We can effectively "winterize" our homes and ourselves naturally with aromatic and fun do-it-yourself projects. I've compiled a list of just some of the things you can do to make this winter a little easier on your home, body and mind!
Body & Hair
Due to chilly temperatures, high winds and lower humidity in winter, our skin tends to dry out quickly which can be itchy, uncomfortable and downright irritating. It is important to keep our skin covered and out of the elements whenever possible though it isn't always feasible so, a little prevention goes a long way!
Help prevent dry skin this winter by adding some pure essential oils to your routine. Oils like Frankincense, Lavender, Rosemary, Sandalwood and Geranium are excellent to create your own body oil or even add to your existing (fragrance free) products.
|Dry Skin Recipe|
|Mix well in glass container/jar. Use immediately following shower or bath while skin is still damp and massage gently into skin. Keep container/jar covered and store in cool, dark area between uses. The above essential oils can be substituted for an earthier aroma by replacing the geranium with Frankincense or Sandalwood.|
Chapped, cracked skin results from exceptionally dry skin and can be very painful. Healing essential oils like Lavender, Patchouli and Chamomile can be quite effective in relieving the pain and hydrating the affected area. I make a smaller version of the Dry Skin Recipe above for my husband however, I use 2 ounces of Carrot oil and 5 drops each of Patchouli and Lavender. I like to store this blend in a travel size bottle for the hubby to take with him.
Though Athlete's foot isn't relegated to just the winter months, I think it's important to recognize, especially for those of you involved in winter sports. A simple and relaxing foot soak at night will not only help fight this fungus but invigorate sore, tired feet (awesome after a long day of skiing or snowboarding).
|Athlete's Foot Recipe|
|Fill bowl or spa 2/3 of the way full with hot water (not scalding). Add the essential oils and gently mix. Soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water turns cold. Allow feet to dry completely before wearing socks or shoes.|
Essential oils like Cypress, Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender, Basil and Thyme are all excellent for treating dandruff. You can add any of the oils to an existing (fragrance free) shampoo or conditioner (10 drops essential oil per 8oz). You can also create your own warm oil stimulating blend!
|Warm Oil Recipe|
|Heat Jojoba oil in microwave for approximately 15 seconds until oil is lukewarm but not hot. Mix in Rosemary and Peppermint essential oils. Apply to damp, freshly washed scalp and massage in circular motions throughout entire scalp. Allow oil to sit in hair for 15 minutes then rinse clean. Use once a week or as needed.|
Your home can fall prey to a myriad of winter related issues including moisture, mold and even infestation problems. While essential oils won't stop your roof from leaking or shovel your driveway, they may help purify the air and spirit!
To help fight mold and mildew that forms when moisture collects in the home, try diffusing Tea Tree or Rosemary essential oils. These oils will help cleanse the air of invading fungi which, in the long run can help with allergies and respiratory issues.
My home isn't necessarily prone to mold issues during the winter however I do have a problem with dry, stale air. Every night, I like to diffuse a blend of Sweet Orange, Bergamot and Grapefruit essential oils to not only purify the air, but also to remove the flat, stagnant smell that permeates throughout the house from the lack of fresh air. As it happens, this particular blend lifts my mood considerably on those long, dark winter nights.
|Fresh Air Recipe|
|Mix distilled water and essential oils in spray bottle. Shake to combine. Spray liberally throughout home. Store in a cool, dark place and shake before each use.|
Some of us experience rodent infestations in the late fall early winter. I suppose those lovely little creatures are just looking for an abundant food source as well as a warm, safe place to hideout however, my house is not a viable option. Don't get me wrong, I won't kill them, I just want them to know they aren't welcome to stay. You too can repel rodents by simply adding a few drops of Peppermint Essential oil to cotton balls and placing the cotton balls in and around any entry/exit points or common areas rodents would be attracted to (kitchens, near animal and other food storage areas). Make sure to keep these cotton balls away from areas where children and pets can reach them.
Colds and Flu
Tis nearly the dreaded cold and flu season and time to stock up on those essential oils no home should be without. While we've already extolled the virtues of Eucalyptus essential oil and its many noteworthy healing properties (read more here), there are other oils like Tea Tree, Lavender and Peppermint that can help you defend yourself against the nasty bacterial and viral infections that abound this time of year.
Aside from diffusing Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils, you can also carry a handkerchief or tissue with you that has a few drops of your chosen oil (I like Peppermint). You can use this to inhale the aroma and clear your sinuses or even when working with or around sick people.
For sore throats, try gargling with Tea Tree Essential Oil. Simply add 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to 4 ounces of water and gargle to coat. Do not ingest, just spit out. Repeat as needed.
For kids, add a few drops of Eucalyptus and Lavender essential oils to a humidifier to not only ease nasal and chest congestion but also to promote sleep.
For a simple, yet all around effective essential oil kit, try Plantlife's Basic Sampler Set. This set includes Lavender, Peppermint, Sweet Orange, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Tea Tree Essential Oil. All the oils you need to get you started!
Note: Always dilute essential oils prior to topical use. Be certain to test all oils to ensure no reaction occurs. To test, simply apply 1 drop with carrier oil to the crook of your elbow and allow oil to absorb. If reaction occurs, discontinue use immediately.