Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stop And Smell The Sunshine


Can you smell sunshine? I can and it always makes me smile. At this time of year, though, it is very rare that the sun comes out long enough for me to get a nose full of joy. Because of this I have had to look for sunshine in a bottle to help me through all the rain. No, I'm not talking about pills, I'm talking about smells, or aromatherapy if you will.

If you are someone who puts aromatherapy in the roll your eyes 'cause it's all hooha category just think about this: Have you ever caught a smell that suddenly made you think of a memory? Does the smell of something baking in the oven make you feel warm? Does perfume make you feel prettier when you wear it? If so then you are witnessing the power of aromatherapy. Our brains have the wonderful ability to pair our senses with our emotions. I still get a giddy joy out of smelling burnt food on a stove burner because it reminds me of the smell in my grandma's old kitchen.

A tricky part of aromatherapy is getting the right scent for you and your needs. I found that if I'm looking for actual therapy I have to ignore the scents I usually prefer and seek out the ones I need. I've also learned that while one scent can make me feel good it can cause an unwanted reaction in others. Here are a few of my past experiences with trying to get it just right:

Last year, or was it two years ago, Bath and Body Works came out with an aromatherapy line of fragrances. There was one for sleep, energy, sensuality, and something else that I don't remember. I LOVE, and still love, the sensuality fragrance, Jasmine Vanilla, but it doesn't really make me want to put on jogging shoes or do the dishes. The energy fragrance was great. It was Orange Ginger, I believe, and it really made me perk up and want to be active. The big downside was that anytime I wore it people would ask me if I'd been cleaning because it smelled like all those orange cleaners that are on the market. I'm sorry, but as much as I wanted to feel energized I HATED knowing I smelled like mop water, or wood polish.

I also learned not to just use smells I like. I really like scented candles, especially ones that smell like food (hazelnut, apple pie, gingerbread, vanilla) but they did a lot of damage. When I smell food I instantly want to snuggle under a blanket with a good book and not move at all. Yeah, not a good thing when you are trying to avoid depression tendencies.

So, a couple months ago I was finally able to get a lot of kid free time, I was lucky enough to be out with my very helpful and honest sister, and I went to The Body Shop with a mission: To get me some sunshine in a bottle. I knew I needed something citrusy but that didn't smell like orange. And I think I finally found something that will work for me and everyone else that has to smell me. I bought myself some ginger shower gel and then some papaya lotion to top it off with. I think, if I could do it over, I might have reversed that. The papaya is stronger smelling and the fragrance might last longer after the shower than the ginger does, but I think I will remedy this by going back and buying some ginger body spray to add more when needed. This has made my mornings so much better as I feel like I'm getting a dose of sunshine before I even have a chance to look out the window and be saddened by more rain.

Other areas that I'm going to be smell changing are:

1. My cleaners and detergents. Orange scented cleaners are GREAT for making you feel energized as you clean. I have to avoid flowery smells at this time(they make me feel like day dreaming) and that can be hard to do with detergents. Any suggestions?
2. My cooking. Working with fresh herbs, citrus fruits, and using less butter have greatly enhanced the energy level of the smell in my kitchen. For some reason the smell of warm butter makes me want to stop, slow down, snuggle, and eat... lots. If I can avoid it and use salt or herbs for flavor I find that I can smell my vegetables better and I get more of an out-in-the-garden feeling.
3. Candles and air fresheners. Again I have to avoid flowers and food smells and find things with more snap or citrus. Often these scents don't appeal to me when I sniff them at the store, but I need to remember that it isn't about what I'm comfortable with, but what it makes me want to do.

Now, I am a total newbie to aromatherapy. I've taken no classes and I don't have the time to smell my way through all the essential oils out there, so I'm asking all of you: Do you have any other energizing smells you can recommend?

21 comments:

Cocoa said...

I don't know anything about aromatherapy either but I do know that for me the smells of rosemary or sage (especially sagebrush but that smells isn't bottled) are really pick-me-ups.

Becky said...

I found the best candle....Salt City Candles-root beer. It totally smells like you are drinking root beer, if you can imagine. When I first lite it Sam was at school, when he came home and got to the back door he started yelling, I want some root beer, he really thought we were drinking root beer.

Amber M. said...

When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I was so sick and the only thing that would settle my stomach was walking up and down the coffee aisle at the commissary. I have never had an actual taste of brewed coffee, but the scent is one that I really love.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Becky, I've done that to my kids before =)

Amber, I LOVE the smell of coffee, though I don't drink it. Sadly my husband and my kids can't stand it.

FoxyJ said...

I don't know if the time of year is already passed, but I love the Glade airfreshener scent "Glistening Snow". It's kind of a pine mixed with spice and it smells so good. Our grocery had a bunch of the candles on clearance last month and I bought a lot to stock up.

Someone gave me a gift set from Bath and Body Works for my bridal shower. It was all Cucumber Melon, so now whenever I smell that I think of, um, our honeymoon (*blush*)

mom huebert said...

Our family likes the scents of the products at PlantLife. (plantlife.net) We use many of the soaps. Their products are mostly scened with plant oils-- cinnamon, lavendar, bergamot, orange, patchouli, to name a few-- instead of flowers and food. (Well, cinnamon could be a food and lavendar could be considered flowery, but that's it.)

mom huebert said...

P.S. Quite a while ago you wrote about making your own sunshine and I took that to heart. We now have a redecorated living/dining/kitchen-- all sunshine-y and cheerful, and I want to tell you thank you for inspiring me to make my own sunshine! Incredibly, the whole family loves it. Just thought you'd like to know that you helped make a difference in our home.

Magirk said...

Sometimes I'm way TOO energized - and stressed. So I actually use vanilla to help de-stress me and relax my mind.

I'm new to aromatherapy too, but I'm intrigued by it and want to learn more.

Great tips here - Thank You! ;)

Amy Y said...

I am a fresh linen scent girl, myself ...
Thanks for stopping by my blog ~ it's nice to meet you!

Lei said...

The smell of bacon and eggs always gets me out of bed in the morning!Oh wait,no -- I'm doing the cooking so it's what gets everyone else outta bed.

Okay, I got nothin'!

Family Adventure said...

I don't know anything about it at all...but I get what you say about sometimes a smell can bring back memories...so true.

And coffee smells SO GOOD, the taste is such a let-down.

Heidi

Tirzah said...

I don't know a lot about it. I am definitely a smell-oriented person. I love vanilla (okay so that one is more soothing) and Mr. Clean!

There are lots of books and probably websites, too that could give you some ideas!

Maria said...

Hmm, I don't really. Bleach? It makes me want to clean the bathroom!

Becks said...

That peach cobbler looks yummy. If only I weren't allergic to dairy! I especially like the Willie Nelson head bobbing on the side of the carton. Nice.

Misty said...

The first look at that ginger, and I thought.... Now why is Lizzy putting a photo of dog pooh on her blog.......

My most favorite smell is the rain.

Lisa said...

I never even thought about smells motivating me during the winter blahs. I'm in Southern CA and we have had a lot of rain, cold and gray and I was having a hard time with it. I will have to remember that and think about smells for the shower to boost my mood. I am thankful the sun has come out here again. I love it!

Oh, and I LOVE the smell of coconut. It smells like the beach to me. I had a True Blue Spa foot scrub from Bath & Body Works and it smells so good!

kay said...

i love this post! i have a great smeller and some things i smell just time-warp me. i totally know what you mean about different scents making you feel happy, sleepy, energetic...

i love peppermint. makes me want to get up and do stuff.

kay said...

oh and did you get the new ben and jerry chunk mail with the new flavors in it.....

Mountain Dweller said...

The French are big on aromatherapy. I don't know much about it, but vanilla is one of my favourites.

Poppy said...

I love grapefruit essential oil. It's citrusy without the lemon/orange cleaning smell. I put some in a bottle with safflower oil to slather on after a shower and it makes me feel more energized (if only for a minute!)

Poppy said...

PS love your blog. I found you through Wonder Years