Fighting Workplace Stress … With Chocolate and Essential Oils

What’s the key to coping with workplace stress? A good therapist? Meditation? Supportive friends? Getting a new job?

Well, according to one theory, chocolate and essential oils can’t hurt. That’s the idea behind Code Lavender, a project that aims to fight burnout among health workers by giving people care packages when they experience stressful events at work.

Code Lavender has been catching on at hospitals across the country, so a group of researchers at UC San Diego decided to study its effects. In the program they studied, health workers would receive Code Lavender packages in response to experiencing stressful situations at work. Each package contained a comforting message, lavender essential oil, chocolate and information on how to access employee health services.

Analyzing the program, the first thing the researchers discovered was that there was no shortage of demand for the program. In fact, about half the study participants reported experiencing a stressful event at work in the three-month duration of the study.

Of those who received a Code Lavender kit from the people they worked with – about a third of the people in the study altogether – all of them found it helpful, and 84 percent said they’d recommend it to others. And those who received a Code Lavender package reported feeling more cared-for as a result.

That said, the study did find some limits on the powers of chocolate and essential oils. Despite their positive feelings about receiving Code Lavender kits, people didn’t reported a significant increase in job satisfaction.

So unfortunately, care packages may not be able to solve all of life’s problems – but they definitely help!

Image: Flickr/Abi Porter