides.  In addition, therapeutic oils do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients. Currently, companies producing high grade therapeutic essential oils have very strict quality control.  While more expensive, you will find that less of the therapeutic oil is required to garner positive benefits.

The final consideration is organic vs. non-organic essential oils. For organic essential oils, the plants used to produce these oils are grown in soil free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and herbicide residues. In my opinion, if you can get the essential oil in organic form, it will be better. However, this is not always possible.  Therefore, look for all essential oils from companies who are highly rated for providing the best quality therapeutic grade essential oils.

How do you use essential oils?

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. They can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically. Add a few drops of an essential oil to other oils such as jojoba or coconut oil and massaged into your skin. The oils are absorbed through the skin as your body rapidly benefits from the effect. Another way to use essential oils is to add them to water and spritz on furniture, pillows, in the air, etc. Remember, the scent molecules will go directly to the brain.

But, probably the most common way to use them is by adding a few drops to a diffuser filled with water. The diffuser then spreads the essential oil molecules through the air in a mist. Just smelling the lovely aroma of lavender and patchouli oil in the air relaxes me and brings a sense of peace.

The beauty of essential oils is that they can be combined for added benefit. You can use one essential oil – such as lavender to reduce stress or combine it with others. Chamomile oil can be added for its calming benefits as well. You can also make blends for a different scent and to help with more ailments at one time.

Essential oil diffusers to reduce stress

As you can see from the information above, many ways to use essential oils are available. But, if you are just getting started in learning about essential oils, I highly recommend starting with a diffuser in your home office. You may like it so much that you begin using them in other locations in your home. Many options for essential oil diffusers are available. They basically all work the same. Take off top, pour water into reservoir, add a few drops of essential oil, put top back on, turn on, sit back and relax.

A cool mist disperses the wonderful essential oil fragrance throughout your room. Most diffusers last for hours and provide a much healthier fragrance to your room than chemical-laden air fresheners on the market.

Top 20 essential oils for reducing stress:

  • Bergamot – relaxing, restorative, calming
  • Black pepper – reduces fear; reduces fatigue and low energy
  • Chamomile (Roman)  – calms feelings of anger and frustration
  • Cypress – calms when feeling overwhelmed
  • Eucalyptus – soothes exhaustion, uplifting
  • Frankincense – quiets the mind, support tranquility
  • Ginger – combats burnout on any level
  • Helichrysum – emotionally balancing
  • Juniper Berry – releases worry and negative thinking
  • Lavender – calms, soothes, nurtures
  • Melissa – calms and cools agitated emotions
  • Myrrh – brings inner stillness and sense of peace
  • Neroli – relaxes the nerves, facilitates spiritual and creative work
  • Orange – soothes the perfectionist who can’t tolerate mistakes
  • Patchouli – balances an overactive mind
  • Ravintsara – soothes anxiety and stress
  • Sandalwood – quiets mental activity, reduces irritation
  • Sweet Basil – emotionally uplifting
  • Tea Tree – builds confidence and strength
  • Ylang Ylang – relaxes, encourages feelings of euphoria

4 stress busting blends

Try adding some of the following blends to the water in your aromatherapy diffuser or full strength in your glass diffuser.

This blend quiets mental activity, reduces irritation with Sandalwood, and further creates a feeling of calming and nurturing with Lavender. The Neroli oil facilitates spiritual and creative work while the and Roman Chamomile calms by reducing anger and frustration.  Overall, the blend will reduce stress on a challenging day.

  • 5 drops Sandalwood
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 1 drop Neroli
  • 1 drop Roman Chamomile

The following blend is quite pleasant. In my opinion, Ylang Ylang oil is one of the more exotic oils that relaxes and can even create a feeling of euphoria.  Definitely a good state to be in during a stressful work day. The Lavender and Neroli further enhance your calm.

  • 6 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 1 drop Neroli

Patchouli oil has a bit of a woodsy scent. This alone calms my nerves, definitely evoking the peace I feel when walking in the woods.  I like adding Orange essential oil to this blend because it is particularly calming for perfectionists.  The Myrrh further calms the inner spirit. What a great blend for an afternoon on a particularly trying day.

  • 5 drops Patchouli
  • 3 drops Orange
  • 2 drops Myrrh

The next blend is a bit different. The Roman Chamomile is always great for calming feelings of anger and frustration. Who hasn’t experienced this in your home office? The Cypress also calms when you feel overwhelmed.  In addition, the Black Pepper reduces fatigue and low energy.  Let’s face it, stress causes fatigue – can simply drain you.  This is a great blend during a long day at work.

  • 4 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 3 drops Cypress
  • 3 drops Black Pepper

Create your own blends

The above blends are not the only ones you can use – by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, use your imagination and essential oil descriptions to come up with your own favorite stress-busting blend. Then share them with everyone. I have definite preferences – smells that really have an impact on my stress.  But, I am always open to experiment. And I don’t remember a time that a blend caused any negative feelings.  So experiment!!! The more you experiment, the more you will find combinations that you really like.

Consider these essential oil safety precautions

Essential oils are generally considered safe. However, there are some things to keep in mind when working with these oils.  Using these precautions while working with different oils will ensure a positive and healthy experience. Essential oils are well-known for their immune-supporting and emotion-balancing characteristics. But, they are potent and should be used carefully. In order to ensure the safe use of these oils, please consider the following safety precautions:

  • The following essential oils should not be used with anyone vulnerable to epileptic seizures: Camphor, Fennel, Hyssop, Rosemary, Lavandin, Sage, Spike Lavender, and Thuja.
  • Use very cautiously during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. During these times, use only under the guidance of an aromatherapist or medical professional knowledgeable in the use of essential oils.
  • Use stimulating essential oils cautiously for those with high blood pressure. Some of these oils include camphor, hyssop, rosemary, ad spike lavender.
  • Dilute essential oils with a carrier before applying to the skin. You can use a total of 5-18 drops of essential oils to one ounce of carrier oils.
  • For children and the elderly or those with serious health conditions, use a dilution of 5-6 drops of essential oils to one ounce of carrier oil.
  • Generally, citrus essential oils are photosensitizing. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds for at least 12 hours after applying.
  • Do not put essential oils in or around the eyes or other orifices.
  • Those with allergies to perfumes should proceed cautiously with essential oil.
  • Never use essential oils internally without the guidance of a medical professional.

Essential oils – a great alternative health option

You will likely see more and more information available about essential oils as natural health alternatives. They provide many benefits with few side effects.  Because I think they provide a significant alternative to conventional treatment for stress, I will be writing more about essential oils in this blog. Make sure that you sign up for our newsletter so that you do not miss any updates on essential oils.

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8 Best Ergonomic Document Holder Stands

8 Best Ergonomic Document Holder Stands

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Ergonomic document holder stands are essential tools for those who spend massive (or even a little) time working on the computer. If you want to avoid neck pain and back strain at the end of the day, consider using some type of document holder. Even though we work largely in a digital workplace, almost all work requires some paper and pencil work. Whether you research topics and take notes or scribble notes to remember on a piece of paper, you will often refer to some non-digital product.

Now, I am definitely old school. So, I take copious notes and jot down reminders frequently while I work. I refer to articles I have printed or look at diagrams that I have sketched out. And, if I don’t use a document holder to hold those notes while I use them for work, I very quickly feel a twinge in my neck that ends up in screeching pain hours later. Keep in mind – if you don’t use a document holder, you are looking down a lot. And looking down a lot quite simply ends in pain in your neck.

Luckily, an abundant variety of document holders in a huge variety of price points are available. Whether you want monitor mounted, desktop mounted or standalone document holder, you can easily find an option to meet your needs. This post will review a variety of document holders available at different price points.

Desktop mounted document holders

Desktop mounted document holders are just that – holders that mount to the edge of your desktop. These versatile document holders clamp onto the edge of your desk – on either side, the back or even the front. They have pivoting arms which allow you to position the holder where needed. Many of the desktop holders can also be used to hold your tablet if you use that for taking notes/researching instead of paper. Take a look at the options below from Amazon:

Gooseneck Tablet Holder, Lamicall Tablet Mount

This goose neck tablet holder is pretty cool, in my opinion. It will hold cell phones and tables such as the iPad mini, iPad Pro iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Galaxy Tablet and Samsung Galaxy Tablet. The clamp can be mounted to your desktop. Or as some users do, to the headboard or even a chair. If you are a reader or movie viewer at night, this will save your neck! With a clip, this could be easily modified to hold documents, although it is made for phones and tablets. While it will hold the device steady, if you are going to be typing on it, you will have to brace it with one hand while you type. Click the image below to purchase.

TrenDesks Document Copy Holder and Tablet/Cellphone Holder 2-in-1

This versatile holder actually rotates 360 degrees, so no matter where you place the holder, it rotates to a position best for you. It moves to a variety of heights and angles thus allowing the material to be at eye level. The weight capacity is 2.2 pounds so it can easily handle an iPad, which runs around 1.3 pounds. Or a phone, which weighs even less. Because it can be rotated, the device can easily be viewed in either landscape or portrait mode.

The nice thing about this holder is that it easily converts to a document holder. It is mounted using a C clamp that is included in the product along with a one-year warranty. This multi-purpose document holder gets high ratings from users. Click the image below to purchase.

Aidata CH012A Metal Arm Copy Holder

The copy holder below also attaches to your workstation with a C-clamp. Metal arm has overall reach of approximately 20″. This document holder has a sturdy plastic based and adjustable clip that allows you to easily view documents of varying sizes. It also contains a removable and see through guide. That helps us folks with dyslexia or astigmatisms!  Click the image below to purchase.

Monitor mounted holders

Documents mounted on your monitor frees up space on your desk top. Because they are positioned on your monitor, documents are held at eye level if your monitor is positioned correctly. Generally fairly light, many of them are placed on the monitor with Command strips or rubber lined clamps.  Document holders can generally be mounted on either side of your monitor. Sometimes they can be top mounted and some are light enough to be used on your laptop.

3M Monitor Mount Document Copy Holder (DH455)

This monitor mounted document holder maintains the document in an upright position making it easy to read at eye level. It can be mounted on either a flat panel or on a traditional CRT monitor. The document holder uses 3M command adhesive strips to mount on your monitor. So, it can be moved or re-positioned leaving no sticky residue. The holder uses documents in either landscape or portrait orientation. Click the image below to purchase.

NoteTower Monitor Mount

A spring mounted clamp allows you to position this holder on a monitor or even a laptop. The clamp is lined with soft rubber so that it will mount securely AND protect the monitor surface. Being spring mounted, you don’t have to worry about adhesive removal if you want to move it around. To use it, simply slide paper into the flexible clips for direct viewing at eye level. This document holder mounts to laptops, tablets and thin desktop monitors either on the side or top. The folding support arms extend to hold paper in either landscape or portrait orientation. Click the image below to purchase.

Free Standing Holders

3M Desktop Document Holder with Adjustable Clip (DH340MB)

This tried but true document holder from Amazon sits upright on your desktop. Documents in landscape or portrait orientation are easily viewable at eye level. A grooved ledge at the bottom and spring action clip will hold up to 150 sheets of paper. A line guide slides up and down to mark your place on the document as you work. This document holder folds up for easy storage when not in use. Click the image below to purchase.

Page Up in Grey Crystal

Definitely another tried but true document holder that indeed has a teeny tiny footprint!!! While often given away at trade shows, you can purchase one from Amazon. It keeps paper upright while you type from them or view the materials. Position it about anywhere on your desk when you need it and tuck it into a drawer when you don’t need it. Although it only holds a few pieces of paper, it nevertheless does the trick when you need to position a document on your desk. Honestly, I am not sure how it works. But, the first time I used one, I stuck in paper and voila – it stood up. Since it is so small, it is a very handy office accessory. Comes in a variety of colors. Click the image below to purchase.

DIY Document Holder

If you want to try your hand at DIY, then Dollar Tree offers the tools to create your own document holder. Although not as compact as some of the fold away ones offered at Amazon, it nevertheless provides a fun project costing less than $5.00. Take a look at the tutorial if you want to take a break away from your monitor and do a little hands on.

I hope you have an opportunity to explore the different types of document holders to find the one that will best suit your needs. I really can’t stress enough how important it is to your long-term health in the office to ensure that you maintain proper posture in front of the computer. Looking down for hours leads to pain – plain and simple. Whether you use notes, transcribe documents, or use your tablet or phone for research, a document/tablet holder will ensure that you are looking ahead at work.

If you start to feel a twinge in your neck during the day, you will probably experience headaches and outright pain by the end of the day. Continuing to do this over the long-term can lead to spinal cord damage. Speaking from experience (unfortunately), it is much harder to correct damage than work ergonomically from the beginning. Document holders are a relatively inexpensive way to correct a potential problem in the office. Once you begin using them and notice how much better your neck and back feels, you will never do without again.

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Document Holders