Have you been curious about using essential oils, but haven’t really been sure where to start? There’s a lot of information out there, and a ton of different essential oils, and it can be pretty confusing. Lavender is a great beginner oil to try, for those that are new to using essential oils. It’s gentle, has an appealing scent, and helps with relaxation and pain relief. And you don’t need fancy equipment or complicated recipes—with these five applications, you’ll be enjoying the benefits in no time.
Lavender’s gentle, relaxing scent makes it a great sleep aid. I like to use a mix of lavender flower buds and essential oil in sleep sachets. Simply mix about 10 drops of the oil into a few tablespoons of the flower buds, and drop them into a small fabric drawstring bag, or tie them up inside of a fabric handkerchief. Tuck it into your pillow and settle in for a good night’s sleep.
I’m a big fan of diffusing oil into the bedroom at night before going to sleep, and I don’t use a plug in or candle diffuser to do it—I just put a few drops directly onto the light bulb of my bedside lamp. The heat from the light bulb will gently perfume the air while you read or relax before bed.
You might be wondering what having scented drawers does for relaxation and stress relief, but I really think that unexpected pops of calm and things that make us happy (and doesn’t the smell of lavender make most of us happy?) go a long way in helping us feel more balanced. Throw a scented liner into a sock or delicates drawer for a little whiff of a warm summer’s day, in an endless ocean of lavender can help bring you right back to center. Just add 10-20 drops of oil to a fabric handkerchief or square of cloth and tuck it into the drawer. Vintage handkerchiefs are lovely for this, and can be picked up for just a dollar or two at thrift shops or antique stores.
Muscle tension is no fun, and one of the best relief methods I’ve come across is a scented warm pack laid right across my shoulders. If you’re handy you can sew one—a simple rectangular “pillow” will suffice, and I like to sew a zipper into one side so I can easily refresh the filling from time to time. But here’s a secret: If you’re not much of a seamstress or are short on time, grab a fabric pencil or cosmetics case—it will do the same job!
For the filling I prefer buckwheat hulls the best, but I promised solutions that don’t need “fancy” ingredients, so rice works just as well. Put your filling of choice and 20-30 drops of essential oil inside the bag, and warm it up. You can use a microwave for 20-30 seconds if you have one, or lay it on a steam radiator, run a hairdryer over it or wrap it in a heating pad for a few minutes. Then apply it to your sore neck, sit back and relax. And if you need a cold pack, just throw in the freezer for ten minutes or so—it’s very versatile.
All of the above uses are great when you’re trying to get some stress relief at home. But what do you do when you’re at the office, or out and about? Having a roll on of lavender essential oil saves the day. And yes, this is the one “special” piece of equipment you need, but there are so many uses for roll-on bottles that $5 spent on a dozen will be worth the price. I really appreciate the convenience factor of these little gems, but of course you can always put the oil into a small bottle and use your fingers to dab it on.
You don’t want to use straight essential oil for this, as even gentle oils like lavender is generally too strong to use directly on the skin. Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. My favorites are almond or grapeseed oil, as they’re both gentle and don’t leave your skin feeling like an oil slick. But in a pinch you could use plain vegetable oil, though it’s a bit greasy. I’d avoid olive oil in a use like this because it has a dominant scent of its own which may overpower the lavender. Simply add 30-40 drops of lavender essential oil to the bottle, top it up with your carrier oil or choice, put the lid on, and shake to combine. Roll (or dab) on whenever you need a calming moment. This roll-on oil is great applied to the temples or pulse points for headache relief as well.
If you’re new to essential oils and need a little help with stress relief and healthy sleep patterns, lavender essential oil is just the ticket. As you learn more about the different properties and uses of other essential oils, you can certainly try them in some of these applications too—they have a variety of uses and can be a beneficial aid to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Amanda is passionate about cooking, gardening and crafting. To read more, please check out Apartment Farm.
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