Inhale, ExhaleA guide to essential oils
It’s no secret I struggle with anxiety. Whether it from personal relationships, over-stimulation, abrupt changes, living in the city, or too many hours spent on my phone, my anxiety has this uncanny way of creeping up and grabbing hold. And, more often than not, these unpleasant encounters cause me to lose my sense of self.
That said, I’m so happy mental health is becoming more of a public discourse. I am living proof that everyone, at one point or another, has or will struggle with issues regarding their mental wellbeing. You know the quote, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind?” Well, those words ring true. People can be very skilled at hiding their feelings.
In hopes of helping me combat my anxiety, my mom introduced me to essential oils. I now rarely leave the house without a vial in my purse or a dab behind my ears. I hope that by sharing what I know, I can help you too! It’s important to use public spaces like ours to start and continue these difficult but necessary conversations.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are oils extracted from the bark, leaf, root, seed or flower of a plant through processes like cold pressing or stem distillation. The resulting liquid (oil) is highly concentrated. One drop reaps many health benefits. When purchasing essential oils, it is important to only buy the pure therapeutic-grade ones.
How do they work?
Because essential oils are made up of smaller molecules, it seeps into the skin easily when topically applied. When used aromatically, the blood vessels in your lungs absorb the oil and your blood circulates it throughout the rest of your body.
I started using essential oils to reduce my anxiety. After seeing positive results, I started experimenting with different ways to incorporate them into my daily routine. You can say that I’m mildy obsessed. There’s something very fulfilling about conscientiously working towards a healthier me. There is SO much to learn about these oils and about a billion different ways to use them. It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in doing more research, this is a great place to start!
How do you use them?
You should always read the dilution instructions! Remember, different oils have different uses and those uses are generally non-transferable.
- Apply 2-3 drops directly onto your skin and massage.
- To cover larger surface areas, pair the essential oil of choice with a carrier oil. Note: Not all carrier oils maintain essential oil properties when mixed together. For that reason, I personally recommend pairing with only coconut oil or olive oil.
- Rub 2-3 drops between your palms and cup your hands. Place your hands over your nose and take a long, slow inhale.
- Add 2-3 drops into a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and hover your face over the bowl. The idea is to trap the rising steam with your towel. Again, concentrate on your breath. Inhale in and exhale out.
- Use a diffuser. My favorite way.
- Add 2-3 drops to my bubble bath. Hello, at-home spa!
- Place 2-3 drops into a gelatin capsule and swallow with water.
- Add 1–2 drops to a glass of water.
- Cook with 1–2 drops.
Lavender essential oil is commonly used to promote balance and relaxation. It can also help with skin irritations. It smells divine. I usually add 3 drops to my diffuser before I go to sleep. The diffuser automatically shuts off when there’s no water left, so it’s totally safe! I’ve also been known to add a drop of it to my night-time moisturizer. Sometimes I dilute it in a spray bottle and spray it on my pillows. Can you tell that this is my favorite scent?
This unique oil blend from Young Living was the introductory oil my mom gave me. I use it when I study and when I work. The oil has lime and vanilla notes. It also has lavender and copaiba to help reduce mental rigidity and encourage balance within the body. The cedrol found in cedar wood and the eugenol found in vanilla work together to increase feelings of relaxation and reduce the body’s nervous tension.
When applied topically (typically to the back of your neck), peppermint oil instantly cools the skin. When diffused or added to a bath, it awakens all of your senses. I use this oil whenever I need an extra boost!
Wintergreen & Cypress
This combination of oils is great for alleviating muscle pain. I use it to ease the carpal tunnel in my right hand. I add 2 drops of both wintergreen and cypress to coconut oil before applying the mixture to my forearm, wrist, and hand. I do this twice a week. The wintergreen works to cool the area of inflammation and relieve pain. The cypress works to increase the circulation in the affected area.
Purification & Wild Orange
Purification is another oil blend from Young Living. It’s a combination of citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, tea tree, lavender, and myrtle oil. They work together to eliminate bad odors from anything and everything. Given the underwhelming square footage of my apartment, this blend comes in handy when cooking. I use it with Wild Orange to spray away lingering smells.
Frankincense is said to reconnect you spiritually and encourage you to find your purpose. Many people use it during their yoga or meditation practices to help them find inner peace. You can also add it to your moisturizer to enhance your natural beauty!
If you’re interested in trying out any oils listed above, I recommend visiting Young Living where I purchased all of mine!
Featured Image via Tumblr.