School is back in session and the daily grind is in full force. Carefree summer days are becoming a distant memory. The holidays are around the corner and with them events, parties, and obligations come our way. Stress seems to be an all too common theme in today’s homes, there’s simply no way to completely avoid it. Yet if you want a chance to slow down and decompress before it all gets too overwhelming then tapping into your sense of smell is a great way to reduce stress.
As we all can attest certain smells bring back fond memories of a place or time; the smell of warm baked cookies or a scent that reminds you of a loving home? Stores know this all to well with their Christmas potpourri to get you in the mood for the holidays and then hopefully, in the mood to buy gifts. The science of using scents to promote good health is called aromatherapy and it’s a much safer and more natural option than using caffeine or drugs. It’s much more fun too! Here are some autumn scents to you reduce stress.
Cinnamon – Oh so warm and sweet, this fragrance evokes visions of cinnamon buns, apple pie, and hot apple cider. With the temperatures dropping, you probably think about baking more and one scent that is often used in fall baking is cinnamon. The smell does more than get your mouth watering though. Cinnamon has been proven in scientific studies to improve attention and memory.
Peppermint – Along with cinnamon, peppermint is another aroma that has been proven to increase alertness. I know I feel invigorated and ready to tackle the world when I use a peppermint scented bath bar in the morning! It has such a cool and refreshing aroma. It truly does reanimate the spirit and helps maintain mental performance when doing the same activity for a long period of time. Peppermint has also been shown to calm the nerves and reduce road rage and therefore may be good to keep in your car if you commute a lot.
Vanilla – Another baking scent that is believed to relieve stress is vanilla. Can you even “think” vanilla and not be happy?? I think not. Pour a little vanilla extract into a small pan filled with water. Place it on the stove and allow it to simmer for a while. The luscious scent of vanilla will spread throughout your home leaving everyone a little less frazzled.
Lavender – This has to be one of the most commonly used scents in aromatherapy, particularly to handle stress and anxiety. It has amazing relaxing properties. Lavender can be used as an additive to bathwater, inside dryer sachets for scented clothing, used dry in bowls on end tables, and even spritzed on sheets for a restful night’s sleep.
Sandalwood – Sandalwood oil has a long history of being used as a traditional medicine. Its sweet, rich woody smell is known for reducing stress and soothing the mind and body. While sandalwood can be found in many products such as cosmetics and perfumes, a few drops of this great smelling essential oil can instill a sense of inner peace like nothing else.
One of the great things about these scents is you can create your own massage oils. Simply add a drop or two of the essential oil into non-scented carrier oil such as almond oil. Gently shake the bottle to blend and then set it aside in a cool, dark place until you’re ready for a massage. I also make my own spritzers using essential oils and I have also been known to buy Aura Cacia essential oil spritzers/mists. They are awesome sauce. If you are lucky enough to find the candy cane version buy in bulk!!! Buy some extra for me too. ;)
Some of my other faves include:
It is amazing how different scents can affect our moods. When you’re feeling stressed and need to relax, consider using one of these common scents during the fall or any time of the year.