The Scents of Calm & Upliftment of Holiday Essential Oils
Every year, I make a commitment to provide my readers with tools to get through the season with a greater sense of ease. As a naturopathic doctor who upholds the six naturopathic medicine principles, I take to heart that “prevention is the best cure.” This year, I started in early October by giving tips for a healthy fall using essential oils.
By keeping the body strong, my goal was that my readers could then have a more “nourishing November.” Understanding the basis of emotions, and how the sense of smell and plant secondary metabolites impact the brain and body physiology, I explained how one can change their mood with a sniff from an essential oil’s bottle.
This makes essential oils one of my most revered “naturopathic medicine brain hacks” for emotional and mental health. In November, I specifically focused on several blends of essential oils that inspired hope, abundance, joy and gratitude to help divert the “festive stress” that peaks mid-December.
Even after the shopping and to-do-lists are over, holiday gatherings can be another source of turmoil. For this reason, I suggest an individualized combination of essential oils for my naturopathic and functional medicine clients that will support them in staying grounded and enhance healthy connection during these times.
In this post, I will share how to navigate specific stumbling blocks of the season more holistically and some of my top recommendations of essential oils for December.
How to Handle Holiday Gatherings That are More Stressful Than Joyful
Hint: It’s not by doing what’s in the picture.
For most people, this time of year is not only stressful or overwhelming, but for those with mental illnesses, it can be extremely provoking. Those with substance use disorders (SUDs) and/or addictions can also find the holidays more challenging for staying committed to their abstinence or sobriety. These resulting intensified emotions can become so uncomfortable that these sufferers may turn to non-nourishing behaviors in an effort to cope.
I previously wrote a series on dealing with addictions during the holidays and explained how incorporating essential oils into treatment could be helpful for those with diagnoses as well as their family members. Essential oils have been shown clinically to benefit mood and cognition. Human trials using EEGs have also demonstrated that various essential oils and aromatics can modulate brain physiology and functioning through altering brain wave patterns. (source, source, source) These characteristics of essential oils can be helpful for both those with psychiatric disorders as well as their loved ones. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that the use of essential oils has helped with easing the symptoms of addictive substance withdrawal.
In my naturopathic and functional medicine practice I use them with clients to assist them in following through with greater self-care and to release unwanted reactionary patterns that sabotage their relationships and goals. I have often suggested specific blends or single essential oils for those whose family members struggle with addictions. I have found that diffusing them in the home creates a more soothing environment for everyone. This is due to their multi-system effects on the mind and body which can then influence choices and behavior.
Holiday Essential Oils for Creating a Soothing, Welcoming, and Joyful Home
Since ancient times, crude extractions of aromatic plants and essential oils have been touted for healing the mind and body. During this time of year of many religious celebrations, it makes sense that my December’s essential oils highlights include some of the most sacred scents of the season.
The “King” and “Queen” of Essential Oils- Frankincense and Myrrh
The first two essential oils for December are probably not hard to guess. They are sacred frankincense and myrrh. These oils have a tradition of use for promoting spiritual connection and have been used in religious ceremonies that surround this holy time of year. In the physical realm, they both support the body’s natural defenses and offer neurological support.
I generally like to suggest Boswellia sacra for this time of year, but will often add Boswellia carterii for those struggling with emotional or mood imbalances due to its incensole acetate content. (Learn more about the different types of frankincense oil here.)
Using Frankincense and Myrrh
Dab a few drops of sacred frankincense, diluted in a TBSP of carrier oil, on your wrist and the back of your neck. You can also inhale it directly from the bottle. Both methods will balance your mind-body and uplift your spirit.
If you want others in your home to enjoy a more peaceful state, diffuse frankincense. This will also help to create a sacred space.
Myrrh oil is most effective through inhalation or topical application, as it is a very thick oil. Use a drop with your favorite nourishing carrier oil in your skin care regime or rub a few drops diluted to the bottoms of your feet.
The Powerful Combination of Sacred and Grounding Oils
Note: If you are unfamiliar with blending essential oils, please see this post first.
You can diffuse and/or apply a mixture of essential oils to further heighten the mind-body-spirit connection of the sacred oils and to augment devotion and prayer.
I suggest to my naturopathic and functional medicine clients to pick one or two sacred, biblical oils, and their favorite tree oils. I like spruce and/or cedarwood for these blends.
The addition of the tree oils brings in a grounding presence. These oil combinations will also help to alleviate the “foggy brain” and “out of body” feeling that one can experience in the midst of “holiday havoc.”
A Blend of Holiday Cheer
Moving more into the emotional realm, my favorite holiday scent is a simple blend of orange, spruce, and cinnamon. This mix can quickly infuse a room with happiness and a feeling of abundance.
A Sweet Dreams Blend
The Sweet Dreams Blend includes a mix of your choice of a citrus oil, patchouli, and blue tansy. (Careful, blue tansy can stain your clothes!)
Inhale and place a drop or two of this blend on your wrist with a carrier oil and head straight into slumber land.
I will also sometimes diffuse this mix with lavender to enhance restorative sleep and calm down from all the festivities.
Conclusion: A Whole Mind-Body Scents of Calm for the Holidays
With joy and abundance, we have now completed our journey on supporting the mind-body through November using essential oils blends. We have shown how they positively influence our emotions, balance the gut-brain axis, address physical and environmental health, and inspire hope and connection.
I hope you will use some or all of these essential oils to create a more fulfilling, healthier, happier, and calmer holiday season throughout December.
Coming Up: Holiday Essential Oils Webinar
Stay tuned for more tips for a happier, calmer, holiday season.
Make sure you don’t miss out on all the upcoming holiday extras for my subscribers, including my exclusive, free, holiday webinar. It’s short and sweet to give you the information you need during the busiest time of year.
For additional safety and medical information, visit my essential oils database. It includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
Please be extra cautious and be sure to check with your doctor if you have a seizure disorder. The Epilepsy Society of the UK lists certain essential oils implicated for their antiseizure effect as well as those that have stimulating properties.
If you and/or your physician are interested in consulting with me to assist with supporting the integration of essential oils safely into a therapeutic protocol, essential oils consultations are available.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.