5 Ways to Help your Family with Essential Oils
Spaghetti on the walls, little runny noses, and an endless list of chores—raising a family, or even just living in a family, can be a whirlwind.
Essential oils can be powerful tools for families. But, as with so many things, the trick is in knowing HOW and WHEN to use them to the greatest effect.
Below are five different ways you can use essential oils to help your family.
Kids have such big emotions. And since they typically don’t know how to channel or regulate them, kids end up getting pulled along like strings on kites by their big emotions.
One of the biggest lessons we learn growing up is how to feel AND manage our emotions without either 1) letting them turn us towards negative behaviors or 2) repressing them in a way that damages emotional health.
Fortunately, essential oils can help! The human sense of smell has quick access to the limbic system—the part of the brain that manages our emotional responses.
Calming smells can help children access and manage these parts of the brain, especially when combined with other calming activities. (Other easy techniques for emotional regulation include breathing exercises, music therapy, or deep touch therapy.)
But it is not just for little kids! Essential oils are often used by adults to help manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional or mental health issues.
To start, choose an essential oil scent, preferably one that your child finds pleasant, and help them learn how to focus on the smell when big emotions come their way! When they are old enough to talk through their feelings, a calming sensory space may ease the process.
Sniffles, aches, insomnia...there are a lot of little issues of health for a family to worry about.
For many, the goal is to 1) get rid of the symptoms quickly and 2) see if they can do it with something more natural before turning to over-the-counter drugs or a doctor.
Fortunately, many essential oils are derived from herbs famous for their use in traditional medicine. Essential oils can’t replicate all the same benefits as their parent plants, but some of those benefits do carry over! And so, when properly diluted and carefully applied, essential oils are used as complementary therapies for many physical ailments.
Some of the most popular uses are as follows:
- improving sleep
- reducing pain
- improving skin health
- combating headaches
- lowering inflammation
When diluted and/or applied with specific instructions and due caution, essential oils have also been used to fight infections, reduce digestive problems, soothe respiratory issues, and more.
To learn more about addressing physical symptoms with essential oils, check out this handy article by Healthline.com.
Your sense of smell tells your brain, emotionally, where you are. And this means you can use essential oils to curate the atmosphere in your home.
Afterall, home is more than just the place where you eat and sleep. It’s the place where, ideally, the atmosphere imparts a sense of familiarity, safety, and nurturing. Taken a step further, home is the place where we feel empowered to be ourselves, access our talents, find refuge and healing, and more.
Advanced homemakers even know how to create room-specific atmospheres that promote the function of that room—relaxation in the bedroom, warmth and fun in the living area, clarity and focus in the home office, etc.
Creating these atmospheres can be a challenge. But essential oils can help! Tied as it is to our emotions, our sense of smell influences our relationship to our environment—whether this place feels familiar, safe, and conducive to certain activities.
This is one of the best uses for a diffuser, which will carry the essential oil scent to all corners of a given room!
Habits are tricky. We all have habits we want to stop. And we all have new habits we’d like to develop as replacements for the bad ones. But change is hard. And distractions come so easily.
Habits are particularly important in families. Because 1) parents strive to instill good habits in their kids that will last them a lifetime and 2) the negative or positive habits of one family member can affect the whole family and the home atmosphere.
Again, essential oils can help!
Your sense of smell encourages your brain to think in terms of the present moment. And if you can repeatedly pair that smell stimulus with the action you desire to form into a habit, that action will become easier.
For example, one study done with black pepper oil showed promise in helping combat addictive behavior (Cordell 2013)!
Independent Self Care
All of the aforementioned benefits, if properly pursued, can yield one more fantastic benefit for members of your family—the ability to independently care for oneself.
It’s important that kids can look to their parents to help them. And we should all have some close relationships we can turn to in moments of crisis. But as children grow into adulthood, and as adults increase in maturity, it is important to develop a certain level of self-sufficiency.
Parents succeed when they have equipped their children the habits, maturity, and knowledge they need to take care of themselves!
Obviously, young children should not be allowed to use essential oils on their own. The oils are very concentrated and should only be used with parental supervision. But, in time, children can grow up and learn how to use complementary therapies, emotional regulation techniques, and other such self-care practices on their own!
And when they succeed in taking care of themselves, they will have more emotional and other resources available to allow them to help and teach others!
It’s not just about caring for the boo-boos and ouchies—it’s teaching kids lifelong skills of proactivity, resilience, problem-solving, and kindness.
As a recap, essential oils can help family members develop emotional maturity, overcome some physical health obstacles, create helpful home atmospheres, develop good habits, and become self-care sufficient!
The whirlwind becomes more manageable and less intimidating when we have good tools and we know how to use them. And once that is done, we can more fully enjoy the fun, fulfillment, and other positives that come from being a part of a family!