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?