I’ve been a health writer for over 17 years, and during that time I’ve learned quite a bit about natural oils and how beneficial they are.
There’s a reason we’re seeing more and more of them in skin care products these days—the skin loves them! Even those who have trouble with acne can often use natural oils to enjoy deep hydration and anti-aging benefits.
But today I wanted to focus on three ways that writers (and other creative folks who spend a lot of hours at the computer) can use natural oils to make life just a little bit better.
1. Tend to dry, rough hands.
Writers (and other creatives) rely on their hands for their work. But we often suffer from dry, tight, and rough skin that makes our hands uncomfortable.
Plus who wants hands that look dry? Especially during a book signing!
Iknow women, in particular, are becoming more and more concerned about the condition of their hands, because they can so readily reveal our age—oftentimes even faster than our faces do.
Yet it can be tough to know just what to do to make them look better.
Here’s where natural oils can really help. Your standard everyday hand lotions don’t do much. They’re made up of synthetic ingredients that may make your skin feel better for about five minutes, but then you’re right back where you started. (Some even make your skin dryer over time.)
I’ve found that it’s worthwhile to invest a few more dollars in a natural hand cream that contains goodies like jojoba oil, honey, shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, triglycerides, vitamin E, and other similar items. Natural oils tend to penetrate more deeply into the skin and the effects last longer.
Ointments, balms, and butters are also better than lotions, usually. I’ve been using Windrift Hills “Goats ’N Oats” Body Butter lately, and I love it! It’s made with goat’s milk, mango butter, and shea butter, along with natural oils like apricot kernel, coconut, jojoba, and almond. It smells heavenly and works great.
2. Boost focus and creativity.
What we smell can affect how we think and feel. You’ve likely experienced this when detecting an old smell from your childhood, like that of homemade bread or your grandmother’s quilt.
We can use this connection to increase our focus and productivity when we need to. When sitting down to write, for example, a few drops of peppermint, citrus, lavender, basil, or rosemary simmered in a small pot of water on the stove can help get you in the mood to focus and concentrate.
Bergamot or frankincense blended with a carrier oil and spritzed in the air (or on your skin if you’re not sensitive) can help relieve stress and get you into that calm, creative mode.
Cypress, jasmine, and basil are other good options for creating an atmosphere conducive to creativity. Any of these can work well in a candle diffuser if you want to limit the effects to just one room.
We all need ways to transfer ourselves from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives into the “flow” of creativity. For me, that means getting into the setting where my characters are—literally slipping into another world.
In addition to music and rituals (such as making a favorite cup of tea), essential oils offer a great way to open that door.
Sleep is extremely important to everyone, but particularly for creative folks.
Recent studies have shown that when we get less than five hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, our risk increases for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more. Some studies have even found that chronic insomnia can take years off our lives.
Creative people need that good night’s sleep even more. Think about it. If you don’t get much sleep, you can probably still clean the house or cook a meal or drive to work.
But just try sitting down to a blank page and creating something new. Your eyes will droop and you’ll find it more of a struggle than a joy.
Essential oils can help you relax and fall asleep. Lavender is a favorite for this purpose, but ylang ylang, vetiver, chamomile, cedarwood, bergamot, and sandalwood are also good options. Try these methods of application:
- Mix a few drops with your favorite carrier oil (like coconut, almond, or jojoba) and then rub on the back of your neck before sleep, or use as a massage oil.
- Try a cold-air essential oil diffuser, like this one. Don’t use a heated diffuser when going to sleep to reduce risk of fire damage.
- Add a few drops to a warm bath before bed.
- Add a drop or two to a cotton ball and place near your pillow before sleep.
Please let us know if you have other ways to use essential oils to encourage creativity!