Relaxation seems like a fantasy in our increasingly busy lives. Between work, family, hobbies, and friends, there's barely any time left for us to unwind.
Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing with aromatherapy may help improve mood, lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, improve sleep quality, reduce levels of stress hormones, and potentially increase blood flow.
When we remain stressed for too long, our body's natural stress response can become overworked and ineffective. Stress hormone levels stay elevated and can disrupt other essential body functions.
Unmanaged stress can increase the risk of sleep issues, anxiety, impaired concentration, headaches, and depression over time.
Research shows that some essential oils can improve mood, promote relaxation, or activate the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine.
Here are our five favorite essential oils to help unwind and release stress.
1 Chamomile for overall relaxation
The calming properties of chamomile make it a popular ingredient in teas and natural sleep remedies. Hundreds of years ago, several cultures used chamomile as a medicinal herb and a natural sleep inducer.
Its essential oil provides calming effects, particularly in users that are feeling stressed. To get rid of those evening headaches, use chamomile essential oil to reduce symptoms, and promote relaxation naturally.
Add 2-4 drops of the oil to a diffuser filled with water. Turn on the diffuser at the end of the day and enjoy the calming effect. To relieve migraines, add the same amount to 1 tbsp of carrier oil or moisturizer. Gently rub this blend onto your temples.
2 Rose for soothing relief
Rose essential oil has been in use for centuries for its rich, calming aroma, and it remains one of the most sought-after essential oils today. Recent research shows that this oil has calming and sedative properties.
It also contains antioxidant and potential anti-aging properties, so when applied to the skin, it may help fight potentially damaging environmental toxins.
Mix 2-4 drops of this oil with 1 tsp. of carrier oil or unscented moisturizer for soothing relief. Gently massage the blend into the face, neck, and chest for a soothing nighttime moisturizer.
3 Bergamot for mental fatigue
Like other citrus essential oils, aromatherapists frequently use bergamot for its uplifting aroma.
Researchers have noted that bergamot essential oil produces anti-anxiety and stress-reducing effects in clinical trials. Inhalation of bergamot essential oil reduced the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and overall heart rate.
On those days when your mind feels strained, try bergamot essential oil to reduce mental fatigue and re-charge.
Add 2-4 drops of this essential oil into a diffuser filled with water and enjoy as the aroma fills the air. You can also directly inhale the aroma from the bottle for quick relief.
4 Sandalwood for unwinding before bed
Historically used in soaps and cosmetics, recent research shows that this essential oil's earthy aroma has potent properties that may help improve sleep.
Create a soothing sandalwood massage oil for tired or sore feet by adding 2-3 drops to 1 tbsp of carrier oil. Gently massage the blend onto your feet and other sore muscles.
5 Neroli for calming nerves
Known by its alternative name sour or bitter orange, neroli essential oil has been used as a traditional medicine to help improve sleep and calm users.
Preliminary studies have shown that inhalation of neroli essential oil induces calming and pain-reducing effects.
When you're nervous about an upcoming exam, presentation or meeting, diffuse this oil the night before to promote relaxation and naturally calm your nerves.
Add 3-4 drops of neroli essential oil to a diffuser filled with water and let the aroma fill the air. Alternatively, add 1-2 drops of the oil to the corner of your pillow.
Note: Ensure you use it sparingly, as essential oils are highly concentrated, and an intense aroma may keep you awake.
Since we all experience stress differently, it may take several trials to find the essential oil that works perfectly for you. You can also combine aromatherapy with other stress-relieving techniques like massage, meditation, yoga, or tai chi for added relaxation.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team