Guest Author - Linda Steele
Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now we are heading into a month of whirlwind of parties, cooking, shopping and spending time with family and friends. The Holidays are not a happy a time for everyone. While many of us are hurried, frantic and almost giddy, there are others who are depressed or perhaps suicidal.
Some bring stress on themselves by trying to please every single person on their gift list subsequently overspending. Perhaps you have a loved one in the military and they are overseas. Maybe you are trying to cope with a divorce, a death, a wedding, or a new baby – all of which are in the top 5 of the most stressful events.
Although research shows that rates of suicide do not increase during the holidays, it is a fact that higher rates of stress and fatigue can bring about symptoms of depression. Don’t let holiday blues sabotage your holiday fun and create havoc with your self-esteem. Aromatherapy is one way to reduce the stress associated with the holiday season.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from herbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees to promote health and well-being. The most popular oils are lavender, rose peppermint, and rosemary. These may be added to a bath, massaged into the skin, inhaled directly, used with teas, or used to scent a room. Users must be sure they are high quality therapeutic grade oils. Aromatherapy is used to alleviate fatigue and stress. It also can be used to relieve pain and care for the skin. There are many products that already contain essential oils. You can also make your own blends by adding a few drops of one or two essentials oils to a carrier oil or unscented lotion. Simply add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil to approximately 8 ounces of your favorite oil or lotion. Good choices for a carrier oil are almond, olive or jojoba, but any quality oil can be used. Essential oils can also be added to bubble bath, shampoos, conditioners and Epsom salts.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use aromatherapy.
Feeling tired from late night gift wrapping or getting those holidays cookies baked and decorated? Take a hot bath using Lavender bubble bath or just a few drops in the tub. Try putting a drop on your pillow case. It will make you sleep like a baby. Peppermint is also used quite frequently for lifting spirits and energizing tired aching muscles and feet – think Peppermint Scrub and then adding Peppermint Foot Balm. Both peppermint and chamomile teas are soothing in the evening, especially after a large meal.
In need of some comfort? Bake pumpkin pie or gingerbread cookies. The popular holiday scents – pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, clove and allspice - are known for their feel good qualities, offering a warm feeling of coziness and a sense of well-being. When asked about these holiday aromas, many people admitted that they bring back fond memories of childhood.
Lavender is probably the most popular scent and has a wide variety of uses. For ages, lavender has served as one of the most wonderful remedies for treating skin disorders. It can be found in everything from toiletries and candles to cleaning products. Lavender helps ease tension and get rid of headaches. It can relax a heavily fatigued body. Lavender has menthol qualities, like Rosemary and Peppermint, which helps clear congested sinuses. Add lavender to your massage for a truly delightfully relaxing experience.
Rose essential oil is an all purpose oil. However, it is not as popular as lavender due to its high cost. Rose essential oil is very useful in fighting fear, stress, depression and anger. It is known for its antiviral and antiseptic therapeutic properties. It is also a great aphrodisiac and a perfect way to add spice to your love life. Try it for everything – baths, body teas, and drinking tea. Yumi Teas makes a really nice White Rose Tea and it is organic.
Rosemary is a helpful blues-buster herb. The invigorating aroma, which is neither too strong nor too mild, can give you the added pep needed to finish your holiday shopping. This essential oil is a popular choice for massage but can also be added to lotion or shampoo. Rosemary is a great antidepressant, antiseptic, and stimulant. It’s a wonderful pain killer, digestive aid, and provides nourishment to dry winter skin. Due to the numerous advantages that rosemary offers, it is extensively used in various aromatic products. So, next time you are making holiday treats, consider baking bread and adding some fresh Rosemary.
Don’t let the stress of the holidays give you the blues. Fight fatigue, sadness and depression with aromatherapy. Take time for yourself to enjoy a hot bath with your favorite scented bubble bath and softly lit candles. After you are settled down for the evening in your pajamas, try some peppermint tea and have a slice of pumpkin pie or gingerbread cookies. You deserve it!
What to give aromatherapy a try? Begin with either of these starter kits.