Using Scent to Ease Holiday Stress
Most of us know what our favorite scents are and how they make us feel. Maybe the smell of freshly baked apple pie makes you remember holidays at home with family, or the smell of cut grass makes you reminisce about carefree summers past. Scents are a deeply personal and powerful way to evoke an emotional response, which is why they can be so good at easing stress.
During the holiday season, stress can be at an all-time high – there are events to attend, winter travel, and endless pressure to spend, spend, spend on gifts. Scents can be your secret weapon to help ease those anxieties. Essential oils are both effective and extremely portable, so you can bring them with you everywhere you go this holiday season to help you relax when you need it most!
There are many different relaxing scents and oils that can help with everyday and holiday stress. Here’s a short list of some easy-to-find scents and oils that can induce a feeling of relaxation.
Lavender. The most widely known scent for relaxation, naturally made lavender oil calms the muscular and nervous systems, and is well-documented as an effective sleep aid – it can even replace pharmaceuticals in some cases.
Chamomile is another essential oil that can ease insomnia as well as induce a state of calm. It also has antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties – so it’s a good one to have around, no matter what the issue is!
Sandalwood oils have a soothing, earthy scent that calms the nervous system and relaxes the body, whether you need to “turn off” for a good night’s sleep or just chill out during a stressful day at work.
Mandarin, patchouli and ylang-ylang are also well known for their calming properties.
Using the power of scent to relax the body and mind is a natural way to help soothe the anxiety that often results from a busy lifestyle. You can easily purchase essential oils at health food stores and some pharmacies. Carry around a small bottle of lavender oil and when you start to feel anxious among the mall crowds or at your office party, simply dab some on your wrists and other pulse points to feel the calming effects of its sweet, mellow fragrance.
It’s crucial to take the time to turn down the volume and focus on yourself, especially during the holidays, and scent can be an excellent catalyst for those moments. Simply add a few drops of your preferred fragrance to a diffuser or humidifier and allow the smell to wash over you as you drop off to sleep. Use this same technique when you meditate or practice yoga to get a full body and mind relaxation.
The solution may seem too simple to be true, but because sense memories trigger such strong responses in the body, using scent as a relaxation tool really does work. Consider how quickly smelling a citrus fruit can make you think of summer and sunshine, for instance. By using scents that have specific calming properties, you can harness that power for the ultimate relaxation experience.
The next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to relax with a favorite smell (or any of the ones we listed above) and quickly get back into the holiday spirit.
For more information on locating and purchasing scents and oils to help with relaxation, click here.