The holiday season is right around the corner and while it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be stressful. Once snow makes its arrival, we find our time stretched thin between gift shopping, work functions, and family demanding our presence. That’s beside all the cooking and cleaning involved with having a merry time! In the midst of all this, self-care tends to be put on hold and stress can become overwhelming.
Here at One Green Planet, we’re all about using natural ways to cope with holiday-induced stress. One of these ways involves using essential oils and aromatherapy which has been around for centuries and has recently gained popularity among the health-conscious crowd.
What Are Essential Oils and How to Use Them
Essential oils are made from fragrant essences which are released when you crush certain plants. Each essential oil has a particular chemical composition that affects how it smells and how our body reacts to it. Aside from their beneficial impact on our health (essential oils have the ability to aid digestion, boost our immune system, and more!), they can also be used to reduce stress and anxiety.
You can use essential oils by direct application onto the skin, inhaling their scent or ingestion (in small amounts). The preferred method is usually through inhalation as it provides the fastest relief.
If you can afford it, the use of a diffuser, which is a device made for the purpose of spreading the scent of essential oils through a room, is ideal. However, old-fashioned methods, such as placing a few drops of oil into a cotton ball or into a spray bottle mixed with water, work just as well.
Sounds good to you? Then, check out these 5 essential oils that will make you feel like you’re prancing around in a flower field, no matter how much snow there is outside!
Need to chill out or relieve a stress headache? Lavender oil is for you. Derived from the Lavandula officinalis plant, this essential oil contains many chemicals that have been shown to reduce anxiety caused by stress. Two compounds found in the oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, have strong sedative effects and narcotic properties. This explains grandma’s old trick of putting lavender in-between the bed sheets!
Joking aside, using lavender oil before bed will help you mellow out and get that restful night of sleep you need to get through this busy time of the year.
If winter has you feeling down and you want a natural remedy to boost your mood, jasmine essential oil is a good choice. Jasmine aromatherapy can lift up your mood and give you the extra energy you need to get everything done during the holidays. Its stimulating effect on the nervous system can also help with depressive symptoms and will overall make you feel more refreshed.
Made by cold pressing parts of the Citrus bergamia plant, bergamot oil is described as a hybrid of a bitter orange. Its pleasant smell has many positive neurobiological effects, the main one being anxiolytic. Bergamot oil’s effect on serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters systems in our brain, which are both closely related to the regulation of our mood, is likely the reason for its calming properties.
Salvia, commonly known as sage, is part of the mint family which contains more than 900 species all over the world. Traditionally used in herbal medicine, sage essential oil is especially effective in improving memory and mood. It has actually been found that using sage essential oil can make you feel more calm and content while also more alert and focused. Sage essential oil also has strong anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties because of its ability to reduce cortisol levels in our body.
In other words, sage is a great tool for remembering all you have to do before the holidays arrive and not be stressed about it! How great is that?
Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr
If you are suffering from mental fatigue and want to give your nervous system a jolt, this minty essential oil is for you. Eucalyptus is great for relieving headaches and tenseness in the body. Also, it contains chemical compounds such as terpinene, cymene, and phellandrene which help with joint pains and aches as they have antioxidant properties.
In short, eucalyptus essential oil is a perfect antidote to those long hours of shopping which can leave us mentally and physically drained (all the walking and carrying presents through stressful crowds!)
Curious about other health benefits of essential oils? Check out How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Headaches and Essential Oils That Help With IBS and other digestive issues. You can also take a look at these 5 Best Essential Oils for Glowing Skin.
As you’ve seen, essential oils have many beneficial uses that all come down to taking better care of ourselves which is important all year-round but especially in busy times like the holidays. Will you give essential oils a try? Let us know in the comments!
If you want to give yourself some much needed relaxation time and self-care but don’t know where to start, here are a few articles that might interest you:
- 8 Self Care Tips for the Holidays
- 6 Tips for Dealing With Stress
- Totally Zen Out With These 7 Top Foods That Can Lower Your Stress Levels
- 15 Recipes That Will Bring Zen Into Your Life
- Make These 5 Smell-Good Face Masks and Scrubs Using All Plant-Based Ingredients!
- Make Your Own Green Tea Matcha Face Mask
- How to Use Holiday-Inspired Ingredients To Amp Up Your DIY Beauty Game this Holiday Season
Last but not least, if you want to include some delicious foods into your self-care routine, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Shutterstock