Can you remember your first day at school? I sure do.
I have a vivid memory of standing in a small car park, clinging to my mother while a group of snotty, red-eyed children and a rather large “Trunchbull” waited patiently in a line for me to join the group.
I still remember the absolute terror I felt at having to spend an entire day (and when you can’t yet understand the numbers on the clock, this is a VERY long time indeed) in a room which smelled strongly of Dettol and powder paints.
Clutching only a small wicker basket containing a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps, I must have painted a very sad picture indeed.
At age 5, I had yet to learn the necessary skills for dealing with back to school anxiety. But there was one secret that got me through the day.
In my basket my mother had secreted a scrap of material, which was actually an old tee-shirt doused in her perfume. She told me that if I ever felt scared, lost or alone, I only had to sneak a sniff and everything would feel much better.
What she didn’t know at the time was that I would continue to use this trick, not just in childhood, but throughout my entire adult life.
Now by that I don’t mean I still carry around a tee shirt laced with L’air du temps. As I’ve grown, I’ve refined this little ruse to help me fend off the anxiety monster that has followed me around for a significant part of my life. I’d like to share this tip with you.
If you have a small person facing back to school anxiety, this tried and tested trick will help get them through their day.
Here’s what you need.
Two 10ml glass rollerball bottles
If you live in the UK, I have found Baldwins to be the best supplier as you can order individual bottles very cheaply, avoiding the need to buy in bulk. US residents may try Plant Therapy for 10ml frosted green glass rollerballs. Your local health food store or Whole Foods Market may also carry them.
A plastic dropper
This helps to accurately measure out the amount of oil to add. Again, they’re pretty inexpensive and it avoids unnecessary wastage.
A carrier oil
Sesame oil is great for balancing Vata, an imbalance of which can cause anxiety and fear. That said almond, avocado or fractioned coconut oil will work just as well.
Be sure to choose oils that are known to soothe anxiety. My own personal favourites include Ylang Ylang, Chamomile, Geranium, Bergamot, Lavender and Patchouli.
You may need to experiment with the dilution but as a general rule use 1-2 drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil for small children or 5-8 drops for teenagers and adults.
It’s important to note that essential oils should always be diluted and should never be applied to the skin directly. Pregnant women should seek the advice of a trained health care advisor prior to using essential oils as some oils may be hazardous.
To make the rollerball simply place the suggested number of drops of essential oils into the bottle, and then fill to the top with your carrier oil of choice. Be sure to give it a good shake so that the oils mix together evenly.
Ayurveda emphasises the importance of daily massage (abhyanga) with appropriate oils to help keep anxiety in balance.
It’s a well-known fact that scents can evoke emotions which help soothe anxious minds (just like my mum’s perfume….). What many people don’t realise is that the chemicals in essential oils also have the real scientific ability to produce hormones that alter both physical and psychological function.
This makes them an ideal choice for children who may not like the taste of herbs, or who are too small to dose themselves. And here’s the bonus, when you smell this wonderful, the effect will rub off on everyone around you. What small child wouldn’t want to be popular on their first day of school!
While it’s certainly not practical to offer your child a full massage on their first day in class, by sending them off with a little bottle of comfort, you know they’ll be taking a small piece of home along with them.
Note: You may be wondering why I suggest making up two rollerball mixes? It’s not just little ones who get anxious on their first day of school…….mum’s do too.
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