The holiday season is a magical time full of fantasy movies, decorated houses and trees, lit menorahs, music, dancing, delicious holiday foods, celebrations, and gifts. With so much going on, it’s no wonder that the holiday season inspires strong emotions. Sometimes they are positive, full of love and happiness. Sometimes they are not so positive. Sometimes the family dynamic shifts, bringing on unnecessary stress. Sometimes they’re down right painful or debilitating. Support healthy emotions during the holidays to make them more enjoyable.
Whether you’re ecstatic, sorrowful, or dreadfully fearing this season, know there are millions of other people who feel the same.
Have you had a chance to read my post from earlier this year about how what we smell can impact how we feel? Being the holiday season, I thought the timing is perfect to readdress how smells can elicit emotional responses and what you can do to support your (and your family’s) emotions this holiday season in a healthy, nontoxic manner. How? By using essential oils.
What do essential oils have to do with emotions?
When you inhale an essential oil, the molecules travel up your nostrils to the olfactory cortex. The olfactory cortex is located in the brain’s limbic system, which is where emotions come from and emotional memories are stored. The olfactory bulb transmits impulses to other parts of the brain, including the amygdala.
Because the limbic system is directly connected to parts of the brain responsible for controlling heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone regulation, essential oils can profoundly impact your physiological and psychological wellbeing.
Have you ever taken the time to smell something and experience the flash of memories associated with that smell? Memories flood in, causing changes to your body within seconds. How? When you inhale an essential oil’s aroma, those molecules enter your bloodstream very quickly and begin to impact the brain.
So, which oils can help you during the holiday season???
There are a few oil blends that I use to help my family and me through those emotional moments:
Joy. This is my “go-to” oil blend for emotional support and well-being. Also known as “happiness in a bottle,” it is powerful with helping uplift your mood. Joy is a lovely blend of Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa. This blend is designed to uplift you emotionally, causing you to smile even when you feel there is nothing worth smiling about. Add an extra drop of lemon while diffusing for a crisper, brighter smell.
Christmas Spirit. This is a purifying blend of Orange, Cinnamon Bark, and Spruce, perfect for the holidays! It inspires joy, peace, happiness, and security. It also helps support the respiratory, nervous, and circulatory systems, keeping you feeling physically well too.
Stress Away. This is an amazing blend that I am never without (especially this time of year). It brings a feeling of peace and tranquility. No more occasional stress, tension, and nervousness! Stress Away is a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Ocotea, and Lavender that brings that “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” feeling better than a bottle of booze.
Sacred Mountain. This is an incredible blend of Spruce, Ylang Ylang, Idaho Balsam Fir, and Cedarwood that creates a feeling of protection, empowerment, and grounding. It helps instill confidence while you overcome your own emotional mountains. Young Living even puts this blend into a bar soap that my husband loves using.
Peace & Calming. In the words of a friend’s young son, Peace and Calming “peaces you out and calms you out.” This blend of Tangerine, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, and Blue Tansy promotes relaxation and a deep sense of peace and emotional well-being. It calms the nerves, relaxes the mind, and relaxes the body. Perfect for those hyper moments (or to help you relax while traveling).
Valor. This is one of the most popular oils Young Living has to offer. It’s a blend of coconut oil, Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy, and Frankincense. It is wonderful for balancing energies, inspiring courage, and confidence. Rub it on your neck and back to sooth those sore muscles from a long day of cooking or night of wrapping gifts. This blend is the most important oil in my collection. It helps balance electrical energies within the body, giving courage, confidence, and self-esteem. A definite must-have for veterans and introverts!
Harmony. Harmony does just what the name suggests: it brings harmony and can help dissipate feelings of discord. It’s a blend of Sandalwood, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Orange, Angelica, Geranium, Hyssop, Spanish Sage, Spruce, Coriander, Bergamot, Lemon, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose, which is uplifting and elevating, helping to inspire positive attitudes.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a blend of Melissa, Geranium, Frankincense, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Angelica, Lavender, Lemon, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Palmarosa, Helichrysum, and rose. It is especially good for people who have experienced emotional trauma and loss! It helps you to move past those barriers in life by bringing you to a higher spiritual awareness of your needs, leaving an angelic feeling in your soul that promotes foregiveness of yourself and others, helping you move on with your life. Being a domestic abuse survivor, this oil has helped me move forward from suppressing negative energies and memories to forgiving the person who hurt me and myself, and taking back my personal happiness (without feeling a need to pretend).
How do you use them?
Typically, I dilute the oils with some sweet almond or coconut oil and apply the oils topically to myself to wear as a perfume. Sometimes I add a few drops to a diffuser necklace (a special type of locker designed for being able to smell the oils while you wear it). I love how pretty the necklaces are, and how convenient they are for sniffing oils.
When I wear the oils topically, I dilute them (1 drop per ml ratio) and apply them on my wrist, back of my neck, or over my heart. I have found that many people love the scent of the oils I choose to wear, which makes me laugh when they come closer for an extra sniff! I threw out my chemical-filled perfumes years ago and truly enjoy using this natural method for smelling (and feeling) good.
I also add them to homemade lotions, sugar scrubs, Epsom salts for baths, or add to some witchazel for perfume/cologne sprays. These are also huge hits as gifts! All the ladies in my family are now most excited to see what new great-smelling mix I’ve come up with. Homemade gifts are the best. There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing someone you care for love something you made for them.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy these oils is to diffuse them. This way the lovely aroma fills my home, allowing everyone to enjoy them and receive the physical benifits too! Diffusing easily creates a calming and/or uplifting environment. And even for those stubborn family members who don’t want to apply oils to their skin, they are breathing in the oils – which as we learned, makes a difference in their emotional balance! I laugh because my family was full of essential oil skeptics, but every time we have the diffuser running the difference in how everyone behaves and feels is noticeable by all. They all even flock to the diffuser now and talk about how relaxed, calm, or genuinely happy they feel and how good it smells. Seeing that response always makes me smile.
I think about these oils every time we are getting ready for a big family get together, and I hope you will too. Put a few drops of oils in the diffuser in your family room area to help keep the peace. I have heard so many stories about my friends’ family get togethers that have ended up much more enjoyable experience all because they diffused some oils before guests arrived!
Don’t have oils yet? I would love to help you find where to buy high quality essential oils.