Smiling woman enjoying coffee indoors on a winter day

10 Scents to Warm Your Winter Mood

Has the winter cold been getting to you? 

Try turning to some of these warming scents to lift your winter mood back up…

Ginger

A plant native to Asia, ginger is a spice that has long since been recognized for its medicinal properties, and these qualities are reflected in its essential oils too. 

The oil is created from distilling the root of the plant, which is the same part of the plant that is eaten. This gives the oil a hot and spicy aroma, making it perfect for the cold days of winter. 

Ginger is also such an energizing scent, and will help to keep your spirits high. This is so important in the winter, at a time when loneliness and depression are more common. 

Wondering how strong the scent of this oil is? 

That all depends on the quality of the oil, as well as how the plant was distilled. The better the quality, the stronger the scent. With that being said, even the strongest scented ginger essential oils can still be relatively light, especially when compared to the aroma of the root when it has been freshly sliced. 

What’s the best way to make use of ginger essential oil? 

An aromatherapy diffuser is the easiest way to enjoy the distinct scent of ginger, especially since this means that you can easily create your own essential oil blend.

Ginger works especially well with citrus oils, as this gives it a sweeter scent. Sweet orange oil, which will be discussed further down, is a great choice. 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon essential oil comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, and is known for its warm and sweet aroma. 

It also brings with it a number of health benefits that are particularly important in the winter months, such as: 

  • Preventing colds and coughs 
  • Relieving pain 
  • Fighting off infections 
  • Boosting circulation 
  • Reducing stress 
  • Improving digestion

This is a great oil to use in a diffuser, because its earthy and spicy scent is one that tends to linger around in a room for hours.

A bundle of cinnamon sticks, with a small vial of cinnamon oil

One thing to know about cinnamon essential oil is that it features quite a strong scent, and it can often be overpowering when used on its own. Try mixing the cinnamon with sweet orange, jojoba or bergamot oil for a softer and more delicate fragrance. 

Juniper Berry

With a sweet, woody and crisp aroma, juniper berry is known for being quite a stimulating scent. If you drink gin, then you will recognize the scent immediately, as these berries are what give gin its unique flavor. 

This is a cleansing and purifying oil, and was used for years by Native Americans as a way to clean the air. It will give your immune system a boost, which is always helpful in the winter months. 

In addition to cleansing, the scent of juniper berry is also a relaxing one, making it great at calming the mind and body while inducing sleep. 

Try mixing this refreshing oil with one of the following to maximize its effects:

  • Grapefruit 
  • Sweet fennel 
  • Cypress

Sweet Orange

Sweet orange is such a versatile essential oil, with its uplifting scent able to quickly disperse through a room. Although it is often referred to as just orange oil, make sure that you are not purchasing bitter orange oil instead, as this oil has different qualities. 

Sweet orange oil is cheerful and happy, making it perfect for a gloomy winter’s day. It is commonly used in aromatherapy as a way to encourage feelings of warmth and happiness, as well as for detoxification purposes. 

Unlike most other essential oils, which are extracted through steam distilling, sweet orange oil is usually cold pressed, with the oil coming from the rind of the fruit. While there are steam distilled versions available, a cold-pressed sweet orange oil is the one to go for. 

Why? 

Because the heat produced by the steam in the distillation process degrades the content of citral within the oil, which is an important compound when it comes to the oil’s therapeutic properties. 

Are you allergic to citrus fruits? 

If so, sweet orange oil is not one that you should be using. Even if you are just diffusing the oil into the air, it could still cause irritations or allergic reactions. 

Clove Bud 

Cloves are a spice that come from a tree native to Southeast Asia.

There are three types of essential oils that can be created from cloves, and these are:

  • Clove leaf oil
  • Clove bud oil
  • Clove stem oil

Which one is best?

Many would say clove bud oil. This is because of the fact that the leaves and the stems of the plant contain a much more potent chemical composition, which can often result in those oils causing irritations.

When it comes to medicinal uses, clove oil is known for its anesthetic, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, and is a popular remedy when it comes to soothing toothaches, mouth infections and even bad breath.

What about its scent?

Warm and spicy, clove essential oils are able to help with common winter ailments, including colds, coughs and sinusitis. It can also help with digestive problems, such as nausea, making it quite the therapeutic oil.

Not only that, but clove oil increases blood circulation, which can go a long way in boosting heart health during the winter.

All of these properties come down to the eugenol content within the oil, which makes up around 90% of the oil. This is what gives the oil its warming and stimulating qualities.

Want to create a clove oil blend?

Clove oil works well with other spicy oils, such as cinnamon, as well as citrus and floral oils.

Nutmeg

Sweet, warm and slightly woody, nutmeg essential oil comes from the seeds of the Myristica fragrans tree, which is an evergreen tree that is native to Asia. 

Its scent is quite a well-rounded one, being spicy and light but deep and musky at the same time. 

When used aromatically, this oil has the ability to boost circulation, which is so important in the winter. 

Nutmeg oil surrounded by loose nutmeg

Why? 

Because the cold weather causes blood vessels to constrict, which means that your circulation is reduced. Your heart then has to pump so much harder in order to get your blood flowing around your body, which can put a lot of strain on it.

The stimulating scent of nutmeg is also known for being able to improve cognitive function. It clears away feelings of stress and exhaustion, while improving concentration and productivity. 

Want to create your own unique blend with nutmeg? 

Try mixing it with some of the following essential oils: 

  • Black pepper 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Clove 
  • Rosemary 
  • Clary sage 
  • Coriander 
  • Frankincense 

Cedarwood

Distilled from the bark of the cedarwood tree, cedarwood essential oil has such a pleasing aroma, which is why it is incorporated into so many different perfumes. 

However, in addition to its distinctly woody and sweet scent, cedarwood essential oil brings with it a few other benefits…

One of these is the way in which it can help the respiratory system. Being a natural sedative, cedarwood can help to soothe certain respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic coughing. 

Its sedative properties also mean that this oil is effective at relaxing the body and inducing sleep. 

How does it do this?

Its aroma triggers the body to release serotonin, which the brain then converts into melatonin. This extra melatonin is what will give you a long and restful sleep. 

The serotonin also helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improving and stabilizing your mood. 

Not only are all of these qualities reasons as to why cedarwood is so often used in perfumes, but it also blends really well with other scents too, making it so versatile. 

If you would like to create your own cedarwood blend, try mixing the oil with one of the following: 

  • Lavender oil
  • Chamomile oil
  • Citrus oils 

Is there anyone who shouldn’t use cedarwood essential oil?

Yes, if you are pregnant. 

Why? 

Because of the way in which it can induce menstruation, which can be dangerous during a pregnancy.

Cardamom

A plant belonging to the ginger family, cardamom is a spice that comes from the seed pods of the plant. Not only is it used for cooking all over the world, but the scent of the oil is perfect for the winter months. 

The oil has quite a bold and punchy fragrance, with notes of sweetness, spiciness and nuttiness all at the same time. It exudes an air of mystery and exoticism, which is partly what gives it its energizing and uplifting qualities. 

While its scent may seem strong and potent, cardamom is actually quite a gentle essential oil. Its fragrance stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain, which not only give it a relaxing effect, but also helps to prevent nausea, especially from chemotherapy or pregnancy.

This oil is also able to soothe the mind, reducing depression and exhaustion while increasing concentration and focus. It is known for being able to provide motivation, which many find themselves in need of during the winter. 

Although cardamom is such a beneficial oil, many find its scent to be too spice-like. 

If this is the case for you, try mixing cardamom essential oil with one of the following to tone its scent down a bit: 

  • Ginger essential oil 
  • Fennel essential oil 
  • Chamomile essential oil 

Vanilla

The sweet scent of vanilla is instantly recognizable, and so many find this fragrance extremely comforting. 

This isn’t a coincidence either…

Vanilla essential oil is known for being able to lift the mood and promote feelings of happiness. It provides a calming effect to the brain, countering any anxiety and restlessness. It does this to such a great extent that it has been used by hospitals for decades to keep patients calm and prevent claustrophobia before an MRI scan.

Essential oil with vanilla sticks

Vanilla is also able to lower blood pressure and encourage a restful sleep, which is why this is an oil often used in the evenings. 

For those who find that their sex drive tends to take a dive in the winter months, vanilla can help with this too. 

How? 

Thanks to its aphrodisiac effects. The scent of the oil is able to increase levels of estrogen and testosterone in the body, encouraging physical intimacy. 

When purchasing vanilla essential oil, there is one important thing to keep in mind…

Many vanilla oils have been created synthetically. This is understandable when you consider the fact that vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world to produce. 

Why is it so expensive? 

Because it is a difficult one to grow, and the drying, curing and extracting process is also extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive. 

With that being said, synthetic versions of the oil only contain a tiny concentration of vanillin, which is the compound that gives the oil its therapeutic effects, as well as its distinct scent. 

While it may be quite costly to purchase a natural vanilla oil, this is definitely worth it if you want to experience the spice’s true health benefits. 

Scotch Pine

Distilled from the pine needles of the Pinus sylvestnis tree, Scotch pine oil is woody, earthy and fresh, as well as incredibly warming. 

This is a cleansing and clearing oil, not only in terms of air quality but also when it comes to a cluttered mind. It is often used before a meditation session, as it uplifts the mood and clears away negative thoughts. 

It is also able to help reduce feelings of fatigue, which is something that many experience on a dreary winter’s day. 

If you do decide to purchase Scotch pine oil, keep in mind that it contains around 90% monoterpenes. This means that the oil degrades easily when it comes into contact with heat or light, so you are best off storing your oil in the refrigerator. 

There are hundreds of essential oils out there, but some are definitely better suited than others to the winter months. These ten warming oils are perfect for the colder season, and will leave you better equipped to deal with all that the winter throws at you. 

Woman holding a basket of fresh fruits

Your Diet May Help Regulate Your Mood

Normally, eating when stressed is ill advised. The term usually brings to mind the image of someone who has just had some shocking news running frantically to their freezer in search of the curative pint of ice cream. He/she gorges greedily, only to awaken the next day not only to find their troubles still very much present, but an additional five pounds added to their body weight.

However, what if you learned that eating actually can relieve stress? You just need to make sure that when you open that freezer, you reach for the frozen grapes instead of the vanilla swirl.

The Anti-Stress Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
You may know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but did you know that they might also help to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent study examined diet of 60,000 Australians aged 45 and up, only to reveal that those who had 3-4 servings of fruits and begins a day had 12% less psychological stress than those who had just one. Those who got five to seven servings had an even bigger reduction in stress, showing a 14% reduction as compared to the single serving percentage.

Ladies Only?
However, the researchers found that in a study based on a 10 question comparative survey focusing on anxiety and depression between the years of 2006 -2008 and 2010, males subjects did not show the same results. Says study co-author and University of Sidney PhD student, Binh Nguyen, “We found the fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables.” The questionnaire revealed that women who consumed 5 to 7 portions of vegetables and fruits experienced a 23% reaction in stress levels in comparison to ladies who only ate 0-1 portion. Two portions produced a reduction in stress of 16%.

Happy woman

More Work To Be Done
While you may not want to wait to start consuming more fruits and veggies, the authors of the studies do stipulate that there is more work to be done before any definite conclusions can be reached. They state that while the intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the stress levels in middle-aged and older adults, the link between the diet and psychological distress requires further investigation.

Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
But while we wait for the final verdict, keep eating those veggies and fruits. The mental health charity “Mind” says, “Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. Eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients-several portions of the same type of food won’t be so good for you.”

As for choosing the best fruits and veggies: tomatoes, bananas and mushrooms top the list for their high potassium levels which are “essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain. they also advise keeping fruits and veggies raw for the highest number of nutrients.

What do you think? Do fruits and veggies make you feel a little less stressed? Let us know the results of your private research.

Aromatherapy oil

Boost Mood with Lavendar, Jasmine, Rosemary

Aromatherapy is a natural, holistic treatment that has been used for over 6,000 years and it involves the use of essential oils that have been extracted from various plants. Typically, aromatherapy is associated with inhalation exercises, but you can also use essential oils for a stress-relieving bath, a therapeutic massage or under doctor supervision, you can orally administer essential oils. There is a multitude of different essential oils, all of which target specific health problems or concerns. When it comes to needing a mood boost, three of the best essential oils you can use are lavender, jasmine and rosemary. Below, find out why each of these essential oils is beneficial and what you can expect from each one.

Lavender oil

Lavender
Lavender is perhaps the most widely thought of essential oil when it comes to relaxation. Many sleep products are infused with lavender essential oil because it promotes relaxation and is thought to aid insomnia. How does lavender oil do these things? It seems that when lavender oil is inhaled, molecules enter your brain and interact with two centers associated with emotion: the amygdala and the hippocampus. When this happens, lavender acts as a sort of sedative to these two areas, thereby reducing feelings of stress and anxiety while promoting relaxation and calm feelings. In fact, a 2007 study found that men who inhaled lavender essential oil had significantly lower levels of cortisol, the hormone primarily associated with stress. To benefit from the relaxing and calming scent of lavender, you could use an essential oil warmer, diffuser or simply open a vial of the essential oil and inhale. Keep a bottle near your bed for help with insomnia, or stash some in your purse for days where it seems that your stresses are unending.

Jasmine oil

Jasmine
Often referred to as the “woman’s oil,” jasmine has been used for centuries to help with health problems such as skin care, hormonal disorders and childbirth. However, jasmine is not limited to these functions, it can also have profound psychological effects. Jasmine has an excellent reputation as an antidepressant and can be used if you suffer from anxiety, depression, fear and tension. Additionally, jasmine is a well-known and powerful aphrodisiac, which can be very helpful to someone suffering depression. Often, a serious lack of sex drive accompanies depression or is a side effect of antidepressants. Jasmine essential oil can help put your sex life back on track, which is another way to boost your mood. Experts do caution those wanting to use jasmine essential oil. Because it has such a strong floral fragrance, it can be overpowering for some and may induce headaches. Using jasmine oil in an essential oil diffuser is a great way to use a tiny amount, but to get big results.

Rosemary oil

Rosemary
Rosemary is well-known for its fragrance and taste in the kitchen, but rosemary essential oil can help with a number of psychological and physical issues. One of the historical uses for rosemary was at weddings and funerals, because rosemary improves memory. In addition to improving your memory, rosemary essential oil can help with physical symptoms of depression and anxiety like headaches, sore muscles and digestive concerns. Another way that rosemary can help boost your mood is by improving your circulation and providing you with a feeling of rejuvenation and renewed energy. Rosemary can also help to clear and calm your mind, making it easier to relax. You can use rosemary in a diffuser, a warmer or place a few drops in a spray bottle filled with water and mist the air when you need a little lift.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years because they work. A well-formulated, high-quality essential oil can have dramatic impacts on both your physical and mental well-being. When you need a boost in mood, using lavender, jasmine and/or rosemary can be quite helpful. Keep small vials of essential oils in your purse, so that you are ready to tackle any problem or difficulty that comes your way during the day.