There seems to a common thread between people these days—more stress! It’s in the workplace and it’s in our personal lives. While we may not have control over the events that happen, we can take care of our well-being. Supervisors may impose short-notice time expectations on projects or a co-worker may make an unkind comment to you. These events can trigger stress in even the most well-balanced person.
I discovered essential oils over 20 years ago when I was looking for holistic ways to manage my stress and sleep better at night. What are essential oils? Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. They are obtained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing.
Some of my go-to essential oils for stress management are lavender, jasmine, holy basil, sweet basil, bergamot, chamomile, rose, vetiver, ylang-ylang, frankincense, geranium, clary sage, lemon balm, and fennel.
Before you run to your favorite health food store or order essential oils online—I would recommend working with a reputable aromatherapist or refer to a reputable book on aromatherapy. Some essential oils could have contraindications that conflict with pharmaceutical medicine you may be taking. It may be wise to speak to your health care provider for guidance before using essential oils.
I had the pleasure of living in southern France for eight months when I was in the Air Force. Lavender was plentiful and in many personal care products I purchased in the Provence area. Lavender is highly regarded as not only a soothing smell, but it also provides pain relief, alleviates headaches, improves sleep, improves brain function and reduces anxiety and emotional stress.
One of my favorite ways to use essential oils for managing stress is to mix it with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. Carrier oils are used in aromatherapy where various essential oils are applied to the body to aid both physical and emotional health and well-being. Carrier oils dilute the concentrated essential oils so they can be applied to the skin without side effects.
I will purchase glass roller-balls so I can blend my essential oils in a carrier oil. The great feature of having a roller ball is that it’s easy to carry with you. My preference is to buy blue glass bottles, but brown or any dark color works. The dark glass preserves the blend longer than a clear bottle.
While you can purchase premade products that have essential oils already in them, it’s rewarding to make your own products. When you make your own products—you know what’s in it. Some essential oils are super potent. I like adding essential oils to bath water and I am always mindful to add a few drops of carrier oil so that the oils do not create any side effects or irritation.
Aromatherapy can also be benefitted by using a diffuser. A little water… a few drops of essential oil and you get to receive the benefits of smelling the essential oils. My favorite ones to use in my diffusers are geranium, clary sage, and lavender. My mood always elevates when I am smelling these oils.
I recently interviewed Adora Winquist on my podcast. She is a nationally recognized award-winning essential oil formulator. She also lives in my hometown of Asheville, NC. She offered a workshop recently for military veterans around well-being and stress management. I was very fortunate to attend this workshop. The men and women veterans made some of their own essential oils under the guidance of Adora. Is there anything more powerful than having more control over your stress and feeling more empowered?
I secretly smiled as I watched the guys making their oil blends as eagerly as the women. While they may have been more prompted to choose more earthy blends of oils—they had great expectations that what they were making was going to support their health and wellbeing. Empowerment is taking action and helping yourself. Well-being is not a luxury—it’s a necessity for living on planet Earth.
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