Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Gail Bussi, author of the new Enchanted Herbal.
Let’s face it: life is not always easy even at the best of times, and given the uncertainty and change we have all been experiencing in the past year, it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling more stressed, anxious, and fearful than ever before. With the coming of the holidays, we all can do with a little calming magic! This is why I have developed what I call a “tranquility tool kit” to help us feel a little better; gentle self-care and support are always important, of course, but in the midwinter season perhaps more so than ever!
These simple-to-make products all contain essential oils and natural fragrances that help support calm, clarity, and peace; please note that the usual precautions should be taken with essential oils, such as not using on small children, being careful of their use if you are pregnant, and doing skin tests if you have had an allergic reaction to particular oils in the past. Also, if you are experiencing panic and anxiety attacks, or other mood changes/issues, it’s important to seek out professional medical advice and counseling if necessary. (You will also find similar ideas and natural recipes/remedies in my new book, The Enchanted Herbal.)
Quiet Moment Pillow Mist
This can not only be used as a pillow mist before bedtime to encourage restful sleep, but also as a general body spray—just avoid spraying it near your eyes.
Combine the following in a glass jug or bowl: 1 cup distilled water, ¼ cup rose water, 4 tablespoons vodka, 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel or juice (optional), 10 drops lavender essential oil, and 5 drops geranium oil. Shake well and pour into a suitable spray bottle or atomizer; keep in a cool place and shake well again before use. (Makes about 1½ cups of spray.)
“Soak Away Stress” Tub Salts
The act of stepping into a warm and soothing bath tub is, in itself, a stress reliever, and it’s something I think we should all make time for on a regular basis. The important thing is to truly unplug and unwind: definitely no phones! Add soft lights, candles or incense, and perhaps something soothing and uplifting to read. (I like reading books of meditations or quotes while I am taking a time out soak!)
And, yes, I am using lavender again—for me it’s the go-to herb for just about all applications and needs. But here it is paired with the uplifting qualities of lemon balm, a happy and sunny herb, and the sweetness of jasmine, another one of my favorite herbs. The Epsom salts and Himalayan salt are purifying and help to soothe and heal inflammation and relax body and mind.
In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups Epsom salts with 1 cup each fine pink Himalayan salt and coarse sea salt, and ½ cup baking soda. Mix well, then use a wooden skewer or chopstick to stir through 10 drops lavender essential oil and 5 drops each lemon balm and jasmine essential oils; finally, add 2 tablespoons sweet almond oil and mix together well. This makes about 3 cups of tub salts; store in suitable glass jars, well-sealed to keep out moisture. Add about ½ cup of salts to your warm tub, and swoosh around with your hands before climbing in!
Sweet Calm Body Oil
Aromatherapy, in its various applications, is I believe one of the most powerful and potent gifts we can give ourselves on the journey to peace and tranquility. However, it’s not always necessary to seek out professional aromatherapy treatments, when the answer is as simple as a little bottle of oil, kept by your side and used as and when needed. This oil combines sandalwood and ylang-ylang essential oils, both of which are traditionally associated with calm, relaxation, and serenity, together with a little bergamot oil, known for its ability to relieve stress and anxiety. I use sweet almond oil as the carrier oil, but you can also use jojoba or grapeseed oil, too.
This oil can be used in various ways—a few drops added to bath water or rubbed onto pulse points and temples when needed. You can also burn a little of the oil on a diffuser or burner, or add a few drops around the wick of a candle (taking care not to spill the oil on the naked flame.)
Combine the following in a small glass bowl: 2 tablespoons of your chosen carrier oil, 8 drops each sandalwood and ylang-ylang essential oils, and 5 drops bergamot oil. Mix well and then store in a small dark glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Store away from heat and direct sunlight, and always shake the bottle well before using the oil.
I carry a tiny pot of this balm with me at all times; it’s like an aromatherapy treatment on the go! It also makes a wonderful holiday gift and the recipe can be enlarged, as needed. In this one I go back to my favorite, lavender, but combine it with chamomile and neroli oils, both helpful in calming stress and anxiety, and promoting a peaceful outlook on life.
Place a small glass bowl on top of a gently simmering pan of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water); in the bowl place ¼ cup sweet almond oil, 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1 tablespoon beeswax pellets. Very gently melt these together, stirring with a wooden stick or chopstick. When fully melted, remove the bowl from the pan and add the essential oils as follows: 10 drops lavender oil, 8 drops chamomile oil and 6 drops neroli oil. Mix well, cool the mixture slightly and then carefully pour into small storage jars or tins. (The mixture will thicken and should have a texture somewhat like soft butter.) Store the balm in a cool dark place – too much heat will cause it to melt. Use within 4 – 6 months, otherwise the fragrance and therapeutic benefits will lessen.
So relax…and have an enchanted and peaceful midwinter season!
Our thanks to Gail for her guest post! For more from Gail Bussi, read her article “A Midwinter Grimoire for Body and Soul.”