HOLIDAY SELF-CARE: ESSENTIAL OILS FOR A STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY SEASON
The holiday season is meant to be full of joy, merriment, and happy socializing, but reality can stray far away from this. Your days may be filled with gift shopping, family reunions, gloomy weather, party planning, overeating, and not enough sleep. Prepping for the holidays can be harsh on anyone!
Luckily, essential oils can be wonderful for soothing your mind, body, and spirit during difficult times. No matter how hectic your days get, it’s important to carve out some time to devote yourself to some quality self-care. Using specific essential oils for stress, anxiety, and fatigue can be a great way to experience a new sense of balance, harmony, and groundedness during this busy holiday season.
Here are some creative ways to use essential oils for a calmer, easier, stress-free holiday season.
FEEL CALM ON THE GO WITH BERGAMOT ESSENTIAL OIL
If you’re prone to feelings of stress or anxiety throughout the holidays, carrying your essential oils with you can be helpful. You may take your bottles or blends inside your handbag or similar enclosed space (do not leave them in the car).
The fragrances of certain essential oils are known to bring on instant sensations of calm and relaxation. Bergamot essential oil, in particular, is reputed to be beneficial for stress, depression, and anxiety.
An easy way to benefit from Bergamot essential oil on the go is to place 2-3 drops onto a tissue, handkerchief, or cotton ball. Breathe in deeply to take in the scent and enjoy its soothing effects.
CREATE A POSITIVE HOME WITH SWEET ORANGE ESSENTIAL OIL
It’s been said that our outer world is reflected in our inner world. If you’ve been feeling dreary or uninspired lately, it may be time to spice up your environment. Elevating your home decor with brighter colors and seasonal ornaments, for example, can go a long way in uplifting you mentally and spiritually.
Sweet Orange essential oil is wonderful to make use of as you spruce up your home. To create a positive, uplifting environment, you may use an electric diffuser, or alternatively, add 2-5 drops onto cotton balls and place them inside a small plate or bowl. You can strategically place these bowls on top of countertops, tables, or shelves. The beautiful scent will diffuse naturally and create an enticing atmosphere throughout the house.
To take it a step further, you could also create a fragrant room spray incorporating Sweet Orange essential oil.
|Sweet Orange Essential Oil||12 drops|
|Distilled Water||250 mL|
Instructions: Fill a 250 ml spray bottle with distilled water, then add in the essential oil drop by drop. Mix well and spritz around the home. You can adjust the amount of essential oil according to your preferences.
MASSAGE AWAY YOUR FEARS WITH PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
The smell of Peppermint is not only enough to bring back memories of happy holidays, but it can also be a perfect essential oil to incorporate into a seasonal massage blend.
Peppermint essential oil is widely used to soothe and comfort sore muscles. If you’ve been running around trying to wrap up both office work and holiday errands in time, try using this Peppermint-featured massage blend. Not only will it refresh any tired or aching muscles, but its aroma will also calm and relax you.
|Jojoba Oil (Cold Pressed)||1/4 cup|
|Peppermint Essential Oil||8 drops|
|Lavender Essential Oil||8 drops|
Instructions: Mix thoroughly and massage all over the body. To melt away any tension, warm the blend on your fingers and focus on massaging the feet, hands, shoulders, the back of the neck, and temples with light-to-medium pressure.
KEEP UP WITH YOUR WORKOUTS WITH LEMON ESSENTIAL OIL
Being active during the holidays can be tough. Regular exercise, however, is important in contributing to your overall sense of well-being, and this becomes doubly important during slow, chilly winters.
If you've been feeling unmotivated to visit the gym lately, try diffusing 3-5 drops of Lemon essential oil. Its bright and energizing fragrance will help you feel more sharp, focused, and ready to put on your workout gear.
TAKE A RELAXING BATH WITH YLANG YLANG ESSENTIAL OIL
A warm and comforting bath is inviting for the soul. Adding Ylang Ylang essential oil to your bath ritual can be a great way to soothe your senses and distance yourself from any worries or pressing tasks. This essential oil is reputed to have a sedative and calming effect, and so is ideal to prep both your mind and body for sleep.
Try this excellent bath salt recipe featuring Ylang Ylang essential oil the next time you draw a bath.
|Ylang Ylang Essential Oil||6 drops|
|Geranium Essential Oil||4 drops|
|Grapefruit Essential Oil||4 drops|
|Sea Salt||2 cups|
Instructions: Mix the essential oils and sea salt thoroughly in a bowl or jar. Sprinkle the mixture into a bathtub half-filled with warm water and swirl until fully dissolved. Then fill the bath up completely with hot water. Soak for at least 15 minutes to experience the calming and detoxifying effects of this bath salt blend.
CARE FOR YOUR FEET WITH EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL
The feet are often neglected in many self-care rituals, even though they ground us all day long. During winter, many individuals suffer from foot ailments such as dry skin, blisters, cracked heels, and ashiness. Injuries and general foot pain are also a common experience during this time.
Thank your feet this season by putting together this quick but refreshing foot bath. It features Eucalyptus essential oil, which is known to have potent antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for tired feet.
|Eucalyptus Essential Oil||6 drops|
|Sea Salt||1 cup|
Instructions: Fill a sizeable basin with warm water and add in the sea salt and Eucalyptus essential oil. Stir well. Soak your feet in the basin for 10-20 minutes and enjoy the deeply soothing feel and aroma this cleansing mixture will have.
TACKLE YOUR HOLIDAY TO-DO LIST WITH VETIVER ESSENTIAL OIL
The holiday season can bring in a whole host of sudden deadlines, from last-minute office work to mailing holiday greeting cards. If you are trying to get through with a mountain of pending tasks this winter, you might be feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Vetiver essential oil can be a wonderful natural aid during these times.
Vetiver essential oil has a rich, grounding fragrance that is reputed to help individuals feel more awake, calm, and balanced. For this reason, one of its primary alternative uses is to help create an environment that is conducive to work and efficiency.
To incorporate this enticing essential oil to support your winter productivity, add 3-6 drops into an electric diffuser, or alternatively, try diffusing this Vetiver blend:
|Vetiver Essential Oil||3 drops|
|Frankincense Essential Oil||2 drops|
|Cedarwood Essential Oil||2 drops|
The addition of Frankincense and Cedarwood essential oils, both well-known for their calming effects, could further help deal with any holiday stress.
AMP UP YOUR WINTER SKINCARE WITH NEROLI ESSENTIAL OIL
If there is one essential oil that is perfect for winter skincare, it is Neroli essential oil (also called Orange Blossom essential oil). When diluted and applied to the skin, it is beautifully moisturizing and pampering, helping to heal dry, parched, and rough skin. Some aromatherapists believe that Neroli essential oil has a special ability to reduce the appearance of scars such as stretch marks, acne scars, or pitted scar tissue. Beyond this, the citrus oil also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that help clear and cleanse the skin.
To benefit from the soothing and hydrating effects of Neroli essential oil this winter, add 1-2 drops into a high-quality moisturizer, cream base, or body butter before applying all over the body. Make sure you use at night to avoid sun exposure, as Neroli essential oil can be photosensitizing.
USING ESSENTIAL OILS SAFELY
It is important to enjoy the self-care benefits of these essential oils while using them safely and responsibly. This includes never using them undiluted, performing a skin patch test prior to use, being knowledgeable about the sun’s effects after use, and sourcing them from an ethical brand known for quality and purity.
External use only
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, essential oils are for external use only. Essential oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these oils for therapeutic purposes.
Pregnancy and other health conditions
Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use essential oils without the medical advice of a physician.
Those with the following health conditions are especially recommended to consult the advice of a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy.
Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.
Children and safety
These oils should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of seven.
How to conduct a skin patch test
Prior to using any essential oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the essential oil in 4 drops of carrier oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of non-sensitive skin.
Essential oil side effects
Potential side effects of essential oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
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