Planning a wedding takes work. From the venue to the dress, there's a lot to think about! It's common (and totally understandable) to feel overwhelmed. But while the occasional restless night is nothing to be concerned about, letting tension and anxiety take over is far from healthy. One of the best ways to manage pre-wedding stress? Schedule some me-time.
For many brides, that means yoga or meditation, for others, a spa weekend or a kickboxing class. One thing many brides neglect? A self-care ritual. Something as simple as a spritz of essential oil-infused facial mist or a bubble bath can help improve mood and promote calmness and clarity.
We talked to Amy Galper, executive director and founder of the New York Institute of Aromatherapy, to find out the essential oils that all brides need leading up to the big day.
One of the most versatile essential oils, lavender is known for its calming properties. Its ability to soothe feelings of anxiety and promote relaxation (particularly as it relates to sleep) is well documented. Try anointing your pillow with a few drops before bed to enhance relaxation and encourage peaceful sleep. Feeling overwhelmed? Place a few drops in the palm of your hand, rub together and inhale deeply. A facial mist (two ounces distilled water and 20 drops of essential oil) is a great way to stay serene and fight inflammation. Shake it up and mist whenever you (or your skin) start to feel stressed.
Red mandarin has a citrusy, faintly floral scent that at once uplifts mood and relieves tension. "Its aromatic components are really nice for calming the nervous system," notes Galper. "Whereas lavender is more sedating, red mandarin is more balancing." Try diffusing it in your home or office to evoke a sense of harmony. Red mandarin also helps stimulate circulation, harmonize hormones, and reduce fluid retention, making it a great oil for massage (particularly during your monthly cycle).
Known for its rich, warm, and exotic aroma and grounding properties, sandalwood has been used in meditation for centuries. With all the frenetic pre-wedding energy, it can help induce peace and stillness—even if just for a moment. It slows thoughts, helping you to think in a more mindful, deliberate manner. Sandalwood is also prized in skin care for its moisturizing and soothing properties. Place a few drops into a warm bath to soothe the mind and soften the skin.
Marjoram has an herbaceous aroma and medicinal benefits. An antispasmodic, it helps alleviate muscle aches and pain and relaxes physical tightness from stress (or your pre-wedding workout plan). Try diluting a few drops and apply to the back of your neck—or anywhere you're feeling tension. Marjoram also possesses protective abilities, clearing germs and boosting immunity—because who wants to be sick leading up to, or on, their big day?
Black spruce has woody, evergreen notes, and offers a range of healing benefits—most notably respiratory support. It promotes lung function and works as a decongestant, helping with asthma, bronchitis, and the common cough. "It reminds you to breathe when things get hectic," notes Galper. To reconnect with your breath, add two drops of black spruce essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Position your face about 12 inches above the bowl, drape a towel over your head, and breath in deeply for about a minute.