Let’s face it. Even those of us who are ready to put up Christmas trees immediately following Halloween can succumb to the pressures of the holiday season. There are relatives to contend with, children who have to have this season’s hot gift, parking nightmares, and budgets to juggle, just to name a few of the stresses associated with the holidays. At some point during the festivities, you may find yourself wanting to crawl into bed and not emerge until January 2nd. To ward off the winter blues, why not stock up now on some calming scents? Aromatherapy has numerous benefits including tension reduction and relief of symptoms of depression. Here are the top 10 scents that will make your season brighter, or, at least, calmer:
1 Lavender– Lavender is used relieve stress and to create a generally inviting aura of relaxation. Lavender is available numerous forms, from candles, burning oils, and sachets to eye-masks and heating pads. Try placing some in your bedroom and bathroom.
2. Vanilla– For many of us, the scent of vanilla is reminiscent of pleasant family times, evoking fond memories of cookies and home. Vanilla is also one of the ingredients commonly found in best-selling women’s perfumes, as men seem to be attracted to its (and your!) sweet scent.
3. Chamomile– Chamomile is the name for several plants that resemble daisies. Its flowers are commonly used as an herbal tea but it can also be found in candles, burning oils, and potpourri. Chamomile has long been used to relieve insomnia. Try pairing it with lavender for a wonderful, relaxing scent.
4. Sandalwood– If you have spent the day traversing crowded malls and waiting in long lines, sandalwood might be just the thing you need to unwind. Sandalwood, with its warm and woody scent, is said to assist in meditation. It may help you re-connect with the true meaning of the season.
5. Ginger– With its lively-yet-warm tones, ginger is known to reduce tension and relax you, both mentally and physically. Ginger is even available as a lozenge. You might want to pocket a few for that wait in line for Santa!
6. Bergamont– Bergamont oil is extracted from citrus trees (citrus begarnia). Bergamont oil evokes feelings of well-being and happiness with its warm, sweet, and spicy aroma.
7. Lemon– After the family has gone home and the children are nestled all snug in their beds, you might feel a need for the cleansing, stress-relieving powers of lemon. Some oil in a burner or simply a candle might be just what you need to finish that last-minute gift-wrapping.
8. Ylang-ylang– Ylang-ylang has a light, floral scent and is said to restore balance and calm. Pair it with bergamont for an especially lovely aroma.
9. Clary Sage– this herbal oil comes from Russia. Clary sage stimulates the body’s natural endorphins and produces feelings of pleasure…so you can thank grandma for the appliqué sweater and mean it!
10. Neroli– After a long day of shopping and holiday preparations, consider adding a few drops of neroli oil to your bath. Neroli has been used for generations in France, Morocco, and Egypt as an anti-depressant and stress-releaser. Happy holidays!
PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Matti Mattila