· By Paul Lumley
What is Fragrance Zoning
On the one hand, working from home is great. No commute, an endless stream of free coffee and even the occasional lunchtime nap (no judgement here!). On the other hand, however, working from home blurs the lines between personal and professional life, meaning many are working longer hours than before the pandemic hit and some are even experiencing symptoms of burnout - and that's before we even get round to those who are homeschooling (we salute you).
When your kitchen is your meeting room, your bed is your desk, and your housemates and family members have become as familiar with your co-workers as you are, how on earth can you enforce any semblance of boundaries? One word: fragrance.
What is fragrance zoning?
According to the new wellness trend "fragrance-zoning", otherwise known as "scent-scaping", it's possible to divide your house and your day up using different scents, compartmentalising each room or each time period in your mind.
What are the benefits of fragrance zoning?
"At the moment, with the stress of the virus, feelings of isolation, and difficulties adjusting to working from home or on a totally different schedule, I am recommending using the power of aroma to modulate your psychology, more than ever," says Dr Tara Swart, neuroscientist. "We can choose smells to help us focus on work without distraction; to motivate us to exercise; to reduce stress, I recommend using smell to structure a day generally in terms of a morning and evening ritual."
In this way, a certain scent can send subconscious triggers within our brains to switch a different frame of mind. "Our sense of smell is linked to the area of the brain governing instinct, memory and emotion, and it is the most evocative and primitive of all our senses," says Aromatherapy Associates Education and Wellbeing Director, Christina Salcedas. "Through these scent pathways, essential oils and fragrances can have a dynamic effect on our emotional state. They help transform our moods, moving us from one state of mind to another."
How do you fragrance zone?
Experts recommend using one scent for working hours, and a totally different one when it's time to wind down. You can even incorporate a different scent for workout hour, for energy and for concentration too.
It's hardly surprising that home fragrance has boomed during the past year. According to Joe Coggrave, Beauty Buyer for Skincare & Fragrance at John Lewis, online searches for candles have increased by +182% and reed diffusers by +1017%. "Taking inspiration from the idea of a perfume wardrobe, we’re seeing fragrance zoning emerge as a trend to create moments and moods throughout the at-home day: a refreshing peppermint spray in the morning, an energising citrus candle post lunch and a relaxing lavender scent for evening," he says.
So, which scents should you choose to boost your days at home?
Scent is so personal and such a strong trigger for mood and memory as well as a tool you can use to relax or to revive. Ginger and citrus notes are invigorating, and the choice of many as a work from home scent. At the same time, soft lavender and juniper are associated with winding down whether this is in your bathroom or bedroom.
Diffusers, whether traditional or electronic, deliver a constant fragrance level that is perfect for the day. Augment your scent to encourage relaxation – candles are an ideal complement to bath soaks and salt in a bathroom, and the gentle flickering of a flame is quite hypotonic.
To help you sleep, a soothing spritz of lavender or eucalyptus on your pillow or your robe as you step out of the bath. Morning likely calls for something zestier and rejuvenating.
Scents to help boost energy
According to Dr Swart, you should always start the day with something invigorating. "Zesty citrus scents revive us and help energise us for the day in the morning." Try Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil, which contains a blend of grapefruit, rosemary and juniper for a zingy start to the day.
Scents to create a calm environment
When it comes to balancing emotions, there's no better smell than roses, which could be why Diptyque Baies Candle is John Lewis's all time best-selling candle. It contains Bulgarian roses as well as ambergis for a comforting aroma.
Scents to boost concentration and motivate
"For those working from home, frankincense will create the perfect work environment," says Christina. The best way to surround yourself in the scent for the duration of your working day is with an essential oil diffuser, which releases the benefits slowly over time without overpowering the room. The White Company Essential Oil Diffuser is an elegant choice, and offers three time settings to ensure the perfect dose of scent.
Scents for sleep
Lavender is renowned for its dream-inducing aroma, but incorporating it into a hot bath can amplify the benefits. "Make your fragrances work harder for you," says Christina. "Take a self care soak with a relaxing scent to get the most from it, and follow with a pillow mist, like the Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Pillow Mist, to continue the benefits while you sleep.”
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