How did we end up in a world where experiencing high stress and anxiety is normal, every day? Some stress is normal, but research by Mental Health UK shows that, in their study year, 74% of people were so stressed they were overwhelmed or unable to cope. Increased stress is associated with a higher incidence of depression, anxiety and severe mental illness.
There are many tools you can use to calm your nervous system down, but one of my favourites is essential oils. My friend Anna, who is probably the most obsessed person I know when it comes to essential oils, talked me into subscribing to dōTERRA years ago and I still can’t bring myself to cancel, even though I have a vast range of oils at home. Truth is, I always run out of something I need. I use cedarwood for my linen cupboards and walk-in wardrobe. I use lavender and frankincense in the skincare cream I make and I use a range of oils to revitalise my will to live when I go hiking.
These oils are more than just pleasant scents. They are a gateway to serenity. Let’s discover how these natural wonders can melt away your stress.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts obtained through distillation or cold pressing. Renowned for their aromatic and therapeutic properties, they have been used for centuries in practices like aromatherapy. When it comes to stress relief, their potency lies not just in their pleasing aromas but also in their ability to interact with the limbic system in our brain, the area responsible for emotions and memories. It’s why we associate certain memories with certain scents. A whiff of tea tree oil will take me back to memories of grazed knees in an instant but lavender will remind me of my mother’s bathroom and conjure memories of family visits.
There are too many essential oils to list in one blog post, but here are a few to get you started.
- Key Benefits: Lavender is the quintessential relaxant, known for its ability to calm the mind and soothe tension. It is amazing for headaches.
- How to Use: Add a few drops to a diffuser before bedtime or blend with a carrier oil for a comforting massage.
- Fun Fact: In ancient times, lavender was added to bathwater for its soothing qualities.
- Key Benefits: This citrusy oil extracted from the rinds of bergamot oranges is perfect for uplifting the mood and reducing feelings of stress.
- How to Use: Blend it in a room spray for a refreshing and calming atmosphere.
- Fun Fact: Bergamot is the secret ingredient that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavour!
- Key Benefits: Famous for its calming properties, chamomile aids in relaxation and promotes peaceful sleep.
- How to Use: Mix with a base lotion and apply before bedtime to unwind.
- Fun Fact: Chamomile has been used as a natural remedy for stress and insomnia since ancient Egyptian times.
- Key Benefits: Known for reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of peace.
- How to Use: Add to a warm bath or use in a personal inhaler to enjoy its calming effects.
- Fun Fact: In Indonesia, Ylang Ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples for its soothing and aphrodisiac qualities.
- Key Benefits: Offers deep relaxation and is often used in meditation for its grounding properties.
- How to Use: Apply topically, blended with a carrier oil, or use in a diffuser during meditation sessions.
- Fun Fact: Frankincense was once considered more valuable than gold in ancient civilizations.
Integrating essential oils into your daily routine can be a simple yet powerful way to combat stress. Whether diffused, applied topically, or used in a relaxing bath, these oils offer a natural and accessible way to unwind and melt the stress away. They disrupt your nervous system and evoke relaxation and memories. Remember, the journey to stress relief is as personal as your choice of scent and different oils will work for you in different ways. My favourite blend at the moment is Ice Blue because I have lots of sore muscles at the moment from hiking.
Have you tried any of these essential oils for stress relief? Or do you have a favourite that didn’t make my list? Share your experiences and tips in the 180Selfcare community on Facebook. Let’s explore the aromatic world of stress relief together! And if you want to learn more about building your own essential oil supply, contact me and I’ll put you onto Anna. She will happily tell you all about it lol. She’s also in the 180Selfcare Facebook group so I’ll tag her in the post when I post this article.
Shameless plug: Help reduce my essential oils bill lol. You can also order via me direct (because Anna signed me up… I don’t actually do anything to sell these despite spending thousands on them myself).