Fatigue is a general feeling of tiredness that affects most adults at some point in their lives.
It can be brought on by illness, stress, jet lag, or from experiencing the drain of juggling work, family, and social obligations.
Each year, millions of Americans see their doctor with vague complaints about feeling fatigued and no underlying medical reason and a recent National Safety Council (NSC) survey found that 69 percent of employees report feeling tired on the job, which impacts productivity and worker safety.
The symptoms of fatigue are mental fog, reduced or low energy, feelings of physical or mental exhaustion, and lack of motivation.
You just feel blah, like there’s no gas left in your tank.
If you’ve ever felt that all of the coffee in Columbia isn’t enough to wake you up, it’s time you discovered the healing, uplifting power of essentials oils for fighting fatigue.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the essence of plant life and botanicals. They’re what gives citrus its lovely scent and makes you want to stop and smell the roses.
Our ancestors knew the value of herbs and flowers for wellness, and holistic practitioners are helping us rediscover the power of nature to heal our bodies and refresh our minds.
There are several oils known for triggering a response in our brains that makes us feel more alert and energetic. Few things are better for fighting fatigue in a pleasant, natural way.
Looking to overcome fatigue without caffeine or chemicals?
The five oils listed below are known for their ability to stimulate the brain, enhance mental awareness, and boost energy the natural way. We’ve also include 3 awesome blends that can help to pull you out of your fatigued state.
Orange oil (citrus sinensis), with its sweet scent, reminds us of health and vitality. The sunny yellow aroma of grapefruit (citrus paradisi) or lemons offers a crisp, tart smell that’s clean and refreshing.
In fact, a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health determined that the scent of lemon oil (citrus limonum) lowers stress and boosts the immune system – two major players when it comes to sapping energy (1).
Bergamot oil (citrus bergamia) is a citrus-based essential oil extracted from the rind of non-edible bergamot oranges. They look like tiny lemons or limes and have a bitterness somewhere between lemons and grapefruit.
You literally can’t go wrong when choosing a citrus essential oil for your fatigue as they all have the same mood boosting and energizing properties that will help to pull your mind and body out of that dreaded state that may be destroying your life and happiness.
Furthermore, these are some of the most affordable oils which is a contributing factor to them being number 1.
Using citrus essential oils for fatigue is as simple as inhaling directly from the bottle or diffusing it in your environment; however, some users report positive results from also adding a drop or two to a glass of water in the morning and drinking it.
The primary mode of application should be inhalation.
The word “pep” is right in the name.
Peppermint essential oil has long been used as an energy and mental alertness booster and its actually recommended to stay away from it before bedtime.
In fact, many athletes inhale peppermint before competing to increase their energy, alertness and focus; and studies have even shown improved athletic performance after peppermint oil inhalation (2).
Other oils from the mint family will aid with concentration, but the strong, singular aroma of peppermint oil offers the most positive effect.
Try this one when studying, working late, or on a long drive if you want to remain awake and mentally aware.
To use peppermint oil for your fatigue, simply inhale directly from the bottle or via diffusion whenever your feelings of fatigue start to pop up.
Eucalyptus is another essential oil from the same general classification that aids alertness and facilitates improved breathing when inhaled but unlike peppermint, it should never be used internally.
Lavender makes another appearance on one of our lists.
The strength of lavender lies in its ability to attack some of the root causes of fatigue – mainly stress and inadequate/inappropriate sleep.
When it comes to stress, many individuals don’t even know their stressed.
Stress isn’t something that’s easily noticeable or understood by most people because the majority of us just chalk it up to being a part of our daily lives. The thing with stress is that your body notices it quicker than you do and when this happens, fatigue can start to set in.
Furthermore, chronic fatigue is also a major sign of depression and thankfully, lavender oil has been found to be a potent antidepressant.
Another major factor in fatigue is getting inadequate or poor quality sleep.
All sleep are not created equal and lavender oil is an excellent mild sedative that helps you to get QUALITY sleep – the type of sleep that is needed to counter and destroy fatigue, and have you feeling like a brand new person in the morning.
Inhaling the aroma of lavender oil is all it takes to receive these benefits.
Ylang-ylang and Roman chamomile essential oils offer similar benefits as lavender for fatigue and are, therefore, ideal substitutes.
It has been used as a natural antidepressant because of its ability to stabilize moods and balance hormone secretions from the brain.
When used for stress relief, geranium eliminates one of main causes of mental fatigue that's unrelated to a physical problem. Furthermore, when it reduces stress hormone levels in the blood, it also cut down oxidative stress and promotes healthier sleeping patterns.
Using geranium oil helps you feel more centered and less overwhelmed when life gets crazy.
To use geranium for your fatigue, you can inhale directly from the bottle, diffuse it or add a few drops to a pot of steaming water and inhale deeply.
Like peppermint and citrus oils, geranium can be quite energizing so avoid using it immediately before bed.
The oil extracted from the leaves and other parts of the rosemary plant helps to enhance memory, stimulate the nervous system, and improve concentration.
That's just what you need when the pressures of work or study have your mind in a flurry.
It also stimulates energy production so it’s best avoided less than 3 hours before bedtime.
To use, diffuse throughout your room or add a few drop to a pot of steaming water and inhale deeply.
The scent of cinnamon oil also provides a boost of energy and combats that drained, tired feeling we sometimes get at the end of the day.
This essential oil is also available as a supplement that works to combat one of the main causes of physical sluggishness: unstable blood glucose levels.
In the scientific community, essential oils are called “adaptogens”.
This is due to their ability to adapt to each person using them and improve their specific health or emotional conditions.
There are more than 80 different types of organic essential oils, and they can be used for everything from promoting healing and wellness to cleaning and pest control.
Some companies have even created signature blends of oils that are designed to address a host specific health issues by combining a carefully selected set of essential oil to work synergistically for a desired result.
While these oils are amazing on their own, using a blend can offer you a more potent and synergistic effect that give you sustainable energy for longer.
Three blends that come to mind are doTerra’s Citrus Bliss, Elevation and Motivate blends.
However, you can also experiment and create your own.
There are essential oils that are natural partners, like orange and cinnamon or lemon and rosemary or lavender.
If you want to go beyond the basics, here are few suggestions for mixing and matching essential oils that will help reduce fatigue and mental fog. These recipes utilize the oils profiled here and introduce a few that might be new to you.
Morning Motivator: Mix eight drops of chamomile oil (the varieties chamaemelum nobile or anthemis nobilis), six drops of Ylang Ylang (the genuana variety of cananga odorata), and five each of sweet orange and bergamot oils for a little extra pep in your step first thing in the morning.
Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: If you’re like most people, your energy begins to flag a little after midday. Enjoying the aroma of this mixture containing eight drops of cardamom oil (elettaria cardamomum), six drops of lemon oil, and five each of rosemary and basil (ocimum basilicum) oils is almost as good as taking an afternoon nap.
Stress Buster: This one offers an amazingly sunny scent and has the added benefit of boosting your immune system. Simply combine 10 drops of lemon oil, six drops of peppermint oil, four drops of lavender, and three drops of bergamot oil in a vial or small container.
Buying Essential Oils
In order to experience the full benefit from your oils, be sure to choose true essential oils and not just something that’s labelled “fragrance oil”.
Those are usually diluted from an inferior plant source or manufactured to mimic genuine essential oils.
Some manufacturers also falsely market products as “medical quality” or “pure” when they contain a very small percentage of plant-based botanical oil.
There are three things you should look at when purchasing oils to fight fatigue:
Labeling – Oils should contain the pure essence of the plant that it’s extracted from and nothing more. Look for labeling that uses the plant’s full botanical name. If you see ingredients like mineral oil or perfume, it’s a cheap imitation that will provide very little benefit, if any.
Dark colored glass bottles – Quality essential oils always come in dark colored, glass bottles. This is because the potency of the oils can damage plastic over time and direct sunlight reduces the potency of the oils.
Quality and purity – The purest oils are clear and colorless. If you find a lavender oil that’s purple or an orange oil that looks like it should be on your breakfast table, it has chemicals and dyes added. Look for oils that are distilled or cold-pressed and as unprocessed as possible.
Brand – Certain brands have developed a good reputation because they have proven benefits.
Pure oils from a trusted name may cost a little more, but they’re a worthy investment when it comes to enhancing your well-being.
How to Use Essential Oils
Oils can be used topically for healing and massage or gently heated to scent a room.
The reasons that aromatherapy is so effective are two-fold.
Some scents recall positive memories that can affect our emotions. Think back to smells like home baking or spring flowers and how they make you feel.
Oils are able to achieve the same effect because our olfactory senses relay signals to the limbic system, which resides in the regions of brain that are responsible for emotional stability and mental clarity:
The hippocampus, which manages long-term memory function
The hypothalamus, which regulates hormones and parts of the nervous system
The amygdala, which is in charge of regulating our emotions
The cingulate gyru, which controls heart rate, blood pressure, and mental focus
Other oils contain medicinal properties that can heal on contact with pulse points and other areas of the body.
Pure oils should be diluted with a carrier oil like olive, almond, or coconut if they’ll be used for any type of massage. Although some essential oils are derived from food sources, most are not for internal use, such as applying them in the eyes, ears, and mouth, or ingesting.
Just taking a whiff from the vial will give you a lift.
Simply place a few drops on your fingertips and massage them into your temples, add them to Epsom salts for a refreshing bath, or use them with a diffuser to scent the whole room.
For Best Results
If you’re concerned about adverse reactions, try a little on the inside of your wrist or another inconspicuous area first.
Some oils that are soothing when applied to sore muscles or pulse points can be dangerous when ingested.
Two that immediately come to mind are eucalyptus and camphor. Check the labels for safety precautions. You’ll also want to toss any oils that begin to change color or consistency.
Older oils can loss some of their potency after a while regardless of their quality or purity, so don’t keep anything that’s more than a few years old.
Essentials oils are available online and at health food stores all over the country.
The scents discussed above can be used alone or combined to create a custom blend. Experiment on your own to find the essential oil that works best for you.
Download your FREE Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide
Get instant access to your Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide.