As we say so long to summer and welcome in the autumn, it’s a valuable time for reflection – it’s a season for setting intentions, making plans and creating opportunities. The nights are drawing in, the temperature has dropped and cosy nights at home are more appealing.
When we move into darker days and evenings, mood and motivation can sometimes dip, along with health, as coughs and colds become more common. But there are ways to naturally alleviate stress and anxiety, ease symptoms of a cold and help improve your overall mental wellbeing. Find out which wonderfully warming essential oils can be used to bring comfort and calm or strength and stimulation into your space this autumn.
This is one of the most beautiful essential oils – the aroma wraps itself around you like a heartfelt hug. It’s a marvellous meditation aid, which works by deepening the breath. Both centring and grounding, the woody smell is divine. It’s a lovely oil to use in a yin yoga or restorative yoga class. Diffuse the oil or find a candle containing cedarwood; inhale, set your intentions and begin your practice.
Warming, strengthening and soothing, it uplifts and balances, making it a perfect antidote to anxiety, depression and tension. It’s also a great oil for respiratory complaints, so is an ideal companion for the colder months.
A root oil, ginger is warming, stimulating and grounding, as well as invigorating and fiery, making it particularly good for lowered immunity and respiratory conditions. Pop a couple of drops into a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut or sweet almond and pour into the bath if you’re struggling with coughs and colds; the aroma will cleanse and assist breathing.
Ginger is also terrific for treating aching muscles. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and massage into painful areas to bring warmth and promote circulation. Feeling sluggish, stuck or demotivated? Ginger will give you the drive and enthusiasm to achieve your intentions. Add to a diffuser when you need inspiration.
Vetiver is the ‘overthinkers’ oil – and who hasn’t been doing this during lockdown? This smoky, earthy oil instantly grounds and calms – it smells like bonfire night! Vetiver is a blessing for anxiety, and can literally stop you in your tracks, so it’s a welcome ally against the worry war. If you don’t like the smell on its own, just one drop in a blend of other essential oils will do the trick – it works well with citrus and floral oils.
A perfect meditation partner, vetiver can be added to an oil burner or diffuser before you begin, and will support your practice by grounding you. Diffuse your bedroom for 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep, and you’ll drift off into a serious slumber.
Cardamom is a gorgeously spicy, rich essential oil that’s warming and restorative. It uplifts and brings strength, particularly when you’re feeling depleted or depressed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then this oil is a tonic to reduce worry and stress, promoting self-acceptance and clarity of thought.
As a respiratory oil, use 4-5 drops diluted in 20ml of carrier oil and rub onto the chest area to relieve congestion.
This is one of the happiest and most comforting aromas; it blends beautifully with all of the oils listed above to bring a dose of joy. Use sweet orange essential oil as an anchor when you’re feeling anxious, frustrated or irritable. It will calm and soothe, banish your blues and ease insomnia, bringing light into the darker months. It’s also an amazing digestive oil: add 2-3 of drops to a carrier oil and massage into your belly in a clockwise motion when needed.
Safety: Never ingest essential oils. Always dilute in a carrier oil for external use.
Elizabeth Burchill is a clinical aromatherapist and founder of B Loved Candles.
Let us brighten your inbox
The Edit brings you the very latest plant-based food, cruelty-free beauty, eco fashion and sustainable ideas every Saturday morning. Start your weekend right and sign up today.