Aromatherapy and essential oils offer a ton of mental health benefits.
In this time of social distancing and quarantining, many people are feeling the negative effects of distance from their loved ones, routine and everyday life. The simple pleasures that we took for granted, like coffee with a friend, leisurely strolls around the grocery store or afternoon walks through public parks won’t be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. With all of these stressors (and more) constantly running through our minds, it’s no wonder that we need some additional at-home self-care solutions.
Especially for those that were already struggling with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, being constantly home-bound with nothing but your thoughts can lead to not-too-good feelings regarding yourself, your surroundings and your life. Though there isn’t an all-encompassing at-home remedy to stopping these negative thoughts in their tracks, there are several ways you can prioritize your mental and physical well-being while quarantining.
One of these solutions lies in using essential oils around your home as aromatherapy.
Especially now, having a relaxing, cozy space you can truly decompress in is more important than it ever has been. These following five essential oils will help make your space, and your thoughts, much more comfortable to be around for long periods of time.
These oils can be used in a variety of ways: through diffusing, incorporating into baths or lotion, topical application with a carrier oil or inhaling the scent directly. The best way to use each of these oils is included with the description of the oils below!
This is perhaps one of the most well-known essential oils, and for good reason. This earthy, herbaceous scent is a fan-favorite among aromatherapists for its abilities to combat the symptoms of mild depression, ward off insomnia and ease the grip of anxious feelings and thoughts.
To see how lavender can help you, try diffusing in your bedroom before going to sleep or applying topically with a carrier oil in the morning to pulse points, specifically wrists and behind the ears.
If meditation or self-reflection is included in your self-care routine, try diffusing sandalwood during your me-time. This warm, woody scent has shown in studies to increase both mental clarity and focus, making meditation easier while exposed to this scent. Sandalwood has also shown to have a calming effect on the limbic system, along with sedative and mood-calming properties that enhance quality of sleep.
To incorporate sandalwood’s healing properties into your routine, drop some of the oil into your body lotion or diffuse in your living area before bed.
If you’re experiencing a lack of energy or allover lethargy during quarantine, try incorporating a citrus scent like orange or grapefruit into your living and working space. Citrus scents like orange are known to have powerful energizing properties, with orange specifically being linked to increased feelings of happiness, energy levels and overall happier moods. A study even found the orange scent to lower cortisol levels, which leads to increased stress and anxiety.
For a much-needed burst of energy in the morning or during a mid-day slump, try diffusing in the morning and inhaling from the bottle during the day.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’ve been having trouble getting to and falling asleep, Roman Chamomile could help regulate your sleep schedule. In various studies, this herbaceous, floral scent has proved to help users get to sleep, and can even fight insomnia for better sleep.
To make going to bed a more pleasant experience, add some drops to your nightly shower and diffuse in the evenings to help get your body ready for sleep.
For those experiencing an overwhelming amount of emotions, jasmine essential oils have been shown to help with a variety of anxious and depressive symptoms. Not only has it proven to have a mildly sedative effect, it has been observed to have a calming effect on the brain, easing anxious thoughts, feelings and overwhelm—in fact, the scent can be “as calming as valium.” Jasmine has also been observed to stimulate the brain in certain cases, which can boost the mood and feelings of happiness.
To ease anxious feelings or thoughts during periods of high-stress, try inhaling this scent directly from the bottle or apply topically to pulse points before a long day.
Though there’s no way to tell when our lives will return to normal, it’s important to prioritize your physical, mental and emotional well-being during this time. This includes making yourself comfortable and feeling at-home during this stressful time—which aromatherapy and essential oils can help with. For more information on how essential oils can help with isolation anxieties, check out this visual on seven more oils and their benefits.
Emily Borst is a digital content creator who helps FragranceX create helpful and compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in digital marketing and creative writing has led her to cover unique topics ranging from business to eco to lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, crafting, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas.