It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve gotten a new job (starting this week), still working at my old job and finishing everything off as well as the work I do outside of my 9-5er (which I guess will be the norm now that Australians have to work till they’re 70, and I’ve found it hard to find down time, me time or any time outside of deadlines and writing.
The nature of my career and profession means I sit in front of my computer all day, every day, typing and working on the occasional image (although I am in no way a graphic designer, illustrator or any kind of visual artist). I hunch over my laptop or keyboard (if I’m at my work station at work), fingers poised like wriggly claws, shoulders curved in stressful anxiety, face contorted in concentration. The tiny study/bedroom from which I work at home has a full length mirror next to the desk, and I see my reflection and posture as I type. I look this like this:
I mean, OK, I don’t look like knarled old geezer when I’m working, but that’s how I feel. All hunched over and curmudgeonly.
And I act like that too. Like god forbid the person who tries to talk to me while I’m in the middle of working. My poor fiancee. I can’t believe he has to deal with this side of me.
But I told myself enough is enough, and I couldn’t continue being like this all the time. Sure, the nature of my work requires me to spend hours at my desk, and this is true for everyone. But I needn’t be chained to my desk, and, if anything, I needed to find some inspiration away from my desk, and do something that was not only good as a break and breather, but also good for my health and wellbeing in general.
I know, what the … whaaaaaat!?!?! But hear me out. I chose to take part in an aromatherapy workshop because I believed it would help me in the following ways:
- It would help me get creative
- It would let me use my hands rather than just being hunched over my computer. Again
- Aromatherapy has been known for ages to assist with health and wellbeing
- It would mean I was making things that I could share and use with my family and friends
- It would smell …. GREEEEEAAAAAAT :)
So I was really excited to sign up for Sze Wing Yip‘s DIY Natural Beauty and Spa Products Workshop, which was held on Saturday, 3rd May at the Life and Balance Centre in Glebe. I’d already known what Sze Wing can do, so I trusted I would be getting a pretty good, well-rounded beginner course in the area of aromatherapy. I was really looking forward to it after I signed up, not least because it would give me the chance to step away from my laptop and do something different for a change.
WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?
Google the meaning, and the interwebs will come back with a search result that will tell you that aromatherapy is, “… the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes”. Hmmm, science-y! But that afternoon in a beautiful room in Glebe, aromatherapy was 8 people seated around a table filled with little vials of essential oils, pens to write with, a workbook each for us to take home, bowls and mixing apparatus to make our goodies with and a willingness to learn as much as we could in that afternoon.
Sze Wing explained to us the beginnings of aromatherapy, the benefits of aromatherapy and the different kinds of essential oils to use. She also showed us the kinds of household products to use, which are really easy to source – straight from your local supermarket, like oil and salt which you can easily find from your local Coles. This was another one of the reasons that attracted me to this course. The ingredients and products you can use, aside from the obvious essential oils which are of course necessary for making aromatherapy products, aren’t going to be hard to find, which means I would be more than likely to keep using these again long after the course had ended. I also really liked the fact that different aromas would assist with different ailments, which I thought was pretty cool. It’s nice to know that things derived from nature held such healing powers. I always feel much better knowing I’m going for a natural remedy rather popping a pill.
MAKING THE PRODUCTS
Thank goodness Sze Wing walked us through the making of our products, because had it been me in my home with a booklet, I would have made a mess of things! But thanks to Sze Wing’s direction and her workbook, which also included recipes so we could recreate our products at the conclusion of the course, we were able to make our own products with relative ease. In fact, I don’t think anyone had any real with the making of our products, so this was actually lots of fun. The mixing, the experimenting, the sharing our results with the other people in our class and then of course trying out our products all added to the hands-on element of the course, which was exactly what I was going for.
THE PRODUCTS WE MADE
So we made and we created, using our hands, which was great coz it involved NOT ONE LAPTOP OR KEYBOARD. I think a lot of people out there who work an office job and sit at their desks for hours on end can appreciate how lovely this is, to create something and use other senses. For me, the real fun in the aromatherapy workshop was the chance to stand or sit, depending on what I was making, to use utensils and tools that are normally associated with fun stuff like cooking, and, of course, the chance to make products that smell AMAZING. I am a big fan of citrus products, so I used a lot of that in one of the products I made.
I was also really glad, at the end of the day, that I got to create something that inevitably would help with my health and wellbeing. Not only was the act of taking time out to do the workshop beneficial to my overall wellbeing, but the products I made using aromatherapy techniques was also beneficial too. It was a win-win, and as I grow my knowledge about all things in the big ole sphere of wellbeing, I felt incredibly grateful to have been a part of that workshop.
I walked away from that workshop with the following self-made products:
- Massage oil
- Body butter
- Body scrub
- Bath oil
And I was so proud of myself! I’ve already used the massage oil and body butter, and will the body scrub soon (this is my favourite product and for some reason I am using my “save the best for last” mentality with this one), and giving the bath oil as a present, because they are all contained in cute little containers with adorable little tags which Sze Wing supplied for us on the day.
Will I be doing more workshops like this in the future? You bet. The more I educate myself about health and wellbeing, the more open I am to trying different things in this area. I know treatments, techniques and theories change all the time, but this area of work is fascinating to me and it’s great to discover new ways of being a healthier, more balanced person. Something we’re all striving for in this day and age. :)