These unassuming and humble helpers offer a world of benefit if you take the time to learn about them.
With the warm, bright days of summer a thing of the past and the chilly, shorter days of fall upon us, it’s undeniable that winter looms just around the corner. Now, I appreciate the change in seasons and how it facilitates different energies in our lives. But man, the demanding presence of the engulfing darkness more commonplace throughout the winter months can really make me feel like 10 shades of ass.
This is the time of year when I’m extra thankful for my solid yoga and meditation practices. But, I for sure need to turn it up a notch if I don’t want to find myself face to face with the winter blues sooner rather than later. And this is when I turn my attention to the very diminutive helpers that are essential oils.
Aromatherapy 101 will tell you that an essential oil is a highly concentrated, volatile plant extract usually collected by the distillation process from flowers, herbs, resins and spices. The resulting liquid is potent and should be used with care. This is a case of less definitely being more.
A few drops on a tissue, in a diffuser or diluted in a carrier oil (think almond or jojoba oils) and worn on your person can really go a long way to alter your crappy mood.
Picking my top five favorite oils was no easy task. There are many essential oils available, and each scent can take me to a very different place—all comforting and beneficial in their respective ways. However, for the purpose of uplifting my mind during this darker time of the year, these are the five that I find are typically my saving grace.
>>Lavender (Lavandula Aungustifolia)
Lavender is one of the more common essential oils, and one of the most versatile. Although in my experience, people tend to either love or hate it. Lavender speaks to me of tranquility and peaceful surrender. Calming and balancing to the nervous system, lavender can help alleviate headaches and migraines, mental exhaustion and depressed moods.
>>Orange (Bitter Orange – Citrus Aurantium)
The scent of orange oil is like a big, sunny and bright slap in the face (in the best possible way). It’s wonderful when you’re feeling down in the dumps. Orange, on the opposite spectrum of lavender, is stimulating and invigorates the mind. Helping to relieve tension, stress and anxiety, it harmonizes mind and body. Great for when you’re not feeling awesome, but still need to function. Orange will help you keep focused and energized.
>>Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
Basil is widely known because of its culinary uses, but is also beneficial regarding the application of the essential oil. Personally, I revel in mixing a couple of drops of basil with a couple of drops of orange oil in a diffuser. It makes my home smell absolutely divine. Basil will lift fatigue and stimulate the mind, while promoting clarity of thought. It helps balance depressive moods, as well as anxiety and nervous tension.
>>Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
Just like lavender, peppermint oil is widely common and has many uses. To some of us, peppermint conjures images of candy canes and Christmas baking. However, one peppermint oil infused inhalation and you know peppermint isn’t playing around—blowing open your nasal passages as it also opens the mind. Alleviating headaches and congestion of thought, peppermint will invigorate and uplift in amazing ways.
>>Vetivert (Vetiveria Ziazaniodes)
Vetivert is like your favorite fluffy blanket, that when thrown over yourself you feel infinitely comforted. Sporting a more earthy tone, vetivert is the ultimate grounding scent. Balancing the central nervous system, vetivert will help with mental and physical exhaustion. For some it can help with insomnia from nervous tension and anxiety. Once you’ve become acquainted with this oil, more likely than not, you’ll be keeping a bottle by your bedside at all times.
It’s my hope that if the use of essential oils is new to you, I may have piqued your interest or perhaps introduced you to a new friend in your arsenal of natural remedies. These unassuming and humble helpers offer a world of benefit if you take the time to learn about them.
Today, essential oils can be found at your local health food store and online. Let the experimentation begin!
If you already use essential oils, which are your favorites when dealing with miserable moods and unpleasant states of being? What has and hasn’t worked for you?
I would love to hear from you. The more the merrier to this party, since really—who wants to feel like ass?
Editor: Sara McKeown