The Festive Triggers of Stress
2021, the mischievous younger sibling of the demonic 2020, isn’t quite done with us yet. We all deserve a cathartic and relaxing holiday season, but end-of-year festivities have a habit of loading us up with new stresses at a time when we desperately need to unwind. Money worries, family pressures, the Omicron variant, multiple supply chain crises keeping that must-have toy from store shelves…
This December is threatening to dump an awful lot on our plate. A 2018 survey by the American Psychological Association found that even in that pre-pandemic year, nearly 40% of us said that our stress levels significantly increase during the holidays. It’s enough to make you want to open a window and scream “HUMBUG!!!” at the neighbors’ illuminated plastic reindeer.
How Stress Affects the Body
Stress is indiscriminately damaging to all systems in the body: it tenses up our musculature, constricts the airways, intensifies heart muscle contractions, interferes with gut bacteria, and overstimulates our nervous systems. Given that prevention is better than cure, it makes sense that as we enter the holiday season we need to be doing everything we can to lighten the load!
How Aromatherapy Can Help
Aromas are known to have an effect on the limbic system, the part of our brain which governs our emotional responses. As we experience aromas, these smells are sent as electrical impulses by the olfactory bulb to specific areas of the limbic system such as the hypothalamus, which plays a crucial role in regulating our hormonal responses to different situations. Simply put, we can encourage the hypothalamus to send calming messages to the rest of the body when we interact with soothing aromas.
The essential oil blend recipes below are all curated for use in a diffuser, with a starting amount of ten drops total of essential oils. But favorite recipes can also be added to bath water, or heavily diluted in a massage carrier oil such as jojoba (one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil is a safe ratio to begin with). Essential oils can be inhaled directly from the bottle, but avoid direct contact with the skin, and speak to your physician first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For a convenient roller bottle for use outside the home, fill the bottle with your carrier oil and add around 20 drops of essential oil (i.e. double the amount in the recipes below).
10 Essential Oil Recipes to Ease Stress
Don’t let festive stress overwhelm you this holiday season – we all need to be fit and ready for whatever 2022 has in store (yikes!). Just try our 10 stress-busting essential oil recipes below, and see out the year with the peaceful calm you’ve more than earned!
De-stress the morning rush with this refreshing but calming blend of Bergamot, Lemon and Lavender essential oils.
Whether you’re preparing for that mid-morning meditation or getting your home office ready for the day ahead, this centering, mind-clearing blend of Rose, Roman Chamomile, Geranium and Lime essential oils will set you up for success.
Left to its own devices, stress can quickly lead to a dip in our mood. Banish the blues the minute they arrive with a simple but effective blend of Lavender and Rosemary essential oils.
Anticipation of a stressful event – and the holiday season is the motherlode of stressful events – often creates anxious feelings. Stay calm and mentally prepared with this blend of Lavender, Geranium, Lemon and Sandalwood essential oils.
Catnaps are a tried and trusted remedy for life’s most stressful moments (just ask your pet). If you need a little help nodding off, try this snooze-triggering blend of Marjoram, Roman Chamomile and Cedarwood essential oils.
Naps are wonderful, but only a good night’s sleep can really heal the psychic wounds of a stressful day (again – ask your pet). A somnolent blend of Vetiver, Patchouli and Sandalwood essential oils will help you rest your cares away.
Sometimes it’s ok to say “talk to the hand” to the outside world and cocoon on the sofa with a mug of cocoa and your favorite bingeable series. This comforting hug of Petitgrain, Neroli and Valerian essential oils will complete your day of self-care.
Feeling rested now? Nothing beats stress like energetic activity. Get ready for that walk to the shops or visit to the gym with an enlivening blend of Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Lime and Eucalyptus essential oils.
Taking a moment to express gratitude to the universe is a really effective way of gaining perspective when stress threatens to overwhelm us. This grounding blend of Cypress, Myrrh, Helichrysum and Angelica essential oils will help you remember your blessings.
Thinking about planning your next vacation, and just getting away from it all? Nowhere diffuses stress like the beach, so bring those palm trees straight into your mind with this summery seaside blend of Ylang Ylang, Vetiver, and Fennel essential oils.
Discover Essential Oil Recipes for Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety, you’ll be happy to know that we also have some essential oil recipes that can help you here.