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5 Essential Oils to Boost Your Mood ASAP

Reduce stress, improve quality of sleep, soothe sore muscles, and calm nerves.

by Mary McGowan and Jessica Toscano Dec 14, 2020

Person holding bottle labeled "Essential oil."

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The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, but this year has especially been a hellish one for the best of us. Since the stay-at-home order was first enacted, you’ve likely experienced a jarring change to your daily schedule and as a result, may have undergone episodes of anxiety, depression, insomnia, or a combination of all three. Although there may not be a magical cure-all, there are approaches you can take to re-establish a relaxing routine.

“Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of plant-based essential oils — usually through topical application or inhalation — to promote physical and psychological well-being,” Teri Verner, DNP, RN, AHN-BC, a graduate faculty member for the Earl Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, tells Intrigue. Studies show that just one session can reduce stress, improve quality of sleep, soothe sore muscles, and calm nerves. Not to mention, with a variety of methods, it’s super simple to incorporate into your everyday life.

In fact, you’ve probably already dabbled in aromatherapy practices without even knowing. If you’ve used an oil diffuser, received an aromatherapy massage, or incorporated bath beads into a soak sesh, you’ve likely experienced the benefits of essential oils.

Before you get started...

There are numerous ways you can benefit from essential oil use, and each method depends on what goal you’re trying to achieve, says Raghda Abdelmaksoud, an advanced clinical certified aromatherapist and the CEO and founder of Ebers Consulting in New Jersey.

Because very few essential oils can be applied directly to the skin, says Verner, you have to first dilute them in carrier oils — plant-based oils like coconut, olive, jojoba, and hempseed — to lessen their potency. This applies to undiluted essential oils you plan to incorporate into massage oils, lotions, and creams or salt soaks. “Most dilution charts are measured in