Let’s face it: finding time to relax is hard.
Between work, after-school activities, errands, and running a household, relaxing is something we sneak in when we can. When you do get that rare chance to relax, you need to make every second count.
Whether you fit in a few quiet minutes at bedtime or after your shower (or just whenever you can), adding the right essential oils to your routine can help you get the most out of the moment.
You don’t need to set aside dedicated time to garner the benefits of oils. Adding carefully curated oils into your everyday routine (even the not-so-relaxing parts) can also help you feel happier and calmer.
We’ve assembled a helpful list of the five best essential aromatherapy oils you can use to relax, de-stress, and get through your hectic days, plus some information on how and why they work. Read on!
What are Essential Oils and How Do They Work?
Essential oils are derived from stems, leaves, flowers or other parts of a plant using various methods including steam distillation.
Essential oils have many uses, but one common use is in aromatherapy. When inhaled, the scent of the oil affects the brain via the limbic system. According to the University of Minnesota, the limbic system helps “control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance.”
This helps explain how the right scents can help us feel calmer, happier, and less stressed.
How Are They Used?
A common and easy way to use essential oils for aromatherapy is in a diffuser. Diffusers work by dispersing the oil into the air for inhalation.
Some oils get added to a carrier oil used topically. This is a common massage experience, as it also means the oil gets inhaled as it’s applied to the body.
Some people ingest essential oils. But, this is best done under the guidance of an essential oil expert or physician, so we won’t cover that topic here.
So, without further ado, here are five oils you can use to get started on your quest for relaxation.
Lavender oil is probably the most commonly used oil for relaxation – and for good reason! The sweet, lightly herbal scent is great for diffusing into a bedroom at night or into a bathroom during a bath.
Lavender oil has calming, soothing properties. It can also help induce sleep, so it’s a great oil for those of us that struggle to fall asleep. Some people sprinkle a drop or two under their pillows before bed.
Very different than lavender but with equally beneficial properties is peppermint oil.
This cool, sweet, invigorating oil is the perfect oil to diffuse when you need to refocus and clear the mind. Use it in a home office or at work when you feel stressed. It eases tensions and boosts your productivity and creative thinking skills.
Does it get any better than the bright, refreshing, citrus scent of lemon essential oil?
Lemon is a common oil used for cleaning and disinfecting, and it can positively affect our moods, too. This vibrant scent will uplift your mood, calm nervous tension, and help you concentrate.
Add it to a diffuser to experience the invigorating benefits!
Despite the funny name, Ylang-Ylang oil is a great oil to have on hand when you need to relax. The sweet, floral scent has slightly sedative properties, so it’s a great oil to diffuse at bedtime.
Ylang-Ylang also has anti-depressant properties and can help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. Add a few drops to bath water for a soothing, calming, bath.
Bonus: some people find Ylang-Ylang to act as an aphrodisiac. Hey, we can think of worse ways to relax and reduce stress.
5. Roman Chamomile
Of course, no list like this would be complete without the mention of Roman chamomile oil.
This classic scent is perfect in a diffuser. It can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and helps calm nervous tension. It can also help mitigate feelings of sadness or anger, making it a perfect oil for relaxation and de-stressing.
German chamomile is a great oil with similar properties, but many people prefer the sweeter scent of Roman.
A Note Of Caution
As a general rule, essential oils are safe to use. But, some oils are not safe for consumption, so always speak to a doctor before you consume them.
Avoid applying oils directly to your skin – always add the oil to a carrier like coconut or jojoba oil.
Essential oils are not all created equal, either, so when shopping, be sure you’re buying the real thing. Buy oils sold in small, dark-colored glass bottles, as they degrade quickly when stored in plastic or clear containers.
Look for labels that include the Latin name for the plant and that list only one ingredient. Beware of terms like “aromatherapy grade” or “fragrance grade,” which denote that the oil isn’t 100% pure.
Essential Aromatherapy Oils Can Help Calm, Soothe, and Relax
Properly used essential oils are a simple, effective way to reduce stress, get better sleep, and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.
This article is just a primer on essential aromatherapy oils, but it’s a good place to start. Add aromatherapy to your routine to start reaping the benefits today!
Check out our other helpful blog posts about healthy living to learn more about topics like relieving pain, getting great sleep, eating right, and other advice to help you live your best life!