April is national stress awareness month and the next 2 weeks I am excited to be sharing some ways to help you de-stress and take care of yourself and your family! I reached out to two of my good friends for them to share their expertise on how to manage stress using two different techniques.
Today is all about essential oils and how you can incorporate them into your life to help you manage stress. (Of course there are a zillion other reasons to use them) Let’s be real , life is stressful. Whether you’re juggling being a mom, working, illness, family, etc. it’s tough. Repeated stress on the body can be so harmful, and it’s so important to learn how to manage your stress Because unfortunately, we can’t completely eliminate it.
I started using essential oils regularly about a year ago and all I can say is they are magical. I still have a lot to learn and that is why I reached out to an expert on the topic— my good friend and follow mommy of 2– Jackie Shorrock.
I am so grateful she agreed to put this together— you guys are in for a treat!!
Jackie Shorrock on Essential Oils and Stress Management
I am Jackie Shorrock, semi-crunchy granola friend to the incredible Taylor, and I am so excited to be sharing some powerful ways you can use essential oils to decrease stress and elevate joy in your daily routine!
I began experimenting with different essential oils back in 2009, when I was just starting out my career as a Labor & Delivery nurse in the Navy. I loved getting to serve a community of women during such a pivotal and transformative time in their lives. I also realized pretty quickly that if I didn’t learn some self-care tools that I was most likely going to implode from stress. I had spent the majority of my life up to that point learning how to take care of others first, and that had finally caught up with me. I came from a family that suffered a lot of illness, transitioned into a career as a military nurse and simultaneously married a service member who was often deployed.
So I began to walk a path of self-healing and discovered many holistic tools that continue to help me recalibrate my body and mind as life brings its many unexpected challenges. Once I learned how much I could help myself heal, I began sharing these tools with my patients and my community.
One of the most powerful healing tools I discovered was essential oils. Essential oils are compounds extracted directly from plants. The oils capture the plant's scent and flavor, also known as its “essence.”
Essential oils are so powerful because they are a direct connection to our ancestral roots of self-healing. Living as an outdoor species for the majority of our evolutionary past, we would constantly interact with different scents in our environment. We were surrounded by nature’s pharmacy, ready to assist us at any given time. In this modern world, the majority of our time is spent indoors. We are cut off from that primal ability to self-regulate our emotions and so we must consciously seek out time in nature and use oils to bring the benefits of nature to us!
In times of stress, both positive stress and negative stress, essential oils are able to provide an immediate relief to the “fight or flight” symptoms our body undergoes. Some of my favorite go-to stress relievers are Lavender, Ylang-Ylang and Copaiba. These oils are great before a big interview, to help calm the mind before sleep, or just unwind after a busy day. For prolonged stress periods which can sometimes lead to a depressive state, oils such as Wild Orange and Eucalyptus can help boost your energy levels and your mood throughout the day.
The two most powerful methods to gain all of the benefits from essential oils are by smell and transdermally, or through the skin. As we smell different scents, airborne molecules interact immediately with different receptor sites in our brain, most importantly our limbic brain or our “emotional brain”. The limbic system helps control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. You can access these benefits by simply purchasing a small diffuser and diffusing oils in your home, in your office, or even your car!
Applying essential oils to the skin is also a powerful method of self-healing. Our skin is our largest organ and is semi-permeable, meaning oils and any other products we place on it will be directly absorbed into our bloodstream. Diluting essential oils in a carrier oil such as almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil allows you to apply the oils during a self-massage or abhyanga as its known in Ayurveda. You can also buy pre-made essential oils rollers or have some fun and create your own to have an aromatherapy “perfume” right in your own purse or backpack! That way you get the benefits from skin absorption and olfactory senses together!
The best way to find out which oils are best for you is simply by trying a few out, experiment by blending them together, and notice how you feel. You can also find some incredible pre-made blends such as Serenity, Peace and Forgive.
Essential oils can be a very effective and fun way to help you discover your own inner healer. And, while they are a wonderful form of nature’s medicine found in your own backyard, I do want to take a moment to advise caution. Quality is key with essential oils, because of how rapidly they can enter the body and take effect. You may notice that there are essential oils just about everywhere these days. In the convenience store, at the farmer’s market, maybe even in your doctor’s office! So how do you know which ones are the not only the best for you, but the safest? I can only personally recommend two brands with confidence. dōTERRA and YoungLiving are both therapeutic grade essential oils, which means you are safe to put them on and inside your body.
As I write this article I am undergoing yet another major transition in my life. And like I’m sure many of you have experienced, this transition came without warning and there has been a rollercoaster of emotions along with it. So what do I currently have diffusing in my room? Surrender. Sometime the name says it all.
Jackie’s passion is supporting and assisting women through every season by providing holistic tools to heal themselves emotionally, physically and spiritually. She is a Navy veteran, has two young boys and is a proud military spouse. Jackie is a certified yoga instructor, reiki practitioner and Chopra Center Ayurvedic wellness coach. She currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA and is an active member of Sherwood Racing, a local women’s triathlon team. To find out more information on holistic wellness tools, including essential oils, yoga & meditation, check out her website www.fivepetalswellness.org and make sure to follow her on Instagram @fivepetalswellness.
My Experience with Essential Oils
I have used both brands Jackie talks about and like them a lot! I am currently using the plant therapy brand available on amazon and love their company’s story. I really enjoy the “blue’s buster” blend and I like to add drops to my shower and it helps me relax and boost my mood. (who doesn’t love that haha)
They also have a kidsafe line that makes it so easy as a mom to know that I am using oil blends that are safe for any age.
My husband and I try to diffuse oils everyday and I make rubs, like Jackie discussed using coconut oil. Currently my little boy, Jax, is teething and I have been using the “calming the child “ blend from plant therapy I apply it to his chest and along the jawline and it’s honestly incredible how much it helps. Not only do I use it for teething but I apply it to my daughter before bed and she always seems to sleep better.
I also clean the kiddos toys in our house with “germ destroyer” and the biggest bonus of essential oils to me is that they smell amazing! It’s a win win. I found this essential oil guide book that has been super helpful and it is broken into ailments and gives you what oils to use for each condition. For example, you could look up insomnia and it would give you good oils to use to help!