We’ve just welcomed 2018, and it’s that time when we sit down and make a list of things that will help us live a bigger and better year ahead. New Year’s resolutions help us feel positive and excited about the opportunities the new year can bring. But the sad reality is that most resolutions may remain unresolved if a goal is too far off. Taking baby steps is key to New-Year’s-Resolution success. Simple and sustainable lists will motivate us to keep at them until they form into a habit.
Essential Oils 101
There’s much buzz nowadays about essential oils. These oils are extracted from plants with tested and proven healing properties. Essential oils have been around for over 5,000 years, used by many cultures for beauty treatments, relaxation, and as natural medicine.
Believe it or not, essential oils can help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions. These scents trigger emotional responses in the body that help you relax, feel encouraged, and be motivated. Essential oils can be applied topically (directly on the skin) or aromatically (inhaled by cupping your hands or using a diffuser). When we inhale them, their molecules interact with our olfactory organs and the limbic system in our brain. The limbic system affects our heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress levels, and hormonal balance. Essential oil molecules are also carried to the lungs and other body systems.
How Essential Oils Can Help You Work Your List
Here are kinder and gentler resolutions (that don’t involve losing weight) that you should consider putting on your list, with the help of a few essential oils. After all, your well-being is the best gift you can give yourself and your family this 2018.
- Make Time for Me-Time
Being a mom is as much demanding as it is rewarding. Sometimes, you’ve got to find an hour (or two) to be alone. The ideal scenario would be spending those precious minutes in a spa, salon, or a fancy coffee shop—but that’s not always possible.
Being a mom requires the mental stamina of an athlete. We get so busy taking care of our family’s needs that we sometimes forget to care for ourselves. This is why me-time is important. During me-time, mom spends a few minutes of reflective processing where she can digest the experiences of the day. Even experts agree to this concept, they say it’s as important as sleep. A recent study found that the average mom has only 17 minutes to herself in a day! If an hour is not possible, how about going for 30 minutes of me-time in a day? It could be enjoying a cup of coffee with a book, sitting down to catch your favorite telenovela, or just lying down in your favorite cozy spot. Me-time is your chance to recharge and relax.
Essential Oils for Relaxation
Lavender oil can help me-time be as relaxing as ever. It’s a known calming and relaxing herb used to treat insomnia, anxiety, depression, and high-stress. Plus, it has a long list of immune boosting benefits that’ll help your overall well-being. Apply or diffuse lavender to make your space smell good, and help you look and feel great. Rose, Chamomile, and Frankincense essential oils also help relieve stress by calming the mind, and decreases overthinking, anxiety, and worry.
- Get Enough Sleep
According to a study, failing to get 7 hours of adequate sleep time can lead to decreased attention span, depressed feelings, increases weight gain, and increases chances of getting sick. But getting the right amount of sleep is easier said than done when you’re a mom. Any mommy knows that a million things have to happen before each child has gone to bed. Homework, dinner, clean-ups, a little playtime, story time – every family has a routine. But what if you adjust your evening routine to start 30 minutes earlier? Once everyone gets into the groove, you just may find yourself getting ready for bed earlier too.
Essential Oils for Helping You Sleep
Lavender, Frankincense, Cedarwood, and Bergamot essential oils help put you to bed and produce better sleep. Remember to start low and slow, because this potent mixture has been known to knock-out a few moms before they were even dressed in their jammies.
Lavender and Frankincense promote relaxation. Meanwhile, Cedarwood has a warm scent that is grounding and calming. Bergamot is like a sedative as it relieves nervous tension.
- Trade Processed Sugar for More Servings of Fruits and Vegetables
If there’s one thing all diets have in common, it’s eliminating sugar. Sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies by turning calories into belly fat. It also makes us feel hungry, even when we’re not physically hungry—leading to weight gain. Sadly, sugar is everywhere, even in food that claim to be healthy.
We all know that diets can backfire bigtime. Instead of cutting back, though, how about adding quality food into your diet instead? Form the habit of 2 ½ cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit a day. Then add low-fat dairy, lean protein, and whole grains into your family’s meal routine. You’ll set a good example for your kids, and influence them to eat healthy as well.
Essential Oils that Help Digestion
Essential oils can help boost your metabolism and promote a healthy digestive system. You can burn more calories without even trying! Basil, Bergamot, Peppermint, Thyme, Lemon, and Grapefruit do exactly these. You don’t need to use all of them, but just a combination of some, mixed with a carrier oil, and massaged clockwise around the belly will help you digest food better and reduce inflammation.
- Take a Walk (or commit to some exercise)
Doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise a day. But when you’re a busy mom, going to the gym is not always possible. Walking is an excellent form of exercise when you put a little push into it. Doctors tell us to aim for 2.5 kilometers within the 30 minutes. It’s walking fast enough to get your heart pumping. On the average, a 130-pound woman burns 52 calories by walking a 15-minute kilometer. The number of calories will depend on your weight and the actual duration of your workout, but the more you move, the more calories you burn.
If you’re set on committing to 30 minutes of walking a day, map out a 1 kilometer route. You can also go a little high-tech and download an app that will track distance using GPS. If you’re just starting out, your goal is to cover 1 kilometer in 15 minutes or less. Breathing in essential oils before a workout can pump you up and give you energy.
Essential Oils to Help Your Workout
Lemongrass, Peppermint, Rosemary, Basil, and Tea Tree oils can be diffused to stimulate the senses and get you excited to break a sweat. If you can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed to exercise, put a drop of Peppermint on your wrist and start sniffing. The scent will wake up your senses and help you feel focused. Meanwhile, Lemongrass sets you up for an effective workout. It has Citral, a compound that supports the production of heat in your body, helping you feel more energetic. Rub 2 drops of lemongrass on the soles of your feet before the workout. Then post-workout, combine a drop of Lemongrass and Basil into your body wash to wake up your circulation when you take your bath in the morning.
- Take the gratitude attitude
We cannot control circumstances, but we can definitely control how we react to them. Complaining is natural for us. It’s a way for us to express ourselves when things don’t go our way. Some can argue that it’s a healthy way to vent our emotions, but the truth is that our tales of dissatisfaction do not resolve any problems. When we dwell on our dissatisfactions and frustrations, we start feeling helpless, hopeless, and negative about our situation.
Instead of airing out bad vibes, how about we focus on the good things we’ve got going on? An attitude of gratitude means expressing thankfulness for all parts of your life, no matter how big or small. In the book “Attitude of Gratitude”, author Lewis Howes says “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough”. That is truth.
Essential Oils that Help Bring Positive Energy
Listing all the things you are grateful for in a weekly Gratitude Journal can help you count your blessings. Before journaling, breath in Rosemary Essential Oil to tap into your memory. You can opt to diffuse Peppermint while you journal to help you stay focused on the task ahead. If you’re feeling a bit low, diffuse citrus essential oils (like Lemon) to lift your mood and put a smile on your face. But if the week’s extra tough, and you’re finding it hard to start journaling, relax with the heavenly scent of Ylang Ylang to help you feel peaceful and settled down.
Make Your Resolutions Stick
Take time to think and plan on which of your New Year’s resolutions you’re willing to commit to. Slip-ups are inevitable, but the self-belief and strength you need to get back on track are still qualities to aim for.
Aromatherapy can help us make our resolutions stick by providing us with positive energy. Indeed, essential oils can help us focus on what we want to achieve. Add them to your daily rituals and see how they can be your partner to a better you this new year.
Right now, you’re in a position to make simple and meaningful changes for a bigger and better 2018. So go for it!