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It’s almost the Winter Solstice, and the days are getting shorter while the darkness lingers much longer. Between the holidays and darkness, it’s normal to find yourself feeling a little bit down, and a little bit of sadness is totally normal.

In order to combat the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), some folks use aromatherapy.

“Aromatherapy is all about the associations you make with each scent — what makes you feel the most grounded or uplifted? Remember what makes you feel the best and then carry a little vial around for those hard days,” suggests esthetician Zora Harvey, who specializes in holistic beauty.

Some scents have been linked to certain effects and have become staples in aromatherapy. Eucalyptus is known to be a strong mood elevator, whereas lavender and cedar are both good for reducing stress. Ylang ylang and rosemary are known for increasing productivity, and bergamot and chamomile are great for meditation. If you want an overall happy and invigorating scent, wintergreen and peppermint are good for fostering positivity. Jasmine, sandalwood and rose are associated with calming ones’ anxiety while increasing libido.

There are tons of wonderful scents out there that can do a multitude of things for our bodies and minds. Here are four ways you can easily use aromatherapy to lift your moods.

1. Light A Candle

One of the easiest ways to fill your space with uplifting scents is by lighting a candle. Now, we’re not talking about making the house smell like a bubble gum-scented theme park courtesy of Yankee Candles, but more intentionally using different scents that have been tested to lift moods.


Jane Austen’s Miss Marianne Dashwood candle by English Alchemy Independent Soap Co. $5.82 each, Etsy.

We recommend this sexy yet calming scent, which is a blend of ylang ylang, patchouli, lavender and geranium. However, if the smell of bubble gum is your thing and it lifts your mood, you do your thing!

2. Take A Bath

What better way to literally immerse yourself in aromatherapy than to take a warm, relaxing bath? The heat will relax your muscles as well as help diffuse the smell throughout your body, hair and home. Up the ante by incorporating color therapy into this exercise with a beautiful bath bomb.

Star Stuff Bath Bomb by Surprise Expressions. $7.40 each, Etsy.

Star Stuff Bath Bomb by Surprise Expressions. $7.40 each, Etsy.

This one by Surprise Expressions reminds us of Carl Sagan, who famously said we are all made of star stuff. Put “Galaxies” by Laura Veirs on and immerse yourself in the cosmos with this coconut oil, citrus mint-infused third-eye-opener.

3. Wear An Essential Oil

Wearing an essential oil is a great way to keep a scent close to you.

Just remember that a little goes a long way, especially if you are going to be sharing space with other people. What smells great to you can trigger negative physical effects in other people. For many, it’s not just a preference — they’re actually allergic.

(Please, for the love of God, take it easy on the patchouli. Perhaps we can interest you in a more mild blend?)

“After your bath, you can keep the relaxation going by placing two drops of essential oils on your wrists. Your body heat will keep the scents activated and you can place your hands over your face for a quick pick-me-up later on in the day,” Harvey suggests.

Invigorate Me Roll-On Essential Oils (Grapefruit and Bergamot) by Peacock and Lotus. $11.50 each, Etsy.

Invigorate Me Roll-On Essential Oils (Grapefruit and Bergamot) by Peacock and Lotus. $11.50 each, Etsy.

4. Essential Oil Inhalers

Inhalers full of essential oils are an excellent way to employ aromatherapy in a more subtle way for those of you who prefer to keep the scent self-contained. Folks with scent-related sensitivities and various neurological differences will appreciate this, and it’s a good practice if you plan to be in public. Remember that we share spaces with a host of folks with different needs and abilities!

Aromatherapy Inhalers by Mythic Mist. $6.50 each, $11 for two, or the whole set of five for $27.50 via Etsy.

Aromatherapy Inhalers by Mythic Mist. $6.50 each, $11 for two, or the whole set of five for $27.50 via Etsy.

Regardless of your favorite smell or how you use it, aromatherapy can do wonders to lift a mood. However, if this is a recurring problem or feels like it is getting worse, please do not be afraid to ask for help.

No amount of ylang ylang or bergamot is going to fix deeper issues or resolve a true crisis. If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, please call the 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-309-2131.





Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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