“Nature does not hurry, and yet everything is accomplished” said the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. In modern society, there is an immense pressure to get it done and get it done now, which in turn sends our adrenals and nervous system into a spin. The truth is, we can accomplish so much more if we actually allow ourselves to rest, rejuvenate, and restore, and this all happens when we sleep.
We spoke with Rachel Holm all about rest - she is the founder of Hanako Therapies, a range of therapeutic products made from pure essential oils, flower essences, and crystal infused water. Rachel's mantra is to make a difference using the healing properties of nature, and that includes promoting rest through rituals. Read on for her lessons on learning rituals, using them to get a better night's sleep, and how to integrate essential oils into your life...
What is a ritual?
"A ritual is a set or series of actions performed in an order, like a routine, however there’s a difference between doing tasks mindlessly and creating a sacred ritual. Performing rituals offers mindfulness and reverence, a moment of coming back to yourself, coming back to the present and taking care of yourself and your needs. What we choose to do with our evenings affects our sleep, our energy levels, our skin, our moods and potentially our next day."
Creating your own ritual.
"Being near water has a natural calming effect on us. Placing in-bath salts like magnesium Epsom salts or Himalayan rock salts help to reduce pent up tension and stress, and eliminate built up toxins within the body. The adding of calming essential oils like Lavender, Clary Sage or Frankincense further soothes and calms the mind, body and spirit. A nice warm bath will also help to induce sleepiness through an abrupt temperature change. Following a full body soak in a pool of hot water, your body will experience a sudden drop in temperature when you get out, leaving you feeling drowsy and ready to sleep."
"Tea and the ceremony of drinking tea goes back to ancient times. Using plant medicine to help the body repair and restore. Sipping on calming tea like Chamomile for half an hour before bed can help send you into sleepy zone as it’s regarded as a natural mild tranquilliser."
The power of essential oils.
"Inhaling essential oils can have many positive effects on the body, mind and spirit. As you inhale, particles of the essential oils travel down the windpipe and enter the lungs which then carry into the blood stream allowing the healing properties to take effect. It takes just a few seconds for scent to have an effect on the limbic system - also known as the 'emotional brain' - where we contain our stored memories and emotions. This has implications for your blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels, hormone balance and breathing."
- Lavender helps to relax and calm the body and mind, and restore balance to the auric field. A great choice for an overall holistic effect.
- Clary Sage helps to relax the mind, relieve stress and balance our moods.
- Chamomile is deeply soothing, helping to ease any nervous tension being held. It encourages harmony and smooth flow of vital energy, leaving one with a sense of wholeness.
You can use pure essential oils by diffusing them throughout your bedroom or living space, or by including them in your bath. If you choose to have a shower, drop a few drops to the floor of the shower and breathe deeply. There is also the option to place them onto pulse points like behind the ears on the neck, temples, wrists, behind the knees and the feet.
Fabrics for bedding play a major role in how well we sleep - ideally we want to be cool enough so our bodies can drop off into a deep sleep, but warm enough so we stay comfortable all through the night. Cashmere has been shown to do this exact thing, keeping the heart rate slow and steady while also absorbing excess moisture (it can absorb more than 30% of its own weight in water) so you stay warm and dry in winter, and cool in the heat. Invest in one of our PHILE Cashmere Blankets for better sleep, and follow our guide to caring for your cashmere once you have it.