We were founded on a love for candles. I don't remember a time where mum didn't light a candle as we were getting ready to settle down for the evening. I have carried that same tradition on - and with the last year and a lot more working from home, I have found that having a candle lit at my desk has given me that calm start to every working day.
"The smell of a scented candle stimulates the part of your brain which is connected to memory and mood. From boosting energy through to relieving stress or even enhancing mental clarity, the healing properties coming from a lit scented candle can deliver psychological effects"
Chryssa Chalkia "Scented Candles to Reduce Anxiety", 2018
We love that moment somebody smells one of our candles and goes "oooooh, I love that! What does that remind me of?". The connection between a scent and that memory - a trip to the beach, their grandma or a holiday abroad - each story is such a beautiful thing to hear. And it's not just the fragrance that has this positive affect. A candle flame helps soothe the soul - reducing street & increasing self awareness. The soft illumination helps to calm us down and achieve a meditative space, and the flickering noise you hear is pink noise, which is similar to white noise except it is at a lower frequency making it more relaxing.
So when bigmoose coffee co, in Cardiff city centre, approached us to make a range which recycled their used coffee and blended with essential oils to make a mental health candle range - we knew we were on to a winning collaboration. The final choices were Lavender, Rosemary & Lemon. Each bringing their own benefit to the table - lavender is calming, rosemary focuses and lemon invites positivity. Your response to these candles has been incredible, especially with everything going on at the moment.
(If you want to find out more, you can find them here!)
I got in touch with Chloe, the owner of bigmoose coffee co and an incredible friend and cheerleader for Cole & Co, to find out what she thinks about candles, mental health and the effects COVID have had on people over the past year.
Hi Chloe, could you introduce yourself and explain what your day to day life looks like.
Hi, my name is Chloe Smith, I am 26 and I am the co-founder of bigmoose coffee co, a nonprofit coffee shop that employs, trains and supports people who struggle with their mental health. I am also a freelance Mentor where I work with young people to help them to build habits, create positive routines, understand their emotions and plan their futures.
Amazing! What effect do you think COVID-19 and lockdown has had on people's mental health?
I think lockdown has effected every single one of us in different ways. In general some people have loved it and enjoyed the time, whilst others have struggled with the isolation. I think when lockdown lifts and life returns to some form of ’normal’ there will definitely be an adjustment period for everyone to get used to normal life again. I hope as human beings we have learnt that human connection is so important, I hope this time has made people kinder and more empathetic.
What are you finding is helping you and your mental health at the moment?
My natural instinct is to help people and I focus a lot of my energy on making sure everyone else is okay. However, over the last couple of years I have learnt that you need to look after yourself first as you can’t pour from an empty cup. To ensure I stay feeling good I like to stick to a routine. My morning routine is my ‘me’ time, I like to get up before the rest of the world, do some movement whether that be a walk, an online hiit class or some simple stretching, have a big cup of tea and then read my book. This routine has given me some structure during lockdown, which I crave and I know that I am starting every day in a positive way, which brings me joy. Aside from this, spending time with my boyfriend, face timing my friends and making a delicious dinner every night are all things that ensure I keep myself in a great place.
Any advice you’d give to those suffering with poor mental health with everything going on?
For anyone struggling with their mental health I would say, try and reach out. Speak to someone who cares and share how you’re feeling. My mum always says ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ which I have always found to be very true! Look after yourself, try and do some movement, ensure you’re keeping up with self-care and always remember you are never alone.
Why you think candles have such a positive effect on people’s mental health?
Candles are my absolute fave! I think everyone loves a candle - there’s something special about settling down at night, lighting a candle, creating beautiful lighting and filling the room with your favourite fragrance! What's not to like?! I think lots of people tend to save candles and only light them on special occasions but I am a big fan of living in the now - light the candles and enjoy the moment!
What’s your favourite fragrance and why?
My favourite fragrance is 100% white tea and mandarin! I absolutely love it - I tend to relate smells to occasions and that fragrance reminds me of fun times on a trip up to the Cole and Co HQ in Anglesey. The aroma of white tea and mandarin filled the workshop and now whenever I smell it it takes me back to that glorious, sunny weekend!
So when the world feels like its becoming a bit much - take that moment. Light a candle, play some chilled music and just breath. And if you need more than that, please reach out. We're all in this together, and as Chloe says a problem shared is a problem halved. My emails are always open for a chat. Now I'm off to light my candle - fragrance choice tonight is Lan y Môr, transport me to the seaside, take me home!
Lots of Love,