Integrative Nutrition Blog

4 Essential Oils (That Aren’t Lavender!) That’ll Save Your Sanity This Holiday Season

December 6, 2016

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There’s so much to enjoy about the holiday season—family gatherings, time off from work, and parties galore.

But there’s something about the holiday season that puts our nerves on high alert. Inevitably, travel takes longer than it should, or someone makes a remark at the dinner table that rubs you the wrong way, and of course, there’s always one person on your Christmas list who you find yourself frantically shopping for at the last minute.

It’s hard not to let it get to you, even if you have a stellar meditation practice! Want to know one thing that can help quickly and easily turn anxiety or stress into a more useful emotion? Take a whiff of select essential oils. Although there isn’t a ton of science that backs up their validity, a few small studies and a lot of anecdotal evidence suggest that smelling essential oils can be incredibly useful to help diminish feelings of stress, anxiety, or fatigue. Here are four that you should keep on hand this holiday season to help you keep your cool.

Vetiver
Woodsy and fresh, vetiver oil’s grounding scent is famous for helping bring the anxious back down to earth. It also decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity—so maybe use a few extra dabs of vetiver and a carrier oil on your wrist before sitting down to dinner with your family.

Ylang ylang
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with the scent of ylang ylang—its soft, flowery notes are often used in women’s perfume. Turns out the essential oil may be excellent for improving moods, increasing cheerfulness, and boosting courage. It’s even supposed to make wearers more optimistic! When you’re feeling like you can’t possibly get all your errands done, take a whiff of ylang ylang for renewed sense of purpose.

Bergamot
A citrusy-floral scent, bergamot is a bit adaptogenic: It’s used to help with depression and to increase energy levels, but on the flip side it can also act as a powerful sleep aid for those with insomnia. This could be because bergamot lowers levels of corticosterone in the blood, in turn improving the body’s response to stress. 

Frankincense
Frankincense, a popular holiday scent, is said to provide tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding, making it particularly useful to combat feelings of depression and anxiety or to use as a means to deepen a meditation practice.

There are a few different ways to reap the benefits of essential oils. Try cupping your hands around a cotton ball infused with essential oils to breathe in the scent. Or you can topically apply essential oils to your skin by mixing them with a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or rosehip) and massaging into your skin. Even better? Get the whole family to enjoy the benefits of essential oil by using a diffuser in your house.

Do you have a favorite oil blend you like to use during the holidays? Share in the comments below!

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