During this busy time of year it is easy to fall into the routine of complaining about our schedules and wallowing in the fact that we have to do things like write papers and take tests (go figure, we’re in college). And while we’re in the process of being stressed ourselves, it’s a great time to think about ways that we can keep our students stress free as well. A lot of things we include or bring into our classroom can have calming effects on students.
One thing that I have come across lately is the use of Aromatherapy oils in the classroom.
Think about it. The whole purpose of essential oils is to calm and relax, or create energy, stimulate the senses – some oils are even said to have antibacterial effects. Plus, they smell really, really good. And sometimes classrooms can get, well, smelly. Peppermint and wintergreen can help students focus and can help keep spiders away (just for the record). Citrus oils are energizing and can help alleviate symptoms of depression (especially during those dark winter months). Vetiver can reduce symptoms of ADD & ADHD. Lavender obviously has a calming effect. Lemon can purify the air and support the immune system while bergamot, thyme, and ginger are said to promote physical well-being. Plus, essential oils are different from fragrance oils in that they are less likely to trigger irritations. That being said, however, the possibility of allergic or asthma reactions, headaches, or irritations from these oils are still a concern. But there are different ways of diffusing these good-smelling oils that can be less irritating. Most people think of burning essential oils in something like this:
but they can be distributed without heat also. Examples – reed diffusers, spray bottles, or fan-less diffusers that plug into the wall. You can also DIY that shit for free by applying a few drops of oil onto a cotton ball and placing it in front of a fan. As a teacher, I would use different scents in my classroom per needs of my students. Before a test I’d probably diffuse some peppermint oil and right before/after lunch I’d go with vetiver or lavender. Aromatherapy oils are an easy way to change the atmosphere of a classroom.