It’s January, so here’s an utterly honest review of salt lamps, diffusers, wellness journals and all the other bits I’ve bought so far
Finding that in order to entertain yourself you need multiple screens and a rotation of activities every five minutes? Needing to quell her building anxiety, Edaein O’Connell dives into the world of mindful accessories.
I’ve tried everything on my quest for a quiet mind.
Therapy, meditation, journaling, exercise, deep breathing, deep cleaning, double cleansing and mindful teeth brushing. The turmoil of my mind doesn’t disappear with one activity. It needs a concoction of activities to keep the thoughts at bay.
Some work for a minute, a month or sometimes longer. Some don’t work at all. Many are fads that have come my way through magazines, online research, or the dreaded “well, a step-cousin of my friend’s aunt did this” trope. Disappointment comes with the territory. You get your hopes up for an ending, but most bring you back to the start, with more baggage on your back for the long haul.
The truth is, I would do anything to try and quell my anxiety.
On the outside, I’m confident, fierce, self-assured. But on the inside, there is a girl who once sat outside her house in the dark with a rock and a crystal because she read online that full-moon energy took worries away. All the while, her parents watched on and wondered if they needed to call the Gardaí.
With the raging pandemic and uncertainty that 2021 laid on our table, my mind turned my cells into sparkling explosives. And so, the most extraordinary self-help journey of my life commenced. Therapy, long-walks, and meditation continued, but some new friends joined them.
Some are firm companions; others tell you they will meet you for a coffee at 3pm and never show up.
Here are the mindful accessories that worked (and some that didn’t work) for me, I hope you find something useful.
I’ve always loved salt: especially salty crisps, salty chips and salty drama. I never thought a lump of hard salt would sit next to my bed, but it’s 2022, baby – anything goes.
Salt lamps are like men – promise you the world but give you County Louth.
Carved out of pink Himalayan salt, the lamps are believed to have various health benefits because they are “natural ionizers,” meaning they change the circulating air’s electrical charge. Some of the claimed benefits include improved air quality, sleep and a boosted mood. While there is no evidence to support these claims, I fell in love with it, just like I did with all the men who filled me with false promises before.
Although the research doesn’t support it, the air in my bedroom has never been cleaner. Gone are the days of stuffy morning noses and snoring. I’m still anxious, but the salt lamp creates a vibe in the evening with its golden orange hue that puts my worries away, if only for an hour. I convinced myself it works and now it’s my go-to coping mechanism.
Anxious? Salt lamp.
Global warming? Salt lamp!
Pandemic and rolling lockdowns? Salt lamp!
Lose your job? Salt lamp!
Despair and destruction? Salt lamp!
So the salt lamp is staying, but I don’t know if my boyfriend will. He inches ever closer to ringing the guards each night that I whisper “I love you salt lamp” before turning to sleep.
Final verdict: I’m fairly thrilled by Co Louth.
Aldi gets me. Quick checkouts and random stuff you don’t need down the middle aisle are my drugs of choice. On the day Aldi decided to sell an aroma oil diffuser, I queued outside. Someone’s second cousin said aroma oils are great for aiding sleep, so I went home, filled it with water and lavender oil, and fell into a deep snooze.
Unfortunately, that was to be the only day I fell asleep with the oil diffuser on full whack. And it had more to do with the fact I was up since 7 am queueing for it rather than aroma oil therapy pros.
However, the oil diffuser creates an instantly calming atmosphere, and for a few hours, I can relax and read without thinking. The beautiful smell it produces is also a plus and lasts longer than burning a candle.
Final verdict: Maybe the crazed early trip to Aldi was worth it?
When my sister-in-law gifted me a wellness journal and a pack of aromatherapy balls for Christmas, I knew the jig was up. Along with myself, my family also thought I was – as we say in Kerry – “up the walls.” Being the self-help seeker that I am, I rolled the balls straight away. They rolled by every pressure point I could find. At one point, I rolled so much that I thought I was getting high on the fumes.
While the aromatherapy oils don’t quieten my mind, the smell and the motion of the activity calm me and help cultivate a relaxed environment whether I am working at a desk or in bed.
Final verdict: Perhaps self-help strategies such as this are not fixes, but help cultivate a routine that shuts down the rager in your subconscious. I’ll take that.
Wellness journals and colouring books
Along with the rollerballs came a wellness journal filled with prompts for writing and colouring activities. In the beginning, the journal did more bad than good. It asked me what I enjoyed in life, and I panicked so much at my lack of responses that I panicked some more. Then as I began colouring, I questioned my ability at life as I coloured outside the lines. Wasn’t my life messy enough?
Once I moved past the teething problems, I used the journal for what it was – a way to stay present. Most anxiety and worries pull you away from the now to a place in the past or the future. The journal brought me to the moment, where my focus was only on writing and colouring random abstract pictures.
Final verdict: It was delightful.
So what are my new necessities? A salt lamp for the ambience and the wellness journal for a well-needed moment in the present.