Fighting Anxiety, Insomnia and Stress: How to Quiet Your Mind and Find Inspiration

I recently celebrated my two year blog anniversary. Approximately eighteen months ago, the blog's name officially became Lavender Inspiration. Two followers asked me what significance the title had. Here I was writing a lot of book and film reviews, talking about my experience going vegan, and ranting about everyday life as a midlife woman and mother. So what does lavender have to do with inspiration and what do either of those words have to do with my subject matter? 

I immediately started writing a post (THIS post) to explain the title's meaning. However, life got in the way (It happens to the best of us, right?) and I am just now, a year and a half later, getting around to finishing it. Actually, the timing of this post is no accident. It was influenced by a particular event this summer, one I'll explain. 

First, let's go back to the initial reason behind the title, Lavender Inspiration.

Just over two years ago, I was a working mom who gave it all up to become a stay-at-home mother to two pre-teens. At any age this can be challenging and a bit scary, but at 45 it is terrifying and a quick way to entirely lose your grounding.  The one thing I managed to learn fairly soon was that I needed to rediscover myself and find something that inspired me again.  But with so much anxiety, I couldn't hear myself think let alone calm my thoughts long enough to hear the muse anyway. Relaxing my mind became the first order of business. But how? 

When I started suffering from insomnia (an on-again, off-again problem I've had my entire adult life and now exasperated by menopause and stress), an acquaintance, one who works with hospice patients - talk about stress - suggested I start inhaling lavender oil. She suggested I keep a bottle on my nightstand and a second one in my purse, and breathe it in whenever I felt worried, anxious, or my mind simply wouldn't shut off and allow me to sleep.

I figured it certainly couldn't hurt. I had always loved images of lavender fields and found them very peaceful. The color alone soothes me. I went immediately to the health food store and purchased two bottles just as she suggested. Each night I dab some oil on my hands and then cup them over my mouth and nose and inhale deeply several times.  If I wake in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep, I reach for the bottle in the darkness and repeat the entire process. Guess what? It helps! So much so that I started this practice on my sons whenever they are nervous or can't sleep and now they ask me for lavender. We are a family of lavender sniffers. 

Fast forward to August 1 of this year. I was visiting my sister on Long Island (N.Y.) and we decided to take a ride along the North Fork. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it is a lovely drive that passes through several quaint towns and scenic spots. We drove past a small lavender gift shop and I made a note to stop in on our way back. After a nice lunch in Greenport and a drive toward Orient Point, we turned around and started heading back home. 

As planned, me made the stop at the lavender farm and shop despite the grumbles from my sons; one wouldn't even get out of the car. Screw it! I am not going to let them ruin my first visit to actual lavender fields. Even though we unfortunately missed the full bloom by only a couple of weeks (full bloom is in July), it was still a very relaxing experience. The ladies at the shop were very informative and demonstrated something about lavender I never knew. While lavender has a strong scent, if you squeeze the bouquet or sachet, the aroma is intensified significantlyEven better, the saleswoman told us that dried lavender will give off its floral scent for years! My older son, who was now getting into the whole stop at the lavender fields, finally admitted, "This is a pretty cool place," as it appeared he was getting his zen on. 

Lavender inspiration is a continuing journey toward calming my mind and finding my inspiration again, from whatever source that strikes.  It is also a way for me to recognize things that make me happy and inspire me. For example, films and novels are at the top of this list and the reason I write so many reviews. They are my escape and passion and I want to share that with others. Plus, I have always been a bit of a dreamer, someone whose head is often in the clouds, or stuck in a daydream. Is there any doubt why I have an affinity toward good works of  fiction. 

While Lavender Inspiration originally started out as being a journal of my day-to-day experiences, it has undergone somewhat of a metamorphosis as I found the means (thank you, lavender) to relax and truly get inspired. Without the calming effect of lavender, I am confident I would have given up on this blog a long time ago. I hope the blog continues to grow and you continue to follow me on lavender paths. 

Note: I want to thank the lovely ladies at Lavender by the Bay who took the time to speak with me about the fields and their products. The farm and shop are located in East Marion, NY. Visit their website at for hours, merchandise, and information about their French and English lavender blooms. 

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  1. This is your sister and I was the one with you on this great adventure with the hens chasing me in those lavender fields! Great blog and love my nephew's zen picture. Thanks for the lavender sachet that I continue to keep in my pillow and squeeze it every now and then to get that delicious, relaxing and calming fragrance. Yes we are a lavender sniffing family.


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