As I dip my toes back into regularly blogging, I have promised myself to bring you a mix of motherhood, wellness, spiritual journey, home decor, eco-friendly living and whatever else happens to be stirring my soul. So I wanted to touch on today an interesting topic that I get questions about on a regular basis:
Essential oils for emotional health.
Or, as I like to say at our house, “smell this. You’ve got lots of BIG feels.” I do a little happy dance when I hear Abby reminding her brother and her stuffed animals to breathe while she rubs essential oils on them. She is a girl of high highs and low lows, and I love that she has a natural tool to aid her as she learns to process what the day throws at her. Or what her brother throws at her…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me first start with a story.
There was a woman who struggled immensely with postpartum anxiety after the high-risk birth of her first baby. She had walked the road of miscarriage and infertility prior to this baby’s birth, and then found herself consumed with guilt when she didn’t adore every moment of motherhood. She was a perfectionist, and yet had a baby with severe colic who cried non-stop for the first several months of life and didn’t respond to anything the books or professionals said would help. She returned to work at a mere five weeks postpartum because her maternity leave was unpaid by her employer, and she suffered from the early separation from her preemie baby. Fast forward to six months postpartum, and her husband finally sent her to counseling, because she was listless, had cut herself off from community and was weepy. She felt very few emotions at this point. The exhaustion of pumping and feeding a preemie around the clock plus the anxiety had sapped joy right out of her. A wonderful counselor, a lot of honesty, and a community that she began to gather around herself reminded her of truths, and she slowly began to heal and see herself as a successful (albeit tired) mama.
During this time, she used the occasional peppermint essential oil. Perhaps some lavender, lemon, or blends for immune support. But very little that naturally supported emotions or hormones. Honestly, she wasn’t really sure if oils actually had any effectiveness in these arenas, and she didn’t want anything “hocus pocus” in her life. She had enough baggage as it was from the previous years of life.
This woman was me, and, boy, did I have a lot to learn.
Fast forward several years, and I prepared for my second postpartum journey very differently. I filled vegetable capsules with 5 drops each of Frankincense Vitality and stuck them in my freezer for daily ingestion post-birth. I stocked up on blends and single oils that I knew positively impacted my emotional and hormonal health. I also kept my health care providers appraised of my history and concerns as I became a mama of two. I intentionally attended nurturing mama support groups.
And today as a busy mamapreneur? Today, I rarely go anywhere without inhaling and applying a blend that my body and heart craves. (I also apply mascara generously and dry shampoo liberally, so I’ve got more than one trick up my sleeve 😉 )
So what changed?
What changed was that I did my research. Investigated the science behind essential oils and emotional health. AND, I dispensed with myths that I had been believing for years.
Let’s tackle those myths. First, because the names sound like “expensive-placebos-in-a-bottle,” I rather ignored the potential benefits from blends such as “Valor,” “Acceptance,” “Grounding,” and “Harmony.” I mean if someone had actually been able to bottle harmony, then world peace should be no big deal, right?!? WRONG. The names themselves of these signature Young Living blends may be somewhat arbitrary, but the plants were painstakingly researched for their synergistic affects on the brain that they have when inhaled and applied TOGETHER, hence the blends of multiple oils/plants in a single bottle. Fun fact: Dr. Gary Young actually named and created each blend specifically for a friend or community member that reached out to him with a specific need. So, really, oils such as “Gathering” and “Joy” have powerful, layered stories and rich histories no matter how you look at them. And I, for one, love a good story. Not to mention, if everyone with power in this world took time for prayer, mindfulness, and proper inhalation of “Peace & Calming,” perfect miracles would happen 😉
The second myth I had to overcome was the reliability of the science behind using essential oils to support healthy emotions. I mean…it seemed too good to be true. I began my research in earnest when I realized that many licensed, professional counselors were using Young Living’s essential oils during sessions, specifically involving the release of emotional trauma. And here is what I learned:
Not only is an essential oil that is applied topically to the skin – specifically the feet – shown to be throughout the entire bloodstream in 30 minutes, but also the brain’s emotional switchboard (located in the limbic portion of the brain) is triggered by the molecular structure of essential oils when inhaled. (All the more reason to use high-quality essential oils, as you don’t want a low-grade oil negatively impacting your wellness.)
Science aside for a moment, I began to experiment. To use emotionally-grounding essential oil blends on myself and my children.
And. They. Worked.
I was shocked.
You are getting Lauren Hasz, the researcher, in all her transparent glory right here, folks. I mean, how could using a blend like “Acceptance” actually help me face the situations that made me feel out of control and floundering? And how could Valor help me make some life decisions that were both challenging and brave and unpopular? Let’s bring this back to the basics even further. Essential oils are plants. Plants were made to heal and empower our bodies. I don’t eat candy when my body is sick; rather, I eat nourishing foods like bone broth and oranges and lots of water. Essential oils are simply distilled, potent versions of plants. So, when my heart and brain need balancing and support? I’m learning to reach for the blends that I know will synergistically support emotional wellness.
I’m armed and prepared for All. The. Feels.
So, when Micah dumps popcorn all over the couch, and Abby is wound so tight that I have to walk down each stair with her exactly in step with her own small feet, you better believe I’m dabbing a healthy dose of “White Angelica” on all of our foreheads and spines. When I’m tired and cranky and simply want to watch Netflix in the middle of the day, I’m learning to reach for “Stress Away”… and Ningxia Red antioxidant juice… and coffee.
I also have a counselor on standby. And a community that knows me. And I’ve shed the trappings of having to “have it all together” or “be the perfect mom.” I call “bulls**t” on those lies that still attempt to creep into my soul.
So I have a few simple requests that I would make of you. First, please (especially if you have struggled with emotional wellness or are postpartum) find a professional counselor and give yourself the grace to allow someone else to walk this journey to wellness with you. Second, don’t isolate yourself. Find a book club, a play group, a running group, or whatever “club” floats your boat. Don’t always feel like the stranger. And, finally, do your own research or ask me for mine, and look into the role that essential oils may play in your own emotional well-being, as well as those of your family.
I would love for you to join my village of individuals seeking to support their wellness naturally. The invitation is always open. You can get more details HERE, read more about my health story HERE, or drop me a comment below or send me a message on IG or FB @laurenhasz or directly to my email at email@example.com. Basically, I’m around 😉
I hope I dispelled a few myths today, and I would love a flurry of questions and further research topics if you have them for me. Breathe, friends, breathe. Breathe in “Joy,” and exhale peace. Find your brave today, and let’s manage all these big feels together.