Adding essential oils to my self-care practice was the last thing on my mind when I was in my early days of chronic stress recovery. In fact, I used my stressful state of mind as an excuse not to try essential oils. The idea of adding one more thing (that thing being research) to my already long to-do list gave me a headache.
I just didn’t have the mental energy.
But eventually (and rather unintentionally), I added essentials oils into my life. And then a few years ago, I finally did some research, and began intentionally added more oils into my life.
Ever since then, essential oils have been a staple in my self-care practice. If you’ve been wanting to add them into your day-to-day, too, keep reading to learn exactly how I started using essential oils in my own self-care routine.
What are essential oils?
Before I get into the details of how I began adding essential oils into my self-care routine, let me briefly explain what essential oils are and the benefits of using essential oils as a way to reduce stress (in case you aren’t sure if they’re right for you).
As defined on the Rocky Mountain Oils website,
…essential oils are concentrated, liquid plant extracts used for aromatic and wellness purposes. They are called “essential” because they contain the essence of a plant. Essential oils come from a variety of plant sources, including flowers, grasses, fruits, roots, trees, and leaves.”
One of the things I didn’t know when first researching essential oils was that the use of essential oils is a treatment known as aromatherapy. Silly, I know. I’d heard of the term aromatherapy before, but just never connected the two. I’m sure I’m not the only one. *face palm*
According to this article from WebMD, the goal of aromatherapy is to improve your health and well-being. I find the science pretty fascinating!
Basically, the right blend of essential oils can help send messages to your brain and tell it what to do. In my situation, I was looking for oils that would help tell my brain to calm the eff down.
Why it took me so long to try essential oils
But, as I said in the beginning, getting started with essential oils was very intimidating for me. First, there’s the fact that there are SO many types of oils and blends (not to mention just as many companies selling them).
Also, it just seemed far too complicated and time-consuming to learn something new – at least to my then super stressed out mind.
So, I did what many people do when faced with too many choices – nothing.
I froze. Plus, as a highly sensitive person, I just don’t do well with decision making, so you can imagine why having all those options paralyzed me.
Instead of charging into the unknown during a time when I was already overwhelmed by so much, I accidentally added essential oils into my life in other ways.
Here are two ways that I accidentally incorporated essential oils into my self-care practice, plus two additional ways I intentionally added them (after I did my research and found a company I trusted).
1. I swapped out my personal care products.
In the summer of 2017, I read about something called parabens and the connection between them and my hormones.
Convinced that parabens could have been playing a factor in my follicular cysts, one of the very first things I did was eliminate all parabens from my face wash, shampoo, and body wash. In doing so, I inadvertently added essential oils into my life because many products on the market that don’t have parabens have essential oils in them.
2. I tried new cleaning products.
Still trying to correct an imbalance, I took things one step further by setting out to eliminate all household chemicals.
That’s when I found a bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s on the shelf in Target. (Okay, so there wasn’t a woman named Mrs. Meyer’s sitting on the shelf in Target – in case that’s how you read that.)
If you aren’t familiar, Mrs. Meyer’s uses essential oils in all their cleaning products. I’ve tried most of their line, but my favorite switch has been to their Honeysuckle, Basil, or Rosemary scented dish soap. (During Christmas time 2020, I tried and fell in love with their seasonal Peppermint scent.)
By switching my dish soap to one with essential oils, I turned standing at the kitchen sink into a mini mental retreat. Since 2019, I buy Mrs. Meyer’s (as well as most all my other clean personal care and household products) through my Grove Collaborative membership*.
3. I began adding a few drops to my bath water.
Eventually, a friend recommended Rocky Mountain Oils as a source she trusted to buy her essential oils. Packaged in little dark colored glass bottles, one of the first oils I bought to calm myself after a stressful day was lavender oil. I like to add a few drops to an Epsom salt bath. The bathroom smells like lavender for hours! And I always come away feeling relaxed. Lavender oil is a great oil to start with because of the current research backing the claim that lavender oil reduces stress and anxiety. To learn more about the benefits of lavender oil, check out this detailed article from Dr. Axe.
4. I tried roll-on essential oils.
Pretty quickly, I realized that it’s not safe to use essential oils directly on the skin without first either adding it to water (like in the bath or diffuser) or to a carrier-oil (like coconut). Hence, the simplest way to apply oils directly to your body is to get a roll-on. Roll-on essential oils are either a blend of different oils or a single oil. Rocky Mountain Oils make them in 10 ml tubes that resemble the size of a tube of lipstick or lip-gloss. Because they are already diluted, all you do is grab the tube, unscrew the top, and touch the ball to your skin and roll. How easy is that! I like using roll-on oils instead of using perfume.
To recap, here are the 4 easy ways you can add essential oils to your self-care practice:
- Swap out your personal care products
- Test some essential oil cleaners
- Add a few drops to your bath water
- Save time with roll-on essential oils
Since adding essential oils to my life in these ways, I get to experience mini mood lifts throughout my day (especially considering how many dishes need washing in my household of six).
Sometimes, the smell of the oils lift me up a lot, other times only slightly. The effects sometimes last a long time, while other times it only lasts a few minutes. Regardless, I enjoy being surrounded by great smelling (non-toxic) things and I’ll continue to include essential oils as part of my self-care practice to help reduce stress for as long as it continues to bring me joy.
Hopefully you’ll experience similar benefits after adding essential oils to your self-care practice, too.
Love & light,