Essential Oils for Grief and Loss

Woman cryingWe all go through periods of grief and loss in our lives. When thinking about grief and loss you may equate it with the death of a partner, parent, child, close friend, relative or even a beloved family pet but there are many events in your life where you experience loss. Some examples include the loss of a job or career, the loss of your home due to fire or being unable to pay the mortgage or because the owner of your rented house or apartment wanted to tear it down, renovate or sell it. You may go through a relationship breakup or divorce. You may face a loss of identity due to the amputation of a limb or your children growing up and leaving home. You may also grieve the loss of a dream that can never come true, for example finding out that you can never conceive a much longed for child.

With loss you lose hope or what is familiar and must embark on a new life in the unknown. It can take time to grieve for what you have lost especially if it was someone, thing or place that was deeply loved. Losing your sense of self can also take time to process and heal as you mourn the loss of a limb, breast, being a mother, father or carer or even leaving behind a life of drugs and/or alcohol for an addiction free life can result in your questioning who am I now or what do I do now?

All life is transition and change and it is how you deal with these losses that shape your life. Some you can pass through very quickly but others will take more time to process. Each person experiences loss and grief in their own way and must be given the time and space to express themselves.

Grief expresses itself in many different ways including but not limited to anxiety, fear, sadness, despondency, tears, guilt, anger, frustration, numbness, remorse, blame, regret, withdrawal, worthlessness, stress and depression.  You may do things that seem out of character for you. You may lose your appetite or eat continually trying to fill the void of what has been lost. You may sleep too much or be unable to get to or stay asleep. You may lose your hair or notice skin changes due to stress and anxiety. In Chinese medicine grief is considered to be the province of the lungs and so six months to a year after the loss you may suffer from lung related issues like flu, bronchitis or pneumonia.

If the loss was sudden and unexpected you may be in “what if..?” mode or regret the things you might have said or done or not said or done if you had known what was about to happen.

The following essential oils can help ease you through the grieving process allowing you to move on with your life. It is important when choosing which oils you will work with to keep in mind that aromas can be associated with a particular memory and to perhaps not choose a blend that you will use in the future which could be associated with your present loss and its painful memories especially in the case of the death of a loved one.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) joy
Bergamot helps to soothe your feelings of anger, frustration and blame. It helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel and bring a sense of joy back into your life. Don’t apply to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 36 hours as it is phototoxic.

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) courage
Cedarwood gives you the courage and strength to hold firm in the midst of crisis and know that you will get through this.

Chamomile Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) peace
Roman Chamomile helps you to feel at peace with the way you are feeling and soothes your feelings of being abandoned by the one you loved.

Cinnamon (Cinnamon zeylanicum) warmth
Cinnamon helps to dispel the numbness and isolation you may be feeling. It is emotionally warming and can help you regain your passion and purpose for life.

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) transition
Cypress is calming at times of transition and when difficult changes need to be made. It helps you to move on in your life.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) calm and centre
Frankincense helps to calm and centre you when your mind seems to be overwhelmed with thoughts of what must be done or should have been done. It slows and deepens your breath so you can think more clearly. It can help you break free of the past.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) balance
Geranium helps to even out the emotional roller-coaster you seem to be on. It brings a feeling of calm strength, security and balance and soothes feelings of anger, frustration and irritability.

Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) optimism
Grapefruit helps dispel the anger, frustration, blame and depression. It brings a sense of optimism that you will get through this time of loss.

Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua) safe
Kunzea helps to release the shock and pain of your loss and to know you are safe.

Lavender (Lavandula angustafolia) nurture and forgiveness
Lavender reminds you to take time to nurture yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually during this time. It allows you to forgive yourself for things left unsaid or undone.

Lemon (Citrus limonum) clarity
Lemon helps clear your mind so that you can think clearly. Often at this time you will be feeling confused or unable to think clearly. It will also help uplift you mentally and emotionally. Don’t apply to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 36 hours as it is phototoxic.

Linden blossom (Tilia vulgaris) love and respect
Linden blossom brings love and oneness to your heart and a respect for others and yourself especially when others seem not to care.

Marjoram (Marjoram hortensis) comfort
Marjoram can bring a sense of comfort and stop those anxious and what if thoughts that seem to be going on in your mind on a non-stop loop. It can help you accept your loss.

Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) healing
Myrrh brings a sense of inner stillness and peace that helps to ease your sorrow and grief and your feelings of loss and rejection.

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) reassurance
Neroli helps to bring a sense that things will get better. It eases emotional exhaustion and helps bring unexpressed anger and feelings of denial to the surface.

Rose (Rosa damascena) compassion
Rose allows you to have compassion for the situation, person or yourself and to let go with love.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) stillness
Sandalwood can help you cut your ties with the past and move through your feelings of loss and isolation. It can bring a sense of clarity and moments of stillness.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoide) grounding
Vetiver helps to ground you offering you support and strength during this time of loss.

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) tranquillity
Ylang Ylang helps calm feelings of anger and frustration and brings a sense of tranquillity. It has a very strong aroma so only a very little is needed.

HOW TO USE THE OILS
Look through the list and choose one to three oils that seem to resonate with how you are feeling. Either use the oils singly or in a blend in any of the following.

Vaporize 3 or 4 drops in a diffuser or oil burner to scent the room. A grapefruit and frankincense blend will work well here when you want to cleanse the room of heavy emotions and help you breathe deeper and easier.

Room or body mists. Add 50 mls of purified water or hydrosol to a 100ml coloured spray bottle then add 30 drops of your essential oil blend and fill the bottle with another 50 mls of water or hydrosol. Replace the top and shake the bottle before each use. You can use this to spray a room but be careful not to get on your furniture, spray on yourself or spray the area in front of you and walk through the mist to cleanse or heal your aura.

Inhalation. Put some cottonballs in a small bottle and add 3 drops of essential oil. Close the lid and take with you to sniff when you need the oils help. You can also place a couple of drops on a handkerchief to take with you or place under your pillow at night to help you sleep if you prefer.

Add 4 to 6 drops to some full fat milk and add to your bath. The milk allows the oils to disperse in the water rather than sit on top.

Make a massage blend using 4 to 5 drops in 10mls of vegetable oil to massage your tight neck and shoulders. A gentle hand massage may also be considered. You could also use the blend on your chest to help move the grief through your lungs and sleep at night.

In addition you may want to wear a rose quartz pendant. You could also place a small tumble stone in the vegetable oil you set aside to make your blend for a few hours so it can absorb the energies of the rose quartz. Rose quartz is well known as a stone of compassion and love that opens the heart chakra allowing deep inner healing so that you are able to let the person/ situation go with love.

An affirmation that might help at this time is “I am able to let go of this person/situation as I have compassion, love and respect for them/it and myself. I wish love and joy to both of us.”

Finally take time out to be with friends, go for walks and talk about your loss. Nourish yourself physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. If it is your partner, relative or friend who has experienced a loss simply be there to listen and offer a shoulder to cry on.

PLEASE NOTE: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prescribe for any medical condition. It is not meant to replace the care or advice your doctor gives you. If you have any concerns please consult your doctor, or professionally trained aromatherapist.
About the author: Carole Hodges is a professional aromatherapist and massage therapist who has trained in Australia and abroad. She has been using essential oils with her clients for over 15 years and continues to update her knowledge.

©Carole Hodges, True Self Healing