I have what I call scent sensitivity syndrome, most fragrance oils give me a splitting headache. I didn’t always have it. There was a time I could spend days at department store perfume counters, Yankee Candle stores and all other smelly places. I developed migraines once I started making soaps. I think working with the concentrated fragrance oils was too much for me. So I only use essential oils in my soap line now. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
Using Fragrance Oils
I do private label soaps for a few companies who use fragrance oils. I take many precautions – I wear a heavy duty respirator mask, use a separate garbage bag for everything the fragrance oil touches and throw the bag outside immediately after cleaning up. Working with fans and the windows open, and I let the soaps cure upstairs so the scent doesn’t permeate in the air. I usually don’t have a problem with headaches anymore. But last night after making some private label soap, despite all the precautions, I developed a wicked migraine. Really bad timing too. I was swamped with work.
My Usual Remedies
I tried my usual remedies. Over the counter medication, drank lots of water, an ice pack on my head, peppermint oil on the back of my neck. Nothing helped. Finally at 3:30 I got out of bed and tried my last defense. Coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker, I prefer decaf tea, but I’ve found that caffeine helps. But not this time. It’s now 5 am, my head is still throbbing and I’m sitting on my couch thinking of all the things I had to do today. I didn’t have time for a killer headache.
A Last Resort for Scent Sensitivity Syndrome
I decided to sit outside on my front porch and do nothing. It was pitch black. I listened to myself breathe and watched the sky become a red orange. The birds started to come out of their birdhouses and fly around looking for food. I let my mind go blank and stopped obsessing about all I had to do. The sky changed color again. I felt the cold of the wrought iron rocking chair I was sitting in and heard the birds start to sing, and two of them started pecking at each other. They were fighting over a worm. I don’t know why but it made me smile. I relaxed my shoulders, with my headache they traveled somewhere up by my ears. The sun was now completely up and there were some clouds in the sky. There was a cool breeze in the air. I took a deep breath and noticed the headache was subsiding.
Our Bodies Know What’s Best
I think our bodies know what is best for us. Sometimes it gives us pain to slow us down. We need to stop and take care of ourselves. Most of us run from one project to another and are multitasking at the same time. How efficient are we really? We can’t run at top speed forever without something breaking down. I’m grateful the headache reminded me of what I already know. That I am a human being, not a human doing. I need to (paraphrasing flight attendants everywhere) put on my own oxygen mask before I put on anyone else’s. So for now, I will slow down and take care of myself.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
Yours in Gratitude,