Stress release with aromatherapy


The holiday season, while often merry and joyful, can add unwanted stress to your life. One way to stay grounded is by thoughtfully employing specific scents.

"Lavender and frankincense…are the two powerhouse oils for relaxation," says Brinn McManus, owner of A Beautiful Soul. Dubbed a "new-age boutique" by Brinn, A Beautiful Soul specializes in aromatherapy, crystals and other new-age traditions.

Brinn notes that there are many essential oil blends that can be used for relaxation, but pure lavender and frankincense are her go-to.

"I like (them) better that way because I can interchange my scents because they all mix together," she says. You can mix lavender or frankincense with geranium, orange blossom, sandalwood, whatever scents you find pleasing, and still retain the calming properties you are after.

Oils can be used many ways. A diffuser can be a nice way to spread the scent throughout an entire room, or you can simply apply the oil topically to the back of your neck, soles of your feet or other pulse points. Add a few drops to your bathwater: "This way it goes into your pores and really gets into your system," notes Brinn.


Though lavender and frankincense both work to calm you, there are subtle differences between the two. "Lavender is the more relaxing," says Brinn. "They say lavender can relax anyone."

Frankincense, on the other hand, still relaxes you "but gives you self-confidence…it keeps you grounded," explains Brinn. It's more of an uplifting scent that calms you but also boosts your self-confidence.

Alternately, if you are looking for a quick pick-me-up, oils can help you out here as well. "For energy, Echinacea is great throughout the holidays," says Brinn. It helps keep your immune system working as best it can. Peppermint is another uplifting scent that can give you a bit of an energy boost when you feel yourself dragging.

So this winter, when you start to feel overwhelmed, reach for a bottle of essential oil and let the scent work its calming effect.

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